Orca Books sent me a review copy of Media Meltdown, a graphic novel about media literacy for kids, written by Liam O'Donnell and illustrated by Mike Deas.
The premise of Media Meltdown is to teach kids how to question the media they get, and to make their own. It follows the adventures of a group of kids who have discovered that the local monster-home developer is up to no good, and is getting away with it because he's a heavy advertiser with the town's only media company, which owns the newspaper, stadium, and TV station. Working together, they break the story on their own, using the Web, and along the way they learn to analyze the media they receive, to use that analysis in making their own media, and to work with others to get their message across (there's also a surprise appearance of this blog, which had me laughing aloud).
Media Meltdown is a good mix of instructional and narrative comic, using the medium's strengths to illustrate how media is made, and giving kids the tools they need to research media-making for themselves. The mystery plot is simple, but has some good tension and twists, and the resolution is really sweet. Understanding how media gets made and learning to make your own media are critical skills for kids, and this is a great starting-point.