A Public Service Announcement! ;)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
The magical realism that permeates and defines so much of Latin American writing is apparent; the mythos of mystery in events and places that otherwise seem mundane is clear; religion and local color folklore entwine throughout the narrative appropriately and without seams, and Christopher Cardinale's artwork is exquisitely palpable.
The woodcut-esque textures and hatches of the drawings don't just offer an aesthetic sensation of "feeling," but an actual sense of touching, of smelling, of hearing and tasting. Everything looks and feels like burlap, like stone, like the skin of the elderly or the smell of fresh milk, or the heat of summer.
One reads this book and its art and has every sense heightened and ever sense of sense stimulated.
But as soon as we are introduced to Rosario's iconic artist and his influence on the two young leads, he leaves everyone, walking on a stairway to the stars, with readers and townsfolk alike left to ponder the components of his pigments, or, if the graffiti on the back end of that mule on the last page is to be heeded, if we've gotten too wrapped up in the telling, fooled by the planted and tilled mysticism of a story with a reality too ordinary to leave alone.
The Kirkus Review has mentioned Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush as one of the best graphic novels of the year. It's hard to argue against the claim.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Bradbury's *The Martian Chronicles* and *Something Wicked This Way Comes* Getting GN Treatment from Hill & Wang
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Why should a library or retailer stock graphic novels?
How can a librarian or retailer select titles that are appropriate for multiple audiences?
How do ratings work?
What authors and titles should they know about? To help answer these and other questions, Baker & Taylor is proud to present a unique webinar for retailers and librarians. We will provide insight from graphic novel experts Michele Gorman, Teen Services Coordinator, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library; Francoise Mouly, Editorial Director, TOON Books; and John Shableski, Sales Manager, Diamond Book Distributors. Discover the tips and trends that make graphic novels one of the fastest growing formats in the industry.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Now that I know how these things go, I'll know how to participate next time! :)
The only requirement remaining for me now is hardly something I'm being forced to do. I get to meet graphic novelists Barry Deutsch and George O'Connor on Sunday and facilitate their enjoyment of the ALAN conference before introducing them to the ALAN crowd on Monday.
Sometimes I lova-muh-werk!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Hey, organizers, I'd love to do it again next year, if you're reading.
And, OF COURSE, thanks to all the teachers and librarians and students in the audience and who stopped by to let me sign their books. :)
Now off to Orlanda for NCTE and ALAN!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
10:00–10:05 a.m.Carol Fitzgerald, Founder of GraphicNovelReporter.com
10:05–10:55 a.m.Using Graphic Novels to Open a Different Door to Literacy with Dr. James “Bucky” Carter
Why do graphic novels and comics work so well as a breakthrough tool in reaching challenged and reluctant readers? How does a graphic novel or comic hold the attention of gifted readers and reluctant readers alike? Dr. Carter discusses the effectiveness of the comics medium from a personal perspective, and helps educators discover how to use comics to help students develop a love for reading and learning. Dr. James "Bucky" Carter is the author of Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels (NCTE).
11:00–11:50 a.m.Your Life In Comics: Using Do-it-Yourself Comics to Foster a Love of Reading, Writing and Creativity with Bill Zimmerman
Most educators understand that playing can also mean learning and this session will show how the fun process of creating comics can encourage children to practice language, reading, writing and communication skills. Bill Zimmerman is an award-winning author and has written more than a dozen books used by families, children and schools, including his most recent title, Your Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw.
1:00–1:50 p.m.Connecting the Library and the Classroom: Developing a Brilliant Partnership and Resource for Teacherswith Librarian Kat Kan
Kat Kan is a leading voice in the development of the graphic novel category for public libraries. This session will address the value of resources available to educators, parallels between prose and graphic novels and how graphic novels can support in-class learning. Kat Kan has worked in school and public libraries. She has served on the Best Books for Young Adults Committee, among others, and she chaired the YALSA Graphic Novels Task Force, which recommended the creation of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee. Kan also created the selection criteria for Brodart Company’s graphic novel collection development program and currently selects the recommended titles for their core lists.
