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Crossing Literacy Thresholds: When Kids Are “Stuck” Reading the Same Things

I take a democratic spirit with regard to my children’s reading. In my view, if I take them to the library every weekend and they’re reading something — anything! — then we’re good, right? Maybe not. Lately, my nine year-old has been apathetic about our library trips, preferring to wait in the car. When in […]

Reading Without Walls: A Conversation with Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang, graphic novelist and the Library of Congress’s 2016–2017 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has initiated a challenge to us all. Its rules are simple: read one book whose main character “doesn’t look like you or live like you”; OR read one book “about a topic you don’t know much about”; OR […]

Raúl the Third, 2017 Pura Belpré Illustrator winner, at Cport School

On Monday, Raúl the Third (a.k.a. Raúl Gonzalez) was announced as winner of the 2017 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for his middle-grade graphic novel Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, written by Cathy Camper. Some people go to Disney World. This guy went to Cambridgeport School! On Tuesday he spent the morning in the […]

Review of Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box

Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus Middle School, High School    Candlewick    176 pp. 9/16    978-0-7636-5938-7    $24.99 A foreword by David Small and Marcus’s brief outline of the history of comics introduce the book. Marcus (The Wand in the Word: Conversations with […]

Snow White

When I first heard Matt Phelan was working on a graphic novel that would transpose Snow White from her traditional fairy-tale locale to Depression-era New York City, I was more than a little excited. Phelan’s previous graphic novels (Storm in the Barn; Bluffton) are favorites of mine and have been a hit with my comics-obsessed students. […]

Review of Snow White

Snow White by Matt Phelan; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    216 pp. 9/16    978-0-7636-7233-1    $19.99 Phelan has visited the 1930s Dust Bowl in The Storm in the Barn (rev. 11/09), early-1900s vaudevillian Buster Keaton in Bluffton (rev. 11/13), and late-nineteenth-century explorers in Around the World (rev. 11/11). Here he heads off to […]

The POW! of the turning of the page

I was super-stoked to attend a live taping of The Nerdist Writers’ Panel podcast at local indie bookstore Brookline Booksmith on Saturday. The special guest was Joe Hill, one of my favorite adult authors. He’s published three horror-ish novels (including Horns, which in 2013 was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe), a short story […]

World War II graphic novels

This quarter in fifth grade, we’ve been reading Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, and my students were ready and curious to learn about World War II. I’m a big fan of Number the Stars, but I noticed that during my lectures, students kept saying that the supplemental books I had given them had already taught […]

Lesser-known heroes

In my literature classroom, students must always be reading a book outside of the novel we’re reading as a class. Every now and then, a student will pull V for Vendetta or Watchmen or Maus or some other graphic novel* off of my shelf and ask if he can use it as his independent reading […]

Using comics in your classroom

Last month, I was fortunate to be able to attend several sessions at the Comics and the Classroom symposium offered as part of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) on October 5th. The symposium, which was the first of what they hope will become an annual event as part of MICE, brought together a number […]