Comics, Reading, and the new Peanuts movie!

So I just watched this movie trailer.  And I got giddy and excited.

Because this movie is from the Peanuts comic – which I love.  Growing up, I read the comics in the daily paper each morning.  I’d race my brother across the wet lawn to get the paper, then hoard the comics until I’d finished studying each and every one.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wasn’t complete without the Snoopy balloon, and the Peanuts theme song (formally known as “Linus and Lucy”) was the #1 reason I wanted to play piano.  (No, I never learned.  Yes, I still want to.  That song is entirely too awesome.)

Comics are also books – which I love-love!  Spiderman, Batman, Archie and Veronica…all books (technically GN’s, but still – they’re called comic books).  Panel comics – like Peanuts – have been gathered into collections in books for years.   My brother and I read our favorites, including Peanuts, Fox Trot and Calvin & Hobbes, throughout our childhood and teen years.  And if I’m honest, we still read them as adults.  Not surprisingly, comic books are the top-circulating genre of book in my school library.  It doesn’t matter that some include panels over 30 years old – the messages within still ring true to today’s generation.

I just got this for my library.  So cute and perfect!

I just got this for my library. So cute and perfect!

Unfortunately, though, comics often get a bad rap in today’s world of education.  Students can be discouraged from reading them by parents and teachers, as they aren’t “real” books.  But the positives far outweigh any perceived negatives: those who read comics are making inferences (those panels are only so long), understanding characters, using schema to identify tone and intent, and – most importantly – READING.  The non-verbal skills of reading illustrations translates to a vital skill in today’s world: reading body language and facial expressions.

So yes.  I like comics, and I also read comics.  I stock them in my library, I hand out comic-themed bookmarks, and I believe that comic readers are, in fact, READERS.  But come 2015, we Peanuts fans will be watching the new movie.  And like all readers, I’m sure we’ll be comparing it to the comics we read first.  🙂

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