About the Book…
For a bit of Halloween fun, the club chose Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise. I added the illustrator here because this book is told through letters and pictures rather than narrative text. It was a fun book and an easy read (I read it in about an hour during one of my daughter’s playdates), but actually rich with discussion of a different-than-normal sort. Instead of focusing on themes and ideas about the content, we discussed the way in which the content was relayed (i.e. the graphic novel).
What We Did…
I came up with a few points to discuss about this upcoming writing style:
- Do you think the funny (pun-ny) names add to or detract from the storyline? Which one was your favourite?
- Are there any points in the book where you need the pictures to understand what is happening? (the graveyard date)
- How are graphic novels similar to movies? (help you get more immersed in the story, relate information/feelings through pictures instead of words)
- Where in the book did you have to decide what happened in the story between letters and/or pictures? (Stanley’s parents’ tour, reducing sale price of house)
- What kinds of people do you think would enjoy this writing format (way of writing)? Who might not enjoy this kind of book?
I brought home a bunch of graphic novels from the school library, including biographies on famous people, literary classics and a stunning book called The Arrival by Shaun Tan to illustrate how ideas, conversations, and actions can be relayed in pictures as well as (or instead of) words. I think it broadened their horizons about this very valid genre.
Our main activity (which they actually had to finish at home, they were so into it) was to create their own graphic novel. I wanted to come up with something short that was very visual, so I chose nursery rhymes. Spreading several comic templates on the table (just Google images for “comic templates”), each girl picked a version she liked and selected a nursery rhyme from a list (Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory Dock, etc.). They really got into sketching out the actions and adding little details to make the pictures pop. I asked them to take them home and finish them with colour so I could include them here:
Interestingly enough, at the time of our meeting there was no resource guide available for this series, so I came up the ideas above. Now that I’m actually posting this, the Kline Sisters website has some great discussion questions and activities for all their books. Check out all the sections on their website – every tab seems to lead you to something more fun and interesting!
It seems like all the bookclub members aspire to be writers so my final take-away were the Kline Sisters’ handouts on “Kate Klise’s Top Ten Tips to Becoming a Bestselling Writer” and “Sarah Klise’s Top 7 Drawing and Writing Tips“. I kept copies for myself too – I hope they will inspire me to follow my dream of writing a bestselling book as well!