Librarian Scott Robins on How to Pick the Best Comics for Your Kids

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”—Emilie Buchwald

Scott Robins is the co-author (with Snow Wildsmith) of A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love (Krause Publications Bookstore). It’s a great primer for those who are new to graphic novels and comics, of all ages.

With a Foreword by Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer, of the award winning Bone series, in this guide, Robins and Wildsmith share their knowledge of children’s literature to recommend and review 100 age appropriate books (plus an additional 750 recommendations) for the children in your world.

The guide should easily appeal to caregivers, educators, librarians, youth, booksellers, event coordinators, and other creators.

I expect I’ll be paying a visit to Little Island Comics as soon as I’ve completed my own shopping list. (And, by that, I mean for me!)

Scott Robins and I chatted last week in the new event space above Glad Day Bookshop, where Robins is part owner. He’s also everything else under the sun: a librarian at Toronto Public Library and a past juror for the Joe Shuster Award. He also oversees the children’s programming for the annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

In this podcast, we talk about:

  • the process of selecting the 100 titles profiled in A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics
  • the key ingredients of a good children’s comic or graphic novel and how to write for children
  • the sequential appeal of comics to young readers
  • how comics are akin to soap operas and sitcoms in structure and arc
  • how series reading has impacted the adult trade market (Charlaine Harris and J.K. Rowling)
  • how weekly comics are the Harlequin model for young readers (OK, maybe I said that.)
  • the new comic reader vs the traditional comic reader
  • the comparison to Japan’s comic and graphic novels industry
  • Robins’ thoughts on the most successful long run series (Hint: It features one of the most torrid love triangles EVER!)
  • Robins’ pick for a new series to watch out for (Hint: She’s a three-time winner of the The John Newbery Medal, a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children.)

NOTE: We recorded this during the recent heatwave, after I made the inspired decision to ride my bike 15 kms to the storefront. That occasional bit of wind you hear is me wagging my tongue in an oscillating fan. Enjoy!

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Follow Scott Robins on Twitter: @scout101. Read his blog, “Good Comics for Kids,” at School Library Journal.

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