Flash Facts is a DC Comics graphic novel for kids featuring a robust collection of STEM short stories. Curated by Big Bang Theory actress, author, and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, each of these stories feature DC characters explaining a different principle of STEM in a way that is fun for kids. This collection seamlessly brings together superheroes and science.
I was provided with a free ARC of Flash Facts from DC Entertainment. All opinions are my own.
Each of the stories collected in Flash Facts include a variety of DC superheroes each with their own STEM topic. It’s not purely an information dump; there is some plot involved in each story as well. It reminds me a bit of the Magic School Bus series I read when I was a kid. I was always more of a English and History person than I was Math and Science, but books like these did fascinate me as a child. It’s very possible that if this book existed when I was young, I would have been more interested in STEM topics.
The first story, “Fast Tracks,” written by Sholly Fisch and illustrated by Isaac Goodheart, appropriately features Barry Allen, the Flash. He speaks directly to the reader about forensics. For each aspect he explains, he also gives the reader an illustrative example that they can try on their own. What is fun about this story is that Barry takes the reader through the process of identifying a criminal from start to finish and gives them the opportunity to figure out whodunit before being provided with the answer.
One of my favorite stories in this collection is, “If You Can’t Take the Heat,” written by twins Varian and Darian Johnson and drawn by Vic Regis. The story features Batman and Plastic Man trying to take down the villain Firefly. Unfortunately, Plastic Man accidentally revealed their position and Firefly got away. Thankfully, due to Batman’s quick thinking he was able to make Bat-armor that could withstand Firefly’s flames by using a 3D printer. Throughout the story, Batman explains to Plastic Man how 3D printing works. What Batman uses for his base material is the best part!
Another fun story, particularly because of its art style is “Human Extremes,” written and illustrated by Kirk Scroggs and lettered by Steve Wands. It features Swamp Kid and Swamp Thing and discusses the body and how it handles different extremes such as swimming in very cold water. What makes this story so great from an art perspective is that it looks like it was drawn on notebook paper with pen, pencil, and colored pencils. This story is being told by a school kid and looks like it was created by one too.
Other stories in this collection feature Poison Ivy, Cyborg and Beast Boy from Teen Titans Go!, Jessica Cruz from DC Superhero Girls, Atom and Mary Marvel, Supergirl, Aquaman and Mera, and Kid Flash. They discuss subjects such as DNA, virtual reality, electricity, the structure of atoms, space, the ocean, and the weather/climate change.
Flash Facts, geared toward children ages 8-12, is a great resource for parents and teachers looking to supplement their children’s education. These stories were written with guidance from educational experts to ensure scientific accuracy.
At the end of the book there are links to additional resources that parents and children can access for more information, along with a number of science experiments that go along with the subjects covered throughout. A note for parents: some of these experiments, depending on the age of the child, should have parent supervision to complete.
Overall, I find Flash Facts to be a fun educational book that children would enjoy. From an adult’s perspective, I did not feel like the graphic novel speaks down to children at all, nor is it over their heads either. These characters take time to explain their given topics but are not super basic about it. They are not written purely as informational either. Each has a story involved which makes it and even more enjoyable learning experience. I will admit, I learned some things I didn’t know as well!
I would highly recommend Flash Facts for children who are both interested and not so interested in STEM topics. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. I hope to see DC Comics do more graphic novels for kids that touch on educational topics in the future. (Maybe one on my favorite topic: history!) I think they could prove to be a valuable learning resource for educators, parents, and children alike.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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