Free Comic Book Day

You get free stuff from the library all the time: normally, we just ask that you bring it back to us. Saturday May 7, five libraries are giving away something teens can keep! From 1 – 4 p.m., at Dumbarton, Fairfield, North Park, Tuckahoe, and Twin Hickory, pick up a free comic book — while supplies last — as part of Henrico Library’s annual Free Comic Book Day celebration. This year, new comics have been donated by Diamond Comic Distributors.

The library’s Teen Advisory Boards have held this event for several years, and teen librarians enjoy the opportunity to highlight a collection beloved by regular readers — but still unknown to others. Henrico County Library members may check out collections of comic strips (Garfield, Peanuts, etc.), collections of comic books (Spider-Man, X-Men, etc.), manga (Japanese comics), and what I think of as “graphic novels without superheroes.” The latter category includes wonderful adventure stories like Bone, by Jeff Smith; historical fiction like the excellent Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, by James Sturm; girl power/chick lit like Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci; poignant memoirs like David Small’s Stitches; and so much more. Some may think of enjoying a comic book as “not really reading,” yet teachers find, and studies show:

  • That reading comics helps “reluctant readers” learn to follow narratives.
  • That graphic novels can be stepping stones to adventure books.
  • That children have such great “ownership” over comic characters, plots, and the rules of the comic or graphic novel’s world that they become quite proficient in skills needed in school: summarizing, critiquing, and debating a story.
  • That students exposed to art (including following a pictorial story or drawing characters on one’s own) do better in school.*

While this event is for teens, the library collects comics, graphic novels, and manga for kids, teens, and adults. To find them, stop by your library and ask a librarian, or use the online catalog: choose Advanced Search; for location pick “graphic novel”; next choose your reading level; then click search. For collections of comic strips, books on comic drawing, and books about comics look in the non-fiction area of the library under 741.5.

Hope to see you on Free Comic Book Day! Event details, here.



Bonny Norton,  “The Motivating Power Of Comic Books: Insights From Archie Comic Readers,”  The Reading Teacher. (October 2003)

Valerie Strauss. “Educators Differ on Why Boys Lag in Reading: Gap Stokes Debate Over Teaching Approaches, Curricula,” The Washington Post (3/15/05).