Letters which put 10 comic book Bibles into public libraries
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Two Letters suggesting the Bible in Comic Form


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    A letter that got the Picture Bible into 9 branches.

    I sent the following little essay to the Sacramento public library system to convince them to include Iva Hoth's the picture Bible in the collection. A total of nine branches bought a copy in English, and more recently one bought a Spanish version so this was a very successful little essay. The Sacramento library system must have spent about 300 dollars on this, between the cost of the books and internal costs.

    The essay was a response to the question on a form for submitting suggestions, "Why do you think it should be added to the collection."

    Why do you think it (The Picture Bible by Iva Hoth) should be added to the collection?

    The Picture Bible is actually a book of Bible stories in comic book form, with word balloons. I suggested an English and a Spanish version be included in the collection of the Davis public library and both have circulated very well. Their circulation has been far stronger than normal picture bibles.

    There are other comic book Bibles, I have compared The Picture Bible to two of them. The Picture Bible is the longest of the three (750-800 pages), the cheapest per page, the artistic style is overwhelmingly the most popular with children (I conducted a poll), by far the best seller (sales in the millions), perhaps the least controversial, and the only one available in hardback (library binding is available for the English version.) A new comic book Bible has come out recently, I found it on the net while preparing this letter. I believe it would still lose to The Picture Bible by most standards, but might win on artistic style.

    The Picture Bible is very educational because the Bible is constantly referred to in English literature. To properly understand cartoons, political speeches, novels, editorials and a vast variety of other English literature the Bible is the single most important work. If we chose which books to teach in English class scientifically, on the basis of how often they were quoted, the Bible would be at the top of the reading list. But separation of church and state prevents this.

    But that objection does not hold for libraries, even school libraries, let alone public libraries. As every children's library has children's Bibles, there is no reason they should not have the most popular of the children's Bibles, The Picture Bible by Iva Hoth. Indeed it is hard to think of any single book that would do more for the cause of cultural literacy than this one.

    I am not a big fan of Classics Illustrated which puts the classics in comic form. Literary classics are normally read once and should be read in the original form. But I am a fan of historical and Bible comics, because the Bible and history is studied again and again. If you give children the Bible in comic form they are likely to read it one more time than they would have otherwise.

    The Spanish version may hold great appeal to parents as well as children. There is a strong tradition of comics being used this way among the marginally literate of Spanish speaking countries. Thus both the Spanish and the English version may serve the cause of literacy as well as cultural literacy

    A letter that convinced my local library to include a copy of the Picture Bible in the collection.

    This letter is an offer to give the library a book if they will include it in the collection. This is a more expensive strategy, and one that took patience as it took them about a year to actually get it processed. They do not respect gifts as much as what they buy. At any rate it has gotten a lot of circulation and I am very happy with it.

    Another letter suggested the same comic book bible and succeeded in getting it into nine branches for the cost of a stamp and some time.

    Dear Librarian:

    I am submitting The Picture Bible for your consideration as part of your children's collection. I am willing to give this to the library if it is part of the libraries collection, but not for the book sale. If you do not want to include it in the libraries collection, please contact me and I will pick up.

    The Picture Bible will help serve the library's educational role because the stories of the Bible are very important to cultural literacy. The Bible is frequently referred to in Novels, TV shows, movies, poetry, and of course political speeches. Logically it should be taught right along with Shakespeare in our English classes, but because of the separation of Church and State it is not. As reading in the library is voluntary this issue is not so relevant for you.

    There might be some reluctance to include something in comic form in the collection. I myself would hesitate to include a comic book version of a classic novel or play in the collection. But the Bible is different from novels and plays in that it is intended to be read repeatedly, and its stories are consumed in many different forms, children's bibles, sermons, Sunday school classes, etc. So while I would not want to interfere with the first reading of War and Peace by offering a comic version this objection does not apply to the Bible.

    I sent the following little essay to the Sacramento public library system to convince them to include Iva Hoth's the picture Bible in the collection. A total of nine branches bought a copy in English, and more recently one bought a Spanish version so this was a very successful little essay. The Sacramento library system must have spent about 300 dollars on this, between the cost of the books and internal costs.

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