We’re lucky in that we live in a vibrant literary community in my small Western Massachusetts city. There are writers and illustrators (and filmmakers and artists) everywhere you turn. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not far away (just a town over the river and Eric Carle himself is local) and I took some time yesterday to head to the museum to see their special exhibit on graphic novels.
I really appreciated an entire museum room, dedicated entirely to the art of the graphic novel, and the Out of the Box exhibit was well-done, with visual timelines and examples of graphic stories across history along with a pretty diverse representation of featured writers and artists from the field. In addition, there was a rich library of graphic novels, and a few kids were scattered in corners, reading stories. (I wrote down a few titles I want to read myself).
I also really appreciated a display that invited museum participations to create and add a page to an ongoing community graphic novel on display. Tutorials were included on elements of comics. You could make your own frames and add to the story (which, to be honest, was a little odd and strange and non-linear), and I spent as much time enjoying the work of kids and adults in that collaborative graphic novel/comic strip writing piece as I did the formal displays.
In a few weeks, we’re having graphic novelist Jarrett Krosoczka come to our school to present to our students about the art of graphic novels (you have to read his Hey, Kiddo, if you haven’t done so already), and how art and writing come together to tell stories. Our plan is to have all of our sixth graders create their own comic/graphic novels celebrating a “support staff” member at our school, based on Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady series. It will be fun way to honor and recognize the work of those who are critical to a school community.
So, I grabbed a few pics from his display (he’s local, too) to share with students before his visit.
I still fondly remember the Words & Pictures Museum that was in our city’s downtown. It was created and supported by the guys behind the Teenage Ninja Turtles, after their indie comic hit the big time. Both men began their careers here in our city. The museum was in this circular building structure, so you wandered your way from top to bottom, with walls covered in comic art. Too bad it had to close.
Peace (in and out of frames),