Back to School with Comics: Resources for Educators and Librarians

CBLDFPM-CVRAs educators and librarians gear up for a new school year, we’re taking the opportunity to highlight our free resources designed to help students — and everyone else — love and appreciate comics!

Comics Connector

CBLDF’s Comics Connector is a directory resource that connects educators and librarians with creators, editors and other comics professionals who are able to provide classroom or library visits. More than 50 comics professionals in 12 states and one Canadian province have signed up with the Comics Connector so far, and more will be added each week. Educators can view participating creators and creators can sign up for this free resource by visiting http://cbldf.org/resources/comics-connector/

Using Graphic Novels in Education

Using Graphic Novels in Education is an ongoing feature from CBLDF that is designed to allay confusion around the content of graphic novels and to help parents and teachers raise readers. In this column, we examine graphic novels, including those that have been targeted by censors, and provide teaching and discussion suggestions for the use of such books in classrooms. Check it out here!

Banned/Challenged Comics Discussion Guides

Given their visual nature, comics are easy targets for would-be censors. CBLDF Discussion Guides are tools that can be used to lead conversations about challenged graphic novels and to help allay misconceptions about comics.

CBLDF Discussion Guides can be used by librarians, educators, retailers, or anyone who wants to lead a conversation about a graphic novel. In each guide, you will find the following:

  • Synopsis: A brief summary of the major plot points in the graphic novel
  • Themes: The overarching ideas that the creator(s) express in the graphic novel
  • Reasons Challenged: The reasons why people have tried to censor the book
  • Suggested Age Range: The age group for which the book is most likely suitable
  • Discussion Questions: Tiered questions organized by cognitive complexity, from basic recall to higher-order thinking
  • Activities: Projects and activities to take the conversation about graphic novels beyond the library or classroom and to encourage greater engagement with comics

Download the free discussion guides here!

Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read!

With more than 80,000 copies in print, Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read! answers the questions parents and educators bring to using comics: What skills do graphic novels offer kids? How do you teach reading with a comics page? How do comics promote a love of reading? It’s an indispensable tool for showcasing the value of graphic novels, and chock full of reading suggestions and title recommendations to get kids engaged with this exciting medium! This 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). Graphic design was handled by Brooklyn-based designer David Herman. Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read! is available in bundles from CBLDF here. You can view the digital version below!

CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices

Manga is a worldwide phenomenon: One of the most widely read types of literature in its home country of Japan, it has crossed the world to become a very popular category here in the United States.

Often, manga is challenged because of its foreign source — many of the people who want manga banned simply don’t understand it. CBLDF works to educate people about manga, and part of that effort is CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices,an authoritative yet accessible handbook designed to help librarians, educators, and parents navigate the vast and popular field of manga.

Made possible with a grant from the Gaiman Foundation and published by Dark Horse, CBLDF Presents Manga is a handbook designed to provide a concise and informed overview of manga — its history, genres, and issues. This educational work delves into the history of manga, its major demographic divisions, its most significant creators, and the challenges it has sometimes faced in North America. An expert panel of writers, including not only scholars of the medium but veterans of the manga industry itself — professionals who have worked from both the North American and Japanese sides of manga in publishing, editing, review, and library services. Edited by Melinda Beasi of Manga Bookshelf, CBLDF Presents Manga is written by Manga Bookshelf columnist Sean Gaffney, Ed Chavez of Vertical, Erica Friedman of Yuricon and ALC Publishing, Shaenon Garrity of Viz Media and Otaku USA, and Robin Brenner and Katherine Dacey of School Library Journal.

If your students or patrons are interested in manga and you want to learn more about the category, you can pick up a copy of CBLDF Presents Manga here!

Adding Graphic Novels to Your Library or Classroom Collection

This ongoing feature from CBLDF provides specific resources for librarians and educators who may need to justify and defend the inclusion of the book in library and classroom collections. Each column provides specific information about a book, including a summary of challenges it has faced, reviews, praise, awards and other recognitions, and additional CBLDF resources that educators and librarians can provide to their administrators when they want to add the book to their collections.

These resources can also be used to address challenges. CBLDF can also help by providing assistance, writing letters of support, and facilitating access to experts and resources. Call 800-99-CBLDF or email info@cbldf.org at the first sign of a First Amendment emergency!  Check out these ready-made collection guides here.

Celebrate the freedom to read comics for all ages and CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zone, making a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!