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Tuesday, January 26, 2021 

Comics can help kids with reading, but political propaganda won't help them think well

The Straits Times interviewed a Singaporean professor who sees the positives for children to read comics:
National Institute of Education (NIE) Associate Professor Loh Chin Ee does not stop her son, 11, and daughter, nine, from reading comic books.

"It's a misconception that comics are bad for children," says Prof Loh, the deputy head (research) at NIE's English Language and Literature Academic Group.

"Comics make for easy reading, and when children find reading easy, they find it enjoyable. When they enjoy a book, they read more, their reading proficiency improves and they become more fluent readers," she says.
This part is something I can get behind. Yes, children can find the medium itself an absorbing pastime. Unfortunately, here's where the bad news comes about at the end, when 3 graphic novels she recommends come up, and the third turns out to be something I'd noted in an earlier post: a GN titled When Stars Are Scattered:
"Set in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, the visuals help children to explore difficult issues and understand more about our diverse world in a way that plain text may not."
What a disappointment that here, just when I thought this article was something to appreciate, they go along and ruin everything by citing a GN that could be laced with pro-Islamic propaganda, and even lenient views on illegal immigration. The comics medium can be good for children, but political propaganda serving as potential apologia for bad ideologies certainly isn't. There has to be a distinction between what can be good or bad for children - and adults - in terms of ideology, and this article isn't delivering if they fail to make those distinctions. That's a real shame.

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"Could be" laced with Islamic propaganda?

Have you read When Stars Are Scattered?

Wouldn't it make sense to read it before you suggest it is propaganda?

You might even be surprised and find yourself liking it.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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