Book Club – Written and Drawn by Henrietta – by Liniers

What better way to inspire kids to write than to read a book about a girl writing and drawing her own story!

In this book, Henrietta receives a new box of colored pencils, then readers observe Henrietta’s creative process of writing a story, working her way through writer’s block, and even scaring herself with her own imagination.

The author and illustrator, Ricardo Liniers Siri, known as Liniers, is an Argentinian cartoonist. He has written several children’s books for Toon Books (Easy-to-Read Comics).

A little something about comic books…

As a parent or educator it may go against our intuition to think that comic books can be highly educational. The perception may be that comic books are easy reading, especially for older children. On the contrary, research shows that comics aid beginning or struggling readers, as well as second language learners.

Stephen Krashen, a leading educational researcher and linguist, points out the vocabulary level in many comic books. Words such as intergalactic, asteroid, and shazam are not only difficult to decode (sound out), but can expand a child’s vocabulary and introduce words that are beyond the current reading level. In every cartoon frame there are context clues to help readers with comprehension and vocabulary. Even more, kids are excited about reading comic books and become very engaged with the story.

Toon Books understands this about early readers. As mentioned on the Toon Books website, cartoons make kids “want to read on and to read more.” In the back of the Toon Books are reading level guides and activities to go along with the comic books. Follow this link to see the “Tips for Mom and Dad” featured on the Toon Books website.

Liniers has several other books in this series worth mentioning and checking out at the local library, like The Big Wet Balloon, which won the 2013 Parents – Best 10 Children’s Books.


Accordion Book Activity

Lemonade Book Club members will get a chance to share in Henrietta’s adventure of creating a story -cartoon strip style- using the accordion book format. For directions on how to make an accordion book, follow the links to Directions for the Accordion Book and the Accordion Book Video.

Begin with the accordion folded paper. Before gluing on the cover boards, have your child use the folded pages as frames to create their own cartoon story.

Meet your child where they are at developmentally. The cartoon strip can be wordless – expressed with illustrations only or they can add dialogue with word bubbles.

wordless story

Teach your child that word bubbles are used for dialogue (characters speaking). The dialogue goes inside the bubbles to indicate what the characters are saying.

cartoon strip text bubbles

Here are a few prompts if your child needs help getting started:

  • Do you want to re-tell a story you have heard before?
  • Do you want to tell the story of something that happened to you?
  • Do you want to make up a new story from your imagination?
    (About an animal? A trip to outer space? etc.)

Two helpful hints for planning out the story:

1. If your child chooses to add dialogue, have your child write the words and THEN circle the words to create the word bubble. If the word bubble is made first, often times there is not enough room to finish the sentence.

2. To help your child plan out the story using the same number of folded accordion pages, have them tell the story first, pointing to each page as they tell it. This way, they will know what pictures are needed for each “frame.” Another option is to draw the illustrations on paper, then cut and glue the pictures onto the book. This way they can better pace the story with a limited number of frames.

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