Kids Day at Comic Con
I didn’t think I’d make it to Comic Con this year. I had obligations at work that left Sunday the only day I could attend, and the weekend had not been kind to me… I could barely stand in the morning, let alone trek into the city for a Con! But I’m glad I pushed myself and went. Though, I didn’t stay as long as I had originally intended, I was there early on as the exhibit hall was just filling up and stayed long enough to see it jam packed with participants of all walks of life!
I think this was the first time I ever attended Kids’ Day and it was a delight. It was so much fun to see the various ages, even grandparents!, making their way though the Javits Center. I got a kick out of figuring out the costumes. Naruto seemed to be the top pick, but my favorite was a young teenage girl who dressed up as “the death note,” from Death Note. It was quite creative and original. I wonder how she did in the Kids Costume Contest? If I were judging, she would have been a sure winner.
Kids day was chock full of fun activities. There was “Youngling Training,” where kids got to practice their light saber skills. I watched from the distance as kids were given lessons on how to best their opponents. I was jealous and wondered how I could get a light saber of my own.
There were also great activities for the kids to help motivate their creative side. Jeff Kinney had a presentation in the afternoon, which I’m sure was jam packed. (I didn’t stay for the presentation… I couldn’t manage it, but had the honor of meeting the author when he arrived at the Abrams booth earlier in the day. Despite the fact that I don’t think his book belongs on the comic best seller list – rather the children’s best seller list – I am in awe of how his books have generated an excitement for reading that I have not seen before. Not even with Harry Potter.) Mr. Kinney was sweet and took the time to listen to me gush about how his books have reached some of my neediest students. I’m sure he’s heard it a million times, but he was pleasant anyway.
One of the other creative workshops available on Kids Day was “Let’s Talk and Draw Manga with Misako Rocks!” All the participants were given paper and something to draw with. After Misako Rocks! (Writer and artist of Biker Girl, Rock and Roll Love, and Detective Jermaine) discussed her books she gave the kids a step by step workshop on how to draw manga. The kids, some as young as 5 or 6-years-old, were good! They really caught on to the technique that she demonstrated. It was a great hands-on activity for the kids.
I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con or any of the other big shows, but felt that Sunday at the Javits center really created the sense that comics are for kids again. That there is something for everybody in this format. As the kid friendly titles grows in the industry, I imagine the kid friendly events will grow too. And connecting kids to books in anyway, is a good thing in my book.
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About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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