Reading With Pictures: Comics that Make Kids Smarter HC
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release Date: August 2014
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Josh Elder and many others
Format: 184 pgs., Full-Color, 7.6" x 10.9," Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4494-5878-2
Age Rating: 7 - 12 years
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
For some time, Josh Elder has been campaigning for comics as a teaching tool, and this book, focusing on Common Core themes, is both an eye-opener for teachers and a sampler of many subjects taught in comics form.
Not every segment is a brilliant success, but the various parts of the book include lessons about prime numbers and codes, a short graphic biography of George Washington ["George Washington, Action President!" by Fred van Lente], a Pokemon parody on the subject of probability, and a variety of other stories on other topics.  Oddly, there's also a Chris Giarrusso superhero story filed under "language arts," and the actual topic was a bit unclear.  Fun to read, but the lesson and the topic were not as clear as the rest in the book.
Rather than an end-product, this should be considered a starting point and a proof-of-concept for the idea that you can produce a textbook in graphic form, as each section of this book could easily be a chapter in a textbook on one topic or another.
The transition from one art style and one teaching style to another within the book is a small distraction.  Some are very practical and realistic, while others are quite goofy [especially the story teaching Newton’s laws of motion].
Parents and teachers of kids in grades 3-8 will find materials here that kids will enjoy, and may suggest new ways to teach familiar subjects.  It belongs in both school and public libraries, and would also be of use to home-school families.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.