IF you can survive junior high, you can survive ANYTHING!! (I Swear) –Jace Smith, “Tips for Surviving Middle School,” Stuck in the Middle
In this post, we look at Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an UNPLEASANT Age, edited by Ariel Schrag. Stuck in the Middle is an anthology of comics by critically acclaimed cartoonists who take a bitingly honest look back at their “awkward” middle-school years, reflecting upon them with sensitivity and some humor. Many of the pieces, however lack resolution, making them unsettling — much like those teenage years themselves. While some may find this format haunting and less kid-friendly, the stories serve as outstanding opportunities to brainstorm and problem solve.
King was originally published in three volumes (1993-2002, Fantagraphics Books), went out of print in 2006, and was republished in a Special Edition, 2010. While very briefly introducing his father’s influence upon him, King focuses most of its attention on MLK’s adult path and his role in the civil rights movement. We learn about King through a weaving of first- and third-person narratives, providing personal glimpses and insights into the man (versus the legend). We learn why he was loved, feared, hated, and revered. We learn how he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott; how he founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and their Crusade for Citizenship, Freedom Rides, Lunch Counter Boycotts, Project C, and Birmingham Manifesto; we read about the March on Washington and his “I Have a Dream” speech (among others); his role in Chicago and CORE and his growing struggle promoting non-violent protests; and his tragic death in 1968. Aside from King’s own personal life, we also learn of his relationship with his colleagues, communities, and with politicians such as the Kennedys and Lyndon B. Johnson. We learn not only about what he did, but how he navigated through politics and social change.
In this post, we take a closer look at March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf, 2013). We highlight it here as it sensitively documents Americans’ struggle for equal rights and civil liberties, and because this award-winning graphic novel is an excellent book to read, learn, and discuss for Black History Month.
March: Book One begins the trilogy of Representative John Lewis’s graphic novel memoire, co-written with his aide Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. It is a critically acclaimed best-seller that received the 2013 Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award by the American Library Association and has been named one of the best books of 2013 by USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, ComicsAlliance, and others."
Until recently, comics were confiscated, banned and frowned upon in schools. With advances in computer technology and graphics, a surge of outstanding works, and from a push from librarians and teachers, they are now being integrated in school and home libraries and classrooms.
Below is a closer look at the course comics and graphic novels have taken in and out of the classrooms But, before we look at the course of comics, here are some resources explaining why graphic novels fit in most classrooms, along with suggested reading lists and teaching suggestions:
Welcome to Using Graphic Novels in Education, an ongoing feature from CBLDF that is designed to allay confusion around the content of graphic novels and to...
Meryl Jaffe, PhD's insight:
Amulet introduces us to wonderfully faceted characters — robots that bring to mind Star Wars; steampunk robot houses; elves; anthropomorphic foxes, rabbits, and cats; all sorts of flying machines piloted by children and robots; and more.
Through exciting twists and turns, Amulet deals with familial responsibilities, coming of age, finding the courage to face unwanted challenges, and the importance of teamwork. In each volume we ride a roller coaster of plot twists, along with outstanding art, graphic design, and character development.
These books are geared for kids 7+ and can be easily integrated into language arts and social studies lessons for grades 2-6. Read on for lesson suggestions, resources and links!
In this episode, we present a live panel from New York Comic Con 2013, featuring a Who's Who in All-Ages Graphic Novels. The panel is a roundtable on using Comics in the Classroom, and we hear from (among others) author and educator Meryl Jaffe, author Jenni Holm (Babymouse, Squish), cartoonist Matt Holm (Babymouse, Squish), cartoonist Eric Wight (My Dead Girlfriend, Frankie Pickle), cartoonist Larry Marder (Beanworld), and more.
They discuss: comics as an education tool, recommended reading for kids, and more.
Hope Larson tells a strong story about friendship, loyalty, and choices and provides card game and friendship bracelet instructions, making this a heart-warming summer choice for young teenagers.
The rest of the story is up to you to read and enjoy.
In short, Chiggers is about friendship, camp cliques, and games, and learning from both good and bad choices. It is recommended for young teens and older. In addition to Larson’s nuanced characters and summer exploits Chiggers is about:
Navigating friendships in and out of cliques;Taking ownership for decisions and learning from them;Dealing with the need to belong while maintaining individuality and independence;An honest look at the ins and outs of summer sleep-away camp.
"How does a weaker minority dominate a physically superior majority? In my research I learned that this is accomplished by destroying the slave’s mind. More effective than whips and guns was the simple act of outlawing the teaching of slaves to read and to write." - Nat Turner
In this post, we take a closer look at Nat Turner by Kyle Baker. While originally self-published in four issues, it was soon picked up and published as a single edition by Harry N. Abrams (2008). Nat Turner received the Glyph award for Best Artist, Best Cover, and for Best Story of the Year, 2006; the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, 2006; and the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album — Previously Published, 2009. This work also received an Eisner Award nomination for Best Limited Series, 2006; and Harvey Award nominations for Best Writer, Best Artist and Best Single Issue or Story, 2009. Library Journal gave it a starred review noting, “Baker’s suspenseful and violent work documents the slave trade’s atrocities as no textbook can, with an emotional power approaching that of Maus.”