by Alexa Rosselli - images courtesy of Tanya Turek
Not only are comics good for young readers, but kids really love them!  At TOON Books, we know that our books are a great way to teach reluctant readers to love reading, but there is nothing quite like seeing the joy on their faces as they delve into a good book.

One of our blogger fans, Tanya Turek of booksforyourkids.com, sponsored a book giveaway for TOON, in which participating readers submitted photos of their kids with TOON Books.  We owe her a debt of gratitude for collecting all of these fantastic photos for us, and thanks to her readers as well for being such enthusiastic fans!

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Our own giveaway is still going through the end of the month too.  Be sure to pop in a bookstore and get a picture of their TOON Books to get one of our new titles for free.

Thanks again to all of our supporters for sending us pictures this month.  We cannot wait to hear what you have to say about your new TOON books!

 
 
by Alexa Rosselli and Amy Lee
TOON Books is about to have its BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER!

We are very excited for the launch of our affordable new line of $4.99 paperback TOON Books, and we want to celebrate!  

Send us your pictures: mail@toon-books.com 

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Starting February 12, displays of our new TOON paperbacks will be in all Barnes and Noble stores and a select group of independent bookstores (see bottom of the post for a list). Send us a picture of those displays and we will send you a new TOON paperback, absolutely free. 

If your local bookstore does not have one of displays, you are still in luck.  Just send us a picture of TOON Books in ANY store, and we will still give you a paperback TOON.

Our first six paperbacks feature a whole slew of new features, including:
  • A redesigned cover and back cover with extra guidance on our levels
  • TOON into Reading guides in the back of each book to help kids get the most out of our books
  • The affordable price of $4.99

There are three Level 1 TOON readers, and three Level 2 TOON readers: Claude Ponti's Chick & Chickie Play All Day, Agnes Rosenstiehl's Silly Lilly and The Four Seasons, Jeff Smith's Little Mouse Gets Ready, Philippe Coudray's Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking and Geoffrey Hayes' Benny and Penny in Just Pretend and Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker.

And, each of our new books are supplemented by free lesson plans and common core guides on our website.

TOON Books are the go-to for early readers, great for reluctant readers, and loved by boys and girls alike.  

Pullitzer Prize-winning author Art Spiegelman describes comics as a "gateway drug to literacy!" and studies show it too: comics promote literacy in kids! TOON Books are an invaluable asset for beginning readers who are still struggling with English and reluctant readers too.

Tell your friends so everyone can take advantage.  We can't wait to see your pictures.

Independent Bookstores with our display:

Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado
Children's Book World in Haverford, Pennsylvania
Gibson's Book Store in Concord, New Hampshire
WORD in Brooklyn, New York
Wellesley Books in Wellesley, Massachusetts
Linden Tree in Los Altos, California
Hicklebee's in San Jose, California
McNally Jackson Booksellers in New York, New York
Barstons Child's Play in Washington, D.C. 
Newtonville Books in Newton, Massachusetts
Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine
Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York
Mapletree Books in Warrensburg, New York
The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, New Hampshire
Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, New Hampshire

 
 
by Amy Lee
The suspense is over! We’ve entered the names of everyone who’s sent us the name of the TOON book they’d like to read into a random generator to come up with our three winners: 

Vicki Palmquist
Jorden Cunningham 
Rebecca Zarazan

Congratulations! Please email us at mail@toon-books.com so that we can get your shipping information and send you your books!

For everyone else who entered, thank you again for your continued support. We couldn’t keep doing what we do without you. If you want to get the early scoop on more giveaways like this one, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at toon-books.com/newsletter.html. There might just be something special coming up very soon... 

We’ve also tallied up the books (links below) that were most frequently requested by our fans, along with some of our favorite comments. 

A Trip to the Bottom of the World by Frank Viva: 
Diandra: "My five year old and I really want to read A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse! Looks like a great adventure!"

The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson

The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra:
Vicki: "I booktalk your books every chance I get ... I think they're TERRIFIC! I'd love to read The Secret of the Stone Frog."

Christina: "The Secret of the Stone Frog. The pen and ink work looks amazing  and inspiring!"

Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler:
Robin: "Looking forward to reading Zig and Wikki in The Cow because it looks like fun!"

Noel: "Thanks for your awesome books! My son actually reads them! We would love to read Zig and Wikki in The Cow."

Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler
Carol: "Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework -- my 6-year-old son always wants to borrow it from the library!"

Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman

Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? by Agnès Rosenstiehl

Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss


Benny and Penny in the Toybreaker! by Geoffrey Hayes


Chick and Chickie Play All Day by Claude Ponti


Stinky by Eleanor Davis


Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking by Philippe Coudray


Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith


Barry’s Best Buddy by Renee French  This title will soon be released... So stay tuned for more great TOON Books, and more giveaways!
 
 
Hello TOON friends! In case you'd forgotten, today is the LAST DAY for our social media giveaway. To celebrate our 1,000 followers on Twitter and our 1,500 fans on Facebook, we're giving one free TOON book to three fans. 

Tweet @toonbooks or comment on our Facebook page naming the TOON title you'd most like to read next. Today, at 5 pm, we'll pick three random winners to get their requested TOON Books for FREE!

Thanks again to our wonderful fans and readers. 

 
 
by Julia Phillips

This month, we hit 1500 fans on Facebook and 1000 followers on Twitter! To celebrate our success, we're devoting this week on our social pages to a limited-time giveaway. Tweet @toonbooks or comment on our Facebook page naming the TOON title you'd most like to read next. On Friday, Feb. 1 we'll pick three random winners to get their requested TOON Books for FREE!
 
 
Hurricane Sandy TOON books

Our damaged books are now your free books. Though TOON’s offices managed to get through Hurricane Sandy mostly unscathed, we have a bunch of books that were waterlogged. Rather than throw them out, we want you to have them.

Hurricane Sandy TOON books

We have copies of three of our newest books — David Nytra’s The Secret of the Stone Frog, Frank Viva’s A Trip to the Bottom of the World, and Rutu Modan’s Maya Makes a Mess. We have 6 of the Nytra, 8 of the Viva and 4 of the Modan.

As you can see, the pages have been rippled by water, though we’ve had them drying out since we discovered the damage. But the spines are intact, the pages are all there, and the colors are undistorted — We prefer to think of them as pre-loved rather than defective.

Hurricane Sandy TOON books
If you want a copy of one (or all three!) of these books, just email us at amylee.toon@gmail.com. We’ll send them over to you for the cost of postage. We hope you enjoy them.

And if you want to follow us on twitter @toonbooks, on Tumblr at toon-books.tumblr.com or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TOONBooks to show your appreciation, we won’t mind. Likewise, any pictures/stories you send us about reading these books, we’ll cherish (and probably post online).

 
 

We hope you enjoyed a spooky (and for those of you in Sandy’s path, a safe) Halloween! We were so excited to receive your responses about how you used TOON books to help your children learn about the different aspects of scariness, surprise and more. As promised, here are the results for our giveaway. We’ve chosen one grand winner to receive a copy of the book discussed in their experience, and two more runners up to receive a beautiful color poster for Frank Viva’s A Trip to the Bottom of the World poster.

Our grand winner, Margie Knauff, chose Chick and Chickie to read with her child. Here’s her story:

“I printed out the Chick and Chickie book (since we already have Jack and the Box, and new books are always more exciting) and brought it home for my 6 year old who is just starting to get the idea of how reading works.

Now that he is in first grade, he had daily homework of 15 minutes of reading a day, and I thought this would be a good idea to get him excited about reading homework. I was right! He loved being able to read the new (to him) TOON book as part of his homework and he thought the story was funny. We discussed the story questions you suggested – he could easily explain why the A was afraid of the eraser, but he had more difficulty with the difference between a face and a mask. Eventually we came up with the idea that a face can have many different expressions, but masks usually only have one expression.

Although reading is popular in our family, it is not so much fun when it is homework. So it was nice to see him excited about doing homework. :-)

Congratulations Margie, and major kudos to her six year old son for having fun doing his reading “homework.”

And now, our two runners up:

Nova McCool:

“As a special education teacher, I love Toon Books because it adds a visual aspect to narratives even at higher reading levels. For my class, I projected The Secret of the Stone Frog for the entire class to read together. I love the talk bubbles because then kids could volunteer to read parts/be characters in the story…We’ll be finishing it tomorrow.”

We love how Nova used both the visual and written parts of David Nytra’s book to push her kids to read at a higher level. TOON’s books all marry images and words to create stories that kids can understand on a number of different levels, and we’re glad that Nova’s class had such a good time with The Secret of the Stone Frog.

