Dressed as Rose Quartz, from the cartoon “Steven Universe,” librarian Rebecca LaFave uses a machine to stamp out a Wonder Woman button with Natalie Suszek, of Rochester Hills, in the makerspace during the Rochester Hills Public Library’s first Comic Fest.

Dressed as Rose Quartz, from the cartoon “Steven Universe,” librarian Rebecca LaFave uses a machine to stamp out a Wonder Woman button with Natalie Suszek, of Rochester Hills, in the makerspace during the Rochester Hills Public Library’s first Comic Fest.

File photo by Brandy Baker


Comic Fest returns to Rochester Hills Public Library

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 4, 2019

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Graphic novel lovers of all ages can head to the Rochester Hills Public Library Sept. 14 for a full day of fun during Comic Fest.

Adult Services Manager Kricket Hoekstra said the second annual Comic Fest celebrates the valuable role that graphic novels play in children’s development, and their ability to engage and inspire readers of all ages.

“There is a misconception that comics are easy reads, but in reality, reading a comic engages different parts of the brain because you’re interpreting the illustrations as you’re reading the words,” said Hoekstra. “Plus, kids like comics, and encouraging kids to read what they like helps instill a lifelong love for reading.”  

The festival will run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and includes authors, games, crafts, activities, superhero story times, a “Star Wars” escape room, “Harry Potter” trivia, the opportunity to learn how to play “Dungeons & Dragons” from a Dungeon Master, and a variety of food trucks. 

There will also be local artists selling their artwork and comics, as well as characters from a variety of movies and comic books. 

Library officials said costumes are highly encouraged and may even be rewarded during a costume contest for all ages.

This year’s featured guest is New York Times best-selling author and cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, who has written and illustrated numerous graphic novels, including “The Jedi Academy” and “Vader and Son.” 

“I grew up in Michigan, always making comics and dreaming about writing books that would end up on shelves in libraries — so I’m super excited to come to the Rochester Hills Public Library this year and share that love of reading and writing with everyone at Comic Fest,” Brown said in a statement. 

Brown’s work, according to Hoekstra, appeals to adults and youths alike.  

“He’s going to come to do some drawing demonstrations, talk about his work, and there will be two sessions where people can meet him, at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. He will also be doing book signings after his presentations,” she said. 

Early childhood specialist and librarian Wendy Lehman said comic books and graphic novels have grown in popularity over the past decade or two. In the past, she said, the value of graphic novels was often overlooked or not understood, but she said studies have shown that graphic novels introduce children to new words, teach inference, make readers fluent in a range of mediums and allow kids to use their imaginations in a whole different way.

“I think a lot of parents — and some teachers — try to push their kids away from those because they don’t think that they are actually reading, but it honestly ends up being a little harder and it takes more skills to read a graphic novel or comic,” she said. “It also helps kids build their comprehension skills, because there are pictures to try to explain what’s going on. And sometimes there are pictures and no words, so you have to kind of make up what’s going on in your own head, which is even harder than having words to accompany a picture.”

Comic Fest is free and open to library patrons of all ages. No registration is required.  

For more information about Comic Fest, visit www.rhpl.org

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.

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