New Books - so you don't have to scroll through all the pages every time you come on. I will try to update this page about once a month - after my visit to the local comic book store! Don't forget to support your local shop! I shop at Brave New Worlds in Willow Grove, PA -- a great group of people.
http://bravenewworldscomics.com/

9/19/15

A Chinese Life. Kunwu and Otie. 9781906838553.
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations. 1953-1984. Filiu and B. 9781906838843
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations 1783-1953. Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B. 9781906838454

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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Vietnam Journal. Don Lomax. 9780941613811

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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Two Generals. Scott Chantler. 9780771019593

external image TwoGeneralsCover.jpgexternal image dropping-into-the-trench.jpeg
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
1943 - Highland Light Infantry of Canada - story of their experiences at Normandy.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
As an American, I am thrilled to have this account of Canadian soldiers in WWII. Let's be honest - too many Americans dismiss the
Canadian and French military efforts in many arenas. Too often, we forget how truly important these allies have had throughout out history, despite our occasional disputes. The set-up of the book itself is also very well-done - it resembles and feels like a soldier's personal journal. The story itself covers much of war - from the excitement of battle to the mundane task of getting used to new cultural norms in a foreign land. It is a book that is drawn in a simple manner - not that it isn't beautifully drawn - just that it really helps the reader to focus on the story and each panel. Too often, comics try to overwhelm the reader and impress with a lot of activity - this book does not. I also love that this story is written about the author's grandfather and based on primary source material.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
I would show to the students how this book is set up to look and feel like a soldier's personal journal and that it is based on primary sources - this would be a great intro to discuss advantages and disadvantages of both primary and secondary sources. Perhaps the Do Now could focus on having the students write down what they think the role of Canada was in WWII. As this is based on memoirs, I would also ask students to ask family members if they have any personal connection to WWII - be it military or civilian. This would be a great chance to have students bring in personal memorabilia and include their families' histories into the classroom.

Northwest Passage. Scott Chantler. 9781934964354.

external image scott-chantler-northwest-passage-tpb.jpgexternal image changler-overview.jpg

Rating:
Reading Level - 8th and up.
Length - 265 pages
Basic Premise
Charles Lord is a former British adventurer who has settled into running a frontier trading post - he has a desire to go out and find
the Northwest Passage. The tale involves fighting with the French and Native Americans and many who do not know to which side
they belong.
Factual?
Historical fiction - but this version does come with annotations and the author discussed his inspirations and historical information.
Teacher Thoughts
This book would be an easy way to introduce students to some of the visualizations of life during this time period. The Seven Years War is the background of the storyline and would provide a great beginning point for this conflict as well. It is a beautifully drawn book and the storyline has multiple pieces going on at the same time - all in all, a great book. It would find a fitting place in many courses - American History (including AP US), Western Civ (AP Euro), and Global History (AP World).
Student Thoughts
Connections
Christianity VS Native American faith, Cree, Seven Years War,
Potential Issues
No real issues - but not for little ones due to battle violence.
Lesson Ideas

8/21/15
Operation Ajax. Daniel Burwen and Mike De Seve. 9781781689233.

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Rating - 5/5
Reading Level - high school
Basic Premise
A detailed history of how Iran's democracy was derailed by Great Britain and the United States over oil - culminating in the company of BP.
Factual - with the research I have completed, most seems to be on point. The appendix included the original CIA plan from June 1953.
Teacher Thoughts -
This would be a great resource for teaching AP US, AP Euro, or AP World. With the current ongoing Iran-USA negotiations this book could not be more timely. This is a book that could be read in one or two days and used as a jumping off point for further research. It is an unforgiving look at Western policies and how they have shaped some of the current Middle East issues. When European Imperialism is taught, it is often discussed as being over in the early 1900s or maybe even by WWII - however, this book certainly would suggest otherwise. Too often, Westerners read about "those" people in the Middle East and the violence - it is important to understand the historical underpinnings of these recent issues.
The book is beautifully drawn and it is interspersed with text and documents to bring everything together. I personally found it to sum up 60 some years of history quite succinctly and provided me with enough curiosity to complete further research on my own.
Student Thoughts
Connections -
Imperialism, 1979 Iranian Revolution , Cold War, Containment Theory, propaganda, Atlee, Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Dulles Brothers.
Potential Issues -
There are a few scenes of violence - nothing over the top. There are also two incidences of sexual activity - but nothing graphic and no nudity
Lesson Ideas
I would begin with a current events lesson on the ongoing nuclear negotiations between the US and Iran. Or perhaps begin with a discussion on 9/11 and why it happened. It would be interesting to see how students "feel" about Iran after reading about this nation through the Western media. These "feelings" could then be revisited after reading this graphic novel. While no side is clearly "good" or "evil" - the lesson is that the study of history matters when understanding current events.
Resources.
App store digital/interactive comic. I have not seen it - would love to hear feedback if anyone looks at it.
http://www.cognitocomics.com/operationajax/
http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2003/aug/20/foreignpolicy.iran
http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/operation-ajax/
http://www.npr.org/2013/09/01/217976304/declassified-documents-reveal-cia-role-in-1953-iranian-coup
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/politics/cia-iran-1953-coup/



