PELHAM, N.Y. -- National Summer Reading held meaning as the children at the Town of Pelham Public Library were treated to an interactive presentation by Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics on the art of graphic literacy.
Silberkleit, a former art teacher, elaborated on roles and careers in the creation of comic books. As terms like freelancer, inker, script writer were explained, careers in graphic art were elaborated upon. The world of comics became reality as the children with the backdrop of artwork from various stages of comic book production unleashed their creativity.
As they put words like POW, WHAM, BAM into appropriate word bubbles, they transported themselves into the world of Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. The former Paramus teacher and Westwood native surrounded herself with artwork from various stages of comic book production as she discussed career options.and offered students a mantra: "Never let anyone define who they want you to be. You know who you are, be pro-active in your life."
The children yearning to learn more, brainstormed among themselves and asked her questions about the mode of distribution and costs involved in production. With her motto "Children+Comic books = Reading, Knowledge, Confidence and Creativity," she spoke about how the love for reading can be instilled through comic books, thereby giving education a new dimension.
Through her Rise Above Social Issues Foundation, she recognizes the power of comic books in spreading a message. She tackled social issues like bullying, gun laws and obesity. Silberkleit urged the children to believe in themselves and not get swayed by negativity. The children were each gifted a copy of "Rise Above," an anti-bullying comic book which takes this issue forward.
Going forward, Silberkleit aims to connect with schools and educators and reach out to the youth through comic book fairs.