Comic Boom - Comics in Education

Comic Boom - Episode 7 - Superheroes in the classroom with teacher and writer Mark A Smith

February 15, 2023 Lucy Starbuck Braidley Season 1 Episode 7
Comic Boom - Episode 7 - Superheroes in the classroom with teacher and writer Mark A Smith
Comic Boom - Comics in Education
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Comic Boom - Comics in Education
Comic Boom - Episode 7 - Superheroes in the classroom with teacher and writer Mark A Smith
Feb 15, 2023 Season 1 Episode 7
Lucy Starbuck Braidley

In this week's episode Lucy speaks to primary school teacher and writer of Slug Boy Saves the World, Mark A Smith. We discuss Mark's love of all things Marvel and how that passion for comics has influenced his teaching, his writing...and his life in general!

Mark A. Smith was born in Dundee, where he works as a primary school teacher. He lives in Fife and spends most of his spare time reading comics and writing stories. . Slugboy Saves the World is his first novel.

Links to everything  discussed, including Mark's recommendations and the comic to accompany this episode can be found on the podcast padlet.

Follow Mark on Twitter at  @MarkASmith85
Host:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com


Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay

Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode Lucy speaks to primary school teacher and writer of Slug Boy Saves the World, Mark A Smith. We discuss Mark's love of all things Marvel and how that passion for comics has influenced his teaching, his writing...and his life in general!

Mark A. Smith was born in Dundee, where he works as a primary school teacher. He lives in Fife and spends most of his spare time reading comics and writing stories. . Slugboy Saves the World is his first novel.

Links to everything  discussed, including Mark's recommendations and the comic to accompany this episode can be found on the podcast padlet.

Follow Mark on Twitter at  @MarkASmith85
Host:
@Lucy_Braidley
Contact: comicboompodcast@gmail.com


Music by
John_Sib from Pixabay

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Hi, mark. Welcome to Comic Boom.

Mark:

Thank you so much, Lucy. I'm I'm very excited to be here. I love talking about comics,

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

that's what we like to hear. my first question, I always like to start off by asking people about their own journey into becoming a comics reader. When did that start for you? Was it in school? Was it something that developed at home?

Mark:

Well, as a child, both of my parents were artists working at DC Thompson in Dundee. So, and you could almost say that I was born with comics in my blood. Even before I could read, my dad was bringing me home, Beanos and Dandy's, every So I was just sort of saturated in comics from a, a really, really young age. But, I think the moment that really ignited my sort of lifelong passion for comics came when I was about seven years old. It was in 1993, and it happened sort of accident. in a toy shop of all places. My mom had taken me to a toy called Toy Master and I, I dunno what the occasion was, uh, um, I think maybe it was just awee treat. And I was in this toy shop and I spotted these two action figures and one of them was this green dinosaur guy. He was like half Pteradactyl, half man. I thought he looks really cool. And there was another guy who was yellow and black and he had these metal claws coming out of his vest. Oh, he's quite cool as well. Uh, unfortunately as a child and even as a grownup, I've always been very indecisive and I just couldn't decide which one, which 1:00 AM I gonna get. But you know, I was kind of getting hurried, like, come on, mark can move on. So, okay. So, you know, I was seven years old. I quite like dinosaurs. I thought I'll go for the dinosaur guy. But if you've ever bought an action figure or any toy for that matter, you'll know that on the back of the packaging there's always pictures of all the other toys you. And sure enough, I got this Pteradactyl home and on the back of the packaging was this yellow and black guy that I'd seen in the shop, and the guy that had left there, and he was glaring at me and he was looking really, really cool. So, I begged my dad, I said, dad, could you please, please, please, please go and get me this toy and bless him. He eventually caved in. But when he went back to the shop, the next. the toy was gone. And not wanting to come home and, and have a disappointed seven year old on his hands cuz there's nothing worse than disappointed. Seven year old, fate intervened and, he spotted a comic in a shop with this yellow and black guy on the front cover. So he brought that home instead. And, that comic was called Wolverine and it was issue 60. and it probably changed my life. Like, it sounds a bit ridiculous, but, I've been sort of hooked ever since. I mean, this comic, I mean, I said I've read the Beanos and the Dandys and things like that, but I've never seen anything like this in my life. It's about this little hairy guy who was tough as nails. He didn't take rubbish from anyone. He was amazing character, sort of like a Clint Eastwood type character from all those. and he spent most of this issue fighting dinosaurs and all these other baddies and all these crazy costumes, and you'll never guess the last, on the last page in the final panel who turns up. But the green dinosaur guy that I've got the day before is like, oh my goodness. And the, and the three words to be continued. And honestly, these things to my, my little seven year old brain were so exciting. I was so action-packed and so full of these amazing larger life characters. was just like a dream come true. It was unbelievable.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

So there was something about, the action, there was something about the cliffhanger at the end. do you think it was a combination of image and word as well?

