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Last Wednesday morning, I hopped on the subway from Brooklyn and headed to the Graphic Universe office at the Empire State Building in Manhattan. But on that day, the GU office was just a temporary stop to grab a box of books and then to continue my way uptown to an elementary school. By uptown I mean way uptown, to the northernmost tip of the island, in a neighborhood called Inwood at 10th Avenue and Dyckman Street. This is where P.S. 5 sits and where the talented Graphic Universe illustrator Alitha Martinez’s son attends school. But this was no ordinary day–it was career day and great anticipation was in the air. Today Alitha was on hand to share her impressive career as a comic book artist—both with DC Comics and, yes, with Graphic Universe and its critically acclaimed series Twisted Journeys and My Boyfriend is a Monster.
The day proved to be a huge success–not only for Alitha, who marvelously inspired the students with her artistic gifts and career accomplishments–but also a winner for Graphic Universe. I was told that kids at this school just love Graphic Universe books. Indeed, the process of teaching rather mundane subjects comes alive through comic books. Utilizing graphic illustrations to convey ordinary topics in ways that kids can truly appreciate and understand is a remarkable feat. And Graphic Universe books shine bright in that department.
I now have proof of this.
After her presentation the jubilant Alitha wrote to me with this: “It really strikes a chord with the kids when they can see books as more than something that’s forced on them. In the play yard on a beautiful day children were huddled around reading. The manga math book and the tricky journeys, WOW!! Teachers were in love. Kids wanted more to take for their siblings….I only had 30. Kids wanted a book that taught math?? You really had them properly tricked into learning with that one.”
Wouldn’t it be great if Alitha continued the career day tradition next year at P.S. 5! (In fact, she was present the past couple years with equally memorable experiences.) Come to think about it, imagine spreading this idea to having career day participation with dozens of GU authors and illustrations in schools across the country. There could be quite a lot of eager people and it would certainly help spread the word to kids, parents, and teachers about the wonderful line of GU books.
Alitha further espoused the benefits of GU and its stellar line of educational and entertaining titles by declaring that “they remembered every book by name that was brought over the years.”
How can you beat that? Great news for children’s book publishing!