Dr. Michael Bitz founded the literacy initiative the Comic Book Project in 2001. In the 10 years since, he’s done amazing work in the field, becoming one of the most outspoken leaders and advocates for comics in the classroom. When Commas Meet Kryptonite is the book that was born out of that endeavor, and it showcases how comics can be to effectively teach children all forms of learning.
Comics are of course indispensable tools for use in learning to read, as Bitz explores throughout the book. But they also can be used to teach almost anything, and the lessons they present are more easily absorbed at times because of the combination of art and prose working together. In carefully laid out chapters, Bitz explores this for teachers to use in their own classrooms, showing how comics can be incorporated, how they can be taught, and what they can show young students.
The book breaks down comics in explicit ways, so teachers can use the lessons to approach the material from a multitude of angles. There is extensive exploration of how to read comics and how to incorporate their teachings, and there are thorough lesson plans included throughout.
It’s nice that the book also does a fair job of incorporating manga into its pages. So many teachers shy away from manga simply because they don’t read it or appreciate it, but in truth, manga is so widespread in the reading habits of kids and teens that it’s essential to offer it a place at the table as well.
The book finishes with notes on how to start a comic-book club and further lessons to be gleaned. This is a wonderfully thorough book that provides invaluable assistance to every educator looking to use comics as first-rate tools in the classroom.
Reviewed by John Hogan on April 25, 2010
When Commas Meet Kryptonite