Archive for the “Literacy” Category
Hereville Volume 1 – How Mirka Got Her Sword
By Barry Deutsch
Published by Amulet
“Spunky, strong-willed, eleven-year-old Mirka Hirschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her step-mother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!
Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find – and outwit – the giant troll who’s got it!”
Alfie – Year 5
Hereville is a graphic novel about a 11 year old orthodox Jewish girl called Mirka who wants to be a hero, a dragon slayer.
All of her friends talk about the wild rumours of the local flying lady – everyone thinks she’s a witch.
As Mirka is an Orthdox Jew she’s banned from eating pork, and because she lives in an orthodox Jewish village she doesn’t even know what a pig looks like! To her a pig was a horrible, evil monster so she was scared when she saw one.
Worse still – the pig she sees is no ordinary pig – it could talk! The pig threatens her for taking one grape from his garden….
All her friends laugh at her because the evil talking pig kept stealing her homework just to cause trouble. But then it got worse when the pig set her up by trampling Mirka’s stepmother Fruma’s flower patch and leaving one of Mirka’s shoes behind.
This was the final straw for Mirka, After that she tells Frumer about the witch and that’s when she gets sent to her room and in the middle of the night she gets up and goes to fight the troll.
I thought it was interesting because it’s full of adventure especially when she wins the sword. I thought it would be a good book for a person who likes adventures, because I liked it and normally I don’t read adventure books.
Finn - Year 5
I enjoyed Hereville. It was funny and a bit strange!
The best bit was when Mirka was getting hunted by a pig because she picked an apple from the pig’s garden but the pig adored the grapes. The funniest bit was when the troll wanted to fight Mirka with knitting because I thought they were going to fight with swords.
The strangest bits was when Mirka was walking to school and she came across a house and she saw a witch floating next to her tree and the witch was cutting it.
Find out more about Hereville at the website for the book, including a preview of this and the next book!
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Oh, this is simply brilliant! The first full book written, illustrated, and published by Amy & Katy of Year 5.
We’ve scanned the whole thing in for the school website where you can download it as a powerpoint or pdf, but thought you may want to have a look at chapters 1 & 2…..
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Today was National Libraries Day for the school – the actual day is tomorrow Saturday 4th, but we wanted to do something!
So what better way to celebrate the library, and much more importantly the absolute love of reading having a well-stocked library has engendered around the school, than to have the children read to each other…. a fabulous idea!
So today Year 6 read to Foundation, Year 5 read to Year 1, and Years 2, 3, and 4 were mixed up and read to each other. And everyone had a wonderful time. Lots more pictures over at the school website, but here’s a few to give you an idea:
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Posted by: admin in Comics, General, Library, Literacy, Year 6, tags: Books, Comics, DFC Library, Interviews, James Turner, Library, Super Animal Adventure Squad
A few weeks ago, Ryan in Year 6 read and reviewed James Turner’s Graphic Novel Super Animal Adventure Squad. A great review, showing just how much Ryan had enjoyed the book, and just how well he could write about it.
Well, we thought it would be nice to see if Ryan wanted to expand his repertoire from reviewer to interviewer and set him the task of coming up with some questions to ask James Turner.
We think he did a great job. Thanks very much to Ryan for coming up with some great questions, thanks to Lauren at Random House for setting up the interview and of course, thanks to James Turner for taking the time to answer the questions!
(The assembled characters of Super Animal Adventure Squad by James Turner)
Ryan: Any plans for any more SAAS?
James: When the DFC ended I was halfway through writing the next SAAS story – it was going to be about the queen being turned into a jar of pickled gherkins, and a quest for the legendary magic jar opener in the supermarket at the end of the world. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to draw it one day!
Ryan: Where did you get the names for the characters from – and are they based on anyone you know?
James: I think you can probably guess where the names for Bear-Bot and Beesley came from, and the ‘K’ in ‘Agent K’ stands for kitty (though that is top secret information, so don’t tell anyone!). I thought Rex sounded like a good lizardy sort of name (probably because of a certain dinosaur), and strangely enough Irwin is named after Steve Irwin, the late wildlife expert. I have no idea why I named him after Steve Irwin though – maybe he was just on TV when I was drawing the character…
I think all the characters are probably based on different sides of myself – Rex is my silly side, Irwin is my selfish side, Bear-Bot is my sensible side, and Beesley is my, um, mustachioed bee side? Ok, I am not really sure what Beesley is based on.