7/10/15

Northlanders Vol. 1. Brian Wood. ISBN 9781401219185
external image sven-the-returned1.jpgexternal image 6191703f5757ec6622fadc4b0e3481ed.jpg?h=532360db26beaf1a54f4ad837da551c3&width=640
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Historical fiction - the series consists of multiple short stories.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues - mature readers only.
Lesson Ideas

Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965. Joe Kubert. ISBN 9781401229481
external image 51mnHiOCfiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgexternal image dong-xoai_final-109-copy.jpg


Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Based on the actual events of Dong Xoai and the special forces battle.
Factual?
Includes primary accounts and field notes.
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


Superstars of History. RJ Grant. ISBN 9780545680240
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Two pages dedicated to each world history figure from Ancient to Modern Eras.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Not a comic book, but still provides the opportunity to teach through visualizations. A teacher could assign a historical figure to a group of students - each would provide a student created visual and graphic organizer as depicted in this book. Easy site to create a character -
http://www.heromachine.com/heromachine-3-lab/

Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Age of Reptiles Omnibus. Volume 1. Ricardo Delgado. ISBN 9781595826831
external image 519Don2TOML._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgexternal image delgado_age_of_reptiles_vol_1_4.jpg

Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Wordless stories
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Interesting way to teach plot, sequence, etc.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

400 BC - the Story of the Ten Thousand. Lewis Helfand. ISBN 9789380028613
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy. Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon. ISBN 9780809033621
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


Comix Economix. Bentley Boyd. ISBN 9780972961615
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Some basic explanations of several economic concepts.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Abina and the Important Men. Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clarke. ISBN 9780199844395
external image 51D8krUdPLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Rating:
Reading Level -
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Basic Premise
Escaped West African slave who sues her former master - based on the court case.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
The book comes with a lot of historical notes and lesson ideas for incorporation in the classroom,
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Hazardous Tales - The Underground Abductor. Nathan Hale. ISBN 9781419715365
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Harriet Tubman
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


Captain America. Dan Jurgens. ISBN 9780785155171

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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Multiple Captain America stories focusing on WWII.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Civil War Adventure. Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz. ISBN 9780486795096

CWA_cover
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Several short stories dealing with the Civil War
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Rebels #4 July 2015. Brian Wood. Monthly Series.
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
"Historical epic of America's founding" - several story lines, but focuses on Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

War Stories #10. July 2015. Garth Ennis. Monthly Series.
external image WarStories10-wrap-600x463.jpg
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
This is an ongoing monthly comic that tells short stories from different wars. #10 focuses on WW2
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

1872. Marvel. Monthly series part of Secret Wars storyline.
external image 18721cover.JPGexternal image CE1NyWjVIAA4fWD.jpg

Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
1872 America - Wild West - alternate "history" - Captain America is the sheriff in the Valley of Doom.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


The Age of Selfishness. Darryl Cunningham. ISBN 9781419715983
external image 61pf8nW8AAL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Financial crisis of 2008 - uses Ayn Rand's objectivism to explain the root causes.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

A Sailor's Story. Sam Glanzman. ISBN 9780486798127

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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Auto-biographical experiences of the author in WWII on a navy destroyer - USS Stevens.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

A Sailor's Story. Sam Glanzman. ISBN 9780486798127



Battle Lines - a Graphic History of the Civil War. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman. ISBN 9780809094745

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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
The entirety of the Civil War in one graphic novel.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

Abina and the Important Men Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clarke. ISBN 9780199844395
external image 51D8krUdPLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
1876 court case of Abina Mansah - West African - escaped slavery and took her former master to court
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Comes with A LOT of historical background and lesson ideas for classrooms.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


5/1 - I have a lot of catching up to do -- will be updating more regularly as the summer approaches.


external image STK670261.jpg

I can't say enough great things about this monthly comic - so glad that it has been brought back. The previous run was about Israel - this current story arc is about WWII. The story is told from the perspective of a Nazi tank crew who lost their tank in battle VS the Russians. As they wander through the woods, they come across civilians and bring them along - protecting them against the "evil" Russians. It is a lesson well taught to our students - that WWII was not just about "good" VS "evil" - but that real people fought and died in this war. The Russians are certainly made out to be the bad guys here as the reader sees some rather ghastly crimes committed against German civilians. The images bring thoughts of the Jewish Holocaust, yet not. The comic is beautifully drawn and completely engaging - I love how there are always new story arcs - not just about WWII, or WWI, etc - but constantly changing and evolving. It is great to find this comic mixed in the shelves amongst Transformers and X-Men comic books - just another sign of how the comics industry has continued to evolve. This particular story is for more mature audiences - but the images are certainly no worse than we would see when showing photographs of the Jewish Holocaust.
2/20

Blackjack. Blood and Honor. by Alex Simmons. 9780967634104
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Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
1930s Japan - some leaders speaking out against Japanese Imperialism - Blackjack is hired to protect one and travels to Japan. Once there, he encounters a secretive Japanese group, the Swords of the Dragon, who control government, business, and military interests.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
This book comes full circle in teaching about the dangers of stereo-typing and the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s. The idea that Blackjack would put his life on the line for a biased country parallels the strife of Japanese-Americans and even German-Americans during WWII. The message is a powerful one - history matters and we cannot forget or ignore any of it - we are who we are because of it - whether good or bad. This is all done in a comic that is powerful, well-drawn, and action-packed -- there is so much that can be taught through this wonderful vehicle of a graphic novel.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Harlem - during the Great Depression, Manchuria/Japanese invasion of China, Propaganda, Adolf Hitler, Buddhism, Mao Zedong, Communism, cash crops, Japanese-American internment camps, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Nisei), 183rd Battalion of Combat Engineers, 761st Tank Battalion, Dachau, Buchenwald, Jewish Holocaust,
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
1. Why would some people feel the need to speak out against Japanese policies in 1935? What was going on?
2. What were the Western countries doing to restrict Japanese growth in this time period? (p. 14).
3. How did the actions of Nazi Germany mirror those of Japan in the 1930s?
4. What do you notice about the technology of the time - cars, weapons, etc? Use specific textual/visual evidence.
5. Mao Zedong and Chinese Communist rebels - how/why were they moving against the Chinese government?


1/21

Message to Adolf. Osamu Tezuka. 9781935654438
external image 13155247.jpgMessage2HitlerBack.JPG
Government Issue - Comics for the People 1940s-2000s. Richard L Graham. ISBN 9781419700781
external image 9781419700781.jpg
Government cartoons through these decades.

The Collector. Sergio Toppi. ISBN 9781608864218
external image collector.jpg
Italian series about 19th century colonialism and adventure
Collector.JPGCollector2.JPG

Rating:5
Reading Level -high school
Length -
Basic Premise
This is a collection of short stories (historical fiction?) based on the main character - the Collector. He travels around the 19th century world, seeking items of significance. The series is in black and white, but drawn so beautifully and creatively, that the viewer is completely drawn in.
Story 1 - the talking peace pipe - this has been used throughout history to gain visions of the future. The Collector is able to swindle this from Crazy Horse the night before Little Big Horn. As a result, he has to lead the Indians during the first hour of the battle. The depictions of the Native Americans are simply amazing.
Story 2 - The Abyssinian Obelisk - Egypt.and Ethiopia. Fighting against natives, rock monsters, Italian soldiers, and Negus Menelik (Menelik II's father), all in the attempt to capture this item. The battle between the Italians forms a historical backdrop to the story - would be an interesting segue for social studies class.
Story 3 - The Mongol Jewel - begins with a brief history of 15th century Central Asia - Timur Leng (Timerlane) and Mongols - destruction. His horse was killed in 1402 during Battle of Cubuk by the Turks. His tear turned into a pearl with the image of the horse inside. - this is what the Collector is after in this story. His research brings him to Guinea where he is taken captive by a white woman. After escaping, the collector goes to Afghanistan - the Collector really gets around the world and exposes the read to brief glimpses of local culture. .
Story 4 - The Scepter of Muiredach - 1865 - Ireland - story about King Niall Glundub - King of Ireland in 900s. Then to New Zealand as Maori fight the English. Then to Australia.
Story 5 - The Necklace of Padmasambhava - Tibet - meeting the Lama. Padmasambhava - a historical figure of legend - his femur was put into a necklace - that which the Collector desires.