2:00–2:50 p.m.Developing a Graphic Novel Project for the Classroom with Dr. Adam Johnson
When professors Adam Johnson and Tom Kealey created the Graphic Novel Project at Stanford University, they discovered an incredible opportunity to introduce a collaborative environment where students from a wide variety of disciplines could come together to script, draw, edit and publish a graphic novel. What does it take to create and publish a graphic novel within a classroom setting? How do the students benefit from the program? Dr. Adam Johnson developed and implements the Stanford University Graphic Novel Project.
3:00–3:50 p.m.The Art of Story Telling in the Graphic Novel Formatwith Professor Chris Schweizer
When it comes to creating the look and feel of a graphic novel, the author/creator draws on a wide range of influences and experience to bring characters to life. How does a swarthy pirate really sound? How do you show fear or real joy? To create a story in the graphic novel format, an artist and author has the fantastic opportunity to use separate skill sets. Chris Schweizer created the graphic novels Crogan's Vengeance and Crogan's March (Oni Press).
Friday, November 19
Educational Sessions for Comics and Graphic Novel Creators of All Ages
10-11:30 a.m. Women Making Comics, A New Generation
For years comics and graphic novels were viewed as mostly a “boy thing.” Lately, the participation of women in comics-making has grown exponentially. From stories for the ‘capes and tights’ genre to biographies, adaptations and memoirs, get the scoop from four members of this new generation of women creators on writing comics and graphic novels. How do they approach story telling? What comes first, drawings or dialog? Where do they start the process, and does it come out the way they had planned? Amy Ignatow, The Popularity Papers Raina Telgemeier, Smile Tracy White, How I Made It to Eighteen Amanda Conner, Power Girl
11:30-1:00 p.m. Brain to Hand to Paper: Getting Your Comics/Graphic Novel Done
Have a great idea for character? A story? A series? Get it done!
Four creators talk about the process and offer advice on how you too can get your comic book /graphic novel completed and published. Barry Deutsch, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword Mark McKenna, Banana Tail Alex Rodrik, Bushido Wasabi David Steinberg, The Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy
FREE. Registration required. Please use registration form at the upper right of this page (above presenters' photos). For additional information, please call 305.237.3841or 305.237.3298.
I also hope that if any of you are reading, you'll remember to stay in touch! :)
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
The Comic Book Project is going global! In partnership with Australia's Distance Education Centre of Victoria, students will be launching an online comic book production company. This collaboration will involve young comic book creators in Australia, the U.S., and eventually around the world.
Also, this past summer our board member Susan Robeson led the Comic Book Project in Wales on the subject of her grandfather, Paul Robeson. Look for the Comic Book Project in Canada, Mexico, and Nigeria. And Manga High is being translated into Japanese and published in Japan by Iwanami Shoten Publishers. Finally, check out the great companion website for When Commas Meet Kryptonite.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize will be presented annually to the best graphic novel, fiction or non-fiction, published in the previous calendar year in the United States by a living American citizen or resident. The announcement of the award will take place each spring and the prize of $2,500, the two volume set of Ward’s six novels published by the Library of America, and a suitable commemorative will be presented each fall to the creator(s) of the award-winning book at a ceremony to be held at Penn State.
Friggin' Sweet! And I didn't know that Ward's work had been donated to the libraries at Penn State!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
With so many prose writers trying their hands at comics and also talking about how difficult a transition it can be, it's neat to see someone from the other point of view. Click the title to this post for the entire read.
The 99 started as a comic, of course, and is also designed to help people understand that Islam is not all about crashing aircraft into buildings and hyper-violence, but, I guess if Westerners understood that, it'd make it that much harder to "kill them back."
Ah, the political dangers of peeling back the layers of othering to reveal the best of all humanities.....
I'm going to go cry now......
Monday, October 11, 2010
I'm especially eager to read Craig Fischer's essay, which seems to focus on Theirry Groensteens' The System of Comics, a textbook for my "New and Multimodal Literacies" graduate class next semester, and I see lots of application in my own work in Charles Hatfield's article on interdisciplinarity in comics studies.
