By Dan Johnson
Madison, WI— Westfield Comics, MagazineLiteracy.org, Comics for Heroes, and Reading with Pictures are joining forces to collect comics for Inuit schools and families north of the Arctic Circle. The “Arctic Airlift for Literacy” will get comics donated by consumers at both of Westfield Comics’ locations, on Williamson St. and Mineral Point Rd. in Madison, Wisconsin, and send them to schools for Inuit families in Kugluktuk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk and Cambridge Bay, Canada.
The Inuit Population of the Canadian Arctic, totaling over 30,000, have inhabited their land for thousands of years, and, along with a very rich oral tradition, are very artistic. The official languages of the Inuit are Inuktitut, Inuinaqtunn and English. The comics were requested by school leaders to promote literacy for young people in remote regions where it is difficult to acquire reading materials.
Individuals interested in donating can bring comics or purchase them at either Westfield Comics location at 944 Williamson St. or 7475 Mineral Point Rd. #22 Madison, Wisconsin between Tuesday, November 5th and Friday, November 15th. Preferred donations are all-ages titles and comics intended for teens or younger.
“One of the most common things we see is a parent in need of finding something that will interest their child in reading,” said Bob Moreau, manager of Westfield Comics’ Mineral Point Rd. location. “Comics are a great starting place for kids to learn how to read. Today, there’s a variety of colorful and popular characters as well as a variety of titles that are tailor-made for children of a wide age range,” he explained.
The Madison comics drive with Westfield Comics is being organized by MagazineLiteracy.org team leader Daniel Johnson, and is an extension of the effort put into motion by Comics For Heroes, which is organizing drives in other cities.
“As someone who developed a lot of reading skills from comics, I can attest to how powerful a literacy tool comics can be,” Johnson said.
“We are all citizens of the world and businesses like Westfield Comics and leaders like Daniel Johnson are our super heroes,” said John Mennell, founder of MagazineLiteracy.org. “Freedom and prosperity depend on literacy and collaboration – these are universal ideals, and comics and magazines are especially powerful reading resources,” he added.
Comics For Heroes’ mission is to get comics to those who aren’t able to get them on their own, and use comics as tools to promote literacy, education, and make a difference. The organization gets donated comics to troops overseas, and to kids in schools, children’s hospitals, and other places where they can make a difference.
Reading With Pictures was founded in 2009 by award-winning graphic novelist and nationally syndicated cartoonist Josh Elder in order to revolutionize the role of comics in education. Reading With Pictures promotes comics as engaging, efficient and effective educational tools for the classroom, and has set out to share the power of comics with pupils in every school.
MagazineLiteracy.org gets new and recycled magazines to at-risk children and families via literacy programs, with community volunteers and crowdfunded by consumers and businesses via the online Magazine Literacy Marketplace. The Inuit initiative will be supplied with magazines collected by the Duffy family, our ambassadors for the project in Canada, with logistics provided by the Mid-Range Computer Group Inc., located in Markham, Ontario. Leading that effort, along with Dan and Beth Duffy, are their two children, Eddie and Rachel, who are organizing magazine drives for the Inuit families in their community and school.