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Teaching With Comics Conference: Day One Resources

Thank you for participating in 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! Here are videos, teaching guides, previews, and more resources to help you engage your students with comics!

Recommended Videos

Gene Yang’s TedX Talk: Comics Belong in the Classroom
Comic books and graphic novels belong in every teacher’s toolkit, says cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang. Set against the backdrop of his own witty, colorful drawings, Yang explores the history of comics in American education — and reveals some unexpected insights about their potential for helping kids learn.

How to Find and Choose Graphic Novels for Students
San Diego Comic-Con at Home, 2021
Looking for graphic novels for your students? Help is on the way! The current boom in graphic novel publishing has created a dizzying array of high-quality graphic novels over a wide range of genres, topics, and audiences. Join our awesome group of teachers and librarians as we discuss where to find high-quality reviews and title recommendation lists, how to choose titles and match readers to texts and tasks, where to find books in both print and digital formats, and more. 

Words and Pictures Working Together: Strategies for Analyzing Graphic Texts
Comic-Con Education Series
In this crash course in text analysis for graphic novels, educators demonstrate techniques and tools for building students’ critical literacy skills with graphic texts at all grade levels. This includes demonstrations on how to lead students in analyzing the elements of comics and the unique combination of art and text, share resources, and discuss challenges. 

What You Should Know About Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga in Classrooms
Library Pass Webinar
With the continuing explosion in popularity of comics, graphic novels, and manga as sources of reading and entertainment for kids, titles like Dog Man, New Kid, Guts, Avatar, My Hero Academia, March, and They Called Us Enemy are flying off shelves in bookstores and libraries. They’re also receiving critical acclaim and winning major awards—including the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Newbery Medal. In this webinar, our panel of distinguished educators and librarians discuss how the comics medium works and why it has become so popular, particularly amongst younger readers. They answered questions librarians and educators frequently have about comics, as well as those asked by parents who don’t believe comics count as “real” reading.

Graphic Novels are The New Textbooks
LitX for San Diego Comic-Con at Home 2021
Modern, dynamic teaching means thinking outside the textbook. Michael Gianfrancesco (LitX founder and teacher), Shveta Miller (author of Hacking Graphic Novels: 8 Ways to Teach Higher-Level Thinking with Comics and Visual Storytelling), Deborah Benjamin (educator), Ronell Whitaker (English curriculum director), and Dr. Jay Hosler (writer/artist, The Way of the Hive) discuss techniques to engage students using the comics medium in a way that will demonstrate practical positive educational results.

Professional Resources

All resources and previews are free to download. Just click the title of the resource, and when you get to Dropbox, click the Download button.

Preview: Hacking Graphic Novels by Shveta Miller
This professional resource book for all levels includes 8 hacks that guide teachers to use comics and graphic novels to build students’ visual literacy skills, help students develop a comfort level with complexity and uncertainty, and offer new tools to process and express their thinking and tell brave stories. Read more at Shveta’s website.

Teaching Resource: “How to Read a Comic”
Give students the basics with this selection from Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter.

Comic: “Comics & the Classroom: A Match Made in History”
A comic by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey showing a brief and irreverent history of comics in education. From Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter.

Comic: “Comic Book Science”
A quick cartoon primer on why everyone should read comics from biologist and cartoonist Jay Hosler.

Teaching Resource: Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read!
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is proud to offer Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read!, a resource for parents & educators about the learning benefits of comics! This new resource is written by Dr. Meryl Jaffe, with an introduction by three-time Newbery Award honoree Jennifer L. Holm (Babymouse, Squish) and art by Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama) and Eisner Award nominee Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Squish). 

Teaching Resource: Panel Power
Inspire kids to become lifelong readers with Panel Power, a CBLDF resource that provides an introduction to comics and background on why they’re good for kids! A tool for battling misconceptions about the format and filled with information about the benefits of comics, activities, and reading recommendations for engaging kids with comics, Panel Power is an essential resource for retailers, educators, librarians, and parents! Panel Power features cover artwork by Matthew Loux (SideScrollers, The Time Museum). 

