Comics Squad: Recess!

Comics Squad: Recess!Comics Squad: Recess!
Written and illustrated by: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Gene Luen Yang, Eric Wight, Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman, Dan Santat, Dav Pilkey, and Ursula Vernon
Edited by: Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Softcover, 5 x 7, 144 pages, Full Color, $7.99
ISBN: 978-0-38537-003-5

Ok, teachers and librarians, get ready to roll out the red carpet for this one. With names you are sure to recognize just about every super-hero-talented writer and/or artist in comics for kids is involved in this comic book compilation. With top-notch editors Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (creators of Babymouse and Squish), and Jarrett J. Krosoczka (creator of Lunch Lady) this book is an automatic win at first sight.

And don't worry because just from the credits and the introduction you may raise your expectations. Well, raise them even higher. When you open this compilation of kids' comics they are just as fun and engaging as the warning label on the back cover alludes: "WARNING: THIS BOOK MAY CUASE EXCESSIVE LAUGHTER AND POSSIBLE SILLINESS."

From start to finish I laughed and hung out with the characters in this book. From schoolyard ninjas to a superhero named Dog Man early readers will appreciate each of these short, quick mini comics. I know I did, and I often get accused of being my significant other's third child, a complement I am happy to hear as much as possible.

Elements of Story

Plot: Pick your adventure! Pick your pleasure! Or simply enjoy them all. You can read about schoolyard ninjas, a cafeteria pizza monster, freeze tag recess time, adventurous squirrels with big plans, nauseous school play kissing scenes, kickball wars, and much, much more.

Characters: Ninjas, Daryl, Mr. and Mrs. Beard, Harold, George, Petey, Dog Man, Betty, Lunch Lady, Pizza Monster, Principal Hernandez, Squeak, Babymouse, Zeus, Jiminy Sprinkles, Grover/Goober, the Mean Green Gang, Russell, John, Andrew, Sophia, Eddie, Asha, Josh, Mr. Guff, Boring Becca

Settings: Camelot, schoolyards, family homes, cafeterias, jail, cities, Mount Olympus, the Wild West, Rome, Recess

Themes: Clubs, Identity, Play, Friendship, Adventure, Goals and Dreams, Teamwork

Recommended Common Core Standards*

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually

*Even though this is a Language Arts, Reading Common Core Standard for grades 6 – 12 Comics Squad can be read in lower grades as well.  In that case, I still recommend that educators focus on the integration of knowledge and ideas in this graphic novel, especially in terms of characterization and what students read in text and see in images.

Lesson Plan:

Directions: The integration of each mini-comic makes this unique text a well suited match for two literacy learning strategies, both of which emphasize comprehension and fluency.  

Pop-POW! Knowledge-Based Literacy Strategy
Directions: as students read Comics Squad Recess! ask them to track their reading with the below literacy strategy that emphasizes each mini-comic's story one at a time.


Author and Story Title












































































Directions: When students are done reading this collection of mini-comics ask them to consider the INTEGRATION OF IDEAS between stories.

In other words, how do the stories overlap? Which characters share similarities and / or differences? Are there any similar or different themes? What makes the plots similar or different?

Directions: In the below Flow Chart, a literacy strategy I like to call Integration Exploration, ask students to identify – in order – the similarities and differences between all of the mini-comics they outlined in the Pop-POW! Knowledge-Based Literacy Strategy.

Integration Exploration

Authors and Story Titles

Which Plots are Similar / Different?

Which Characters Are Similar / Different?

Which Themes Are Similar / Different?













































































Authors and Story Titles

Which Plots are Similar / Different?

How so?

Which Characters Are Similar / Different?

How so?

Which Themes Are Similar / Different?

How so?

















































































Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida.  Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014).  When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.