Mark:

I think definitely the, the visual side of it was what hooked me in the first place. I mean, I was drawn to this character without knowing anything about him. Just when I'd seen him in this toy shop, I thought he looks amazing. And then, you know, I don't know. Much I understood reading it as a seven year old. I think at the time, I mean, these Marvel comics in the nineties, the main reading demographic at the time was people aged 18 to 35. So, you know, it was quite advanced. There was a lot of vocabulary in there that my seven year old brain probably couldn't process. It didn't understand. But yeah, just the, the combination of visuals, it was so over the top and all the sound effects and things, it was just brilliant and at that point in the nineties, the, the X-Men Marvel Comics franchise was the biggest franchise in American mainstream comics. It was huge. And they had all these spinoff comic. And before we knew it, I was getting about 10 different comics every month, and fast forward 30 years and. I now own about 6,000 superhero comics.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Wow. And is it still the X-Men type?

Mark:

I mean, I've, I've branched out a little bit. You know, I've, I've, I've opened my mind to all the possibilities. And by that I mean I've read Spider-Man and The Avengers and things like that. I'm very much a Marvel guy. It's, I've. I've tried other things. But I always find a comeback to the X-Men. You know, there's, there's a nostalgic part of it for me now. I mean, these characters are loved and I grew up with as a child. It's still the same characters and it's, it's a, a unique thing I think, to comics is. these characters are serialized over years and years and decades. Decades worth of stories. They never really change. To have characters with that amount of longevity, the book just become so familiar in, in part of your life almost. So in the end, I do always come back to my favorites it's like a security blanket, you know? It's like, well, there's Wolverine, there's Cyclops you know, the rest of the world. Roundabout them could be changing. Things move on. But you've always got these same characters to come back to.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

So are you regularly dipping back into your collection? Are you there most evenings reading a comic before you go to bed?

Mark:

Oh, I wish. Since I've had children, there's a lot less time for, for reading. And I've had to make space children take up a lot of space in your house. You probably know this yourself, but. A lot of my comics, they've, they've had to go up to the attic. I've had to make space for these children and all their toys and their things. But you know, you, you take that on the chin. But no, I do still regularly read them. You know, I'll maybe squeeze in an issue or two before I, I go to my bed at night. But I think the nice thing about comics as well is you can sit and you can read a complete story in one sitting and it's quite a satisfying amount. You know, you, you finished it, you put it down, you go to sleep

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

I think that's part of the appeal for young readers as well, isn't it? That. Achievability of just being able to reach the end. And although there might be a a hook at the end, you have got a semi completion of the story even if you've got a longer sort of

Mark:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's a lot less intimidating for younger readers because of the length of it. Comics tend to be short, even graphic novels. Some of the graphic novels are getting published just now are very low word count, the ones that are getting made specifically for children. And I think that that's quite an important thing to differentiate is when I was reading these comics, these were aimed at a, an adult audience, whereas now publishers are making graphic novels specifically targeting a young audience, which is amazing cuz I didn't have that when I was younger. Um, but I think that's a really great thing for children nowadays that they, they have access.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

And if you, heaven forbid, your house is on fire, your children are out safe, don't worry about them. The comics collection is, is at risk of going up. Is there one prize comic possession that you would run, one addition that you would run back in for?

Mark:

Oh, that's like trying to, to pick a favorite child that,

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

we all

Mark:

tell them. though. No, no. I, I love all of my children equally. They're wonderful. I have favorite comics. I do. I mean, there's one collection in particular. I mean, if I was having to recommend something to a friend, a non, to a non-believer, to a non-comics reader, um, I always go back to astonishing X-Men. It's. Short Run. It was written by Josh Whedon, who's mostly known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And he, he went on to direct the first two Avengers movies. And, he goes into with his trademark humor, but it's like a, an emotional rollercoaster and, you know, one minute you're laughing, the next minute you're crying. There's, it's. Amazingly well done. It's very cinematic and just the characterization, how he gets each character's unique voice and personality. And this is coupled with unbelievably wonderful art from, John Cassidy. And he portrays these characters so, just their body language and their facial expressions. And again, some comics don't go into that much detail and it's absolutely fantastic. But also the, the writer has a really good understanding of when to let the art do the talking. And there's some really quiet moments. There's pages with no dialogue at all, but they're so emotive and you see the characters reacting to things. And it's, for me, it. it's up there as one of the best comics of all time. It's just a really great comic. Which, yeah, if, if my house was on fire, I'd, I'd probably grab that one and run

