Happy Comic Book Day

There’s no arguing as to the sheer awesomeness of delving into a comic book or graphic novel. The incredible artwork and the fascinating story-lines can hook you in for hours!

Comics are a very popular literary medium for all ages and have a deep history in pop culture. From Charlie Brown to Batman, comics offer a wide variety of storytelling styles that can cater to any reader’s taste. They can be silly or serious, light-hearted or dark, funny or sad. Whatever the content or the message… comics are just plain awesome.

While very entertaining, comics aren’t often spoken about as educational or therapeutic tools, and they absolutely CAN be!

One important component of effective communication is a person’s ability to recognize that perspectives differ. A person also has to be able to take another’s perspective. This is one of the reasons I like to use comics to help build these skills in people where it is lacking (such as children with language delays or Autism Spectrum Disorder).

The artwork in a comic can provide the visual support and backdrop for social scenarios to engage kids in story-telling from varying perspectives. We can see different facial expressions, when a character’s mouth is open to indicate their turn to speak, or body language shown by characters in a panel. In addition, the thought- or speech-bubbles coming from characters can allow for practice in perspective-taking or thinking about what a character may be thinking about or feeling. Even if we’re not focussing on these things, talking alone about what we see and read in a panel can be a very cool bonding experience for us and our kids.

So, comics aren’t just about the antics of Archie and his pals or about the Dark Knight fighting Gotham’s worst. They can be much more! Just choose comics that are appropriate for your child’s age. Someone at your local public library would be more than happy to help you find age-appropriate comics. There are also some free, make your own comic applications available if kids want to get creative.

Mo Oshalla, DCL Director