ABOUT THE CREATOR AND THE ILLUSTRATOR
A MESSAGE FROM BILL ZIMMERMAN
I envisioned MakeBeliefsComix.com as a place for you to come to and have fun by creating your own world of comic strips. My hope is that by giving you a choice of characters with different moods and the chance to write words and thoughts for them, you will tap into your creativity and explore new possibilities. After all, there is no greater force in life than the power of the imagination to free us from our immediate problems and to spur our energies to find solutions to our befuddlements.
MakeBeliefsComix is for people of all ages who like to play and explore. They include, for example, those wanting a few minutes of fun; youngsters and their parents; students and teachers; business executives trying to unwind from the stress of work, and activities directors and social workers who try to help people express their deepest thoughts and feelings. My intent is that you will regard this site as a safe place where you feel empowered to create and to test new ideas and ways to communicate through art and writing.
Increasingly, teachers, educational therapists and parents who work with special needs students are finding MakeBeliefsComix.com a useful resource in helping their youngsters express themselves and communicate. To help them we have just launched a new Special Needs section which features ideas and tips sent to us by those who use the site with students who have a wide array of disabilities. We encourage you to send us your suggestions, too. We have also introduced new comic characters with physical disabilities to reflect the diversity of users, including those with special needs.
Since launching this site in late 2006, there have been over 22 million site visits to MakeBeliefsComix.com from more than 200 countries. Many of them have been educators who use the site with students to encourage writing, reading and literacy and the learning of English. In fact, Google and UNESCO selected MakeBeliefsComix as one of the world's most innovative web sites in fostering literacy and reading.
Many of you have encouraged us and made invaluable suggestions. Acting on your feedback, we have added additional fun characters and incorporated a new feature to allow users to write their comics in languages other than English, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin and Portuguese. (We're hoping to offer Chinese, Japanese and Korean language support soon.) And because we have learned how important word-of-mouth is to build a community of users for this resource, we also added a new Tell-A-Friend page which we hope you will use to share the site with friends and colleagues. There is also a Feedback page for you to tell us how to make the site more useful and fun. Please use it - we want to be the best.
Many of you after enjoying this comix site then asked for more writing prompts and ideas to help you express yourself. To this end, we have linked MakeBeliefsComix.com to my other web site, www.billztreasurechest.com, and to my writing prompts blog, Somethingtowriteabout.com, on which new writing prompts are regularly added. The MENU OF WRITING PROMPTS / TOOLS button at the bottom left will take you there. Have a look.
And we have expanded our MAKE BELIEFS COMIX PRINTABLES section to include more than 700 graphic writing prompts in 50 categories to help students write and express themselves. There, you can print out comix templates from this site as well as pages from my books and use at home, school and in the office to write on and color - another way to have fun and express all the creativity within you. And, now, you can pin your favorable printables to your Pinterest pages. Just click the PRINTABLES button in the menu above!
Because some many educators are now using our site to help students learn the English language, we also have launched a new section, MakeBeliefsComix for ESOL/Literacy Students. Please give it a look.
P.S. After you complete each comic strip, you can print it out and color and create your own home comix library, or email the strip to a friend or relative. You can also use the comic strip to create personalized messages or greeting card stories for family and friends and to celebrate special times in their lives. Wouldn't you like to receive one on your own birthday or when you're in need of cheering up?
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
TOM BLOOM is an artist who finds an escape route in every blank piece of paper that passes across his desk. Over the years he has drawn for many books and publications, including The New York Times, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and National Geographic for Kids. Tom has also illustrated many of Bill Zimmerman's books, including the best-selling Pocket Doodles For Kids.
ABOUT THE CREATOR BILL ZIMMERMAN • (READ AN INTERVIEW WITH ZIMMERMAN)
Author Bill Zimmerman still remembers when as a boy the best day of the week was Sunday morning when his father would go out for newspapers and bring them back with their glorious comics sections. What joy! Bill would then spend the morning going over every comic strip, following the adventures of his favorite characters, looking at the beautiful illustrations and color pages and trying to spell out the words and stories in the balloons. Simply heaven! Growing up, he collected comic books by the hundreds, traded them with his friends, and wouldn't sit down to a meal without a comic book by his plate.
Many years later, he wrote and created a comic activity book of his own called "Make Beliefs: A Gift for Your Imagination" which used drawings by illustrator Tom Bloom (the artist for this site) and asked magical questions which readers could respond to in the form of drawings and writings. This was followed by "Make Beliefs for Kids of All Ages."
A journalist and prize–winning newspaper editor, Zimmerman for 13 years created an interactive, syndicated Student Briefing Page for Newsday newspaper to teach young people about current events. It pioneered the use of interactive techniques found in his books to encourage young readers to express their opinions about the world they live in and brought in hundreds of thousands of letters. The page was nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize. At Newsday, Bill also created a series of comic books to teach history and current events to young readers.
During the past 20 years Bill also has written more than 2 dozen books. His work has been featured on the Today Show, PBS's acclaimed Ancestors Series, in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and such magazines as Family Circle, Parents, Esquire, Business Week, and Essence.