Working as a children's librarian, and being someone with an interest in comics and graphic novels, patrons and co-workers are always coming to me asking for titles that are age-appropriate, or are "safe". Sometimes a parent wants to know what a graphic novel is rated- like a movie. I do my best not to roll my eyes while I think to myself, "Didn't we put all the sailor-swearing, half-nekkid vampire chick books on the OTHER side of the library?"
Honestly, while libraries group books as easy children's, juvenile fiction, teen fiction and adult fiction, it is no indication of what kind of content is within the covers. But no one asks for ratings on books- just the comics.
There is help coming for those librarians who also have to deal with this, and for those parents who ask these questions. Snow Wildsmith and Scot Robins have teamed up to make a review of 100 recommended graphic novels for kids. A Parents Guide to the Best Kids Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love is the result. A 256 page book filled with all kinds of graphic novel reviews!
Snow has experience working as a librarian, and she currently reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2.com, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids. Her passion for graphic novels has lead to her to not only writing reviews, but also to her speaking on the subject at conferences and writing other graphic related resources for parents and educators. The book of comics/ graphic novels reviews was written with Scot Robins who has been involved in award selection committees for comics and graphic novels, and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival along with writing reviews for School Library Journal's Good Comics for Kids. The book doesn't just choose the 100 best graphic novels but looks to create a user-friendly starting point for those having to select reading material for kids.
"It has 100 reviews of great graphic novels for kids, broken down into four categories: Pre-K, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8," Snow said in an email exchange. "Each entry includes a summary, educational tie-ins and one or two read alikes."
The Parents Guide has a release date of May but can be pre-ordered through various sites including Amazon.
I haven't had the opportunity to look at this book, but I am familiar with the reviews Snow writes, so I know her input on a title will include things non-comic literate parents will be able to understand, and that her choices are sufficient to answer most concerns about graphic novels. I am recommending this book for elementary teachers, school and public libraries, and parents who want to know what their kids could be reading beyond Hulk and Batman.