Friday, October 08, 2010
The article makes it sound like this phenomenon is widespread, though, and downplays the role that other media -- children's cartoons, video games, websites, digital books, etc -- could be playing on the declining sales. I can certainly see where someone could find parents so hell-bent on baby going to NYU that they'd pass judgement on books that are developmentally appropriate for their children and go straight for frustration-level reading. What a way to build success, as this quote so clearly illustrates!:
Now Laurence is 6 ½, and while he regularly tackles 80-page chapter books, he is still a “reluctant reader,” Ms. Gignac said.
Sometimes, she said, he tries to go back to picture books.
“He would still read picture books now if we let him, because he doesn’t want to work to read,” she said, adding that she and her husband have kept him reading chapter books.
Poor Laurence. Do you think his reluctance might be because he's being asked to read things he might not be ready to properly appreciate or enjoy?
Interestingly, the article mentions how well YA lit is doing right now and also mentions that graphic novels are part of that development. Are we at a point where parents see graphic novels as a sophisticated literature and are shoving off all those preconceived notions, once reserved for comics, onto children's books?
While I can list several children's literature scholars whom I'd pay to see squirm if this is the case, I hope it is not. If so, however, we might soon need to discuss the similarities in comics and picture books rather than focus on their differences.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Mighty Morphin' Vocabulary Rangers!: Articles in Recent JAAL and Reading Teacher Jibe Well with *Super-Powered Word Study*
Specifically, Michael J. Keiffer and Nonie K. Lessaux's "Morphing Into Adolescents: Active Word Learning for English-Language Learners and Their Classmates in Middle School" and Joan G. Kelley, Nonie K. Lesaux, Michael K. Keiffer and S. Elisabeth Faller's "Effective Academic Vocabulary Instruction in the Urban Middle School" focus on academic language and morphology. *
"Effective" informs readers that many urban middle school students struggle to understand and use academic vocabulary, which is often rife with ancient roots and affixes. But, when students use "morphological awareness skills," they "gain the cognitive tools they need to learn a large number of words independently."
Students need to learn how to use context clues, of course, which is just one of the many things covered in Super-Powered Word Study.
Both SPWS and these articles suggest overt, explicit, interest-based exploration of language with students drawing on texts they appreciate and are already inclined to be interested in.
Comics, anyone? There are 15 comics stories awaiting students in SPWS, along with suggestion on teaching morphology and developing language exploration skills and attitudes!
Both articles suggest particular attention to morphology as pertinent to vocabulary growth. "Morphing Into" reminds us that morphology is "the study of the structure of words as combinations of smaller units of meaning within words: morphemes," and morphemes include affixes and roots, the exact units of focus in Super-Powered Word Study.
"Morphing Into" suggests that teachers help students when they teach morphology in "an explicit yet meaningful way," as part of a "thinking strategy" rather than as "a bunch of rules or lists of word parts."
Considering what words have in common and are unique is one such way of doing this, and the authors even use a figure to illustrate "Word Sets" that look very much like word sorts, which students can do in SPWS to help them consider morphemes.
Further, students and teachers are encouraged by both articles and SPWS to adapt an explicit language exploration ideology in considering words.
"To exponentially increase vocabulary, students need to develop word consciousness and a curiosity about words," says "Effective." Super-Powered Word Study agrees and helps teachers tap into our innate interest in language by explaining how Larry Andrews' Language Exploration and Awareness theory can help us morph into active language explorers and linguistic inquirers.
"Morphing Into" suggests a 4-step process in which students must endeavor to study words morphologically. Step one involves word recognition study; step two requests overt study of word parts they might know; step 3 asks for hypotheses regarding word parts, and step 4 suggests hypothesis checking.
Students using SPWS will be asked to follow similar processes when they use riddles to figure out/hypothesize meanings of words featuring specific roots or affixes, sort words by their features, and record their observations and hypotheses in their word study journals.
"Effective" also suggests that at the end of each unit, students write, integrating new words, to suggest their mastery over them. All of SPWS's assessments are based in creative writing and ask students to do exactly as this article suggests. "Effective" asks for 5 words in a paragraph, whereas SPWS asks for 6 and also asks students to use "clue language" to show they have also mastered using context clues.
