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New breed of comics sneaks in learning with fun

  • These books look like comics, but they're educational (and fun, too). From left, "So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?", "Mega Mash-U...

    Deb Lindsey / The Washington Post

    These books look like comics, but they're educational (and fun, too). From left, "So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?", "Mega Mash-Up: Spies vs. Giant Slugs in the Jungle" and "Super Grammar."

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By Tracy Grant
The Washington Post
Published:
  • These books look like comics, but they're educational (and fun, too). From left, "So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?", "Mega Mash-U...

    Deb Lindsey / The Washington Post

    These books look like comics, but they're educational (and fun, too). From left, "So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?", "Mega Mash-Up: Spies vs. Giant Slugs in the Jungle" and "Super Grammar."

Captain Underpants and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" led the way for a whole new type of fiction for kids: graphic novels.
Of course, your parents may not like to see you reading books that have more pictures than words. They may complain, saying, "They're just comic books!"
But what if your mom saw you reading a comic book and told you to read something else ... and you were able to say, "Mom, these superheroes are teaching me about grammar."
Or if your dad said that reading another comic book would fry your brain and you could say, "I'm not reading this comic book, I'm DRAWING it."
We've discovered some graphic novels and comic books that kids can love and parents can't object to. KA-POW!

"Mega Mash-Up: Spies vs. Giant Slugs in the Jungle" by Nikalas Catlow, Tim Wesson and ... you! $7. Age 7 and older.
OK, we know you love it just because it has one of the greatest titles of all time. But what makes this book so much fun is that you get to put your own personality on every page.
For example, when the spies have to board a plane in the dead of night to "go bust some slugs," you get to add super-powered weapons to the plane, figure out where the ejection seat should be and decide what colors the jet is.
In another part of the story, the Giant Slugs have a superweapon that's pretty disgusting: toxic snot. You get to decide what color, size and shape it should be. (When telling your parents about how this book will help you build your artistic skills, you might not want to mention this exercise!)
If you need help coming up with ideas, this book has a visual glossary to help spark your imagination.

"So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?" by Philip Amara. $10. Age 8 and older.
If you love drawing comics and want to know how you can actually get your work published, this is the book for you. It includes tips on writing and drawing from real comic artists.
You'll get advice on how to keep stories going, what styles of artwork work best for different types of stories and how to put it all together. And you can always tell your folks that you're doing research for your first job!

"Super Grammar" by Tony Preciado and Rhode Montijo. $9. Age 7 and older.
We have to confess: We think this is the coolest thing since "Conjunction Junction" on Schoolhouse Rock. (You can Google it, but ask your parents first. We're pretty sure they can sing it for you from when they were kids.)
Anyway, if pronouns get you down and you can't quickly tell an adverb from an adjective, this will have you joining the grammar superheroes to rid the world of such villains as the evil twins, Double Negative, and joining forces with the Amazing Eight to learn the parts of speech.
Story tags » BooksFamily fun

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