Don’t Miss This Week’s CBLDF Webinar About Comics Development!

This week CBLDF offers a free webinar that educators and librarians won’t want to miss! When developing a classroom or library comics collection, even the most eager and knowledgeable can come across unexpected barriers. Join CBLDF and a host of expert panelists including, Aron Nels Steinke, Jill Gerber, Michael Gianfrancesco, and Nora Flanagan to discuss strategies for overcoming barriers, and develop resources in advance of the potential problems. Join us Friday, August 16 at 12PM Pacific for:

Developing a Classroom Collection 101_

Register for this webinar here.

Developing a Classroom Collection 101: Addressing Barriers to Comics

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!

Panelists Include:


Nora Flanagan

Nora FlanaganNora Flanagan was born and raised in Chicago and has been teaching English there for over 20 years. She grew up with two comic book and gaming nerds for brothers, so she has long advocated for geek culture’s place in the classroom after seeing how much it helped one brother with a learning disability and the other with a general drive to resist all assigned reading. She developed a course now available to all Chicago Public Schools that places comics and graphic novels front and center for at least ten weeks, despite intense district scrutiny over the perceived legitimacy of comics and the other topics covered in Experimental Literature. She has also built a classroom and school library collection on a shoestring, defended a graphic novel from an attempted system-wide ban, and convinced a colleague that the cover of Saga: ChapterOne isn’t a danger to the children. Ms. Flanagan enjoys other nonstandard literature, sushi, zombie cinema, sewing, roller derby and a strong cup of coffee.

Michael Gianfrancesco

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!


Andrew Woodrow-Butcher

Andrew Woodrow-Butcher is the Director of Library Services for The Beguiling, where he develops graphic collections for schools and libraries across Canada. He manages Little Island Comics, the world’s first comic book shop just for kids! As a Programming Co-ordinator for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Andrew co-programs TCAF Librarian & Educator Day, a professional development day about comics in classrooms and libraries. Andrew studied Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, culminating in an undergraduate thesis on LGBTQ representations in literature for young people. He has written for Xtra, The Winnipeg Review, Broken Pencil Magazine, The Quill and Quire, and Publishers Weekly.


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.

 Register for this webinar here.

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