Comics Awards For Kids!

If you’re running a group using comics with kids, a great way to find good new comics for them to read – and to get them actively engaged with thinking and talking about those comics critically – is to get involved with one of the comics awards programmes that involve young people in their judging process. There are couple of these in the UK that you might want to check out, for instance…

The Excelsior Award 

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The Excelsior Award is the only nationwide book award for graphic novels and manga – where kids aged 11-16 decide the winner by rating each book as they read it! Eight graphic novels are selected for the shortlist and it now attracts over two hundred and fifty schools and public libraries from all over the UK and Ireland! The overall goal of this scheme is to encourage reading amongst teenagers. However, its secondary target is to raise the profile of graphic novels and manga amongst school librarians and teachers. This storytelling medium has been a largely underused resource within education for many years. The Excelsior Award attempts to highlight some of the amazing books that are out there – books that fully deserve to be in our school libraries alongside regular fiction!

There is also the Excelsior Award Jr, for kids aged 8-11: http://www.excelsiorawardjunior.co.uk/ 

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If you’d like to get your group involved in the Excelsior Award process, you can find out more information here: http://www.excelsioraward.co.uk/info.html – and about the Excelsior Award Jr here: http://www.excelsiorawardjunior.co.uk/info.html

 

The Young People’s Comic Award

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Organised as part of the British Comic Awards, the Young People’s Comic Award is judged by young people and aims to celebrate the best in comics aimed at, and suitable for, a young audience. You can find a list of winners and nominees from previous years here: http://britishcomicawards.com/

 

And here’s a great video about the 2016 awards:

Judging is carried out by reading groups from schools, public libraries and Scouts and guides troops. If you’d like to get your group involved, you can find out more about how to get involved at the BCAs site, here: http://britishcomicawards.com/awards/young-peoples-comic-award/

 

 

 

Comic Club Spotlight with Ellie Egleton

Ellie Egleton tells Hannah Sackett all about her experience of running a comic club.

Can you tell me about the comic club you ran at your old school? What did you do in a typical session? I am currently preparing for my postgraduate teacher training course and so for work experience I returned to my secondary school as a teaching assistant. I really enjoyed the work and so I asked if I could please organise an after-school Comic Book Club which I was kindly allowed to do.

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Every Friday I had a group of students, ranging from 11-15 years old, come to my Comic Book Club! It was great to see a real mix of boys and girls! The activities varied from week to week but the basic idea behind the club was to give the students a starting point where they can jump into reading comics. I have found that with the volumes and volumes of comic books published, it is often difficult to know where to start reading. So, I would prepare a PowerPoint showcasing a particular character such as Spider-Man or the Avengers (usually characters who the students requested) and give them an introduction into the character’s history and recommended my favourite stories. To finish we would have a fun quiz based on the character and I would give out comic books as prizes!

We threw a Batman murder mystery party where the Joker had been “killed” and the students each had a part to play to work out who had committed the crime. My Dad also came in as a guest speaker a few times to show the students some cool comic booksranging from classic back issues to first appearances and issue ones. We also had weeks where I would help the kids create their own comic books and they wrote and drew some amazing things!

We all had a great time geeking out at Comic Book Club! All of my PowerPoint slides have been posted at http://thamesmeadcomicbookclub.blogspot.co.uk/ , a blog I made for the kids to refer back to and to help those interested in starting their own comic book club!

Did club members have a favourite activity? I think that the comic book quizzes were very popular! The kids had the choice whether they wanted to work on their own or in a team and there was certainly some friendly competition! I think that the students also really enjoyed leading the session. We would often discuss what they were reading or creating and so Comic Book Club members became a close friendship group which was nice as I’m not sure if the students would have had a chance to interact with one another outside of the club. Sometimes the kids would create their own PowerPoints to showcase the characters that they loved reading!fig-06


Can you tell me about the research you’re doing at the moment? 
I am currently conducting research for my dissertation which is to investigate how comic books can be used in the classroom to help students’ with their ongoing identity development! It has been great interviewing teachers about how they might incorporate comic books into class and running activities with students to see how they may relate to characters such as Spider-Gwen and Ms Marvel! I am also organising activities where the students can create their own comic books all about their identity in order to explore what is important to them and what makes them who they are! I think that comic books can be very useful in the classroom as resources which students can relate to and be creative with! My dissertation project is due in April and so I look forward to concluding the research!