Corrie Ball:

“I had my students read Stinky this week in the computer lab (using TOON Reader – Professor Garfield). They loved it! It is such a great way to introduce students to the proper order to read comics. I also shared your resource and handout at the Illinois School Library Media Association conference. Everyone was impressed and ready to start using your collection.”

Just a reminder, anyone can use Professor Garfield’s online reader to read to or with their kids — it’s even available in multiple languages for any children who might be learning a new language, or for whom English is not a native language. Kids can even use it by themselves to help them through the books when they’re reading on their own.

Even though the time for ghouls and ghosts has passed, please take inspiration from these stories and continue reading TOON books with an eye towards learning. We have resources for many of our books, including lesson plans, cartoon makers, and more on our website — you don’t need a holiday to get started.

 
 

BOO!

Did we scare you? We hope so! Halloween is coming up and we’d love for you to use TOON’s books to discuss witches, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, boogeymen and all the other icky creatures that live under beds and inside closets.

Here at TOON, we love a good scare. And, since we know that you love free books, we’ll be giving away books to those of you who can use our titles to help your kids TOON into Halloween.

Brand-new readers should check out Chick and Chickie by Claude Ponti and Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman.

Click here to download Chick and Chickie for FREE.
Click here to read Jack and the Box for FREE.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS
Jack and the Box Chick and Chickie
After Jack plays with the toy a few times, he thinks it’s silly, not scary. Why is Jack so scared when the box opens the first time? Have you ever been surprised by a present? Chick and Chickie make masks together. When they aren’t wearing the masks, they’re just Chick and Chickie. But when they are wearing the masks, they’re adorably frightening! Why does the mask make Chick scary? What is the difference between a mask and a face?
Jack’s parents get him a special box. When it opens, a surprise pops out! Why was Jack scared in the beginning, but not later on? Is there anything that used to scare you that doesn’t scare you anymore? When Chick and Chickie tickle the ‘A’, he laughs. When they bring him a cake, he’s happy. But when they run at him with an eraser, he’s terrified! Why does the eraser scare the ‘A’? How would you scare a friend? How could a friend scare you?

Emerging readers should check out Benny and Penny in Lights Out by Geoffrey Hayes and Stinky by Eleanor Davis.

Click here to download Benny and Penny in Lights Out for FREE.
Click here to read Stinky for FREE.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS
Benny and Penny in Lights Out Stinky
Benny and Penny’s playhouse is fun during the day, but spooky at night. Are you afraid of the dark? Why is a place that isn’t scary during the day so much scarier at night? Why would a flashlight or a nightlight help make it less scary? Stinky is a monster–though not a very scary one–and he’s not afraid of frogs, or swamps or bugs, but he’s afraid of Nick. Why is Stinky so scared by Nick? Why isn’t Nick afraid of Stinky?
At first, Benny and Penny are afraid of dinosaurs. But at the end of the book, they tell each other a story that makes them less afraid. How is the story at the end different from the scary stories they told each other before? How does the story help them to be less afraid? Stinky tries to make Nick go away by scaring him. But it doesn’t work. Why isn’t Nick afraid when Stinky pretends to be a ghost? Would you be scared if you were in Nick’s place?

Advanced beginners should check out The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra.

Click here to download The Secret of the Stone Frog for FREE.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS
The Secret of the Stone Frog
Leah and Alan are frightened when they come across the strange creatures of the enchanted forest. How do Leah and Alan overcome their fears when they are going through the dark cave or when they see the Bee Lady? If you woke up in an enchanted forest, what kind of creatures do you think would be there? What is the scariest thing you can imagine living there?

We’re giving away a FREE copy of the relevant TOON Book to anyone who sends us a description of how they used one of these five spooky titles with kids. Teachers can use the books in the classroom or parents can use them with their children–all that’s needed to qualify for a free TOON Book is 1) following us on Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook and 2) sending us a short description of your use of the book with kids. And of course, pictures are always appreciated! To receive a TOON Book, you just have to do one of the following:

Then send your description to amylee.toon@gmail.com by midnight on Halloween, October 31.

Happy Halloween!

 
 

TOON books is showing you our love with a brand new Level 1 book! In Chick & Chickie, two mischievous little chickens play all day long in their very own special way. Claude Ponti, one of the world’s most beloved children’s book authors, has packed the pictures with witty side jokes and hilarious details. The fast-paced and zany narrative will instantly delight young readers and will soon turn reading into play.