Elementary Comics Previews, and Teaching Guides

Preview: The Wolf in Underpants 
In this witty graphic novel, a community of forest animals trades scary rumors about a nearby wolf. Some critters have even gone into business selling wolf traps and anti-wolf fences. But when the wolf appears in a pair of striped underpants, everyone rethinks their fears. This is a heartwarming story about understanding differences, told with an oddball sense of humor. Wonderful series by Wilfrid Lupano, Mayana Itoiz, Paul Cauuet for younger readers from Lerner Graphic Universe. Grades K–3

Preview: The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel

RWP Teaching Guide: The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel
Green-growing secrets and powerful magic await you at Misselthwaite Manor, now reimagined in this bewitching graphic novel adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved tale. Given new life as a graphic novel in illustrator Hanna Luechtefeld’s whimsical style, The Secret Garden is more enchanting and relevant than ever before. From Andrews McMeel Kids. Grades 3+

Comic with Lesson Plan: “The Black Brigade” 
A powerful story by Chris Schweizer about a group of African American soldiers—many of whom were escaped slaves—who fought on the British side during the American Revolutionary war. From Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter. Grades 3–6

Comic with Lesson Plan: “Dr. Sputnik Man of Science in Forces and Motion” 
In this fun science comic by Roger Langridge, Dr. Sputnik and his faithful sidekick Spud blast off into space as they explore Newton’s three laws of motion. From Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter. Grades 3–6

Preview: Summercamp Science Mysteries #1: In Search of the Fog Zombie, A Mystery About Matter 

Teaching Guide: In Search of the Fog Zombie
Camp Dakota sure is full of mysteries. A group of friends at summer camp use science concepts to solve a mystery in each of these full-color graphic novels. The stories illustrate problem-solving thought processes and integrate third- through fifth-grade science concepts, while sidebar panels supplement dialogue with additional science information. Written by a science educator and illustrated by animators and graphic artists, these engaging mysteries will help readers to recognize how science can be applied in real-world situations. There are eight titles so far in this series from Lerner Graphic Universe. Grades 3–6

Preview: History’s Kid Heroes: The Midnight Adventure of Kate Shelley, Train Rescuer

Teaching Guide: The Midnight Adventure of Kate Shelley
In this series from Lerner Graphic Universe, history is brought to life using compelling stories in a visually contemporary way. Each History’s Kid Heroes title brings historical fiction into the graphic novel format using strong characters and exciting storylines. Grades 3–6

Preview: Athletes Who Made a Difference: Serena Williams
This graphic nonfiction series from Lerner Graphic Universe presents true sports stories of grit, leadership, and resistance. Dynamic visuals highlight impactful events on and off the field, as legendary athletes inspire social change. With a lively tone and colorful artwork, each book in the Athletes Who Make a Difference series follows a different sports hero’s early years, journey to the pros, and ability to change the world around them. Grades 3–6

Preview: Kid Beowulf: The Tarpeian Rock

RWP Teaching Guide: Kid Beowulf: The Tarpeian Rock
In this action-packed graphic novel by Alexis Fajardo, twin brothers, Beowulf and Grendel are lost in ancient Italy and forced to fight for their freedom in the gladiatorial games. In the arena the brothers will battle fearsome warriors, deadly beasts, and meet another pair of twins, Romulus and Remus. It all leads to the founding of the world’s most epic city: ROME! Find out more about the Kid Beowulf series of graphic novels at Grades 4–6

Middle School, High School, and Adult Previews and Teaching Guides

Preview with Teaching Guide: Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition
Quince is an Eisner Award-nominated, 15-issue comic book series written by Kit Steinkellner (Sorry for Your Loss), illustrated by Emma Steinkellner (The Okay Witch), created by Sebastian Kadlecik (Penguins Vs. Possums), and translated by Valeria Tranier (The Maze Runner). The series follows a year in the life of Lupe, a 15-year-old girl who discovers that her quinceañera brings with it a super cool party . . . and superpowers. Her quince powers only last as long as she’s fifteen, so over the course of this rollercoaster year, we follow the adventures of Lupe as she figures out what it really means to be a hero. Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition oversized hardcover collects the full English and Spanish editions of the series. From Fanbase Press. Grades 7–12

Preview: Seekers of the Aweto: The Hunt Is On
In this poetic adventure across medieval China, roguish bands of “seekers” chase a plantlike treasure that may lead to fortune and even eternal life. Acclaimed artist and storyteller Nie Jun (My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder) presents an environmental fantasy rich with mystery, betrayal, and an adorable baby deity. Fantasy YA series from Lerner Graphic Universe. Grades 7–12

RWP Teaching Guide: The Cloven Book One
Preview: The Cloven: Book One
The Cloven: Book One stars James Tucker, the most successful genetically modified human organism ever created. Conceived in a privately financed, top-secret laboratory on Washington State’s Vashon Island, Tucker is a cross between a human and a goat — a Cloven. Known to his friends as Tuck, all he wants is to live a normal life as a university student; everything is going fine, until he shows a girl his hoofs… Moody and mysterious and atmospheric as a fever dream, The Cloven Book One follows Tuck’s breakneck journey across the Pacific Northwest as he searches for a place to belong. Written by Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and drawn by Matthew Southworth (Stumptown). Learn more at Grade 12, Higher Ed