Family Comic Friday- Maker Comics: Fix a Car!
I’m a big fan of books that can both educate and entertain young readers; especially comics and graphic novels. When I find a really good one, I make sure to share it during Family Comic Friday. This week I am proud to introduce Maker Comics, a new series of graphic novels that teach a variety of subjects, including automobile maintenance! Combing a dramatic narrative with in-depth activities, I wish they made these books when I was younger.
Maker Comics: Fix a Car!
Written and Illustrated by Chris Schweizer
Published by First Second
It’s the first day of Car Club; an extracurricular activity held every Saturday. It’s lead by Mrs. Gritt, the high-school track coach. Whether you are a boy or girl, come join the fun! You don’t even have to be old enough to drive in order to participate. Just be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and some sneakers that won’t slip in oil. And be ready to have some fun!
Over the course of the next several weeks, members of Car Club will learn a variety of techniques to keep their automobiles running smoothly. From changing a tire to detailing the hood, Mrs. Gritt is there to teach the students the basics of car care. By the time Winter break puts an end to these meetings, our participants might even learn a little bit about themselves!
Go to just about any auto shop in the world and you’ll find these books called ‘Haynes guides’. They are these massive books with extremely detailed drawings of how to repair almost anything in the make and model of car covered in the guide. That’s exactly what author and illustrator Chris Schweizer does in this book. His step-by-step instructions and diagrams show amateur mechanics how to get into the bowels of their vehicles.
I have always loved cars and trucks. But I never had someone to teach me how to perform quality maintenance on an automobile. I really wish I had had something like this book to have shown me the way to do things.
Some of the activities in the car will require an adult. I’m not advocating for an 9 or 10 year old to get this book and start changing the own in their parent’s car battery by themselves. But there are a variety of things that kids crazy about cars can do at just about any age.
The easiest thing for anyone to do in this book is on how to properly clean, wash and wax a vehicle. Sure, nobody likes to clean. But if you start to teach a child with the little things and they take it serious, you can then move on to bigger and more intensive things. Plus, did you know that washing a car can actually keep it from rusting?
Gross Fun Fact– bird poop is so acidic, it can eat away at a car’s paint job!
More advanced projects in this book range from replacing a headlight/taillight to tightening a loose fan belt to changing a tire.
Not everything you need to know about fixing up your car is in the book. Changing spark plugs and rotating tires are some activities hinted upon but not covered. I wish that pumping gas was included in this book. Yes, some states require that a child be of almost driving age in order to use a gas pump. But that’s an important step in keeping your car running that is often overlooked even in driver’s ed.
Currently, there’s only 2 books in the Makers Comics line. But, First Second has several more DIY-style graphic novels on tap to premiere later this year, including ones how to create a superhero costume and how to plant a garden. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the other book currently out on the market by First Second, Bake Like A Pro! Once I do, that will be a focus in my semi-regular column, Cooking Geeky.
Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton has a famous saying. ‘If your kids loves superheroes, then dammit, buy them comic books!’ Forgive the salty language, but the Roots actor is right. Do everything you can to get the next generation reading.
I would amend Burton’s advice to say that if the young reader in your life is interested in cars then buy them this book. Society is losing a number of skilled labor jobs not to immigrant workers but to colleges and other institutions of higher learning. With a focus on computers and math and physics, everyday science skills such as botany and auto mechanics is dying out. Do you know how much a certified mechanic makes in a year? Let’s just say that I had Maker Comics around when I was a kid, I’d have my house paid off within just 1 years worth of work under the hood.
Taking visual learning to the next level, Maker Comics promises to teach valuable and fun skills to car enthusiasts of all ages. A little bit technical at times, this book does go step-by-step. So readers can work on projects at their own pace! A must for anyone who wants to share the experience of working on cars with a special youngster in their life!
Maker Comics: Fix a Car! Debuted in print and digital formats on February 5, 2019.
For more Family Comic Friday and other reviews, check out my blog: Madman with a Book!