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

It sounds stunning. I'll definitely have to look out for that. I'm just wondering if you are, if you say your parents are both heavily involved in the Beano and then here you are obsessed with Marvel comics. Are you the black sheep of the family?

Mark:

No, they, they don't speak to me anymore. Actually. They're

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Yeah.

Mark:

They've cut me out all the photographs. It's embarrassing, really. Um, no, it's, it's, Um, no, it's, it's, I mean, my, my mom and dad, I, I dunno how much money they spent over the years I mean, My dad would bring home so many comics for art references. he would buy Superman comics and Batman comics and Avengers comics purely for the. Because that helped him with his craft. I mean, superheroes are everywhere now. I mean, They're, there's the movies, there's, there's games, there's toys, they're, they're on people's clothes and their lunch boxes. They're on the side of people's glasses. But when I was a kid, they weren't as popular, certainly not where I was from in Scotland. It really sparked my imagination. And, and even from an artistic point of view, I spent a lot of time drawing these characters and, and learning about how to, you know, create characters in proportion, And I liked comics so. in my fourth year of my, my English degree, I wrote a dissertation about Stan Lee and how he revolutionized superhero comics in the 1960s. So other people were writing about Shakespeare and all these other wonderful, wonderful things and, and I was sitting writing about why Spidermanwas like this incredible creation and how it bucked all the trends of the comics in 1960s. And that was, unbelievably different to everything that had come before it.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Is that cuz Spider-Man was the first. Teenage character.

Mark:

yeah. when it came to Spider-Man, the popular superheroes of the time, they were all adults. They were all quite wealthy or privileged backgrounds. they were loved and they were adored by the public in the comics. Whereas Spider-Man was a, a scrawny little teenager. He was, he was a geek. He was a nerd. He wasn't popular at school. He was, you know, he's into science. And even when he became Spider-Man, the public were against him. They thought, you know that j Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle saying, oh, this is a villain in the mask. And he made mistakes and he failed and he was defeated by villains. for me, the appeal was he was a lot more human and you could empathize with his experiences and what he was going through. And Stan Lee's vision for Marvel comics was always, this is the world outside your window and it was always meant to be things that you could relate to and understand. You know, you always rooted it in, you know, real settings. Whereas Superman was Metropolis, Batman was Gotham City, and these were fictional, wonderful inventions, great ideas. Spider-Man grew up, you know, in New York, you know, I was always, you know, you could live next door to this guy and you wouldn't know it. Um, you could be this guy, you know, it was. you know, aspirational as well, I think.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Do you think that is the appeal of superheroes? I think it's very similar to the appeal of magic, in stories is that it's all, it is that sort of what if, what if, we just were a little bit more than what.

Mark:

Yeah. It's the escapism aspect of it. the, The uncanny, the, the magical as you. I always come back to the superheroes because I think I'm quite an optimistic type of person, so I like the idea that these people. will fight for the greater good. They'll fight against all the odds. And they fight for what they believe in. And like the X-Men in particular, they're a really great metaphor for minority groups or for anyone who's ever felt, a little bit different from everyone else. These mutants, you know, the, the rest of mankind's, they're a little bit wary of them. They're a little bit scared of them sometimes, or sometimes they, they're against. but they, they keep on fighting for this dream that they can all coexist peacefully and they can all get on. And I think there's a really lovely and powerful message. From a, from a teaching point of view, I use superheroes in the classroom a lot to try and develop a really positive ethos in the classroom, for the children. Because I, I say like, you know, some of these characters are great role models. I mean, yeah, they go about bashing people over the head. Sharp objects and things like that, and that shouldn't be done in class. But I mean, you think of, think of Captain America. I always come back to Captain America when I talk to class and say like, here's this guy, he's, he's, he's honest, he's hardworking. He always does his best. He leads this team, the Avengers, he leads a team. And on that team you've got you've got all these powerful creatures and beings and you know, captain America essentially is a guy in a suit with a shield, and yet they all follow him. Because of how he is, because he is a great leader and because he is essentially a really nice guy, and he always tries. He always does his best. And I say to kids, look, if the Avengers six people can stand up against a whole army of aliens and not back down and not give up. See if you're faced with a maths problem that you don't underst. You can't give up if the Avengers are gonna fight an army. Aliens, you can keep going and persevering and being resilient and trying your best against anything. Anything in life. But you know, in the classroom, if it's work, you're finding challenging, keep going cuz you can achieve it. You just have to have that growth mindset. You have to have that belief that you can achieve things if you keep trying and you keep working.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

