Tagged: Challenged Challenge

Tweeks: Kids Don’t Need to Be Sheltered From Persepolis #ChallengedChallenge Week 7

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is our penultimate book in the ComicMix Challenged Challenge — and probably our favorite book of the bunch. This is a first hand account of Marjane’s childhood in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran. This graphic novel not only takes the roots of very serious current events issue and breaks it down so kids like us can understand it, but it is a total page-turner. Sure, it’s violent — but we are talking about war, and as far as wars go, this isn’t really very violent at all. This is a lot less violent than what we would see on the news.

Ironically, this book was most recently challenged by a community college student and her parents (Helicopter your adult kid much, Mom & Dad? Geez!) for it’s violence because she was expecting Batman and Robin in her graphic novel lit class. This brings up the subject of why it’s okay for fictional superhero comics to be violent, but not those about real life? We are so confused.

This book was also called out for language. But what gets us mad is that most of the bad language comes from what people said in catcalling (well, more like verbally abusing) Marjane’s mom for not wearing her veil and later for conservative women name-calling Marjane and others. This is how it went down with those words. The words are what makes it cruel and scary. These are not words the average middle schooler has never heard before and unfortunately lots of women here are called these bad names too. Can we talk about those actions first, then worry about the language? If it is so upsetting, then fix the problem, don’t ban the description of it.

There is so much to say, which we do in the video. If you haven’t read Persepolis, please do.

Next week, we discuss our final book, Maus.

Molly Jackson: Learning, YAY!

LearningLearning, YAY!

Last weekend, I was at LI-Con helping staff the Browncoats of NYC table.  It was great fun and I met a ton of browncoats and other fandoms the two days I was there.  At our meetup event, I got the chance to speak briefly about the Firefly comics from Dark Horse Comics.  The reaction I got from one attendee kind of surprised me.

After the meetup ended, she started quizzing me about the Firefly comics a bit.  I know, that isn’t surprising considering I was just talking at length about them.  The first thing that she said that got to me was (and I am paraphrasing here) “You don’t see a female talk about comics a lot.”  Well, if you have read even a fraction of what I have written, you must know how that chokes me up a bit.  She meant it as a good thing, which I was out there talking and hyping up comics.  Still, after all the female comic lovers that have come on to the scene, it is surprising that I stood out in this woman’s mind as a rarity.  It was a very good reminder that there is still a stigma to female comic readers.

After we got past that I am a girl who reads comics, she asked me for comic suggestions. Her teenage son is not a big reader at all, and while she has discouraged comic reading in the past, her hope was that reading anything might be a gateway to reading more.  And that broke me right there.  I have never understood the negative reaction to comics in general.  People still assume that they are only simple stories with pretty pictures.  Like an overdrawn version of Dick and Jane.

Like any art form, comics have evolved over the decades into an incredibly varied genre.  I was able to suggest books like March Vol. 1 & 2, which is written by Congressman John Lewis about his experiences during the civil rights movement.  Not a topic that is easily understood by some adults these days, much less a child.  I also touted Kill Shakespeare as a great way to introduce characters that every teen (with the exception of myself and a few others) loathes to study in high school.

As the Tweeks here on ComicMix have been discussing banned books this past summer, the overarching theme to me has been ignorance.  A lot of people make judgements about a book, or a topic, or even a genre without facts.  So many great books have been ignored and people have lost out because of that. 

I am happy that someone felt I was a good source of information and I was proud to help.  I learned a little something about myself and the world in the process.  Next time you want to know something, remember this.  All it takes is the courage to ask questions and the willingness to answer them. 

Tweeks: Sidescrollers #ChallengedChallenge Week 6

Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux is about three boys who try to keep their friend from dating a football player who’s a total jerk. It was taken off a 9th grade OPTIONAL reading list because a parent thought the language and sexual content was inappropriate.  We go kind of crazy over this.  We’d like to explain, but it’s best you just watch the video.  But WARNING:  Parents might want to use discretion with our little viewers because we do talk about our 7th grade science teacher making us yell the names of male and female anatomy parts during class.

