Since its inception as a 2012 Kickstarter, the Reading With Pictures project has gone from strength to strength, culminating in a gorgeous, attractively produced hardcover graphic anthology of delightful comic stories that slot right into standard curriculum in science, math, social studies and language arts.

The 2014 edition, Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter (also available as a DRM-free ebook) works in tandem with a rich, well-organized collection of teaching materials that help educators use the book with kids from grade 3 to 6, as well as scholarly research on the use of comics in teaching.

As much-decorated comics creator — and former high school teacher — Gene Luen Yang points out in his introduction, comics once held pride of place in America's classrooms. In 1944, the Journal of Educational Sociology devoted a whole issue to the subject. But when the moral panic about comics struck in the 1950s, they were purged.

Reading With Pictures's contributors are drawn from the ranks of some of comics' most-beloved professionals, and include a few people who, like Yang, also work or worked as classroom teachers (the project's founder, Josh Elder, has taught comics in the classroom workshops for teachers for many years).

This mix of educational expertise and comics greatness is hard to beat. There isn't a single dud among the 15 stories in this book, and there are too many standouts to pick just one (or even two!). For example:

* The Adventures of Dr Sputnik: Moan of Science! in "Force and Motion": a hilarious rollick through Newton's laws of motion, in which a mad professor and his hapless assistant (and the semi-preserved head of Isaac Newton, in a jar of formaldehyde) slapstick their way through all three laws.

* Probamon! "Gotta Chance 'Em All!" A hapless addict of a certain collectable card game keeps getting his butt kicked — until he learns to use probability tables to formulate his strategies.

* The Black Brigade: A moving and subversive look at the black Empire Loyalists who fought for Britain in the US Revolutionary War, convinced that an independent America would turn slave.

* George Washington: Action President: A MAD Magazine-grade, irreverent biography of America's first president that strips off his usual coat of whitewash and paints a portrait of a man with real flaws as well as resolve and cunning.

The Reading With Comics project is a going concern, creating materials, curriculum, and events that help with the mission to restore great comics to the classroom.

Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter [Josh Elder/Andrews & McMeel]