(Captain Green Beard, bad guy or merely misunderstood?)
Ryan: Did you base the storylines on something you once read – for example did you really like Treasure Island as a child – inspiration for Green Beard perhaps?
James: I don’t think that there are any specific stories that inspired Super Animal Adventure Squad, but it’s really important to read as much as you can if you want to be a writer – everything you read fills you up with little ideas which can join together to form a big idea. So really, SAAS is inspired a little bit by every book I’ve ever read!
Ryan: How did you get into making comics and graphic novels?
James: As a child I always made comics (even before I could write I would make little books of pictures telling a story), but when I grew up I didn’t have so much time for it. Then I realised one day that I couldn’t draw at all any more, so I promised myself I would draw a comic every week to teach myself to draw again. I put the comics on the internet and people seemed to like them so I kept doing it. One day a friend who knew my comics said I should send a strip to the DFC, so I sent them two pages of the Super Animal Adventure Squad and the rest is history!
Ryan: How long does it take to come up with the story from first getting it in your head to finished pages?
James: Once I have an idea I have to write the script which can either be very quick or very slow, depending on how easily the ideas come – sometimes the jokes just flow out without any work and sometimes I will be stuck for days and days.
Once I have the script there are a lot of stages to finishing the final page – first I have to roughly lay it out so that all the words and pictures can fit in each panel, then I pencil in the details, ink over the pencils, scan it into my computer and colour it in. All in all it probably takes me about 4 hours per page.
(Cover to The Phoenix Comic Issue Zero, featuring Star Cat by James Turner)
Ryan: Can you tell us a little more about what plans you have for the future – I’ve just seen the Phoenix issue zero and Star Cat looks great!
James: I am currently working hard on the first ten weeks worth of Star Cat for the phoenix comic – it’s going to be a strip about a flying cat/spaceship and the adventures of its crew. I’m also working on the scripts for a new book about some japanese characters called the Mameshiba (half bean/half dog creatures that love to tell facts), which should be out next year, and if I get the time I also have an idea for a comic called Dan Tastic, about a hero with a pig for a sidekick.
(Star Cat by James Turner – from The Phoenix Comic)
Ryan: Were you a good artist at school? I’m not that good and was wondering if there’s hope for me yet! What would you recommend I do to make my art better?
James: I liked to draw comics when I was at school, but I was never really good at art – all I wanted to do was draw little cartoons, which the teachers weren’t so impressed with as I got older! My advice for getting better at art is this: Draw, draw and draw some more! The more you practice the better you will get – every time I draw a comic I feel like I am improving just a little more.
Thank you again to all involved, especially James and Ryan.
You can read James’ Super Animal Adventure Squad in the school library, and it’s available from all good bookshops, including Simply Books in Pocklington.
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Squish – Super Amoeba
By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Squish is the first part of a new series by the writer and artist who also do Babymouse. I read the first book and it was hilarious!
It is based on scientific facts and turns them into something fun.
Even though it is short I enjoyed it I would recommend this book to people who like comics and who want to learn something about the super-small world around us.
I would give this book 5 stars and ten out of ten!
Thanks to Ryan for the great review, and thank you very much for artist Matthew Holm for very generously donating a set of Squish books to the school graphic novel library.
And finally, here’s Ryan’s version of the character that he included with this review:
Astrosaurs – Skies Of Fear
By Steve Cole
“Captain Teggs is no ordinary dinosaur – he’s an astrosaur! On the incredible spaceship DSS Sauropod, along with his faithful crew, Gypsy, Arx and Iggy, Teggs rights wrongs, fights evil and eats a lot of grass!”
Astrosaurs is a series of books in the school library all about a crew of space dinosaurs who come across adventure.
In this book, the evil stranger Grandum has made the people of Squak Major forget how to fly.
Squak Major is a planet of pterosaurs (very big flying dinosaurs) and it’s up to Captain Teggs and his Astrosaur crew to put things right – but what will they do???
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Babymouse – Our Hero
By Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
I think Babymouse is really good to read.
