As CBLDF’s recent Comics in Education Survey just demonstrated, Comics are a killer tool for capturing students’ intention, increasing involvement in the classroom and helping students with all different needs succeed. But it’s autumn, kids are recently back to school and their routines. For many students, the high point of fall is not the return to school, but the promise of Halloween around the corner. Check out these five comics perfect for grabbing their attention with goblins, ghosts, and graveyards, all the while engaging students in core areas of learning. For more information on CBLDF’s findings, check out Comics in Education Survey.
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde
by Frank Cammuso
“The Misadventures of Salem Hyde is a wonderful series about a strong-willed, spunky, impulsive young witch living in a non-witch community, who has a slight problem: Her spells tend to backfire. However, with the help of Whammy, her companion cat, she slowly deals with her “spelling” issues while boldly facing her nemesis Shelly and her teacher Mr. Fink (who “dislikes all kinds of kids but especially Salem”). The Misadventures of Salem Hyde received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly, and was named one of the Top 10 graphic novels of 2013 by The School Library Journal. These books contain fun-filled adventures and wordplay that make them an awesome read for kids of all ages (even though it is geared for 7- to 10-year-olds).” – Meryl Jaffe,
Check out Meryl’s Using Graphic Novels in Education: The Misadventures of Salem Hyde
Elementary to Middle School
“Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake, and her own.” – Scholastic’s website.
Check out Scholastic’s Teaching Guide
The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book is a two-volume graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning prose novel of the same name. Adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, alongside artists Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott, the full-color graphic novel tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts, and his adventures through the graveyard where he lives. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a vastly entertaining adaptation… It’s a treasure worth having even if the novel is already on the shelf.” Starred reviews in Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly disagree slightly on age range for readers (the former says grades 6-10, the latter ages 8-12) but not on the brilliance of this adaptation, as always teachers and parents often know best which students something is geared for.
Middle to High School
by Vera Brosgol
“Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and has pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks.”
With universally positive reviews, this debut graphic novel is a mash-up of the realistic coming of age story many readers find engaging, with a ghost story that goes from being adorable to unnerving through the tale. certain to resound with many students, the publisher suggests ages 12 – 17 (approximately Grades 7 – 12).
Check out this teaching guide from First Second.
by Junji Ito
A bizarre and frightening story set in a sleepy seaside village in Japan that has been infested with spirals. That’s not a typo; spirals have contaminated everything and everyone. And if you don’t think that sounds scary, you should see the art. The real and the surreal seamlessly mesh into something special with this manga that The Nerdist claims everyone should read. More mature in nature, it’s recommended in CBLDF’s own Manga Book Club publication for readers 16+, but it’s one that horror fans, fans of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, even fans of the literary master Richard Matheson, should not miss.
Check out CBLDF’s Manga Book Club Handbook!