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Children's Literature @ NYPL

Tween Cartoonists Take off with Graphic Novels at Imagination Academy, Week 2


After a hiatus surrounding Independence Day, the Imagination Academy, a free writing workshop for tweens, resumed this past week at the 67th Street Library. This time, these 9 to 12 year olds were not just writing, but drawing, too, as this week's focus was on graphic novels. Following a presentation by a published graphic novelist, the kids explored this emerging book format in which both pictures and words work together to tell a story.

Dave Roman with studentsDave Roman with studentsOn Tuesday, Dave Roman, author of the Astronaut Academy series, revealed his lifelong love of comics during his engaging presentation. The tweens then enjoyed designing their own characters using the worksheets he shared with them. By the day's end, the kids were sending their crazy creatures on wacky adventures as they designed an impromptu round robin comic.

Image Matt Phelan with studentsImage Matt Phelan with studentsMatt Phelan took the kids back in time to the Dust Bowl days on Wednesday as he discussed the inspiration for his graphic novel Storm in a Barn. Under his direction, the kids worked together to creatively illustrate scenes from well-known fairy tales. The tweens were learning how to convey unique meanings through the size and shape of the panels in their own comics. 

Mini-Comic projectMini-Comic project

Sara Varon spoke to the kids about her books, including The Chicken & Cat series, on Thursday. She revealed how she incorporates many of the details of the city that surrounds her into her stories. After her presentation, she showed the kids how to make mini booklets from a single sheet of paper. Many of the tweens took off with this format creating multiple volumes of their comics.

A student discusses their workA student discusses their work

On Friday, the kids got to spend the entire day pouring out all their ideas onto paper and into more of the mini comics they had previously started. Colored pencils often added life to their imaginative stories. By the end of the day, each tween had a small comic to take home and share with friends and family. Many were eager to keep their new series going with issue after issue.

The Imagination Academy continues this week as the kids learn about how to compose their own poems. The last session, starting July 30, will focus on realistic fiction with authors Rebecca Stead and Nora Baskin making appearances. NYPL Youth Materials Specialist Betsy Bird will also come to chat with the tweens about their writing. Under their tutelage, many wonderful stories will surely be conceived!


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