As anyone involved in academic work will tell you that keeping abreast of current research is difficult and tiring work. Further, when it comes to book writing, you're always taking risks that your book will hit the market and then new research will come along to blow its premises out of the water.
And, of course, there's no way to read research published alongside your book or after the book has been "set" such that you can integrate it into the book. There comes a time when you just gotta do the Anne Bradstreet thing and watch your baby walk to school, where you hope it does well.
So, Erik and I certainly did not have access to the classroom-based research coming out of these articles when we wrote Super-Powered Word Study, though many of the sources cited in each article also appear in our book, but isn't is wonderful to know that concepts and findings associated with this brand new research fits the goals and aspirations for students of Super-Powered Word Study?
I think so and think you will to!
James Bucky Carter,
Co-author of... Well, do I have to write it out again? ;)
*Hey, I edited and wrote chapters for Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by PAge, Panel by Panel. Do you think I have any hate for the long title? Further, I'm refering to the articles as if they wrote themselves simply becuase I don't want to write all of those names over and over. Titles are one thing: they can be turned into acronyms and keep reader's comprehension going without much trouble. BLCWGN:PBPPBP anyone? Authors' names? Not so much.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The truth is that for a few decades now, the average age of the comics reader has been rising. Many feel that 40 year old men have made up the bulk of comics readership for the last twenty years. And, of course, there's that fact that in comics' heyday, almost everyone read comics. In other cultures, sequential art is enjoyed by multiple segments of the population as well.
To further attempt halting the concept of comics as youth culture, consider that Simba Publishing just releases a report stating that 1 in 4 comics readers is over 65 years old.
As the press release reads, "Despite notable efforts from many in the industry, comics and graphic novels continue to be repeatedly mislabeled as just another children’s book category,” said Warren Pawlowski, online publishing manager for Simba Information and an analyst within the company’s Trade Books Group. “With nearly a quarter of the comic reading audience beyond the age of retirement, there is a misconception that needs to be corrected.”
Yep. Or should I say, Yessiree! Also see here for a broader overview of the comics and GN market. If you have the Benjamins, that is! (You'll see what I mean)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Click the title of this post to see the list, but also know that 6 of the 10 titles have rationales in the upcoming Maupin House release Rationales for Teaching Graphic Novels.
Hopefully these rationales -- statements of the content, possible concerns, and pedagogical potentials of specific texts -- will help people keep apparently oft-challenged graphic novels Blankets, Fun Home, Maus, Bone, Pride of Baghdad, and Watchmen on shelves and in readers' hands.
Another title mentioned is Absolute Sandman, and while R4TGN doesn't cover that edition, it does feature a rationale for one of the smaller Sandman graphic novels. So, that's sort of 7 of ten, if you think about it.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Interesting, that one with the description about graphica's "abstract
Sometimes the level of "literal want" from teachers can be frustrating, i.e. sometimes some educators seem to think that things that aren't spelled out for them 100% and might require them to use a little bit of their own knowledge and creativity aren't worthwhile.
It's like the system has sucked out so much of their independence and creative thought that they've become programmable robots.
The "I'm busy! I need it all spelled out for me!" argument -- I'm sympathetic to it because I know teachers are asked to be so many things, but I'm angry at it when I see teachers acting like they have the inability to synthesize, evaluate and construct novel ideas based on a set of basic or broad premises. I'm downright heartbroken when I realize some of them probably don't have those abilities, or they had them once but have had them slowly wither like a dying limb on a tree otherwise completely capable of sustaining life and real living.
Anyway, I should point out that I'm pontificating based on a phrase, not actually seeing the presentation that used it, which I'm sure will be awesome.
Please do check out these GN-centric sessions at NCTE!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Congrats, Matt Fraction!
Each month students can submit by email their best comics created at the free online comic strip generator. Comics can be on any theme the student chooses. A selection will be posted periodically on the MakeBeliefsComix Facebook Wall and the winner of the best comic will receive a free book written by Bill Zimmerman, the creator of MakeBeliefsComix.com.
His books are used by educators to help students discover their writers’ voices and express what’s hidden within them. They include: MakeBeliefs: A Gift for Your Imagination; Pocket Doodles for Young Artists and Your Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw.
Contest rules: Classroom collaborative and individual submissions are encouraged each month. Books can be delivered to U.S. addresses only and winners will be notified via email. Winners under the age of 16 will be required to have an adult in the family or school provide the address for book delivery.
Comic strips created on the site should be sent to WmZ@aol.com, the email address of Bill Zimmerman. (For more information, go to: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/MakeBeliefsComix_on_Facebook.php)
Since MakeBeliefsComix.com was launched four years ago, over 2 million people from 175 countries have visited this free educational resource. Google and UNESCO named MakeBeliefsComix as among the world's most innovative web sites that encourage reading and literacy, and Parents' Choice Foundation gave it the Recommended Award.
This year the American Library Association selected MakeBeliefsComix for its annual ‘’Great Web Sites for Kids ’’ listing. The site offers 80 different characters, blank talk and thought balloons to be filled in with text, story prompts and printables, and accepts text in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Latin. Comics created can be printed and emailed.
The educational online comic strip site also has added another feature that enables users to post their comic strips on their very own Facebook walls to share with friends and family.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Reason 1002 Why You Should Listen to Me When I Talk About Comics and Literacy: I'm Tight with D. Vader
That's what we close friends get to call him, anyway. :)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Archie, Donald Duck and Superman opened the doors to a language and a culture the young boy, who emigrated from the Netherlands after the Second World War, knew nothing about.
“Comic books were a way of escaping into another world, like TV,” said Vander Zalm.
“They helped me learn to communicate and to make friends. Those were big things.”
Vander Zalm is a former premier in Canada.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Anyway, check out this neat show that explores the interconnectivity of law and comics, comics and law.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Look for Portillo on Channel 7 today on the afternoon show with Stephanie Valle.
Read his interview in What's Up magazine too!
What I love about Jaime's innovative work is that he is using the comics medium to preserve local Borderland folklore. He ads his own spin to each myth, of course, which connects his efforts with the tradition of storytelling and adding and subtracting to folk legends, and he's not afraid to slide in some social commentary, which ties him to other comics creators in the region as well.
I'll be moderating some panel discussions on Saturday and can't wait to see the crowd and all the creators.
Come see Julian Lawler and his Broken Tree Comics line of books and creators; 656 and Adversary Comix; Jimmy Portillo of Jimmy Daze Comics; Brett Booth, Jaime Carrillo, Martin Montiel, Eric Basaldua, and guest of honor Joe Benitez!
And, as the saying goes, SO! MUCH! MORE!
It's history in the making, so if you're in the area, please stop by EPCON and join the party!
From the El Paso Times:
What: El Paso Comic Con.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Wyndham Airport Inn, 2027 Airway.
How much: $15 for one day, $25 for both days, at the door. $5 discount for active-duty military; free for children 10 and younger.
Sponsors: The event is organized by El Paso's Broken Tree Comics with sponsorship help from Bersal's Chop of Horrors, Beanie Planet, Agent of Chaos Productions and HappiRobot.
Information: www.ep-con.com.Schedule highlights
Saturday: Panel discussions, artist talks and question-and-answer sessions moderated by UTEP professor James Bucky Carter.
Sunday: Yu-Gi-Oh card game tournaments.
Both days: Belly dance troupes; vintage horror movie screenings; appearances by the 501st Legion, a costumed "Star Wars" troupe; costume contests; bands each evening at the hotel.
What else: Club 101, 1148 Airway, will host the official after-party at 8 p.m. Saturday on its second floor.
Since I'm not really Manga-informed, I'm especially excited to see that list!
And there's so much more! Visit http://www.graphicnovelreporter.com now!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Hello from TOON Books!
We are very excited to announce a momentous step for TOON Books: our new partnership with Candlewick Press. As of October 1, 2010, TOON Books will operate as an imprint of Candlewick Press, and our award-winning titles will be distributed by Candlewick and the Random House network.
Candlewick will bring on board TOON's acclaimed backlist, including 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes; two Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books: Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith and Stinky by Eleanor Davis; and eight additional TOON Books favorites.
