Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Flight Explorer, Missile Mouse, and Language

Over at All Ages Reads they give a nice review for Flight Explorer. However she brought up a good point about the language in my Missile Mouse story and it's appropriateness for the classroom. In Tracy's review she says:
"On the Flight blog, Kazu wrote, “After hearing from many booksellers and librarians that there weren’t very many high quality all-ages comics available for their youngest readers, we decided that a volume of Flight containing only the stories with the youngest readers in mind would be a great solution to the problem.” Hurray! What a fabulous idea!

Um, well, it would have been, with one – actually two – very small exceptions. While the stories in Flight Explorer are imaginative, colorful, well-written, and appeal to not only kids but to everyone, I cannot bring it into my classroom or give it to the school library.

In the story Missile Mouse, the eponymous character says, “Holy crap!” and “Oh crap.” That’s it. The same word, used twice, has cut this book out of many classrooms and libraries in America."

I regret that word is in there. When I wrote and drew Missile Mouse it was originally for FLIGHT 4, a book popular with teenagers, college kids and adults. When Volume 4 got too cumbersome Kazu felt this would be the perfect time to make EXPLORER (an idea a lot of us had been pushing for since the first few volumes of Flight came out) with the stories he felt were best suited for younger audiences. My Missile Mouse story was one of the stories chosen for the book and because I was so focused on other stuff I didn't think to go back through and recheck the content for a kid audience. It wasn't until last week when I ordered the book off Amazon (still haven't received my comps) that a coworker was reading through it and said "Hey there's the word crap in here, you don't mind you kids reading that word?" I couldn't believe it. She passed me the book and there it was, I had totally forgot about it. Then after reading through it again I found the second crap, again totally forgetting it was there too. Had I remembered this I would've changed it to "cripes!" or "trousers!" or something funnier. I'm going to push changing the two craps in the second printing of the book.

Anyway, in the bigger scope of things kids have their whole lives to be adults. Anything I can do to protect their innocence is a net gain for society. Because children who are allowed to be children grow up to be adults who act like adults. That's why as creators for children we should be mindful of what we are creating for them.

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