Wednesday, March 2, 2005

College Bowl for Kids, and the Triumph of Comics

My partner, Rusty, has an 11-year old adopted son from his second marriage.  Josh spends about every second weekend at our house.

Today, he and some of his schoolmates competed in “Battle of the Books” (or something like that).  The kids had six months to read a set of sixteen books, and then they competed to answer questions based on what they had read.

According to Rusty, Josh’s team won, beating out nine other teams, and they will advance to a regional competition.  Further, Josh was the only one of the kids who had read all the books.  (I’m not sure if this was just on his team or amongst all the kids.)  Further, until Josh started coming to our house, he didn’t read much at all.

The cause?  Comic books.  Since I’ve been reading them for 25 years, I’ve got a lot of them around, with an increasing number of collected volumes which are on bookshelves, easy to access.  I buy a few titles specifically for Josh every month (but I read them, too) — Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!, Justice League Unlimited, and the now-cancelled Hardy Boys series — and he reads my copies of a few other books every time he is at the house, especially Usagi Yojimbo and most recently, Adam Strange.  Josh has also read the likes of Impulse and Scion, and he really liked the new Bone color volume and can’t wait for the next one.

(In contrast, Rusty’s daughter Sarah almost never reads — and certainly not for pleasure — saying that she has no imagination.  Personally, I think her imagination has been muted by TV and movies and loud music; who needs to work your own imagination when stuff is pre-imagined for you?  But even then, we got her to read Mystic, and she pulled Blankets off the shelf of her own accord.)

If it gets kids to read at all, comics are a good thing.  Even more so if gets them to read stuff other than comics!

Added links on October 7, 2011

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