Tag Archives: school

Mom Carries On Son’s Memory With Comic Book Class

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While budget cuts have lead to art and music being taken away from a Paterson, New Jersey school, one mother has decided to honor the memory of her child by allowing students to participate in comic book writing workshops, taught by professional comic book writer Alex Simmons.  The Christopher Barron Live Life Foundation also is helping make this possible.

Suzanne Barron lost her son to Leukemia in 2007.  Her son Christopher loved creating comic books, even selling them on their front lawn.

Students at School 21 lost their arts program due to budget cuts, even losing their librarian.  The workshop runs for six weeks.

CBS New York has video of the story.

Going to College This Fall? Here’s Your Possible Reading List.

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One of the great listservs I’m on consists of numerous comic book scholars which includes numerous teachers and Professors.  As the college year is set to begin many shared their reading lists (comics and books on the subject) for the upcoming semester.  Below in no particular order is what was shared:

Krazy & Ignatz in Tiger Tea
Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown vol. 1
X-men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
Valentino: Vignettes
Vertigo: First Offenses

The Castafiore Emerald
Essential Spider-Man vol. 2
Signal to Noise
City of Glass
The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.
Ice Haven

The Cage
How to be Everywhere
Kings in Disguise

The Lonely War of Willy Schultz
The Power of Comics
Understanding Comics
Akira, Vol. 1
Shooting War
9/11 Report
The Photographer

The Power of Comics: History, Form, and Culture
Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book
Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America
The Ten-Cent-Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America
The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics
The Best of the Spirit
The Essential Fantastic Four, Volume 1
Icon: A Hero’s Welcome
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
The McCloud Trilogy
Men of Tomorrow
Seduction of the Innocent
Comix: the Underground Revolution
Reading Comics
The Power of Comics

Missouri State University to Offer Graphic Novel Course

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DiplomaMissouri State University will be offering a course through the English Department focused on graphic novels.  Dr. W.D. Blackmon and course instructor Jen Murvin Edwards decided that graphic novels were at a point that they deserve respect and needed to be taught in a course.

The course will run from August 9 through August 13 and will be open to members of the community for non-credit.  The course will focus on the criticism of graphic novels as well as how they are developed.

The course will also feature a guest appearance by Matt Kindt whose graphic novel 3 Story is being made into a movie.

All-Ages Comic Anthology Featuring Jill Thompson and Fred Van Lente Raises Money to Bring Comics into the Classroom

Official Press Release
Reading With PicturesChicago, IL February, 2010—Beginning February 22 and running through May 22, the educational non-profit Reading With Pictures will be taking orders for its all-ages comic anthology on Kickstarter.com (http://kck.st/a2LVJy). The full-color, 192-page anthology features a cover by Jill Thompson (The Sandman) and all-new stories by more than 50 cartoonists including Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man), Jeffrey Brown (Sulk), Jim Gownley (Amelia Rules), Raina Telgemeier (The Baby-Sitter’s Club), Chris Giarrusso (Mini-Marvels), Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle), the Fillbach Brothers (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and RWP Executive Director Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja).

In addition to selling signed softcover and limited-edition hardcover editions of the anthology, Reading With Pictures is offering several unique opportunities for high-level donors to live the dream and become comic book characters by being drawn into the anthology by their favorite artists. Other incentive packages include digital downloads and bulk-rate discounts for teachers and librarians.

“I believe in bringing comics into the classroom because comics were my ‘secret weapons’ in school,” says Executive Director Josh Elder. “All the creators involved in this anthology volunteered their time and considerable talents because they believe it too. Comics made us all better students, better citizens and better people, and we know they can do the same for everyone.”

The anthology centers around the theme of education, and each story contains engaging and entertaining educational content. Trevor Mueller and Gabriel Bautista tell the story of alien exchange student and his human classmates traveling back in time to learn about dinosaurs firsthand. In Kevin Pyle’s “The Order of the Secret Pencil,” a boy learns to read and write through the use of comics. The sciences are also represented along with the humanities when Chris Eliopoulos, an animation director for Yo Gabba Gabba! on Nick Jr., explains the unique biology of the electric eel.

Money raised from sales of the anthology will pay for the printing of the anthology itself and provide the majority of funding for Reading With Pictures during its critical startup period. That funding will allow Reading With Pictures to forge ahead with its ambitious slate of groundbreaking projects to revolutionize the use of comics in the classroom. These include a partnering with Northwestern University to conduct the most comprehensive research study in U.S. history on comics as educational tools, creating a searchable, interactive database of comic-centric curriculum and providing recommended reading lists for all ages, interests and subjects.

Reading With Pictures’ Executive Director Josh Elder and all anthology creators are available for interview. High-resolution images from the anthology will also be made available upon request. For more information, please contact Media Director Michael Moreci or visit our Kickstarter site (http://kck.st/a2LVJy) for all the latest news, previews, and updates.


Reading With Pictures was founded in 2009 by award-winning graphic novelist and nationally syndicated cartoonist Josh Elder in order to revolutionize the role of comics in education. The organization has since grown to comprise eight board members drawn from publishing and academia, including John Shableski, Sales Manager for Diamond Book Distributors, and David Rapp, an Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Cognitive Psychology at Northwestern University. We also engage the talents of more than 60 active volunteers from all over the world in various capacities.

At Reading With Pictures, we believe that comics have the potential to be more engaging, more efficient and more effective educational tools than traditional classroom materials. We believe it because we’ve experienced it in our own lives. Comics made us better students, better citizens and better people. Now we hope to share those experiences with pupils in every city, in every school and in every classroom.