In addition to all this, you also find time to make a web comic! Haha yes! When I was at school I wrote an all-ages book called Classified Files of a Superhero which I am now lucky enough to be making into a graphic novel! Classified Files of a Superhero had a very small print run, only 100 copies, which went to family, friends and a few book shops. Now, the graphic novel is being published page by page over at http://powerpunchbootcamp.tumblr.com/  featuring art by Kurt Wood (@kurtwooddotcom) and Alejandro Rosado (@aleroart).

Power Punch Boot Camp is a place for future heroes, world domination and pancakes and is absolutely my childhood dream come true! I loved showing the Comic Book Club kids the process behind making the comic and I hope that it has inspired them to carry on creating!

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Which comics should we be reading right now? This is a very tricky question as there are so many great comic books out there right now! Recently, I have really enjoyed reading Gwenpool! I think it is such a quirky, fun comic book and I really like the character! I think that the DC Comics’ Rebirth range is also a great place to either start or continue reading comics! I’ve been particularly enjoying Green Arrow, Nightwing and Titans! I am also super excited for Marvel’s new Jean Grey ongoing series and so, as a big fan of the character, I always recommend classic X-Men stories including the Dark Phoenix Saga, Phoenix Endsong and X-Men Origins Jean Grey #1! They’re some of my favourite ever comic books!


What are your plans for the coming year? 
I’m currently counting down the days until I graduate from the University of Surrey! I am looking forward to spending time in Florida over the summer at Disney and starting my teacher training in September. I also have plans to contact publishers with the Power Punch Boot Camp graphic novel and so I am keeping my fingers crossed for that one!

Many thanks to Ellie for finding the time to talk to us – we’re looking forward to hearing more about her research and wish her all the best with her PGCE and her graphic novel!

Comic Swap!

Has your comic club made a comic? Why not get involved in the new Comic Swap run by Hannah Sackett and Lydia Wysocki, with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books

Hannah and Lydia tell us how it works…

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Comic Swap helps groups of children share comics they’ve made. Our first swap is now open!

How it works:
  • You, as the adult responsible for a children’s comics-making group, send 6 copies of your comic to us at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books.
  • We add one copy of your comic to the Comic Swap library at Seven Stories.
  • We shuffle the comics sent to us by the groups taking part in the swap.
  • You wait excitedly by the letterbox to receive 5 comics made by other comic swap groups.
  • You read your new comics!

The closing date for emailed permission forms is Friday 7th April 2017.
The closing date for posted comics to arrive at Seven Stories is Friday 14th April 2017.
Swapped comics will be posted out in May 2017.

Each comics swap group must be formed of multiple children and at least one responsible adult. Please do not send us any money: your group pays postage costs to send your comics to us, then we pay the postage to send you 5 new comics made by other groups.

Visit our blog for full details of how to get involved: https://comicswap.wordpress.com/about/

Don’t worry if you don’t have a comic to swap this time round – there will be more Comic Swaps to come, so start making those comics now!

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Stick Stories: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

Last week we shared our first-ever Comics Challenge – Stick Stories – and now we thought we’d share some of the fantastic work some of our members came up with! First, here are some of the stick-figure renditions of characters and stories from Neill’s Comics Club group at the story museum in Oxford. Let’s start with a classic!

…Stick Rapunzel, by Libby!

Here’s one that manages to condense not just one story but an entire 6-movie epic saga into 4 panels: Stick Star Wars, by Charlie!

And, proving that even alarmingly violent dystopian sci-fi can be rendered adorable in the right artistic hands, here’s The Stick Hunger Games by Lauren!

(Here’s Stick Katniss!)

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And here are are some of our amazing artists with their work!

(… there were *many more* great ones, I just can only take so many photos. Sorry if I missed you out!)

Once we posted the challenge online, we had lots more people join in with their own Stick Stories! Check out some of this gloriousness and see if you can identify the characters / stories! (Answers at the bottom).

 

 

 

 

 

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(Answers, from top to bottom: Arriety from The Borrowers, Pippi Longstocking, Batman VS Superman, Pokemon Go, An Original Composition (I think), The Hobbit,  Ant-Man, Boffing Leaves The Oven On (what, you haven’t read it? It’s great), Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami).

There’s loads more – follow us on twitter at @ComicsClubBLOG or check out the #stickstories hashtag to see them! (Thanks to everyone from Sarah McIntyre’s @StudioTeaBreak gang who joined in, that was fun!)

If you’d like to have a go at making some Stick Stories yourselves, you can find the full activity and downloadable worksheets right here!

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