Encourage kids to be creative without worrying about being perfect.
At the start of the fall program season, I asked our youngest patrons what programs they would like the library to offer. I heard a child yell out, “DOGMAN”! I smiled and I told him that was a great idea. Dogman© is a graphic novel series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey that tells the story of George and Harold’s newly created hero of justice. Dogman© is part dog, part man, sniffing out crime to save the world. The series is hilarious and it helps readers learn the importance of empathy and having confidence. We launched our first Dogman© program on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. The following provides the objective and steps you can take to create your own program.
Program Objective: Our Dogman© program provides children the opportunity to read the story aloud with other fans and to design and create their own graphic novel based on the series. Currently, the program occurs once a month and lasts between 1 to 1.5 hrs. It is geared for children in grades 2 to 4, but we welcome all Dogman© fans and those who are interested.
Supplies: Dogman© books, computers, markers, pencils, pens, LEGO© bricks, and plain paper.
- Read Aloud: At the start of the program, have children read aloud to the group from one of the Dogman© titles. Let them know that if they struggle with a word to ask for assistance.
- Brainstorm: Encourage the children to use Pilkey’s stories as inspiration for their story. During this step, children will develop their characters, choose a plot and setting. They can expand on one of Pilkey’s stories or create an entirely new story. They can draw or sketch their ideas. I provide LEGO© bricks as an option if they want to create 3D models. It is important to let children know that perfection is not the key. Encourage them to have fun and explore their imagination.
- LEGO© StoryStarter: LEGO© StoryStarter is part of LEGO© Education, providing a variety of creative writing templates for children to create, document, and share their stories. It is a free download. After the brainstorming stage, children will use the StoryStarter program to format their story and use LEGOs©, their drawings, or a free image website such as Pixaby for characters and scenes. They can upload everything to StoryStarter and everything can be saved to a desktop or flash drive. View this video for more information: LEGO Education StoryStarter Building the Story.
- Print and Share: At the completion of this program, print the stories off and have children share them with the group. I plan to create a community open-house where their stories can be on display for the public to read and enjoy.
Articles Supporting the Importance of Graphic Novels:
- 5 Great Reasons to Read Graphic Novels from Playful Learning
- The Research Behind Graphic Novels and Young Learners by Leslie Morrison
- The Case for Graphic Novels in Education by American Library Association
- In Defense of Graphic Novels by Dr. Kathryn Strong Hansen
Mr. Z’s Graphic Novel Top Picks:
- Dogman by Dav Pilkey
- Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
- Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
- Smile by Raina Telgemeier
- El Deafo by Cece Bell
- Bone by Jeff Smith
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- Sand Warrior by Alexis Siegel
- Lunch Lady by Jarrett Krosoczka
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Books to Generate Ideas: