Submission Guidelines for CBLDF’s Ongoing Educational Columns

Thank your for your interest in contributing to CBLDF’s online educational content!  We are currently taking submissions for the following ongoing educational columns:

  • Using Graphic Novels in Education
  • CBLDF Discussion Guides
  • Adding Graphic Novels in Education

Below is a brief description of each column with a link to past submissions and an outline of content.

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.  The following outline of content explains the information we are looking for in each section of the column.  For further guidance, example entries of this column can be found on CBLDF’s Using Graphic Novels in Education page.  

Outline of Content

Introduction:  This section should include a brief intro of the book or series; things to include–

  • Awards, nominations, bestseller lists
  • Documented challenges/bans 
  • For series, a list of the titles in the series   

Overview:  This section should introduce the following–

  • The suggested age and/or grade level 
  • The main characters 
  • The themes and topics the book or series addresses  

Summary: This section should outline the main plot development for the book.  If a single book, break down section to section or chapter to chapter; if a series, provide a plot summary for each title in the series.

Teaching/Discussion Suggestions:  This section should outline in-class activities for the following categories–

  • Plot, Themes, and Values Related 
  • Critical Reading and Making Inferences
  • Language, Literature, and Language Usage
  • Modes of Storytelling and Visual Literacy
  • Cultural Diversity, Civic Responsibilities, and Social Issues
  • Content–Area Lessons
  • Suggested Prose Novel and Poetry Pairings
  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Additional Resources

CBLDF 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.  The following outline of content explains the information we are looking for in each section of the column.  For further guidance, example CBLDF Discussion Guides can be found here.

Outline of Content

Synopsis: A brief summary of the major plot points in the graphic novel (100-200 wds).  

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 (1-3 questions for each section).

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating

Activities: Projects and activities to take the conversation about graphic novels beyond the library or classroom and to encourage greater engagement with comics.  Suggested activity ideas:

  • Writing
  • Persuasive Writing 
  • Literary Critique
  • Comic Journaling
  • Illustration
  • Digital Presentation
  • Poster Project
  • Script Adaptation
  • Dramatic Reading
  • Infographic

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 recognition, 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.  The following outline of content explains the information we are looking for in each section of this column, and examples entries of this column can be found here.

Outline of Content

Introduction: A brief synopsis of major plot points and themes or an introduction to the history of challenges associated with this title  

Reviews: 3-5 reviews from reputable sources (School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, etc.)

Additional Praise (if available): Quotes from notable sources about the work and/or the creator(s) of the work.

Awards and Recognition: List of awards and other recognition the book and/or creator has received.

Additional Resources: List of CBLDF resources, publisher’s website, author’s website, etc.