So what else would I see in or hear in your classroom that would be, give me a hint. At comics were, were a part of your life,

Mark:

Well, there's me acting like a fool at the front for a start. Uh, Um, I've got them plastered all over the place, to be honest. I mean, you don't want to ram superheroes in comic. Down children's throats if they're not interested. Like, so I do try to strike a good balance and I'll use them when I think it's appropriate to do so. But, I've got posters on the walls, I've got piles of comics in the reading area with all the novels. So yeah, I've always got kids reading comics. But in terms of like day-to-day teaching, we do a lot of on comics. I think being in Dundee, DC Thompsons gives you a good in to it and, there's a lot to learn from, from studying comics, but also from creating comics, for instance, writing comic book scripts. It's a proper discipline, like laying it out properly and knowing what to put where.

I think a lot of people don't realize that often a script is the first stage of producing a comic.

Mark:

No. and I mean, there's different ways to do that. I. Stan Lee sort of pioneered the Marvel method, whereby he just came up with a plot, gave it to his artist, who would be Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, and they would draw it all, and then he would just make up the dialogue to go along with their pictures. So he didn't script it quite in as much detail as, as a lot of creators do these days. But, um, I teach my children both techniques, you know, starting. a script. And, it's not too dissimilar for a play script so I think learning comic scripts at a young age is really beneficial to children.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Yeah. And really fun way To to have a taste of script

Mark:

absolutely. and you use a lot of reading skills. studying comics, things like prediction. I've shown children comic book pages, like the panels with all the word balloons, all the speech bubbles and thought balloons whited out. And they have to look at the pictures and try and work out what's going on and write a script from that. And that's, you know, that's a skill within itself. you know, we do a lot of artwork, I'm finding as a. in more recent years that fewer and fewer children have a, a passion for, for artwork and for drawing. And I don't know if that's because there's so much gaming now and there's so much, you know, you've got Netflix, you've got Disney Plus, you've got Xboxes and children spend less and less time sitting down and just drawing pictures. So when I'm teaching them about comic books, we look at how. draw proportion figures, like draw characters with arms and legs that are the right length, you know, by comparison to the rest of their body. We use a lot of i c T skills. I've had them do internet research on superheroes, deliver presentations on them, but even using programs like Comic Life and things to put speech balloons and things on comics that they've illustrated. I'm also the, the literacy leads at my school. And I'm in charge of the library, which is like a job in itself, but I'm trying to get more and more graphic novels into the library now. and as I say, we're, we're living in a sort of golden age of children's books and in, in graphic novels. So, it's, it is great that they're now making these for that age range and it's, it's directed for them and it's dealing with issues that are relevant and pertinent to, to children growing up as well.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Of course you are yourself a writer as well. Slug Boy Saves the World. It is, it is an illustrated middle grade fiction, but it's not a comic. difficult choice for you? What, how did that

Mark:

Well, as a, a young child, the art side of things was my thing. And then I got to a certain age and I thought, well, actually there needs to be a reason for them bashing each other over the head. So then I started making up the stories to go along with it. And the, the further I went in my, my schooling, the more the writing took over for me. And I became really passionate and interested in writing stories. But as I. When I was a kid, the only thing I read was comics because I couldn't find a book or a novel that was as fun or as as exciting as all my superhero comics. So when I grew up, this is me growing up now, by the way, when I grew up, I thought that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna write a book that's as fun and as exciting, and it's action packed as all these comics, full of these larger than life characters going on these out of this world adventures. That I would've absolutely loved as a child and that's exactly what I did. and it's really heavily influenced by, by Stan Lee and by Marvel I mean the, there's lots of bombastic vocabulary. Bucket loads of alliteration. It's, you know, it's deeply rooted in comic books in 1960s.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

There's some very clear sort of homage moments with, you know, the origin story, but it almost a little bit fun in a gentle, loving way, to some of the. Classic tropes of comics. That's how, how it reads to me is that, was that what you were intending?