Factual? Combines facts and myth
Teacher Thoughts -
A unique book to add to the classroom - part Indiana Jones and part Carmen Sandiego. I could see assigning one story each to several groups. Their take would then be to figure out where myth ends and true history begins. There is much action throughout the book, and several war/fighting scenes - but the violence is not graphic or in the reader's face. The only potential issue might be in the final story as the female character seduces a leader - no nudity, but certainly suggestive. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I found myself constantly looking up names and events that came up in the story to find out the facts involved. The countries and cultures involved in this book span six of the seven continents and it would be easy to integrate map skills into the reading research as well. The native cultures are neither good or evil - they are presented as equal characters to the European Collector.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


March Book Two. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin. Nate Powell. ISBN 9781603094009
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Ayako. Osamu Tezuka. ISBN 9781935654780
external image 31%2B6qf0kpuL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
1949 occupied Japan.



Trotsky: a Graphic Biography. Rick Geary. 9780809095087

external image 61bU2Jc4hML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTrotsky.jpg




1/20/15 - Happy New Year!

Batman - a Death in the Family. ISBN 9781401232740
external image 41gCUEABynL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgRobinDeath.JPG
Originally published in 1988. An original advertisement - see above - was to get readers involved in the Robin cliffhanger - should he live or die? SPOILER ALERT - the readers chose to have him die. Talk about social commentary - could also talk about technology and how social media would make this much easier today.

Batman and Robin head to the Middle East to track down Robin's real mother and an escaped Joker.
It is interested to use this comic as a window to the late 80s and compare to modern events centering on the Middle East - seems that, in some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Adventures in:
Lebanon -
Joker tries to sell a stolen US nuclear tipped cruise missile to finance his goings on. The CIA (in hoods) follow Batman in to assist him in finding the TERRORISTS. Bruce Wayne travels through Beirut under a Northern Ireland passport as it is not safe to be an American -- interesting political commentary. Arab terrorists attempt to fire the cruise missile at Tel Aviv - but, of course, Batman saves the say. This would be an interesting conversation to have - what would happen if Israel was struck with a nuclear weapon? How would the US or world react?
"Bekaa Valley" - heart of SHIITE terrorist activity.
Batman beats up the "terrorists" to obtain information - easy connection to waterboarding, ett controversy from today.
Israel -
Robin has to sneak in as he is trying to find his mother who may be a secret agent with the IDF. His research in Israel leads him to BEIRUT.
Ethiopia.
Robin's mom was not the Israeli secret agent, so his research now leads him to Ethiopia. Famine relief mission/refugee camp doctor might be his mother.
Joker runs into the Iranian Secret Service - turns out the Ayatollah has a proposition for him.
Joker.JPGJokerUN.JPG

So the Joker becomes the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations -- now Batman can't get revenge for the death of Robin as he has diplomatic immunity. The US State Department sent in Superman to make sure Batman did not cause an incident.
BatmanVSSuperman.JPGBatmanIranHostages.JPG

Two Face thought about destroying the Twin Towers in 1988 as a way to trap Batman. His coin flip stopped this from happening.
TwinTowers.JPG


Cleburne. Justin Murphy. ISBN 978-0-9799579-0-1
[Cleburne+Cover.jpg]
[Cleburne+Cover.jpg]



Tales of the Talented Tenth. Joel Christian Gill. 9781938486630
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Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

10/30 -

Rasputin #1 - Image Comics. Grecian.
external image STK652998.jpg
This series is more about the legend of Rasputin, than complete historical authenticity. I see it as a wonderful vehicle to introduce the person and why these stories have been created throughout history. The story begins on the night of his murder...

the Amazing Spiderman #574

external image asm574-p19-sin6.jpg
external image Amazing_Spider-Man_574.jpg
This comic was dedicated to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan - inspired by the experiences of Sgt Jeffrey Guerin, US Army.

Wonder Woman Futures End #1

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No big review here - just thought that this new comic had some neat historical connections - what historical figures are seated at the table?


10/19 - I have a HUGE backlog of comics to put on here - rather than wait until I read them all - I am just going to put here what I have, and then review them as I can. So many exciting materials out there new - but I now live in the world of grading essays and research papers!!!!! As always, drop me a line at historycomicsguy@gmail.com or @historycomics and let me know what you are using, what I am missing, or feedback. Enjoy.

X-Factor Visionaries. By Peter David. ISBN 9780785124566.
external image 51a%2B-azAtxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Rating:

Reading Level -

Length -

Basic Premise
This is an allegory for the first War in Iraq - published in 1992. I first learned about this in War, Politics, and Superheroes by Marc DiPaolo

Factual?

Teacher Thoughts

Student Thoughts

Connections

Potential Issues

Lesson Ideas



War, Politics, and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film. Marc DiPaolo. 9780786447183
external image 1036651.jpg

Rating:
Reading Level -
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Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas



Zahra's Paradise. Amir and Khalil. 9781596436428
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cYkvyzeGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cYkvyzeGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Critique of present-day Iran
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


Tales of the Talented Tenth. Joel Christian Gill. 9781938486630
external image 20140407-171816.jpg
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books. Arie Kaplan. 9780827608436
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Rating:
Reading Level -
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Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
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Reading with Pictures: Comics that make kids smarter! Josh Elder. 9781449458782
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Rating:
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Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
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Marzi: a memoir. Marzena Sowa. 9781401229597
external image Marzi-cover.jpg
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
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Howtoons: Make Anything! Dr. Griffith Dragotta. 9781632151018
external image HowtoonsCvrFNLweb.jpg
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
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Portraying 9/11: Essays on Representations in Comics, Literature, Film, and Theatre. Ed. Bragard, Dony, and Rosenberg. 978078645906
external image ?dept=books&shot=0
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
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The Dreamer. Vol. 1 Lora Innes. 1978600104657
external image 51MYSlAs5VL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg'
Reading Level -
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Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
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Comics in Your Curriculum. Richard Jenkins and Debra Detamore. 9781934358153
external image r-jenkins-ciyc1.jpg
Reading Level -
Length -
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Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
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Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society. Jeffrey K. Johnson. 9780786465644
external image 51veTjot9CL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Reading Level -
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Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
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Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


American Born Chinese. Gene Luen Yang. 9781596431522
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Reading Level -
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Deadpool. Dead Presidents. Posehn, Duggan, Moore. 9780785166801
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Reading Level -
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The Original Daredevil Archives, Vol. 1. Daredevil Battles Hitler. 9781616551797
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Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom. Stephen Cary. 9780325004754
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Comic Book Century: the History of American Comic Books. Stephen Krensky. 9780822566540
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Fighting American: Simon and Kirby. 9780857681157
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Comic Books as History. Joseph Witek. 9780878054060
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The Manga Guide to Relativity. Hideo Nitta. 9781593272722
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The Forgotten Man: a New History of the Great Depression. Amity Shlaes. 9780061967641
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When Commas Meet Kryptonite. Michael Bitz. 9780807750650
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White Death. Morrison and Adlard. 9781632151421.
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Journey into Mohawk Country. George O'Connor. 9781596431065
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Uber. Kieron Gillen. Vol 1. 9781592912186
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The Ten Cent Plague: the Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. David Hajdu. 9780374187675
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American Flagg! Howard Chaykin. Vol 1. 9781582404189
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American Widow. Alissa Torres. 9780345500694
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Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War and America. Matthew J. Costello. 9780826429988
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Comic Book Nation. Bradford W. Wright. 9780801874505
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The Losers. Jack Kirby. 9781401221652
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The Power of Comics. Duncan and Smith. 9780826429360
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The Boy Commandos. Simon and Kirby. Vol 1. 9781401229214
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The Lost Colony: Book 1. Klein. 9781596431720
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The Lost Colony: Book 2. 9781596430983
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A. D. New Orleans After the Deluge. Josh Neufeld. 9780375714887
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The Graphic Novel Classroom. Maureen Bakis. 9781628737349
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Comics and the City. Ahrens and Meteling. 9780826440198
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9/29 - wow! The beginning of the school-year has really slowed me down! I have a shelf full of new books - will be getting them on here soon.

Chosin by Richard Meyer and Brian Iglesias. ISBN 9780989829908.

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Rating:
Reading Level - High School
Length -
Basic Premise
Two comics in one depicting the US Marines fighting against the Chinese forces at the Chosin Reservoir.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
The artwork is colorful, beautiful, haunting, and adds much to the story. I especially enjoyed the allusion to the Chinese being
almost demon-like from a distance, but human close-up. The illustrations really help the reader share the fear felt by the
Marines. The story itself is heartfelt and tells of an extremely brave part of Marine history - I agree with the comparison to the Battle of
Thermopylae. I admit to not having known much about this series of events before reading the novel, but it has now raised my awareness
and I will be conducting more research. This book is a great way to introduce the topic - it is not overwhelming to the reader in terms of
jargon, history, and violence. It really tells the personal story of the Marines and even what the Chinese soldiers suffered. This would be
best used as an introduction to the topic and/or research paper - would provide great motivation to pursue the topic further.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Korean War, Cold War, Chosin Reservoir Campaign
Potential Issues
War violence, brief homophobic reference
Lesson Ideas
Check out the video trailer for the comic - really does a nice job summarizing the book - would be interesting to show in class.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR_ET4qtU0Y

_

8/19/14

Vixen: Return of the Lion. G. Willow Wilson and Cafu. 9781401225124
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Rating: 4/5
Reading Level - 8th grade and up
Length - 125 pages
Basic Premise
Collection of #1-5 of the original serial comic. Vixen is an African (African-American) superhero of the Justice League. She returns to Africa to seek revenge/justice on the man who killed her mother. She goes alone, despite the warnings of Superman of the dangers she will face. Eventually, members of the Justice League follow Vixen to help her out of trouble - but they are the ones who wind of needing rescuing from Vixen.
Factual? No - this is not a historical-type comic - more of a social commentary.
Teacher Thoughts
Great to see such a strong, black female who is able to save the likes of Superman and Batman and who is the main character. There is a commentary on historical events - that of imperialism. The main antagonist, Kwesi, is an African male who is terrorizing/controlling the villages. There is a conversation that happens between Vixen and a village leader - he states that while Kwesi is a bad man - at least he is African. However, as it turns out - Kwesi is actually being controlled by outside powers - he is only a puppet. This conversation immediately led to me making connections with European Imperialism and indirect control. The second undercurrent is that of being female - the male African leaders are continually surprised that it is a female doing the fighting.
There is a little stereotyping in the book - Vixen's powers come from nature and animals, there is black magic, etc. Overall, however, the portrayal of Vixen is very positive - bot as a female and black character.
The comic itself is beautifully drawn and there are many powerful images of Vixen - who despite her name and the book cover - is not an over-sexualized creature. We need more of these types of female leads (of any ethnicity) - I will certainly add this to the library.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Imperialism, gender issues/roles
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
Have students write on how this story makes connections to European Imperialism.
Have students complete research on African-American/black superheroes in current comics - what do they notice?
Have students complete research on Female superheroes - what do they notice? What is the social commentary?

Comic Books and American Cultural History: an Anthology. Edited by Matthew Pustz. 9781441172624


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Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - Upper Level High School and college
Length - 275 pp
Basic Premise - a collection of analytical essays on multiple topics of comics and impacts on American culture.
Factual? Well annotated
Teacher Thoughts
This is an excellent book to not only widen one's own perspective on the importance of comics, it is also a wonderful resource to "defend" the use of comics in an educational setting. Be forewarned - reading this book will lighten your wallet and increase your comic collection! Not only are the essays on a variety of topics (9/11, AIDS, homosexuality, Salem Witch Trials, historiography, Alexander Hamilton, propaganda, immigrant experiences, terrorism, women's rights, etc, etc) but the authors are also from varied backgrounds (Air Force Academy professor and even an avowed non-fan of comics). As a teacher, I found lesson plans forming in my head as I read the essays - some lesson plans were more or less right there in the book - just need a little formalizing. The major point of this anthology, as explained by the editor, is to teach students how to critically think and read. I wholeheartedly agree as I was forced to rethink some of my own preconceived notions on comics and on contemporary history. The comics written about are, for the most part, not some obscure comic that students will not have read - these are popular characters dealing with relatable issues. The book is great for the teacher/student just beginning in the field of comics as academia - but also a great resource for the veteran comic fan as well.
Student Thoughts
Connections/Topics
Critical thinking, History Methodology/Historiography courses, comics as historical artifacts, primary source material, Dutch explorer Van den Bogart's journal and exploration in N. America, Native Americans, American Frontier - Bill Cody and Custer, Alexander Hamilton Jewish cultural literature - the Golem, Romance comics and gender roles, Propaganda, Communism, Kung Fu, Jimmy Carter/Reagan - American Malaise in the 70s, American Consumerism, immigration issues and racial stereotyping, AIDS, homosexuality, 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Militarism, Terrorism, Asian stereotypes
Potential Issues
Some violent/graphic titles discussed (very few)
Lesson Ideas
1. This was inspired by the essay written by Jessamyn Neuhaus
Use of a comic to compare/contrast actual historical events
Introduction on how to research -
Do Now - Are comic books valid resources for social studies class? (pair/share thoughts).
Give each pair of students a different comic - visit the local comic book store's dollar bins for materials
Give each student an index card to fill out - author, publisher, copyright, subject, etc
They are then to bullet/explain what this comic can tell the reader about the society in which it was published.
After the students have explored and had time to pair/share - we will then create a class list on how historians can analyze written material. I will help them to understand that we need to look beyond the actual storyline -- what can the advertisements tell us about the society/author/company/intended audience?, what do you notice about the letters to the editor?, what are the gender roles?, do you know of any historical events that were happening when this book was published - did it have an impact?, etc. What happened before the comic? What happen after?
*When looking for comic titles to use for the activity - some things to keep in mind:
A. Find titles of popular comic characters
B. Find both male and female characters
C. See if you can find some titles that have something to do with your course - example - Hulk if you are teaching about the Cold War and nuclear weapons.
Do Now #2 - do you know of any comic book characters/stories that represent historical events? (pair/share answers).
To conclude - I will then show a teacher created powerpoint of comic examples (i.e. 9/11).

2. This lesson plan adapted from the essay by Bridget M. Marshall
Compare/Contrast an historical primary source (diary of Dutch explorer Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, 1634) and how it was depicted in the graphic novel, Journey into Mohawk Country by George O'Connor.
A. Have students read through the diary before discussing/showing the graphic novel. They will create a summary of what was fond in the diary. Special focus should be on interactions between van den Bogaert and the Native Peoples. The students will also create a list of questions of what they would like to know more about - what's missing/not told, etc.
B. Students will then read the graphic novel - the words of van den Bogart are written on the pages - but the drawings are that of O'Connor. The task will be to see what the author changed - perhaps to his own biases/opinion.
C. Students will be tasked with looking through the graphic novel and writing down what has been created either through artistic license or even fiction. Students will be directed to also go through their original notes on the diary to catch the differences.
D. After a session of pair/sharing - the class will share their thoughts on the dangers of historical interpretation. Was O'Connor completely off-base or is there sufficient textual evidence to create a clear understanding of why he drew things in a certain manner? Again - focus on the roles of Native Americans - especially females.

3. Hand out a selection of titles published after 9/11 (there are many examples) that may show how American cultural identity has changed. Students can research to see if art imitates life or if life imitates art.

4. Fall 2014 - hand out copies of new Thor (female), Captain America (African-American), Ms. Marvel (Muslim), Batgirl (non-sexualized costume) - have students discuss how these comics show changing American culture. If you have them - hand out older copies of titles like Wonder Woman to contrast.