  • Partnering with Northwestern University and other academic institutions to oversee the largest and most comprehensive research study in U.S. history on the role of comics in education
  • Building an interactive database of research papers, lesson plans and comic-centric curriculum
  • Providing educational consultation services to schools and publishers
  • Working with cartoonists to produce top-quality educational comics
  • Helping universities design courses in the burgeoning field of Comics Studies
  • Creating a Speakers Bureau to get cartoonists into schools and libraries
  • Aggregating graphic novel reviews from various accredited sources and generating recommended reading lists for every age group and subject matter


Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum. At Reading With Pictures, we get comics into schools and get schools into comics.

Website www.readingwithpictures.org

Email info@readingwithpictures.org

Facebook www.facebook.com/ReadingWithPictures

Twitter www.twitter.com/ReadingWithPix

Reading With Pictures

Reading With Pictures

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Comicvine turned us on to the charity Reading With Pictures, a relatively new charity involved in using comic books in an academic sense.  From their website:

Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum. At Reading With Pictures, we get comics into schools and get schools into comics.

The charity was founded in 2009 by cartoonist Josh Elder and comprises of 8 board members and currently 60 volunteers.  Current projects include working with universities on a study of the use of comic books in education, an interactive database of research papers on the subject, consulting with schools, helping to design courses in comic stories, helping with a speakers bureau and putting together a list of graphic novel reviews based on appropriate age level.

There are numerous ways to get involved now.  From their website.

-We are looking for talented web designers to help us create a new website!

-We are currently preparing our 501(c)(3) paperwork to become a tax-exempt non-profit, and we are seeking attorneys or accountants who have experience preparing Form 1023.

-We plan to create a clearinghouse for comic-based curriculum, and we will soon be looking for someone with experience building and maintaining databases.

-We are putting together graphic novel starter kits for school libraries, and we are looking for publishers who are interested in donating books.

-We have a number of fundraising plans in place, including an online art auction in late 2009 and the creation of a benefit anthology in early 2010. If you would like to contribute original artwork for the auction or a short comic for the benefit book, please read our press release or contact us for more information!

-Reading With Pictures does accept donations. If you are interested in contributing seed money to help our organization obtain tax-exempt status and begin our projects, please contact us directly. Donations will be retroactively tax-exempt once we have received 501(c)(3) status.

Even with a pretty sparse website you can become a fan of the organization on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Korea’s Educational Comics

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The Obama StoryThe Korean Times is reporting that educational comic books are flourishing in Korea as a new way to grab the attention of children and engage teachers and adults.  That wave of educational comics is making it’s way across the seas to here in the United States.

A comic bio series in English published by Dasan Books has been adopted as supplementary textbooks at a U.S. elementary school in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Fort Lee Elementary School announced it will use “The Obama Story,” “The Bill Gates Story” and “The Charles Darwin Story” for history, social studies and bilingual education classes for the second half of this year. The three books are part of the comic biography series aimed at third to sixth graders.

In February 2009 Dasan Books even opened up a branch in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to enter the U.S. market. Six biography comics have so far been produced, including ones about Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Hillary Clinton. By August, volumes on Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Stephen Hawking will be released.  Their plan is to release 50 bio comics over the next 18 months.

The Obama Story clocks in at 200 pages and targets children ages 8 to 12.  It focuses on his life from his early child hood up to his recent election as President.

The comic biography series is available in some nations in North America and Asia via online bookstores.

Teacher Uses Comic Books to Teach Students

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Jeremy Belcher needed a way to get his students excited to learn and has turned to comic books and superheros to teach to his Kentucky students.  Belcher’s new superhero instruction unit challenges students to use their writing skills to create stories about their heroes’ backgrounds, their math skills to make graphs and charts of their heroes’ powers and their science skills to explain how their heroes’ powers work.  Belcher even incorporated social studies by having students choose hometowns for their heroes and then research those cities.

Inspired by another teacher at North Bullitt High School and seeing the idea work, Belcher brought the five-week unit to his students at Mount Washington Middle School.  The comic book spin causes the students to become focused, engaged and excited.

Post winter break the students will begin to work on villains to go along with their hero creations.

This isn’t the first time teachers have gone to comics to inspire and challenge students.  Gwen Stacy’s death in Spider-man is often used by teachers to teach about physics and solve the puzzle of who in fact killed her.  It even inspired a book The Physics of Superheros by Dr. James Kakalios.

School Turns to Superheroes to Motivate Students

Can superheroes unleash creativity in fourth, fifth, and sixth graders?  A Mansfield, Ohio school is finding out.

Arley Owens is the co-creator of Colunbus-based Earthshield Green.  He along with illustrator Rocky Johnson are partnering with Hedges Intermediate School in a pilot educational program they hope to expand nationally.  The program kicks off January 4 with a school assembly and student workshops on good environmental stewardship like recycling as well as “how to’s” in cartooning and animation.

“We believe the impact can be tremendous,” said Arley Owens, co-creator of Columbus-based Earthshield Green with illustrator Rocky Johnson. “Our comic book series teaches the importance of good stewardship of the environment, while stimulating excitement for reading. At the same time we believe we will spark individual students’ creativity.”

The comic story centers on six young people, who develop super powers to protect the environment after nearly losing their lives to gang violence at a landfill site.  The plan is for four comic books annually as well as an educator’s guide to use in the classroom. Hedges students will create in on the creative process by making their own comic book as well as comic strips and posters leading to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in April.  Owens and Johnson will work with students each Wednesday starting in January. Fourth-grade teacher Bernadette Redman said Earthshield Green offers something special for students beyond their regular classroom studies.

“We started with the state (academic) standards and connected them to this project,” she said. “This has huge potential to unleash creativity in students by giving them a chance to build on their own interests. You never know where something like this will take kids. “I also think our students will take a lot of pride in being part of this. When these gentlemen come in and work with us, our kids will love it. It’s all they will talk about. I guarantee it.”