Flash Facts is a fantastic way for parents to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to their kids. If there’s an opportunity for me to teach my kids about STEM, or expand their own interest, having a collection of comic book stories as an educational resource is a perfect reason to be excited about Flash Facts. As I have homeschooled my kids this past year, some of their favorite activities have involved experiments of some kind. Clearly, the interest with STEM is there, so you can believe how quickly I jumped on the opportunity to bring this anthology into my home. You could say I was quick as… a Flash.
This DC Comics graphic novel for kids has been put together with amazing creators, with the support of educational experts who have taught physics, chemistry, biology, or specialize in “hands-on STEM learning and the use of comics in K-12 education.” One of these experts is what some (or I) would call the ultimate geeky parent: award-winning actress and New York Times best-selling author Mayim Bialik, PhD. Bialik has not only played beloved characters like Amy Farrah Fowler and Blossom, but she also has a BS and PhD in neuroscience from UCLA and is parent of two boys.
STEM + Comics = Fun Learning² – Headache
“This book is your fun, fascinating, and fantastic guide to everything in the STEM world in a way you’ve never seen it before.” – Mayim Bialik, PhD
Nothing could be truer about Flash Facts. It is absolutely unique in its approach to providing an all-ages learning experience when it comes to all things in the STEM world. It is truly remarkable to have such a collection of superheroes navigate the world of forensics, electricity, atomic physics, and climate change to name a few. All the while, the many talented creators generate an overarching theme that learning can be an exciting adventure, and sometimes, “Adventures are much more fun when we have them together.”
Needless to say, my kids are thrilled about flipping through these pages. Even as I have attempted to write this very article, my daughter has asked me fifty-seven times to read Flash Facts, because she is in love with Teen Titans Go! As a parent, I love how much she wants to dive back into characters she’s familiar with, while also seeing wonderful artwork and messages throughout. It’s encouraging that she wants to read, and even more so that she has an educational resource in comic book form.
I’m not saying I told them they could watch a movie while I wrote this article, and that they’re currently watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I’m not saying that at all. *stares blankly*
Brilliant Instructional Storytelling
The stories within Flash Facts represent so many things: mysteries to solve, oceans to explore, and science projects to research. There is an all-ages environment displayed within the pages, making it a comfortable learning environment with simple explanations of how things work. Plus, it always helps to add a little humor into the mix to help a child learn – or explain how difficult parenting can be when it comes to “twenty questions.”
One chapter, featuring Batman, Alfred, and Plastic Man, does a wonderful job explaining how to build new things with a 3D printer, in their efforts to create a thermally resistant material. Writers Varian Johnson and Darian Johnson generate a comical chemistry between this dynamic trio, while artist Vic Regis adds fun illustrations, overall displaying how to learn something new and have fun while doing it. Oh, you can’t have a great Batman story without wonderful letters to indicate sound effects, of which letterer Wes Abbott’s touch is spot on.
Elsewhere in Gotham City, Poison Ivy’s three children are up to no good. They’re having fun! Then, they begin to ask questions. What is a parent to do when you have a research paper to write and your kids start asking questions about DNA? No, she didn’t put on a movie (*laughs nervously*), she takes her kids on a field trip. She takes them to the Gotham Botanical Gardens, where they learn about DNA and how it is part of all living things. Swamp Thing makes an appearance, as well, to help them learn. Fortunately, when the kids start asking too many questions, Swamp Thing only has to vanish into the dirt to escape.
Writer Amy Chu wonderfully captures Poison Ivy’s curious children and the trying life of a parent, especially when trying to homeschool. Artist Ile Gonzalez creates vibrant colors and expressive characters to highlight the full scope of what it means to learn; even as a parent, “Homeschooling is very, very difficult.” Though, being able to introduce your kids to an African plant that’s over 1000 years old is very, very cool.
Overall Assessment for Parents
This is a fascinating read for everyone! I enjoyed flipping through the pages, and the entire creative team should be applauded with the lessons being taught within them. Not only as a parent do you understand and laugh at Swamp Thing disappearing as soon as Poison Ivy’s kids start asking about where babies come from, but it’s a wonderful medium to emphasize learning about STEM.
Impactful storytelling can generate lasting bonds with fictional characters, and now those same bonds reinforce one of the most important aspect of a child’s life: education. As a parent, it’s important for my kids to learn about how things work, how our environment changes by pollution, and how finite our existence is in the grand scheme of the many galaxies in a vast universe. Whether you’re visiting our solar system with Supergirl, trying to determine what other places might support life, or you’re Cyborg and Beast Boy pretending to be Superman and Batman in virtual reality, the experiences within Flash Facts are interesting in such a way that’s absolutely sustainable.
Flash Facts should be something to get for your kids, whether or not they’ve shown an interest in STEM. They will be entertained by the stories and the introduction to the sciences might open a whole new world for them. If your kids love DC’s characters, they’ll be excited to see so many of them collected together, teaching us about how the world works. When something is done right, hopefully, it’s a lesson worth repeating. In this case, for Flash Facts and its creators, hopefully, they’ll be conducting more comic book lessons in the near future.
A sneak preview of Flash Facts is available here. Plus, head over to DC Comics to discover all of the places where to purchase Flash Facts. If you’d like to see more all-ages DC Comics covered on the Geeky Parent Guide, or other comic books in general, don’t forget to like and share this with all of your geeky friends over on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.