The new imprint will publish four to five new titles each year. In spring 2011, TOON will release Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? by Agnès Rosenstiehl, and Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories by Geoffrey Hayes.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Candlewick, which is renowned for its passion for publishing only outstanding art and text,” said Françoise Mouly, publisher and editorial director of TOON Books.
“TOON Books’ radical approach, putting to use all the sophisticated tools one can find in good comics to hook kids on reading, could only find support at a house that is as daring and comfortable in its own groundbreaking track record as Candlewick is. Joining forces, we will publish the new classics, the visually literate books that will tickle the fancy of, delight, inspire, and inform the children of the twenty-first century.”
Of the new imprint, Candlewick’s senior vice president of sales, John Mendelson, said, “Since its founding in the fall of 2008, we have admired TOON Books and how the list has been received by booksellers, librarians, and teachers. TOON’s mission to get kids reading through the accessible vernacular of comics paired with Candlewick’s deep sales and marketing relationships within the children’s books community will bring a renewed focus to the imprint in the both the retail and school and library channels.”
Françoise Mouly launched TOON Books in spring 2008. She is the art editor of The New Yorker, as well as the publisher and editorial director of RAW Junior, the childrens' book branch of RAW Books & Graphics. The TOON Books, which are leveled books for emerging readers, are vetted by educators. The books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists, and new talents.
Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages; including books by award-winning authors Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed 'Ologies and Judy Moody series; and favorites such as the Where's Waldo? and Maisy books. Candlewick's parent company is Walker Books Ltd., of London with additional offices in Sydney and Auckland.
"Kent is a writer and filmmaker from Dallas whose latest project is the documentary Comic Book Literacy. The film explores how comics are utilized in the classroom and features interviews with several creators and comics readers discussing how comics promote a love of reading. Here, Todd talks about his love of comics."
Learn more by clicking the link embedded in this post's title.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Peter Gutierrez has some reasons why it's a good idea over at Dr. Rick's Blog. Apparently this is the first article in a series Peter will be writing, so check in often.
(thanks to RM for drawing my attention to this story).
However, his depiction of African Americans has been troubling at times. The article linked to in this post's title examines this issue.
Friday, September 03, 2010
It's interesting to note that there is a "boy crisis" in terms of literacy and libraries that some feel comics can help resolve, whereas in the industry, especially in the comics shop, there is a "girl crisis" regarding how to get female readers to feel comfortable in places full of comic books.
An analysis of the two arguments and their nuances would be highly intriguing and enlightening, in my opinion. That'd make one hell of a thesis or dissertation or article or book.
Partly so, I think, because there would be evidence to suggest "it really has come to this," i.e. the gender perceptions are that high-brow reading and places that support literacy have become girly and female-centric and places considered, even if wrongly, to be bastions of low brow reading have become equated with boys or an adolescent version of masculinity.
What are the ramifications for such gender-intwined notions of reading and literature and literacy?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
It's very thorough and hits all the main points about fiction, nonfiction, curriculum, choice, etc. and how boys respond to them.
Among the points is this gem:
"'Nontraditional materials such as comic books and sports-themed materials can provide an important “hook” to get boys more involved in reading,' [William]Pollack [of Harvard Medical School] says, 'and serve as a helpful bridge to more advanced types of reading later on.'"
So, we get a little but of pro-comics stance. In the next paragraph, though, we get:
"If there are kids out there who are, for whatever reason, really reluctant readers or low-level readers, then anything that gets them hooked into spending time on reading is a good thing,” [Catherine]Snow [of Harvard Graduate School of Education] says. “But the problem is that whereas those can be great places to start, they don’t get you where you need to be to succeed academically. You’ve got to be able to access serious academic texts.”
I'm not sure if Snow is referring directly to comics, since Pollack was the one who mentioned them. If so, we've got another example of folks not realizing that some comics are very sophisticated texts, but I think this might be an example of the writer of the article merging concepts for story flow rather than a blanket statement from Snow, especially since we're talking about two different people's statements here.
But, if a representative from Harvard is acknowledging comics' role in facilitating literacy, I ain't gonna complain.
