Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

“The Greatest of All” Flannel Story

Starting in the fall, I will be leading a weekly evening family storytime which I’m really excited about! It will be aimed at ages 2-6 and their families so I’m expecting a wide range of ages. I haven’t completely planned out anything yet, but I’ve started gathering ideas. I’m not sure what my themes will be yet, but I do know some stories I want to use so I’ll make sure they fit in somewhere!

One story I know I want to tell is “The Greatest of All.” It is a Japanese folktale that I first learned in undergrad when I took a Children’s Lit class and had to do a storytelling project. I based my telling off the version in the picture book, The Greatest of All by Eric A. Kimmel. When I used it for my class project I just told the story, but it always stayed in my mind in a box labeled “great for flannel.”

The story is about a young girl mouse who wishes to marry the humble field mouse. However, she lives with Papa mouse in the Emperor’s palace so Papa thinks she deserves to marry the greatest of all. Papa proceeds to ask Emperor to marry his daughter. Emperor explains that he is honored but he is not the greatest. Sun is greater than him because when Sun beats down even an emperor must hide from it. Papa goes on to ask Sun to marry his daughter, but Sun leads Papa to Cloud. Cloud sends him to Wind, and Wind sends him to Wall. Wall explains that he is not the greatest either. The greatest is a field mouse who can tunnel through him. Papa finds the humble field mouse and says he can marry the daughter.

WP_20130731_001Field Mouse, Daughter Mouse, Papa Mouse.

WP_20130731_002Top: Cloud, Wind. Bottom: Emperor, Wall, Sun.


10 Benefits of Reading Comics Handout

At my library, I am just beginning the work to pull out our graphic novels from within the fiction and non-fiction sections and move them into their own juvenile graphic novel area. To help encourage patrons to utilize this collection, I created a handout. On one side is a list of the benefits of reading comics, and on the other side is a recommended booklist:

10 Benefits of Reading Comics

Encourage a Love of Reading. “Comic book readers do at least as much reading as non-comic book readers, and the most recent research shows that they read more overall, read more books, and have more positive attitudes toward reading.” -Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading

Add Vocabulary. Even though comics have fewer words than a prose-based book, they often have equally, if not more, challenging vocabularies. Children are able to decipher the meanings of unknown vocabulary based on the context of the pictures.

Increase Inference. When reading a comic, the reader must be able to infer what is happening between each panel.

Create Confidence. Comics are often recommended for struggling readers because the combination of images with text leads to easier comprehension which creates confidence in reading skills.

Develop a Sense of Sequence. As with prose books, reading comics develops the ability to keep track of and understand a sequence of events.

Improve Visual Literacy. Our world is filled with images that have specific meaning tied to them, and reading comics makes a child more familiar and comfortable with understanding these visual clues.

Different Genres Match Different Interests. There are comics in all different genres: realistic, mysteries, historical, fantasy, and even non-fiction!

Develop an Appreciation of Art. Have a discussion with your child about the art and its importance in the telling of the story: Why did the artist choose those colors? That style? That shape and size for the panel? The art isn’t there to simplify the work, but rather to clarify.

Great for Reluctant and  Voracious Readers. All readers can become engaged in comics.

They’re Fun to Read! It’s great to read books to increase literacy skills, but the most important part of reading is to have fun with it. Comics are not meant to be a replacement of any other form of story but simply another medium to enjoy.

Recommended Graphic Novels

Grade Level: 2-3

Holm, Jennnifer & Matthew. Babymouse series.
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady series.
Runton, Andy. Owly series.
Spires, Ashley. Binky the Space Cat series.

Grade Level: 4-5

Azuma, Kiyohiko. Yotsuba&! series.
Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl series.
Santat, Dan. Sidekicks.
Siegel, Siena & Mark. To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel.
Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams.

Grade Level: 6-8

Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet series.
O’Connor, George. Olympians series.
Smith, Jeff. Bone series.
Phelan, Matt. The Storm in the Barn.
Telgemeier, Raina. Smile.


“Getting Graphic: Why Comics Are Good for Kids” – Parent Map

“Super-powered literacy: The benefits of comics in the classroom” –Canadian Council on Learning

Reading With Pictures

“Comic Book Research & Resources” –ABDO Publishers

“Graphic Novels 101: FAQ” –Horn Book

A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics –Scott Robbins & Snow Wildsmith

The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research (2nd Edition) –Stephen D. Krashen