Finally, my five year-old girl and I have something to read together that we can not only both agree on, but we can talk about afterwards. I’m talking about what has become a prized possession of aforementioned young child: The Big Book of Girl Power (Downtown Bookworks, New York) and I can’t begin to tell you how much joy this book has brought to my geek-dad heart.
Geeks are naturally predisposed towards sharing their fandoms with their kids. After all, it’s their fandoms that keep them young in spirit but at the same time, it allows them to approach their kids on even playing terms and to act as a joyful guide in introducing the wonder of these imaginative creations to them.
Super-heroes are natural devices to encourage kids to exercise their imaginations through reading. What child doesn’t want to believe that perhaps one day they might have super powers? That’s such a rush for a kid. But more important, I want my daughter to dream that she can have power in this world too, and to see a collection of super-powered women who are visualizing that dream by describing the super-heroines in the DC Comics continuum is not just me celebrating my nerdiness, but I like to believe it’s also being a good dad.
Let me summarize the conversation I had with my daughter after reading this treasury. First of all, my girl loves that Wonder Woman isn’t a princess who likes jewels and castles; but she couldn’t figure out why she wanted to leave Paradise Island. When she learned that it was to help people, we eventually turned to a conversation that when you have the ability or chance to help someone, you should.
You can’t put a price on that moment of parent-child bonding.
Even my wife, who normally looks with disdain on my comic craze habit, had to admit that, yes, this was a father-daughter moment that will never be forgotten by our kid. She’ll always remember Daddy and her talking about super-women and how they can make changes in this world just as good as their male counter-parts. Nerd-dads rule.
What I really liked about The Big Book of Girl Power, aside from the opportunity to talk about making positive changes in the world, was that my daughter began to imagine herself with super-powers. Not super-strength or heat vision, but it guided her to think about herself in a positive light. We talked about what she was good at. She saw herself as smart (for reading the book), as helpful (she likes to comfort the crying children in her kindergarten class) and talented too. In fact, she thought that maybe she could draw a book like this about super-powered kids, as she likes to draw too.
This book brought about dreams from a five-year old, and in a technological world dominated by visual stimulation and electronic entertainment, it was so refreshing to see a book invoke that response in a child. As a teacher, it’s so appreciated to see that happen, and as a parent, so loved.
Even the art was good. The illustrations by Scott Kolins were definitely in keeping with classic DC style, but the critical comic fan in me though would have liked to have seen acknowledgements to the roster of DC artists who had worked on these characters in the past, like Curt Swann, Jim Aparo, Carmine Infantino and George Perez. While a five year old may not be able to appreciate the importance of those legendary creators, her Daddy would.
Still, the importance and influence of this book isn’t to be underrated. This is a great opportunity for those Super-Hero lovin’, four-colour comic fans to impart their passion to their children and to care for the next generation of comic readers.
My daughter’s choice of night-time reading is on a five day streak with this title. The Big Book of Girl Power hits so many positive themes: empowerment of women, early literacy development, positive role-models, good parenting and especially, good fathering. While there are mothers out there who love a good comic, this is a chance for those nerd-dads to put their knowledge and passion of comics to good use and to become the super-hero their daughters think they are.