It’s all about a mouse called Babymouse who is always dreaming of something else, and has lots of daydreams about being other people. In this story she wants to be a superhero. At school she has a locker that easts (really eats!) all her homework and the teacher called Mrs Slug who just doesn’t believe her. Also at school she has problems with a cat called Felicia, who really, really hates Babymouse!
Babymouse is quite good at everything but not dodgeball – poor Babymouse hates Dodgeball and always tries to leave her trainers at home.
In gym class the gym teacher Mr Croc is warming the class up for a wrestling match, and it’s Babymouse versus Felicia! At the end of the match Babymouse does a big swipe punch and knocks Felicia out. And after the excitement of the wrestling match Babymouse becomes popular in school and makes Felicia jealous.
Thanks to Matthew for the great review, and thank you very much for artist Matthew Holm for very generously donating a set of Babymouse books to the school graphic novel library.
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Well, why don’t we let them tell you themselves….. in comic style of course:
Oh yes, I think they enjoyed it.
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Posted by: admin in art, Library, Literacy, Year 5, Year 6, tags: art, Comics Workshop, Jim Medway, Literacy, Year 5, Year 6
Answer – Very, very well indeed thanks very much. They absolutely loved it.
Before half term Year 5 & 6 had the great opportunity to take part n the two day “Create Comics” Workshop run by Jim Medway. Jim’s a professional artist and educator and his “Create Comics” Workshop is all about inspiring a love of reading and nurturing a visual literacy in students.
Over the two days of great fun our pupils tended to have two poses;
Pose Number 1: Rapt and listening attentively to what Jim was telling them.
Pose Number 2: heads down making great art and comics.
And they all worked incredibly hard on their art, learning so much about comics, about the best ways to present their ideas on the page and over the course of the two days we had some incredible results and everyone had a great time.
Day 1 consisted of a brief introduction to comics as an artistic medium. And then it was straight into the work with the children using the ideas of clarity and simplicity in design to create characters based on themselves – all based on the master of the artform Charles Schulz:
From there it was straight on into advanced design, with everyone working on a style sheet provided by Jim, putting their simplified selves into a host of poses. The improvement in their work just across this sheet was quite marvellous to see:
Day 1 eneded with all of the children working on their 3 panel comics jam strip. The idea is simple. Start a 3 panel story, drawing just the first panel. Then pass it on and someone else gets to draw panel two. They can continue your story anyway they want. And once panel two is complete, it’s passed on again and a third person tackles panel 3. And all done to a time limit.
Day 2 kicked off with with a quick introduction from Jim followed by another 3 panel jam session, this time with the children choosing their panels rather than simply progressing 1-2-3. Again, the improvement in their skills was noticeable and some really nice work was done by all.
From the 3 panel jams we were off into a world of shadow, shading, emphasis and perspective, with a very intensive and hard working session teaching the children how to pick out the essential parts of their work and highlighting it with light and dark. Plus they had a quick fire lesson on perspective and the importance of establishing the back, mid and foreground in their pictures.
And then we were into the final afternoon session of the workshop. Making Minicomics. A fantastic afternoon and an incredibly busy one. All around the hall the activity was incredible – children making, drawing, planning their minicomics. And at the end of the session we put the photocopier into overdrive to make 4 copies of all 47 minicomics. The idea is to get the pupils fired up over their work and by producing multiple copies they’re no longer just making something for themselves – 1 copy went to Jim to look at, 1 copy will be on display to the entire school in our new library and two copies go to the pupils to take home, swap with others or do what they want with them.
These are just a few of the minicomics – they’re all available for you to see in the school library.
All in all, the Create Comics workshop was a huge success. It was a lot of hard work, but seemed to fly by in a blur because everyone had so much fun working so hard.
Hopefully the pupils will have a much better understanding of comics as a medium, about the ways they can use the visual literacy they learned about during the workshop in their work, and will have much more confidence in their artistic skills.
Year 5, Year 6, Mr Bruton, Mrs Hatter, Mr Nevill and Mrs Monkman would like to thank Jim Medway for coming out to the school. We can heartily recommend his workshop for any other school – fun, engaging, remarkably educational – everyone agreed it was well worth it.
And we’d all like to thank Year 5 & Year 6 for making the two days a fantastic experience for us all. They were a credit to the school and most importantly, a credit to themselves.
Jim Medway has a website and blog which has more details. His workshop promotional material can be found here.
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