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Johanna

About Johanna

Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Review: ‘Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World’

Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World

Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World Written by Iris Volant, illustrated by Cynthia Alonso Flying Eye Books, $19.95 Ages 6 and up This gorgeous, oversized picture book will create new appreciation for nature, obviously, but also for cultures around the world. Each page describes a particular type of tree—such as willow, coconut, birch, or […]

Review: ‘The Family Trade’

The Family Trade header

The Family Trade Written by Justin Jordan & Nikki Ryan, illustrated by Morgan Beem Image Comics, $16.99 Rated T for Teens A fairly standard story about a teen assassin working to save her fantasy world is distinctive only due to its art and coloring. The Free Republic of Thessala, aka the Float, is an independent […]

Review: ‘Wild Ocean’

Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures

Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures Edited by Matt Dembicki Fulcrum Publishing, $19.95 Age Range: 12 and up This anthology was produced with PangeaSeed, an ocean conservation organization, so it’s got an obvious message—”to showcase 12 iconic endangered ocean animals” in order to encourage changes in human behavior when it comes […]

Review: ‘Action Presidents’

Action Presidents

Action Presidents #1: George Washington! Action Presidents #2: Abraham Lincoln! Written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey HarperCollins, $9.99 each Ages 8-12 The team behind Action Philosophers! have returned with an entertaining look at key men and events in American history, beginning with the two most famous Presidents. The attitude behind the series […]

Review: ‘Jim McClain’s Solution Squad’

Jim McClain's Solution Squad

Jim McClain’s Solution Squad Written by Jim McClain, art by various Solution Squad LLC, $19.99 For grades 4-6 Jim McClain, a middle school math teacher, loves comics, so he made his own super-team to teach mathematical concepts. The first comic story introduces the team members: La Calculadora – fast computation and team leader Absolutia – […]

Review: ‘One Day a Dot: The Story of You, the Universe, and Everything’

One Day a Dot: The Story of You, the Universe, and Everything header

One Day a Dot: The Story of You, the Universe, and Everything Written by Ian Lendler, illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb First Second, $17.99 Ages 4-8 Almost no subject is too much for a children’s storybook, with the right approach, and One Day a Dot is proof. It tackles the formation of the […]

Happy Anniversary, Toon Books!

Jaime Hernandez, Kevin McCloskey, Françoise Mouly, Sergio García Sánchez, Ricardo “Liniers” Siri, Brigid Alverson at TCAF 2018

This year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) celebrated ten years of Toon Books, the publisher of high-quality comics for children founded by Françoise Mouly, with a panel featuring Mouly and the following artists, moderated by Good Comics for Kids’ own Brigid Alverson. Kevin McCloskey is a professor of illustration at Kutztown University and created the […]

Comic Book Clubs for Libraries

TCAF 2018 poster art by Emily Carroll

At the recent Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), I had the pleasure of attending a panel on “How to Launch a Comic Book Club”. I am part of a comic club in Madison, Wisconsin, so I was curious to see how this was similar and different. Led by Philippe Leblanc, the panel was more of […]

Review: ‘Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids’

Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids header

Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids by Gavin Aung Than Andrews McMeel, $9.99 Ages 7-12 years The quotes in Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids are oddly chosen. The second is about training to avoid bleeding in battle, attributed to an Armed Forces motto, a strange choice to lead off a book of advice for […]

Review: ‘The Beatles Story’

The Beatles Story header

The Beatles Story Written by Angus Allan, illustrated by Arthur Ranson Rebellion, $17.99 It’s an amazing period we live in, one where great comics from all eras are reprinted in book format and much more easily available than they used to be. The flip side of that boom in collected format is that a lot […]