Monday, August 30, 2010
And there's the rub.
I'm happy that NCTE made the move as a political statement, but in my mind, we (I'm a member, though I did not try to influence the move away from Phoenix) only went halfway.
If we really wanted to honor our ideas about diversity and stick it to policy-makers who might be targeting Hispanics in burdening ways, why not hold the convention in one of our border cities?
El Paso, Loredo, McAllen, Del Rio, Brownsville -- I'm sure those cities would love the economic boost.
Plus, we'd get to see just how progressive and active is the virtue of the membership. It's one thing to move a convention from county and state lines, it is another thing to show support by bringing yourself to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Honestly, it is probably true none of the cities mentioned above are large enough to accommodate NCTE. San Diego is probably the best choice for a border city that could host the conference.
Still, it'd be pretty neat to see how many folks from the Midwest or South or Northeast would put in proposals for the chance to stay at a hotel overlooking Juarez.
Heck, El Paso had trouble getting Oklahomans to feel comfortable coming to the Sun Bowl to see OU play Stanford this year, and that was for a something really important: a football game! ;)
I'm probably being unfair, but while NCTE most likely did the right thing, I can't help but think it could have been much bolder in its reaction, and why it wasn't or couldn't be might be worth thinking about.
It might not.
It could just be that as someone who lives in remote El Paso, it'd be nice to be able to drive to one of these things without leaving my home city one of these days!!! :)
Regardless of initial use or intended audience, the anthology does not disappoint. There's enough evidence for comics and learning coexisting to help the cause, though one wonders how much success the text might have reaching beyond "the choir," a problem all of us in comics-and-literacy face, and enough fun for anyone.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sounds silly, and it is.
Dean Trippe has written the senator a letter explaining a bit about comics' and literacy's connections. (See link embedded in this post's title, which also reprints the mailer, hilariously featuring one child reading not a comic, but Previews. That reader is obviously reconsidering her pull list).
What's worse, Maryland is the home of the Maryland Comic Book Initiative, one of the highest-profile, public integrations of comics into public schools ever.
What's that the kids say about trying so hard you actually miss the forest for the trees? Oh yeah, "EPIC FAIL."
Of course, if the general public is still oblivious to the advantages of comics in the classroom, or at least in the hands of children, I guess it doesn't really matter:
If a kid in a forest reads a comic and learns a new word, and there's no one around to hear him learn, does anyone give a damn?
The title to this post is a link to more information on the fair from Graphic Novel Reporter, which itself promises to release more details as they come available.
What I do know is that I'm scheduled to appear on November 18:
Featured Speakers for Thursday:
Prof William Ayers, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics ;Chris Schweizer, Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March; Professor James “Bucky” Carter, NCTE board member and author;
Professor Adam Johnson, Stanford University’s Graphic Novel Project
Yep, November will be a busy month for the Buckster. I leave Miami to go directly to Orlando to talk about graphic novels at NCTE, and I have at least 3 projects set to debut in the month of Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll see you in Florida in 2010!!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Super-Powered Word Study includes fifteen weeks’ worth of stimulating study and creative activities that ask students to think about language, consider word formation, and create their own stories—all in just twenty minutes a day! Each week introduces two word parts students interact with through riddle cards, word study notebooks, word sorts, word hunts, and practice assessments they create for their peers. Word sort lists, comics, writing assessment prompts, and optional extension activities offer endless opportunities for creative writing and language exploration. A comics primer and a DVD with all of the comics stories, riddle cards, word study notebook pages, sample comics scripts, and comics templates give teachers the support they need to build vocabulary knowledge and encourage students’ imaginations to run wild. The DVD also supports each of the fifteen lessons with interactive eCard word sorts, eComics with clickable clues, and opportunities for students to create their own comics and assessments.
Make your word study super-powered!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Edited by Robert G. Weiner and Carrye Syma of Texas Tech University Library
In recent years the use of graphic novels, comics, and sequential art in education has exploded. This is due not only to the boom in superhero movies that are based on comic book characters, but also to the wide literary range that graphic novels now have. There are now literally hundreds of college and university courses all over the world that are using graphic novels in their curriculum. The days when comics were just seen as children’s trash, with no redeeming literary or educational value, are hopefully behind us.
Contrary to the idea that comics “dumb” down material, it takes both sides of the brain to read and interpret sequential art stories: the right side to interpret the pictures and the left side to understand the narrative text. Our goal with this collection is to provide the educator and scholar with a collection of essays that show how graphic novels and comics are being used in the classroom today, as well as some historical pieces that detail how the educational fields often have and have had a “rocky” relationship with the use of comics in educational settings. We want both theoretical and practical essays showing how sequential art can be and is being used to teach and illustrate concepts and ideas.
We are especially keen on pieces related to higher education, military and government uses of comics to educate, but all aspects of comics and education are under consideration. In addition, we would like to have educators from a wide spectrum of the educational fields from K-12, to undergraduate and graduate educational levels. Those using sequential art in adult education and pre-school are encouraged.
Some possible questions/ideas that could be addressed include:
The Military’s use of comics to teach.
Graphic Novels and comics in library science education.
How relationships can be understood through the use of graphic novels in human science education.
Teaching mathematical concepts using graphic narrative.
Grade school use of comics.
Middle school use of comics.
High school use of sequential art (say something like Maus to teach the Holocaust).
Comics and Film to teach about blockbuster cinema.
Philosophical issues raised by graphic novels (The Watchmen in a philosophy class about ethics).
Biological and scientific concepts using graphic novels.
The use of mainstream superhero stories in the classroom.
Superman, Batman, Spider-Man to further understand the concept of the hero Mythology (i.e., Odysseys, Hercules etc.).
Graphic Novels and history, how effective a tool is the graphic novel in teaching a historical concept?
Sequential art in teaching foreign language or English as a second language.
Comics in literacy and adult education programs.
Graduate courses using graphic novels.
The History of sequential art in education.
Medical education using comics
Please send 200 word abstracts by January 15th 2011 to Rob Weiner Rob.firstname.lastname@example.orgFinal papers will be due February 28th 2011. No exceptions.
Please note the submission of an essay does NOT necessarily mean publication in the volume.
Essays will be going through a rigorous peer review process and we have asked a number of scholars to serve in this capacity. We are striving to put together as an excellent collection with diverse viewpoints covering all aspects of comics and education. Authors are also expected to follow the editor’s style guide and be willing to have their work edited.
Carry Syma, Texas Tech University Library
Rob Weiner ,Texas Tech University Library
Also, remember the Spidey collection for which Dr. Weiner is currently seeking submissions!
Jeremy Short's students at Texas Tech's business school read and discuss Atlas Black: Managing to Succeed as a means of learning business basics. The text was written by folks at Portland State and Auburn, along with Short. A professor at the University of Vermont uses these texts as well. The University of South Carolina's Thomas Moliterno does too.
I'm not sure if these Atlas books are comic books or graphic novels. They're called graphic novels in the article but seem to have the shape and feel of the pamphlet-style comic books you'd see on news stands.
As well, there seems to be some lack of knowledge from the writer and his or her sources regarding the differences. Certainly the comments on Inside Higher Ed's public response area suggest a "dumbing down" is taking place rather than a simple reconstruction and presentation of the data.
It's also interesting that there is a sense that there is consensus among academics outside of education, particularly in business schools, it seems, that graphic novels are only written for entertainment. Woo that Maus, it was riot, wasn't it? That exploding giraffe head in Pride of Baghdad? Had me laughing for days. (Warning: Watch for dripping sarcasm).
I think what this suggests is the schism between what academics think constitutes "worth" and what education academics know works regarding teaching. Isn't is just a little strange and bassackwards that people responsible for teaching content material don't seem to know about how their students learn best? What's more, they get to be the authorities on what constitutes excellence in their given fields.
Makes you want to read one of the comic books that really is just for entertainment, doesn't it? Just to escape the ironic ignorance!
At least there are some folks that are exploring this form's pedagogical potentials is classrooms outside the ELA one. Graphic novels and comics are wonderfully interdisciplinary, afterall.