Samantha Darby Gathers Children’s Books that Pass the Bechdel Test

Samantha Darby

photo courtesy of Samantha Darby

Thank you, Samantha Darby for gathering a list of superb children’s books!

Thank you, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for sharing Darby’s post!

Thank you, Alison Bechdel (author/artist of the comic Fun Home) for creating another way to explore and collect media!

We serve library users – especially youth – by including materials that communicate that all types of people are important!


Creating a Pathfinder: Spooky Comics for Families

bat     maze


The inspiration for my ‘pathfinder’ on Spooky Comics for Families was Emily Carroll’s exceptional comic, Through the Woods (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014).  (See my post of May 5, 2016 and click here for the pathfinder brochure.)

It was easy to decide on the pathfinder’s audience (youth in grades K-12 and parents/caregivers) because at my chosen library, one department serves children and teens.  It was challenging, however, to serve this audience because of the wide range of ages/grades, reading abilities, and fright tolerance; possible experience or inexperience with comics; and the need for materials for families and individuals.

The audience largely determined the format: an introductory front cover, titles and annotations in age/grade order, complementary materials in other formats, and resources for parents/caregivers about comics-reading and comics-choices.

Catalog searching involved subjects and headings such as horror, horror comic books, strips, etc., witches, and vampires;  genres such as horror tales and graphic novels [although one title was catalogued as a picture book]; and keywords including spooky, ghosts, and nightmare.  Most book reviews consulted came from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Hornbook [Guide and Magazine], and VOYA Magazine.  Other resources accessed were the Common Sense Media website, YALSA’s annual Great Graphic Novels for Teens (via the American Library Association), online information about the Eisner Award, and websites of ‘comic-cons’ such as Comic-Con International at San Diego.

The greatest joy in creating the Spooky Comics for Families pathfinder was reading through many titles as might a young reader, teen, or family.  Even a scaredy-cat (me!) purred away while poring over the comics.  And, it’s exciting to now have a brand new set of recommendations, in a genre that is new to me, for many types of readers!



Free Comic Book Day at Fourth World Comics

On Saturday, May 7, I traveled with my spouse to Smithtown, NY, to visit Fourth World Comics on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016.  It was the friendliest, happiest store-based happening I’ve ever experienced.

Prior to the big day, Fourth World Comic’s website and Facebook page announced a schedule for the day, particulars about comics-giveaways and signings, and great information about lines, purchases, certificates, and comics-grading by CBCS (Comic Book Certification Service).  [For information about their services and how the grading works, visit the CBCS website.]

We arrived just after 5:00 PM, when artist Sean Chen would be there to sign.  We choose that time because I’m learning about Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales comics, and Chen has done penciling and created cover art for numerous issues.

Fourth World staff were everywhere, just where they were needed – doing friendly crowd-control, finding out why people were on the line and then directing them, guiding people to the rack of free comics, and answering questions.  We selected free copies of these floppies:

Layout 1            Dark Lily & Friends            Dream Jumper

Grump Cat             March            Science Comics

[While preparing this post, I discovered the availability of the 2016 lineup of free comics at the FREE COMIC BOOKS DAY website.]

I asked staff to recommend a comic with Sean Chen’s work, and they quickly selected a copy of Grimm Fairy Tales Issue 103: Snow White and Rose Red Revisited from the rows of floppies in the store.  Mr. Chen was quietly signing away, but when I offered my hand, we shook and he answered my question about cover design (he follows the publisher’s general direction).  I felt he was pleased to be there.  There were original Chen works for sale as well.

I gathered that most of the people attending the event were young men, but there were also women and families with children.  Everyone paid attention to the children – many were in costume and there were smiles all around.

Based on my experience with an upbeat event, friendly atmosphere, and very helpful staff, I will definitely attend a FREE COMICS BOOK DAY event next year!  (And will probably purchase another comic as I did on May 7 — there was 30% off all purchases, staff knew just where titles were, and I couldn’t resist adding Blankets by Craig Thompson to my home library.)





Re-post: Dav Pilkey’s Short Video on Intellectual Freedom

Pilkey intellectual freedom

Video screen image retrieved from

During a recent class lecture/discussion on censorship issues related to comics, I was reminded of a video from Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series.

Pilkey offers three practical ways to express personal concerns without infringing on the rights of others.

I posted about the two-minute video in December 2014, and here is the link again:

Click here (then scroll to the right, through the ‘Author Updates,’ to the last video).