Mark:

absolutely. I. It's meant to be funny. You know, I think the, the biggest thing for me as a writer is that I want children to have a good time reading these stories, and I want them to laugh. And, you know, there's so much out there in the world just now that can get people down. So if you just have a kid laugh, you know, if you can just have a kid escape from, from reality for a little while and enjoy themselves and get lost in a funny story, that's what I want to do. And, yeah, it's, it's, there's a nod and a wink, you know. as a parent reading that book with a child, as someone who might know a bit more about the comic background, you'll definitely see little things in there, little allusions to, to different characters and different storylines and things like that. And even the structure of the story is very rooted in comic books and as much as comics were serialized over weeks and months and. chapter in the book is like a little adventure within itself. It's almost like a standalone issue. And these adventures, you know, every, every adventure in the story features a different superhero. These are the type of stories I've grown up with and it's just me trying to put all that, that love and passion for the, for the medium into a novel

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

it definitely comes through and I wondered about this regionality of it as well. Cause it is very rooted in the Dundee area in Scotland. And is that something else that was really you, a conscious decision that you really wanted to have a Scottish superhero?

Mark:

absolutely. I didn't want it, first of all to be like a, a typical superhero story where there's like some evil villain and he's all like, I'm going to take over of the world for no particular reason. And then the superhero turns up and he's got these muscles on top of his other muscles and he's got perfect hair and beautiful white teeth. And he's like, ah, will the VI villain? And then of course he does defeat the villain. I wanted my superhero slug boy to be complet. utterly useless. I want'em to be the world's worst superhero. and I think, you know, I felt really strongly I wanted to set it in Scotland because it's where I'm from and what's basically, we don't have that many Scottish superheroes we can call our own, but I think just having it in Scotland versus the United States, which is bigger and Boulder and everything about it is epic. Whereas Scotland's very. and I think Slug Boy sort of reflects that in some ways, and that he's not as flashy as other superheroes and he's not quite as competent as other superheroes. You know, he's, he's always making a mess of things and he's, sometimes he needs other superheroes to save him cuz he's so useless. But yeah, definitely I felt quite strong that I wanted to set it here where I'm from and going into schools as an author and telling children about this from my area and from the areas around. It really hooks them. And it's another thing to say, look, you've been to some of these places, you know exactly. You could visualize this really, really well. and it really inspires readers to, to, to engage with it and get involved.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Do you think the children that on author visits and in your class even more strongly because you are somebody that's local. Do you think they find that even more sort of inspirational?

Mark:

I hope so, Um, it is nice.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

You don't have to be modest.

Mark:

Well, it is love. I mean, I teach in Dundee, I work in Dundee. And obviously I was born in Dundee and you know, saying to these children, look, if I can write a book and if I can get a book published and if I can get a book into all the bookshops and here, there and everywhere, there's no reason why you can't do that. I think sometimes children see books as, and authors as being, you know, apart from their world somehow. Like, you know, it's, it's, it's off in a distance. Some. It's, it's not anybody, anybody could sit down, think up a story, write it down, and, and that's, that's what it takes. I like for children to be aspirational and I like to, to try and inspire them as much as possible to look if I can. you could do it. If Stan Lee, I mean, if this kid, Stan Lee could come up with all these characters and have this amazing legacy to leave behind, anybody could do that. Anyone can achieve that. You just have to believe in yourself and you have to go for it.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

and do you think you have the next Stan Lee in your class or if there anyone you can think of that you think this person has got that drive and determination? They really love comics as, as, as much as they need to, to, to drive them onto, to do that.

Mark:

You know what? I've had a lot of, been really lucky to work with a lot of really talented children. But what's lovely is, like the class that I've got just now, I've taught a lot of their siblings who've gone on to high school and things. And what I really enjoy is when I hear about these older brothers and sisters that I've worked with, when I started working with them, nah, they weren't interested in comics. They, they didn't like superheros and things. And then I found out that years down the line, I mean, one girl wrote me a letter recently who's in high school and she was saying, you know, love to be in that class, Mr. Smith. Captain America's still my favorite character and I've got kids here are writing comics. You're making comics into their teens. Now. I'm thinking that's great. Like that's something that maybe they'd never even considered as anoption before they got stuck in my class for a year. so it's really nice that it does make a difference in some children's life, and they do take that and, and run with it. And yeah, I'm hoping that one of these days, you know, I'll get to go to a book launch for some of these kids I've worked with and support them and they can sign their books for me and that would be great. That would be such a magical moment for me. and I think as well, even for children who aren't necessarily very, very academic, comics are so accessible and anybody can create a comic, you know, and it's so inclusive for children. so yeah, hopefully, hopefully one of these days, I'll get along and I'll get through some comics that have been made by, by some of the children I've.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

