Toon Books

Last updated
Toon Books
Predecessor Little Lit
Founded 2008
Founder Françoise Mouly
Headquarters location New York City
Distribution Consortium Book Sales & Distribution (US)
Diamond Book Distributors (international) [1]
Key people Francoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman, Geoffrey Hayes, Philippe Coudray, Fred (cartoonist)
Imprints Toon Graphics
Owner(s) Raw Junior
Official website toon-books.com

Toon Books is a publisher of hardcover comic book early readers founded by Françoise Mouly. With titles by such creators as Geoffrey Hayes, Jay Lynch, Dean Haspiel, Eleanor Davis, and Mouly's collaborator and husband, Art Spiegelman, Toon Books promotes its line as "the first high-quality comics designed for children ages four and up." [2]

Contents

Upon Toon's debut, Publishers Weekly characterized the line as having the potential to revitalize the field of comics for kids: "Françoise Mouly is at it again. After transforming American comics with the seminal 1980s comics anthology RAW , Mouly is now out to teach kids to read by using comics." [3] 2008 saw the launch of eight titles, each of which received glowing reviews and multiple awards, prizes, and distinctions. [4]

History

The concept for Toon Books came to Mouly when her son Dash was learning to read, and his first-grade teacher assigned him "easy readers". Appalled by the lack of appeal of the educational material, Mouly instead spent time with her child and armloads of French comic books. [5] In fact, one of the first releases in the Toon Books collection was Agnès Rosenstiehl's Silly Lilly, a.k.a. Mimi Cracra , a comic-book character familiar to millions of French toddlers.

After proposing the Toon Books idea to major children books publishers from 2004 to 2007, and being rejected because the proposed books didn't fit existing categories, Mouly returned to her roots as a self-publisher. (She had founded her small press, RAW Books & Graphics, in 1977, and RAW Junior in 1999.) [6] As she had done for the avant-garde comics and graphics magazine RAW , or the kids comics anthology Little Lit , both of which she co-edited, or for the covers of The New Yorker , Mouly gathered an array of talent for Toon Books. She published star authors (such as Harry Bliss, Art Spiegelman or Jeff Smith), veteran children's book authors (Geoffrey Hayes) as well as novice cartoonists (Eleanor Davis, the author of Stinky, was still in art school when Mouly contacted her).[ citation needed ]

In fall 2012, Toon Books released its first Toon graphic novel, The Secret of the Stone Frog, by David Nytra. In 2014 Toon Books launched an imprint called Toon Graphics aimed at readers eight and up. [7]

Distribution

When it first launched, Toon Books was distributed by Diamond Books, a unit of Diamond Comic Distributors dedicated to getting comics and graphic novels into the book trade. In 2010, Toon Books entered into a distribution partnership with Candlewick Press. [8] In late summer/early Fall of 2014, Toon Books launched a new line of TOON Graphics, an imprint for readers 8 and up and announced it'll be distributed after Jan. 1, 2015 by Consortium, a unit of Perseus, a move that reflects Toon's true status as a small but expanding independent publisher. [9]

TOON in the classroom

Attitudes towards comics have radically changed since the 1954 Congressional hearings where they were denounced as the cause of juvenile delinquency. They are now touted by progressive librarians and educators as an effective tool for children to discover the pleasures of reading. [10] [11] As Art Spiegelman said, "Comics can be a gateway drug to literacy."[ citation needed ]

In the absence of any model or precedent, Mouly developed her own methodology to make sure the TOON Books would be well adapted to beginning readers' needs. She consulted with educators as she developed each individual book but also took rough drafts of the stories to schools, taking notes while watching children read. [12] Responding to educators' and librarians' suggestions, Mouly has expanding the Toon Books line with bilingual versions (French publisher Casterman just released French-English Toon Books),[ citation needed ] audio versions (which will be developed into a novel multilingual tool for ESL and/or support for reluctant readers),[ citation needed ] as well as the first nonfiction Toon Book.[ citation needed ]

Toon Books have been greeted enthusiastically by librarians, teachers, and parents looking for material for early readers. Early on, the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Nancy Grasmick, embraced Toon Books as part of the Maryland Comic Book Initiative.[ citation needed ] Other states' school systems are now considering Toon Books for their own Comics in the Classroom initiatives.[ citation needed ] The books are part of Renaissance Learning's Accelerated Reader Program and have been assigned Reading Recovery and Lexile levels, all of which are firsts for comics for young children. [12]

The Toon Books website offers free online learning tools for both students and educators. Downloadable lesson plans and activity sheets provide teachers with leveled lesson plans for kindergarten through third grade. Other tools include free online readers, videos, and games.

