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What’s New in the Database – January 2014

We’ve added some great new resources to the Reading With Pictures database, including a great introduction to comics by Jessica Abel, several science comics perfectly suited for use in classrooms, and a long-form comic on copyright law. We hope these resources will help you bring the power of comics to your students.


“What is a Graphic Novel?” by Jessica Abel

“What is a ‘Graphic Novel?’” is a condensed introduction to what comics are, how they work, and how to read them. Originally drawn by Jessica in 2002 for the site, it serves as great introduction for newcomers into the world of graphic novels. You can use it in your classroom or library, or even put it to personal use when giving someone the gift of their first graphic novel. It‘s  a great guide for readers who are just getting into the comics world, helping them understand what graphic novels are. It explains basic comics elements and how to navigate a page (a thing that is still sometimes be confusing for veteran comic book readers and cartoonists).

This resource can be accessed here:

For alternate versions (poster, black and white, etc.), visit the Drawing Words and Reading Pictures website:


Solar-Terrestrial Environmental Laboratory, Japan

cosmicrays_eFor purposes of science education, STEL publishes booklets on many topics in space science. These publications include comic books written by the popular cartoonist “Hayanon,” featuring humorous characters and explaining scientific themes in a friendly way. The booklets are suitable for the general public as well as for school children. STEL publishes these booklets in collaboration with the CAWSES project of SCOSTEP.

Aurora, geomagnetic field, ozone hole, solar wind, global warming, cosmic rays, polar regions, upper atmosphere, and sun-climate relationship.

This is an external resource, which can be accessed here:

“Blank” balloon versions which will enable translation to other languages are available at the website:


Selenia Science Comics from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 3.43.48 PMSelenia is a fun way for students to learn about science concepts through investigations linked to comics.  The comics and investigations focus on science inquiry and materials and their properties.  Downloadable resources are provided with information on learning outcomes, background to support scientific inquiry, scientific principles behind the experiments, guidance on the investigation, and an equipment list.  Each of the investigations is linked to an online comic that poses a problem which the student is invited to solve.  There are six comics with investigations including investigating dissolving, cooling, glue, leaks, air resistance, and hardness.  The site also features online games for students to play including word searches, quizzes, picture Sudoku, and spot the difference (like hidden pictures).   Selenia is the creation of Emma Weitkamp from the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England. Dave Smith brought her to life through illustration and Helen Featherstone is the brains behind the games and teacher resources.

This is an external resource, which can be accessed here:


Newcastle Science Comics  

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 3.44.28 PMComics magazine created for the British Science Festival at Newcastle University. Includes 33 short form comics on varied science topics, including computer programming, quantum physics, genetics and DNA, the history of science, climate change and weather, human physiology, agriculture, psychology, medicine, biology, nutrition, and more.

Read the entire issue online by clicking the image in the upper right corner at the Newcastle Science Comic blog:

Extra one-page comics here:


“Science comics as tools for science education and communication: a brief, exploratory study,” M. Tatalovic

ABSTRACT: Comics are a popular art form especially among children and as such provide a potential medium for science education and communication. In an attempt to present science comics in a museum exhibit I found many science themed comics and graphic books. Here I attempt to provide an overview of already available comics that communicate science, the genre of ‘science comics’. I also provide a quick literature review for evidence that comics can indeed be efficiently used for promoting scientific literacy via education and communication. I address the issue of lack of studies about science comics and their readers and suggest some possible reasons for this as well as some questions that could be addressed in future studies on the effect these comics may have on science communication.

This is an external resource, which can be accessed here:


Tales From the Public Domain: Bound By Law?

coverThis comic explains in detail the issue of copyright as it pertains to documentary filmmaking. Follow heroine Akiko as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What’s “fair use”? Bound By Law? reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture. Written by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, and drawn by Keith Aoki, Bound By Law? is a project of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, which focuses on the delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain – the realm of material that is free to use without permission or payment.

This is an external resource, which can be accessed here: