It comes as no surprise to me that many gifted people, children and adults, love comics. Comics have a way of making the complex simple, of generating deep and empathetic feelings, of infusing humor into unlikely situations, of exposing hypocrisy, of giving flight to our imaginations, of assuring us that we are not alone in our rich inner lives, and making us think deeply about our lives. It also comes as no surprise to me that some comics really appeal to gifted children, and to those who know and love them -- their parents and teachers.
As a gifted resource teacher, I owned a highly sought-after collection of all of the works of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic series, and these books figuratively flew off of my shelves as my students read them and recommended them to other gifted kids. This did not surprise me, either, for Calvin is the ultimate gifted kid. My students instinctively knew this, and I did, too.
While browsing the works of one of my all-time favorite writers on topics related to gifted, Ian Byrdseed, firstname.lastname@example.org, I came across this delightful blog entitled Calvin: The Unexpected Gifted Kid, and thought to myself, “He nailed it. Ian Byrdseed nailed it. This is why I love Calvin and Hobbes, and this is why my students love Calvin and Hobbes.”
According to Byrdseed, here are some recurring themes in Watterson’s cartoons that illustrate Calvin’s innate gifted characteristics:
In addition to simply enjoying Calvin and Hobbes comics, I have often used them as bibliotherapy for students, and have shared them as examples of gifted behaviors when speaking to educators and parents about gifted kids. The unadulterated audacity of Calvin, and the abiding acceptance of his ever-empathetic sidekick Hobbes, are the perfect way to elicit deep conversations about what it means to be a gifted individual, and to support gifted individuals.
If you’ve never thought about using bibliotherapy as a tool, I’d highly recommend that you think about Calvin and Hobbes comics as a starting place with kids, educators, and parents. I believe that you will be genuinely delighted with the results.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for this foray into using other perspectives to helping us understand giftedness.
Past President, WATG
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.