New CBLDF Webinar Addressing Barriers to Comics

Developing a Classroom Collection 101_

Developing a Classroom Collection 101: Addressing Barriers to Comics

Friday, August 16, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST 

Do you want to develop a comics and graphic novel collection for your classroom or library, but don’t know where to start? Do you need help expanding an existing collection? Even though comics are an increasingly popular format, their benefits are still misunderstood by many administrators and decision-makers, and often these misunderstandings create hurdles for teachers and librarians wanting to develop a graphic novel collection for their classroom or library.  Join CBLDF and a panel of comics creators and educators to learn how you can navigate the challenges associated with developing and curating a comics collection, including ways to address enduring stigmas about the pedagogical validity of the medium and challenges to the visual components of the medium. This webinar will offer practical advice, strategies, and resources to help you advocate the value of comics in educational settings and overcome barriers to using this incredible medium! Register for this webinar here.

Panelists Include:


Nora FlanaganNora Flanagan

Nora Flanagan has been a member of the English faculty at Northside College Prep High School since 2008; before joining Northside, she taught for ten years at Lane Tech College Prep. She attended the University of Illinois at Chicago — twice — and is a lifelong resident of Chicago. (South Side!) Mrs. Flanagan enjoys ultra-modern literature, sushi, zombie cinema, sewing, roller derby and a strong cup of coffee.

Michael Gianfresco

Michael GianfrancescoMichael Gianfrancesco has been an English Teacher for 14 years and currently hangs his mortarboard at North Providence High School in North Providence, Rhode Island. He also sometimes teaches classes at Johnson and Wales University as an adjunct English professor. Michael has dedicated his career to bringing pop culture and especially comics and graphic novels to classrooms all over the country. He has presented at Harvard, Fordham, Brown, and Lesley Universities to name a few. He has also done workshops at such educational conferences as NEATE, NCTE, and ALA. In addition, he has sat on or curated panels at New York Comic-Con, C2E2, San Diego Comic-Con, Wildcat Comic Con, Rhode Island Comic Con, and Denver Comic-Con. He and his extracurricular student-run club the Nerd Herd have been building up his classroom lending library of graphic novel titles for the last couple of years and is always pushing to make it larger. If you are interested in donating your old comics, he is very interested in accepting them!


Aron Nels Steinke

aron+steinke+author+photo+1+lowestAron Nels Steinke is a cartoonist and elementary school teacher. He began making comics in 2006 with the help of a grant from the Xeric Foundation and never stopped. In 2015 he and his wife Ariel Cohn won the Best Publication for Early Readers Eisner Award for their book The Zoo Box (First Second Books). Mr. Wolf’s Class (Scholastic/Graphix) is his newest book series following the adventures of a class of anthropomorphs and their teacher who just so happens to be a wolf. The first book was a New York Time’s Editor’s Choice selection. The second book in the series Mystery Club is out now! Book 3 Lucky Stars will publish on September 3, 2019.


Jill Gerber

Jill Gerber_option 1Jill Gerber, English Dept Chair at Kairos Academies, graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and has taken extensive coursework on writing education, learning disabilities, and cultural studies at Washington University-St. Louis. Jill has over 26 years of experience teaching at some of the most prestigious K-12 schools in the St. Louis area, including Forsyth School and Whitfield School. Her work on student-driven projects (student TED talks, design-thinking plan for a community garden, personal narrative through comic books) has earned her numerous awards, including Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching; ISSL Teacher of Distinction; Office Depot’s Teacher Success Stories; The Richard B. Kobusch Humanities Endowed Chair; and a Teaching All Kinds of Minds Certification. Outside of the classroom, Jill is active in community-based and culturally-responsive curriculum design through programs such as STL 250. Most recently, she ran educational programming for Lion Forge, a premier comic book and graphic novel studio. She is nationally published and a frequent expert panelist on integrating multimedia resources into humanities curriculum—engaging, interdisciplinary learning she’s eager to co-construct with her new Kairos kids.


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