Tweeks: Color of Earth #ChallengedChallenge Week 5

For week 5 of the ComicMix Challenged Challenge, we discuss Kim Dong Hwa’s graphic novel, The Color of Earth.  Aside from the over use of flower metaphors, we loved the book. It’s about a Ehwa, a girl living in Korea with her widowed mom. The book deals with Ehwa growing up and so there’s talk of puberty and all that kind of related stuff that apparently makes some adults very uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough for this to be the second-most challenged book.  It’s a coming of age story and so we’re stumped as to why the essential parts of coming of age are so scary for the intended readership (who, you know, have just come of age or are in the process). But we try to break it down in our video.

Tweeks: Read “This One Summer” This Summer: #ChallengedChallenge Week 3

For week #3 of the ComicMix Challenged Challenge, we discuss This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki.  This Caldecott Medal winner was challenged because some over-conscended parents didn’t bother to read the book jacket, assumed this ages 12 & up recommended book was meant for their young readers. Duh!  So, yeah, we talk about that, why we loved the book, and what might be questionable if you are worried about the subject matter for you kids.  Watch and learn and definitely read This One Summer!

Tweeks: Drama Over Drama #ChallengedChallenge Week 2

It’s Week #2 of the Comic Mix Challenged Challenge! We talk about Drama by Raina Telgemeier, why some parents wanted to ban in school libraries, and why this drama over Drama isn’t about “sexual inappropriateness” it’s about homophobia. As middle schoolers (8th grade in the Fall, y’all) who are active in drama club, we break down why Raina got this book totally right & why people need to catch a clue as to what actual kids can and cannot handle. Spend an ordinary day in even the best middle school and you’ll quickly realize your kids see/hear/say/do many things more shocking. We suggest perhaps banning middle school.

Anyway, watch our video, learn about why this book is a great read for kids 8 & up, and support organizations like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund so that all parents can have the choice to choose what their kids read.

Oh and also….when is someone going to make a movie based on this book? We need a movie! Or a TV show on ABC Family.

Tweeks: Banning Bone is Boneheaded #ChallengedChallenge

Welcome to Week 1 of the ComicMix Challenged Challenge, where we take a different book on the CBLDF’s list of the most challenged & banned comic books for young readers and we break down the reasons why it might be on the list. We also give it a quick review and discuss some of the main issues.

This week we talk about Bone: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith. This is a book we have loved since we were 8 years old and truly is the book that introduced us to graphic novels. It’s a story about strangers in a strange land and in telling of Bone and his cousins, kids gets some examples of the consequences that can result when you aren’t well-behaved.

Spoiler Alert: We think it’s crazy that this book would even be considered being banned. Watch our episode to see why.

Tweeks: ComicMix’s Challenged Comics Summer Reading Challenge

It is officially summer for us! Yay!  So, we thought this would be the perfect time to tell you about our summer reading plans.  In this week’s episode, we tell you about the CBLDF and announce our Challenged Graphic Novel Reading Challenge.  Our hope is that kids and parents (and everyone else) will read along with us.  Because you seriously can’t question that book be suitable for library shelves if you haven’t read it, right?

CMCC Picture

This summer we will be reading 8 graphic novels that have been challenged or banned in school libraries and then every week we will discuss one of the titles.  We’ll talk about why it was challenged, how to best talk about the questioned topics or themes in the book with your kids.  We’ll also tell you from a kid’s perspective how we viewed the appropriateness of the books for us, because sometimes adults forget what they could handle and understand when they were our age.

We also hope that you will support everyone’s right to choose what they want to read by doing some sleuthing in your local or school library.  Take a look at our reading list and see which of the books are available for you to check out.  You can post your findings in Social Media like Facebook and Twitter (@ComicMix and @The_Tweeks) with #InTheStacks and/or #ComicMixChallengedChallenge, hopefully generating further discussion. We also think you should check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s site.  We talk more about them in the episode.

So, get to reading!  Our discussion schedule is:

7/13 Bone, Vol 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
7/20 Drama by Raina Telgemeier
7/27 This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
8/3 The Graveyard Book Vol 1 (the graphic novel) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
8/10 The Color of Earth Book 1 by Kim Dong Hwa
8/17 Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux
8/24 Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
8/31 Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman