I’ve always known I would be introducing the kids to comics at some point. I grew up reading them. I still read them. My husband was in New York on business and I made him stop by Midtown Comics to grab an issue of the new “Sandman” for me. Priorities.
I was pretty sure which comic I would show them first (and it wasn’t “Sandman,” which is just about the opposite of child-friendly). I wasn’t sure when to do it. I can be conservative on books/movies/TV shows/etc. For instance, the kids still haven’t seen “Star Wars,” even though their parents just about have the movies memorized (the originals, of course, not the vastly more annoying prequels).
Is it too violent? Is it too adult? Will it give anyone nightmares? Will letting them watch/read it make me a horrible parent? These are the factors to take into account.
And then my son brings home from the school library the exact graphic novel that I would’ve picked for him anyway. How kismet is that?
I discovered “Bone” whenI was in high school and loved it. It’s beautifully drawn, it has perfect comedic timing, it’s got a great mysterious adventure and it feels like it was meant to be enjoyed by everyone. Which might be why the rest of my family stole the graphic novel while I was reading it. Even then I thought it would be a great comic for kids to read. Because let’s face it: Most superhero comics — and I say this out of love — are at their core about the good guy and the bad guy trying to beat each other up. There’s exceptions, of course, but if you’re trying to restrict the amount of violence your kid is exposed to, you may want to hold off on the capes and tights. “Bone” comes from a different place.
Naturally the kids loved it. My son reads it to my daughter, and then they demand I read it to them. My son has brought home two of the graphic novels in the series so far, and I expect he’ll find the others too.
(Side note: Since when do school libraries stock graphic novels? And why couldn’t they do such a thing when I was in school?)
I am thoroughly delighted. First, because the kids are having so much fun reading “Bone.” Second, because all those years ago, I was right about it.
Now we all just have to wait for my son to bring home the next installment.
NOTE: If you read and voted in Susanna Leonard Hill’s March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing contest (I didn’t win but it was fun playing), there’s an illustrators contest up and running, if you’re interested.