Work on the library is going really well. It’s been completely re-arranged and a small army of eager pupils have been working so hard getting a huge amount of new fiction and non-fiction books ready for the shelves in February.
But we’re not just putting new fiction and non-fiction in our new school library. We’re putting a large comic and graphic novel selection in as well.
(And at this point, seeing as it’s Mr Bruton writing this, I hope you’ll understand why I switch from first person plural to first person singular.)
When I was a child I read comics, just like many of the parents reading this did. But I didn’t stop reading comics as I got older, instead my love and appreciation for comics grew and grew. Not just the sort of superhero comics you may automatically think of, but a comic medium with all the breadth and diversity of prose fiction. There are great comics on every subject for all ages, children and grown-ups alike. I could go on and on about them. But here is not the place.
Suffice to say that over the past 10 years school librarians have realised what I’ve always known – graphic novels are a wonderful way to get children reading (boys and girls – of all reading abilities) and most importantly of all discovering a love of reading that will stay with them for life. (And for clarification, Graphic Novels and comics are exactly the same thing – but Graphic Novels tend to have a book like spine).
So when Mrs Monkman and Mrs Hatter started talking about restocking the library I introduced them to the idea of putting together a small Graphic Novel section in the library, something I’m pleased to say they were fully in favour of.
Now, when I’m not working at school, a lot of my time is spent writing about comics (mostly at the Forbidden Planet International Blog). And because of this, I’ve built up a large contact list. It seemed to good an opportunity to pass up – after all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Several hundred emails later and we had a bigger and more generous response than I could ever have dreamt of:
Yes, every single graphic novel you see above came completely free, all donated by some wonderful companies/artists. We’re incredibly grateful here at Wilberfoss for the tremendous generosity shown by so many people. So this is our chance to say a big, big thank you to everyone.
So far, all the pupils who have been helping with the library restock who have had any contact with these graphic novels have been tremendously excited by the sheer wealth of different styles and themes. I can’t wait to see the reaction of the pupils when the new library opens. (Hopefully second week in February)
But that wasn’t all. One of my contacts who sends me graphic novels to review works at a publisher’s clearing house for a lot of foreign publishers. And they sent this lovely collection of picture books along – which means we now have enough to have a dedicated picture book section alongside our shorter books for developing readers. This is what they sent:
Wow. All completely free, donated by Publishers Group UK. And there are some absolutely beautiful picture books in that lot, the sort of picture books you really can call works of art in their own right. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the children from lower years fall in love with them. And, for that matter, I hope older pupils have a look at them as well – after all, beautiful art and well crafted, shorter stories should be enjoyed by all.
Right, back to the comics / graphic novels…. these are the donations we’ve received in absolutely no order….
The DFC Library and more from David Fickling Books / Random House.
Lots of Tintin and The Rainbow Orchid from Egmont Books.
The best of European comics, translated for the UK – all from Cinebook.
Robot City Adventures sent to us by Templar Publishing.
Gorgeous comics for younger readers (but we oldies love them as well) from Top Shelf Productions.
Beautiful hard-covers from Abrams Books UK.
Graphic Novels and more from Scholastic UK.
Familiar names from Titan Books.
Classic stories adapted into Graphic Novels from SelfMadeHero.
A few from artists and companies who only publish an occasional children’s book. Gary Northfield sent along his riotious Derek The Sheep (as seen in The BeanoMax). Fanfare/Ponent Mon added My Mommy, a beautiful work. Sweatdrop Studios sent along Telling Tales; Manga takes on classic fairy tales. The Little Prince is a gorgeous adaptation of the classic book from Walker Books. Morag Lewis donated her Manga tale Reya.
And last but not least, Forbidden Planet International sent along a huge box of comics full of superheroes and much more. The boys who sorted that out had a marvellous time – they acted as if they had just discovered Aladdin’s Cave!
I’d like to thank every single one of the companies and people who so kindly donated anything. I was genuinely amazed by the generosity of you all. We have a school graphic novel library now that I doubt will be bettered anywhere in the UK. Thank you from all the pupils, parents and staff at Wilberfoss.