Graphic Poetry

Way back at the beginning of the year (before we knew what 2020 had in store for us), I was given the opportunity to work with Scholastic to create a brand-new feature in their Storyworks Jr. magazine — Graphic Poetry. I made a comic “adaptation” of a lovely poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “A Circle of Sun.”

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I was excited about this project for many reasons. For one, it happened to coincide with my working on some illustrated poetry of my own. (I hope to share more about all of that soon!) For another, I think that this sort of out-of-the-box exercise could be an excellent way for kids to explore both poetry AND comics. The sort of evocative, figurative language so often found in poetry lends itself wonderfully to visual adaptation, and comic-loving kiddos (and there are a lot of them out there!) might find, in poetry, a rich world of content to use to help them develop and flex their creative muscles.

All told, this was a fun, challenging project, and collaborating on it with the Storyworks team was a total blast. I’m grateful to the great Lauren Tarshis for thinking of me for this in the first place, and for giving me a great deal of creative freedom to explore the possibilities of this concept. If you don’t know about Scholastic’s collection of classroom magazines, check them out — and look for more Graphic Poetry in forthcoming issues of Storyworks Jr.!

~ Jarrett

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