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Resources for the Fight Against Censorship

The news of censorship efforts continues to hit daily with organized efforts by people who are intent on making sure that any book or story they do not approve of (and very often, have not even read) does not see the light of day in classrooms, school libraries, public libraries and even bookstores.

There is a very visible pattern with each of these events: they attack the librarian, the teacher, bookseller and now, school board members over a list of titles that begins with the banned book list.

The list has expanded to include prominent titles by authors of color on the premise that these books teach children Critical Race Theory. Or they indoctrinate children into a LGBTQ ‘lifestyle’. Of course, when these people are challenged to explain CRT or defend why they don’t want any of these books made available to readers, they cite a mantra that is almost repeated verbatim in rural communities across the country.

So, what is our recourse? For libraries and schools, learn your collection development policies. If one does not yet exist, create one. There are great resources available via the various organizations who are standing by to help you defend your books.

Next and most importantly, run for office. Become a school board member, run for city or county office. It is one thing to stand in protest, but an even more effective tool we all have is representation in government office.

Here is a list of great organizations who can provide guidance and resources to help you right now and in the future:
The American Civil Liberties Union 
The American Library Associations Banned & Challenged Books 
ALA office of Intellectual Freedom 
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund 

Free Expression (ABFFE) American Book Sellers Association 
The Freedom to Read Foundation 
The Media Coalition 
National Coalition Against Censorship 
National Council of Teachers of English 
PEN America

Before you contact these organizations, you will want to gather all possible information: title of book(s) to be challenged: is this a school, library, or bookstore challenge. Anything and everything you can gather ahead of this contact will help inform and expedite the process. Of course, here at Reading With Pictures, we are standing by to help as wellThis is a challenge to our world we’ve not seen since the McCarthy era and we need to have as many resources as possible to win this battle.
Best wishes,

Celebrating 2021 and Looking Ahead to 2022

Hello, dear friend of Reading With Pictures. 2021 has been a very busy year as we have been focused on renewing our operations, creating a new logo, updating policies, and creating innovative programming and new resources for teachers, librarians, and publishing professionals.

In August, we launched our first Teaching With Comics conference, a three-day virtual event featuring two keynote speakers: educator, poet, activist, and comic creator Dr. Lee Francis IV and educator, artist, and cartoonist Cara Bean. Thanks to the hard work of our team and sponsors like Manga Classics, Pixton, and Diamond Book Distributors, the event was a great success. If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch recordings of most of the panels on our YouTube channel.

In addition to all the programming, Teaching With Comics provided us with our newest publication, a 12-page booklet called Why Comics? Along with research and rationale on the benefits of using the comics medium in education, it also holds great lists of resources and support materials.

With the return of comics conventions, Reading With Pictures has partnered with show producers along with the American Library Association’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, NYPL, NYC Dept of Education, NYCSLA, and LitX to create professional development programming for shows like NYCC21, Anime NYC, C2E2 and Emerald City Comic Con.

With each of these shows we are able to bring in local experts for panels and workshops and grow our network of incredible educational professionals.

In addition to those programs, RWP produced panels on representation for events such as the Black Caucus ALA. This panel featured authors and artists Jerry Craft, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Alitha Martinez, Alex Simmons, Dr. Vanessa Hintz and was moderated by our own Christina Taylor.

This past year also marked the launch of our research committee chaired by Dr. Ashley Dallacqua. The goal of this committee is to help Reading With Pictures audiences promote, find, and use comics in education research.

Looking ahead to 2022: We have a lot more work to do. Our website will continue to evolve. We are relaunching our publishing initiative, we will produce another Teaching with Pictures virtual conference, and we will expand our professional development programming partnerships which will now include shows at the FanExpo events. In March we are collaborating with the National Arts in Education Association to produce professional programming for their annual conference in New York City. We will also continue to produce more much-needed resources for educational and library professionals at trade shows and consumer events around the country.

Join our growing force!

If you would like to be involved in the convention and conference programming efforts, or work with us on projects like developing educational tools, research, or outreach, we would love to hear from you. If you love working with comics in your world of teaching, librarianship, storytelling…we would love to have you join us.

Thank you for your support!

Registration for the FREE Teaching With Comics Conference Closes Friday, August 6!

Register now for Reading With Pictures Presents: Teaching with Comics, a FREE three-day fully virtual conference for educators and parents who are interested in harnessing the value of sequential art for teaching content, developing social-emotional skills, and fostering creativity among students as young as preschoolers up through university, which takes place August 9-11, 2021! But act fast — registration closes August 6, 2021! 

Register now!

This year’s Teaching With Comics virtual conference features a gorgeous poster with characters and art by Leia L Huddleston! Everyone who registers for Teaching With Comics will receive high-resolution files that you can print for your classroom, library, and home!

If you want to hear directly from Dr. Lee Francis IV (educator, poet, activist, comic creator, and owner of Red Planet Books & Comics), participate in an interactive workshop with cartoonist and art teacher Cara Bean, and work with expert educators to create lesson plans and get graphic novel recommendations, sign up today! This unique FREE three-day conference will offer a blend of live and prerecorded panels, plus loads of free lesson plans and graphic novel previews to help you prepare for the school year.

Watch this space and follow us on social media for updates! If you’re already signed up, please share with friends and colleagues!

Reading With Pictures is a non-profit organization that empowers teachers, librarians, parents, creators, retailers, and publishers to engage all learners through the sequential arts. Sign up by Friday, August 6, to secure your spot at Reading With Pictures Presents: Teaching With Comics, August 9-11, 2021!

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