The free "CarTOON Maker" invites readers to make their own cartoons. The online Readers Theater teaches educators how to get students to perform TOON Books. On the Toon site for kids, early readers can make paper puppets, watch videos, learn carTOON lessons from master cartoonists, and make their own cartoons.

The TOON Leveling System

The TOON into Reading program is divided into three levels: [13]

Geisel Awards and Honors

Geoffrey HayesBenny and Penny: The Big No-No! won the 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is awarded to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most renowned book for early readers published in English in the U.S.A. [14]

Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse Gets Ready was named a 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

In 2009, Stinky, written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis, was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

Dr. Seuss American writer and illustrator

Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel was an American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. He is known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss (,). His work includes many of the most popular children's books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death.

Art Spiegelman Swedish-American cartoonist

Art Spiegelman is an American cartoonist, editor, and comics advocate best known for his graphic novel Maus. His work as co-editor on the comics magazines Arcade and Raw has been influential, and from 1992 he spent a decade as contributing artist for The New Yorker. He is married to designer and editor Françoise Mouly and is the father of writer Nadja Spiegelman.

<i>Maus</i> 1991 graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman

Maus is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, serialized from 1980 to 1991. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The work employs postmodernist techniques and represents Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs. Critics have classified Maus as memoir, biography, history, fiction, autobiography, or a mix of genres. In 1992, it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Alternative comics cover a range of American comics that have appeared since the 1980s, following the underground comix movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Alternative comics present an alternative to mainstream superhero comics which in the past have dominated the American comic book industry. Alternative comic books span a wide range of genres, artistic styles, and subjects.

Ivan Brunetti

Ivan Brunetti is an Italian and American cartoonist and comics scholar based in Chicago, Illinois.

<i>Raw</i> (magazine)

Raw was a comics anthology edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly and published in the United States by Mouly from 1980 to 1991. It was a flagship publication of the 1980s alternative comics movement, serving as a more intellectual counterpoint to Robert Crumb's visceral Weirdo, which followed squarely in the underground tradition of Zap and Arcade. Along with the more genre-oriented Heavy Metal it was also one of the main venues for European comics in the United States in its day.

Drawn & Quarterly Canadian publishing house

Drawn & Quarterly is a publishing company based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, specializing in comics. It publishes primarily comic books, graphic novels and comic strip collections. The books it publishes are noted for their artistic content, as well as the quality of printing and design. The name of the company is a pun on "drawing", "quarterly", and the practice of hanging, drawing and quartering. Initially it specialized in underground and alternative comics, but has since expanded into classic reprints and translations of foreign works. Drawn & Quarterly was the company's flagship quarterly anthology during the 1990s.

<i>And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street</i> 1937 childrens book by Dr. Seuss

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is Theodor Seuss Geisel's first children's book published under the pen name Dr. Seuss. First published by Vanguard Press in 1937, the story follows a boy named Marco, who describes a parade of imaginary people and vehicles traveling along a road, Mulberry Street, in an elaborate fantasy story he dreams up to tell his father at the end of his walk. However, when he arrives home he decides instead to tell his father what he actually saw—a simple horse and wagon.

<i>Hop on Pop</i>

Hop on Pop (ISBN 978-0-394-80029-5) is a 1963 children's picture book by Dr. Seuss. It was published as part of the Random House Beginner Books series, and is subtitled "The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use". It contains several short poems about a variety of characters, and is designed to introduce basic phonics concepts to children.

<i>Dr. Seusss Sleep Book</i>

Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book, commonly referred to as The Sleep Book, is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss in 1962. The story centers on the activity of sleep as readers follow the journey of many different characters preparing to slip into a deep slumber. This book documents the different sleeping activities that some of the creatures join in on: Jo and Mo Redd-Joff participate in competitive sleep talking and a group “near Finnigan Fen” enjoys group sleepwalking. It opens with a small bug, named Van Vleck, yawning. This single yawn sets off a chain reaction, effectively putting “ninety-nine zillion nine trillion and two” creatures to sleep.

Françoise Mouly Artist and editor from France, born 1955

Françoise Mouly is a Paris-born New York-based designer, editor, and publisher. She is best known as co-founder, co-editor, and publisher of the comics and graphics magazine Raw (1980–1991), as the publisher of Raw Books and Toon Books, and since 1993 as the art editor of The New Yorker. Mouly is married to cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and is the mother of writer Nadja Spiegelman.