We're coming to the end now. This has been an amazing conversation. We've covered so many different topics and I've really, really enjoyed it. So thank you for, for spending time talking to me today. I'd like to end each podcast with a little bit of a summary, three kind of tips or takeouts that, you would want to any educators listening to think about over the, the next few days.

Mark:

Well, you know what? I think it's, I think things are moving in the right direction. When I was at school, my. didn't think I was reading enough. They told my parents that parents evening, he's not reading enough, and I was reading hundreds and hundreds of pages a week and they didn't recognize comics as being proper reading or being literature, and I think that's changed. I think people are recognizing now that graphic novels and comics are a genuine source of, of literature, of reading, of vocabulary, of learning, and I think that's great. and I think, yeah, just, just be open minded. go out there and read some, I think it's really important for teachers to be reading children's books and by extension reading graphic novels that are contemporary and being published now for children. It's good for them to know about that because then they can have a great dialogue with children. They can recommend things based on children's interests. So my, I mean, my takeaway is go out and read. Brilliant books that are coming out and then put'em in your classroom, put them in the book corner, let children enjoy these.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

There is so much range now, isn't there? It's not just We've talked extensively about superhero comics, which are amazing and clearly a passion. But if that wasn't what you were interested in, there's a whole broad range of different topics, nonfiction and fiction that people can. Can dip into it. So yeah, it's definitely worth getting out there and reading some, and I know that a lot of times it can be quite expensive. Teachers feel pressure to kind of have their own book collections and things like that, but, but the library is definitely a good place to go to start

Mark:

definitely,

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

exploring maybe

Mark:

definitely. I mean, there's, if I was going to recommend one graphic novel, I'm thinking for upper key stage two, like a transition between primary school and high school. There's a fabulous graphic novel called Roller Girl by Victoria Jameson, and it's about a, a young girl. her friendship, her, her best friend. They, as they're getting a wee bit older and they're getting into high school age, they start drifting apart of, their interests are different. Her friend gets a new circle of friends, and, and it's, it's really a valuable read for children at that stage and at that age because they see this girl go on this journey and learn that, you know, she can stand and run two feet. She can be more independent. She can make her own choices, inform her own identity. And it's about following your dreams. But it's just this lovely, grounded story. It also involves roller derby and things like that, but that's a really good one for sort of year six or Primary seven in Scotland to move into high school.

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

That is a great recommendation. I'm a former roller derby player. I used to play roller derby, so I'm very, I'm very pleased with

Mark:

Okay, That's amazing. Brilliant. What are the chances

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

Um, I know, obviously very amateur just to, in case anyone was wondering not on a professional level. And have you got any other recommendations you'd like to leave us with before we finish?

Mark:

Well, if I was gonna recommend graphic novel further down the school, and I'm talking. Year one, year two, the, there's Bumble and Snug, which is just this hilarious, I don't wanna say silly story, but in the best possible way. it's, it's funny, and I read it to my own children who are four and six. So it's certainly something that younger children could probably read independently When you get up into the middle school, then there's Mr. Wolf's class, which is b. Brilliant read as a teacher because the teacher is so you really recognize the decisions he's making, the things that he's experiencing. But there's a lot for the children to enjoy there. I've just started reading investigators as well, which is a fantastic graphic novel. It's really, really funny. There's so much out there. There's so much great stuff. It's such a great time to be, to be reading these graphic novels

squadcaster-f3c5_2_12-13-2022_201721:

brilliant. That has given everyone such a, a good starting point for all different age groups. So thank you. Mark Bradley who writes the Bumble and Snug books, is actually gonna be coming on the podcast So, looking forward to having a chat with him about that cuz they are really great books. I love them. Thank you so much for coming today. It has been really, really fantastic to chat to you. I've enjoyed every minute we have covered things that I had no idea we were gonna cover, so it's been a really wide ranging conversation and I've absolutely loved it. So Thank you very much for

Mark:

Thank you very much for having me. It's been an absolute pleasure. Lucy