I was really pleased to discover that there was a local author who has written science concepts into a comic! Not just a smattering of random concepts but those specifically within the MOE syllabus. It made me think that this is one comic that parents will be happy to buy for their kids!
But there’s a more purposeful intent behind producing this series of books, beyond having them appeal to exam-conscious Singaporean parents. The author, Aurelia Tan, who was also an educator for more than 10 years, writes about how she has encountered students with varied learning styles. Some absorb information so much better, when it is not presented in the form of the usual textbook.
So it’s with these children in mind, that she has undertaken the admirable task of producing an engaging comic series, which weaves important science concepts into an adventure story. What a privileged generation of children this is.
Aurelia kindly sent over a copy of Heat & Light ($18.90) for us to review. When I opened the book, I was really wowed by the quality of the illustrations, and the care that had been taken in presenting the scientific facts in easy-to-read boxes. If I were a kid that switches off at the sight of ‘boring’ textbooks, this graphic novel as it were, would certainly make me sit up.
K was thrilled to get her hands on a new book, and I think this is one of the first graphic novels that she’s ever read. I don’t think she caught all of it, since this is pitched at 9 year olds and she had just turned 6 a few months ago. But she enjoyed it enough to keep reading through it for at least 20 minutes.
I sat next to her after a while, and explained one of the boxes to her. It was interesting to see how the cheery illustrations, and concise yet substantive explanations helped her grasp concepts such as the difference between temperature and heat.
Personally, I found the main characters (a set of boy-girl twins) really cute and reminiscent of manga anime characters, so knowing how crazy kids (and adults) are over manga, they’d be more than happy to read through the entire book, from cover to cover. And before they knew it, they’d have absorbed a whole load of (PSLE-examinable, no less! *haha*) pure science. I do agree that this is probably particularly suitable for primary school boys.
You can also see from the picture below, how one simple illustration shows that:
- Light travels in a straight line.
- A shadow is formed when a light source is partially or totally blocked by an object.
- The position of a shadow is opposite to the location of the light source.
- The shape of the shadow is similar to the outline of the object that casts the shadow.
- Opaque objects produce dark shadows.
I find it so amazing that so much can be said in one picture. And call me superficial, but I find that the quality of illustrations can really make one much more receptive to learning. In my day at least, illustrations in science textbooks were simple monochrome outlines, classy perhaps but destined to generate yawns. Now these illustrations are nothing less than works of art. I can imagine just how much work has gone in to create the storyboards, then to draw in so much detail, pane after pane.
There’s a brand of humour within that appeals particularly to kids that age, as I heard K chuckling to herself as she read. A tad slapstick to the average adult, but whatever works for the kids right? 😛
This edition of Heat & Light also comes with a mini cardboard ‘craft’ that kids can put together to further explore and internalise the function and form of shadows. Fun! Nothing like learning by doing.
Aurelia sent the book over with a sweet personal dedication, and overall, I must say that I feel pretty proud that this was an all-local if not all-Singaporean production. It just shows that we have what it takes to creatively produce interesting manga (which is educational to boot)!
Aurelia has kindly offered one copy of Heat & Light to one reader here. To enter, make sure you complete all the following:
- “Like” Harvest Edutainment’s FB page
- “Like” Lil Blue Bottle’s FB page
- Leave a comment on this Facebook post with your email address and tag a friend.
The giveaway ends on Wed 11 February 2015 and the winner will be contacted via email shortly thereafter.
You can also get a copy of Heat and Light from these retail outlets. Enjoy!