Over the summer, children get bored. They need things to do, and a good chunk of those "things" will ideally involve reading comics, right? Reading written language. Interpreting imagery and body language. Building skills that will last a lifetime, and improve lives --- coming to understand more about the world, themselves, and those around them; coming to learn more about possibilities and powers. Combatting ignorance, by rejecting it and embracing the as-yet unknown.

But sometimes kids don't want to read. Sometimes adults don't want to read either --- we all have times where we feel like we'd just rather not do the things that are good for us. And when those times roll around, what's nice is for someone to pop up and say, "Hey! I'll reward you, if you try reading this. I think it's worth your time to do it, and I think it's worth this prize for you to do it, too." To that end, the Heroic Girls Summer Reading Program is here to encourage you --- and more importantly, your kids --- to read comics. All summer. And get rewarded for it!

The one catch is that they (or you) need to write a short review of each graphic novel or collected edition they read. Why? So that Heroic Girls can "build a database that you and your fellow heroic girls (and women) can consult when they are looking for something to read in the future." Philanthropic!

Does that sound too much like homework? Okay, but does homework give you a chance to win prizes? Participants who submit six reviews before September 1, 2016, will be entered into a prize draw to win graphic novels, signed comics, posters, original art and more! (If your homework does get you prizes, kiddo, you're doing alright. But here's potential for more prizes...)

 

Program founder John Marcotte told us how the program got started:

 

My own girls were done with school and I wanted to keep them reading over the summer. That gave me the idea that other parents might also be trying to keep their kids' brains active over the summer. I created The Heroic Girls Summer Reading Program to get more girls involved in the world of comics and to promote the love of reading at the same time.

Because my audience is about half parents and half adults who enjoy comics, I expanded the program to include adults as well. I got some items donated from my local comics shop, and I added items from my personal collection that I had gotten signed at conventions during the year. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction also donated signed comics, local artists donated original sketches – so I was able to get great prizes for everyone who participated last year.

 

Prizes also include a book autographed by Annie Wu, autographed copies of Faith #1, signed copies of Captain Marvel #1, and a DC Super Hero Girls prize pack. Marcotte is still looking for other creators willing to donate prizes. (Hint hint.) Marcotte hopes to get the word out about the program through young adult library associations, and by distributing fliers via libraries, comic shops, and other summer programs.

Unfortunately Heroic Girls can only ship within the United States, so those of us reading internationally are out of luck --- unless anyone wants to step up and fund the program's expansion, or start up their own versions --- or let us know about programs that might already exist! We're listening!

Helping kids to love reading, and supporting the literacy and communicative fluency of the future, is a noble pursuit by anyone's measure. If you've got prizes to donate, or if you're excited to get your kids, or your bestie's kids, reading comics voraciously and learning to express what they liked or didn't like, then get involved!

For more information about Heroic Girls, or if you want to pass the info on to your local library or comic shop, here's the FAQ, here's the contact sheet, and here's the Facebook page.