Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hilo: "Outstanding!!" shout 1st graders at author visit with Judd Winick (ages 6-10)

When a room full of 1st graders love something, you know right away. No question about it. When our fantastic Jefferson School librarian Adoria Williams asked the crowd of kids gathered on Monday what they thought of HILO, they shouted,
Hilo, the star of Judd Winick's new graphic novel series, often shouts the very same thing when he likes something. And you could tell that the 1st graders not only approve of Hilo's enthusiasm, they relate to it completely.
When Ms. Williams introduced our special guest for the day, cartoonist Judd Winick, the 1st graders all reacted with a Hilo-inspired, "AAAAHH!!!" -- a combination of excitement, awe and general OMG-I-can't-believe-this!

Judd connected immediately with our students, sharing his story about how he grew up as a fan of Star Wars, Looney Toons and King Kong. Our kids loved the references to popular culture (it's amazing how long-lasting these pop icons are) and were totally hooked. He also loved reading comic strips in newspapers, especially comics that made him laugh.

Hilo is the culmination of all that Winick has loved since he was a kid: super heroes, goofy jokes, action and adventure, and comics. Throw in two best friends, DJ and Gina, and there's someone for everyone to relate to. And it's a recipe that absolutely works for kids ages 6-10. This makes a great read-aloud for 1st graders, or a first "I-read-it-20-times" book for 3rd graders.

Our 1st graders were so engaged throughout Judd's presentation. Just look at the excitement in this kid's raised hand:
First graders were so engaged by Judd Winick's presentation
We were so lucky to have Judd Winick visit Jefferson School in Berkeley. Our librarian Ms. Williams and our first grade teacher Barb Wanger both read aloud Hilo, so kids were excited to meet Judd and knew the story and characters. The school was decorated with "Hilo for President" signs.

Not only are these kids now fans for life, but they also see that creating stories and comics is important. Parents who came along mentioned how much their kids have been talking about Hilo at home. This engagement was crucial for such a successful visit.
Adoria Williams, Judd Winick and Mary Ann Scheuer
I'd like to finish up with a few of the first grader's questions and comments (followed by Judd's replies):
  • "There's also a new book called Cat Kong!" and Judd replied, "I love a good monster story!"
  • "It's cool when Hilo fights the monsters!"
  • "What happened to the foot they put in the clubhouse?" and Judd encouraged them to look for clues at the end of the book.
  • "Why does Hilo only have four fingers" and Judd explained about the tradition in comics going back to early days of Steamboat Willie.
  • "Where Hilo lives looks a lot like San Francisco." "Yes it does!" exclaimed Judd. "I wanted to base it here because I live here, but then I decided that I really wanted snow to be part of the story. So I created a new place just for the setting of this story."
  • "I like drawing and making up stories too." "Can I give you a piece of advice?" asked Judd. " If you can, try to come up with the ending before you get too far along. I really wish someone had suggested that to me when I was younger."
  • "Can you hurry up and write the 5th book?!!"
  • And finally, "How does Hulk walk with no shoes?" "What a great question! The Hulk is my favorite character! I think his feet must be like size 36 and super tough, so he can walk over just about anything. Don't you think?!"
For everyone who's now interested in Hilo, here's an excerpt from Hilo: Saving the Whole Wide World, the second book in the series that is just out now:

Judd, we can't wait to invite you back to talk to more kids in Berkeley. Thank you so much for sharing your great comics and inspiring our growing readers. Many thanks to Random House Children's Books and Books, Inc. for making this visit possible. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 comment:

  1. What an OUTSTANDING summary of our OUTSTANDING visit with Judd! 😊