Friday, February 3, 2006

Comics and Graphic Novels in the School Library

The GS Learning Resource Center, in collaboration with the Reading and Language Department, formally launched its graphic novels collection last Thursday and Friday, January 26-27, 2006 at the Angelo King Multi Purpose Center to grades 5, 6 and 7 students. The launching was a talk-and-demo program that lasted for, more or less, two hours.

Students in the intermediate level well surprisingly participative from start to finish. They asked sensible and interesting questions during the open forum and were receptive to the resource persons. They clapped at a novel idea or a fresh concept; laughed at the jokes and funny anecdotes; and showed appreciation and courtesy by behaving well enough during the whole program. The activity was, likewise, well received by teachers in Unit 3. Recognizing the importance of providing a variety of reading materials and well selected learning resources for grade school students, Mrs. Ditas Dairo, GS Principal, and Mrs. Estrelle Nabua, Asst. Principal for Unit 3, gave their all out support.

In their closing and opening remarks respectively, they emphasized the relevance of reading in this time and age of technology. Mrs. Dairo pointed out the role that teachers and librarians play in helping students become critical readers and users of information taken from books, graphic novels and other forms of media. She extended her gratitude to the guest speakers, Atty. Andrew Fornier (’97), lawyer and comic book collector, Mr. Dean Alfar, businessman and multi awarded writer, and Mr. Elbert Or, illustrator and comic book creator, for willingly accepting the school’s invitation. Their presence in the event makes them partners in the advocacy of modeling good reading habits. Indeed, without them, the launching would not have been successful. The GS LRC was fortunate that they accepted the request to speak among young boys about comics, reading and creating graphic novels. All three gentlemen generously shared their time despite their busy schedules.

Atty. Fornier could not help but feel lucky for this current crop of grade school students. The library did not have graphic novels and comic books (back then, there were some issues of Tin Tin and Lao Fu Tsu, but these were not enough to satiate his reading apetite) when he was still studying in Xavier School. Mr. Alfar and Mr. Or, collaborators in the production of Project Hero, Siglo Freedom and Siglo Passion, were impressed on the GS LRC’s brave decision to include comics and graphic novels in its collection.

It would be good to note that the whole experience was symbiotic. The intermediate students are just as blessed to learn from Atty. Fornier, a Xaverian, that his search for good stories led him to appreciate not only the written word, but the powerful ideas, new information, and the strength and flaws of human nature that are all found in the images and visual metaphors of graphic novels. If Mr. Alfar and Mr. Or were impressed, so were the students, faculty and staff who witnessed them in unleashing their honed talents in writing and illustrating. They presented new perspectives and possibilities that inspired the young and the old alike. It is never a one way street in endeavors such as this.

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