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is an American writer and illustrator of children's books. As an illustrator he won the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon (2004). Two of his books were Newbery Medal Honor Books, Olive's Ocean in 2004 and The Year of Billy Miller in 2014. His picture book Waiting was named both a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and a Geisel Honor Book. It was only the second time any author has won that combination of awards.

<i>Little Lit</i>

Little Lit is a comic book anthology series published by New Yorker art editor, Françoise Mouly, and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Art Spiegelman. The couple had collaborated previously on RAW in the 1980s. Little Lit featured work by some of RAW's most famous contributors as well as established children's book artists such as Maurice Sendak and Ian Falconer. Three volumes and one selected compilation have been published; the last volume was published in 2003, but now stand-alone books are being published in Toon Books, "from the Little Lit Library".

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is a literary award by the American Library Association (ALA) that annually recognizes the "author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year." The winner(s) receive a bronze medal at the ALA Annual Conference, presented by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) division of ALA.

Eleanor Davis

Eleanor McCutcheon Davis is an American cartoonist and illustrator.

Government comics

Government comics include informational material produced in comic book-format by governments and their affiliated bodies. These works fulfill a wide variety of purposes often seen in government publications, primarily educating the public about government programs or lifestyle choices the government wants to encourage. Richard L. Graham examines and dissects the United States' government comics in Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s.

Nadja Spiegelman is an American writer. She is the author of "I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This", a memoir about her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and the fallibility of memory. She has also written three graphic novels for children, Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework,Zig and Wikki in The Cow and "Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure" under the TOON Books imprint.

Papercutz Graphic Novels is an American publisher of family-friendly comic books and graphic novels, mostly based on licensed properties such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Lego Ninjago. Papercutz has also published new volumes of the Golden Age-era comics series Classics Illustrated and Tales from the Crypt. In recent years they have begun publishing English translations of European all-ages comics, including The Smurfs and Asterix.

Geoffrey Hayes (artist)

Geoffrey L. Hayes (1947–2017) was an American children's book illustrator and cartoonist. He was the author of over 50 books, including a series of titles with the children's comics publisher Toon Books. He was the brother of underground cartoonist Rory Hayes (1949–1983).

Raw Books & Graphics is a publishing company specializing in comics and graphic novels. Operating since 1978, it is owned and operated by Françoise Mouly. The company first came to prominence publishing Raw magazine, co-edited by Mouly and her husband, cartoonist Art Spiegelman. In the 1980s the company published graphic novels, and with the formation of Raw Junior in 1999, branched into children's comics with Little Lit and Toon Books.

References

  1. Our Publishers
  2. "About Toon Books," Archived 2009-05-31 at the Wayback Machine Toon Books website. Accessed Nov. 23, 2008.
  3. Reid, Calvin. "Toon Books: Comics for Kids," Publishers Weekly (Nov. 16, 2007).
  4. "Toon Books Awards and Honors," Toon Books website. Accessed Mar. 13, 2014.
  5. Heer, Jeet (2013). In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly's Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman. Coach House Books. p. 114. ISBN   978-1-77056-351-3.
  6. Hansen, Liane (September 21, 2003). "It Was a Dark and Silly Night..." NPR . Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  7. Alverson, Brigid (2014-05-02). "Toon Books Adds Imprint for Older Readers". Publishers Weekly . Retrieved 2014-10-13.
  8. Publishers Weekly staff. "Candlewick Partners with Toon Books: New imprint launches in October," Publishers Weekly (Sep. 09, 2010).
  9. Publishers' Weekly. "Toon Books Switches Distribution to Consortium" . Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  10. Lyga, Allyson A. W. "Graphic Novels for (Really) Young Readers: Owly. Buzzboy. Pinky and Stinky. Who are these guys? And why aren’t they ever on the shelf?, " School Library Journal (March 1, 2006).
  11. Schwarz, Gretchen E. '"Graphic Novels for Multiple Literacies," Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (International Reading Association) (November 2002): "In an increasingly visual culture, literacy educators can profit from the use of graphic novels in the classroom."
  12. 1 2 audio interview with Mouly on WKCR-FM, archived on the Teaching Graphic Novels blog (June 12, 2009)
  13. "Toon Books Level Correlations," Toon Books website. Accessed Mar. 13, 2014.
  14. Press release. "Geoffrey Hayes, wins Geisel Award for “Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!”," American Library Association website (Jan. 18, 2010).