Enter our contest!

Win two TOON Books!

Who is the Chick to your Chickie? The Chickie to your Chick? Do you have a feathery sidekick in all that you do? Tell us who YOUR Chickie, in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter and be entered to win! Ten lucky readers with the most chirp-worthy stories of best-friendship or love will receive TWO free copies of Chick & Chickie – one sent to you and one sent to your Chickie!


Here are a few of our favorite entries so far:

“My Chickie is my sister! Though we’re more-or-less “grown-ups” now, we still love to do stuff together and often end up laughing so hard we can’t breath. And we do the typical sister things, like saying exactly the same things at the same time…” — Catherine Barnett , via facebook

“My Chickie is my little girl, Evelyn. She loves telling her own jokes and I love to laugh at them. I love to tickle her, and she loves to be tickled. She can do so much on her own, yet she still wants me to be by her side. She is my little Chickie :D ” — Jess Smart Smiley, via facebook

“My favorite Chickie is my 5-yr-old daughter Avery! Her enthusiasm and joie de vivre are a constant inspiration for me and source of delight for our whole family.” — Meg Cogburn Wilson, via facebook

“My chickie is my best friend Katie @Lilteegs1 Even though we live far apart, we still love doing everything together!” — Ryan Donovan, via Twitter

“I have two favorite Chickies: my daughter Alice and my son Alexander. Alice’s sense of humor, kindness and hunger for knowledge and Alexander’s quickness and thinking that he could outsmart his Mom — keep me on my “knuckles.”" — Anna Lvova, via facebook

“My favorite chickie is my daughter. Although she is 30 now we still have lots of fun together. We aren’t beyond being silly and we love to share our fun with children, and maybe someday soon with her own little chick or chickie.” — Jean Kammer, via facebook

“My daughter Tilly is my Chickie. She is very literally my sidekick on a daily basis, but she’s also been a support for me in ways she doesn’t yet know. In fact, she helped our family get through a very tough time. I’m also appreciative of our reading time together and how reading with her has reawakened my love for favorite childhood books and helped me discover new ones. Is there anything more special than sharing a good book with your Chickie?” — Emily Gorovsky Raij, via facebook

“Our school’s 1st grade is the Chick to our Chickie. We love seeing them read @toonbooks so when they’re our age they’ll read our fave GNs.” — Mr. W’s Class, via Twitter

“My favorite Chickie is my daughter Sophie. She’s five, and I’ve been working hard to share the joy of comics with her. She loves Johnny Boo, Beanworld, Bone, and Toon Books. She also enjoys making her baby brother laugh, and is just learning how to read by herself.” — Lionel English, via facebook

“My friend Amy is my Chickie. She is an awesome 2nd grade teacher that loves to find interesting things for her students to read. She is AMAZING and really works hard to find the perfect reading material for her students.” — Kkdanville Danville, via facebook

“My daughter Charley is my Chickie. When I asked if I was her sidekick, she said “No, you’re my henchman”" — Tom B., via Twitter

“My partner, Rick, is my Chickie Sweetie-in-Cahooties! Why? He loves comic Toon stories as much as I do!” — Joy Chu, via facebook

“My chickie is my sister. We are 4 years apart and fought like cats and dogs when we were young. We are now best friends and always will be. We’ve been thru a lot together and are always there for each other. I know o can call any time of day and she will be there.” — Debbie Crocker Baker, via facebook


Enter now by telling us who YOUR Chickie is in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! The contest will be open until midnight the evening of 12/14.

 
 

You too can prevent bullying!

Here’s how: If you’re a New York State student in Kindergarten, Grade 1 or Grade 2, enter our contest and make your own anti-bullying three-panel comic strip from now until contest end on January 7, 2011. How do you do it? Easy! Cartoons can be created using TOON’s own carTOON MAKER and instructions for Comics Lab are conveniently found here on our website.

To get in the spirit, have a look at Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker by 2010 Geisel Award-winner Geoffrey Hayes or use the free TOON Reader. But wait, there’s more! Teachers, for additional explanations and cartooning help, see our Toy Breaker lesson plan and activity sheet.

When your comic’s complete you can submit it here and wait for the winners to be announced on March 18, 2011 at the Celebration of Teaching & Learning. Prizes include one iPod Touch per grade level and a complete set of TOON Books per classroom! Now get cartooning!