8/14/14
Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation. Ed. by Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II. ISBN 9781441135285
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Rating: 5/5 - if you teach American History or comics - or if you simply love the history behind comics - this is a must-buy book!
Reading Level - Higher level high school and up
Length - 256 pp
Basic Premise
A collection of academic articles on comic strips, comics, and graphic novels - focusing on depictions of African-Americans in this media from the late 1800s through 2000s. There is also a strong sub-focus on African-American women as well.
Factual? Each article is well annotated and referenced.
Teacher Thoughts
Wow - do yourself a favor and buy this book! I wish I taught a US History or African-American History course - an entire curriculum could be created with his book as the center. This book is intelligent, sociological, historiographical, witty, and modern. I have purchased a lot of the titles mentioned in this book and have added a entire new section to my comics library as a result. This is not a collection of essays with proverbial axes to grind - the topics are well-balanced, honest, and leave the reader with hope for the future of diversity in comics. A good portion of the essays discuss the history of comics in general - this is not a one-sided approach at all.
Again, Black Comics tackles a wide-range of issues (don't let the title fool you) - history of American newspapers (Yellow Journalism), romance comics, societal and political changes, even some history of manga as well.
As a white male, I was able to make two personal connections to the historical lack of diversity in my beloved comics -
1. My daughter has red hair - this has often been a focus for others as they comment on her hair - much to her discomfort and my chagrin. It really is just something "different" for many - but I do not want my daughter to so strongly associate herself with an external look. My wife and I work hard to instill in our daughters the values of intelligence, independence, creativity, and to not be hemmed in by society's gender roles. She always loved Ariel (Little Mermaid) as she associated with someone who shared her physical appearance. However - this was another female who was not exactly strong/independent enough for us. When Brave came out, (again - red hair) - we were very excited as this was not an ordinary princess, waiting to be rescued - we were happy that our daughter identified with this character with positive traits. This is the same need for any child - no matter the ethnicity - finding a strong and positive role model with whom he/she can identify. For my white son, this is all too easy - there are almost innumerable strong white superheroes with whom he can identify. I was able to more fully understand the impact of this issue for the African-American (and female) community through this wonderful resource.
2 I lived in a predominately African-American community for some time - I was, by far, the minority. When going to the stores, I was initially surprised to find that most of the greeting cards had black faces, that religious items depicted dark faces, and that Santa Claus was black. I think this to have been a crucial experience for me and it has not only made me a better/open-minded person, but also a better teacher. Again - this personal experience is a direct connection to Black Comics - this resource is eye-opening on so many levels. I personally believe that it is so very important for students to see a diversity of resources and leaders in schools - posters, videos, books, teachers, administrators, etc - this book further cemented this idea for me.
I had no idea of the large black comics community - my Twitter feed has begun to diversify as a result. I have many black students, and females, sign up for my comics course as well - always exciting to see that comics are not just for the scrawny white kid! I will now have more resources to share with students.
For the editors - I would love to see another edition - perhaps this one can include interviews with some of the authors/artists for the comics and how they see society, etc. I would also imagine that Falcon becoming Captain America will also have an impact on a second addition as well. As a side note - I am also excited to see the new Wonder Woman (more warrior/Joan of Arc than sexual object) and Batgirl (no loner a skintight latex uniform).

Student Thoughts
Connections
Harlem Renaissance,
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
Tracing newspaper comics and how they mirrored societal changes in the United States.
Do comics mirror society or is the opposite true?
Have students read some of the titles - then complete research on the time period it was published. Compare/contrast.
What would be the impact of changing your favorite comic hero's gender/ethnicity?
Have students peer into the future - how else might comics change to mirror ethnic/gender changes in the US.



8/8/14
Showa 1939-1944 A History of Japan. Shigeru Mizuki. 978-1-77046-151-2

external image mizuki-shigeru-showa-history-of-japan-1939-1944.jpg

Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - 8th and up
Length - 548 pages
Basic Premise
Mizuki's experiences before and during WWII -- but it also gives a broader perspective of the war in general. There are three books in the series - this is the middle book.
Factual? Well annotated
Teacher Thoughts
Although HUGE - I absolutely loved this book. The author was able to give an honest, funny, and personal account of his experiences leading up to the war and through his initiation into fighting in the Pacific. This book is written in true Manga style - back to front reading - a novice reader may need some help in learning how to read the novel. The action/fighting scenes are not gratuitous nor too graphic - and there are many instances of humor to lighten the seriousness of the topic. I found Mizuki's method of weaving the general events into his own personal story to be very well done and it gives quite a unique view on the war. This is not a propaganda book - it is an honest look at what was happening and does not dwell on placing blame or the title of "bad guys" on any one side. The reader can clearly discern when the Japanese government, and its military officers, were on the wrong side of history - yet one can also see how Japan's hand was also forced into some of these decisions - certainly a book to raise some great conversations and questions in the classroom. I found the book to be quite comprehensive in its scope and a valuable tool for a student looking to gain a non-Western viewpoint of the war, but also an interesting point of view from an ordinary man caught up in events out of his control.
The action/battle scenes are engrossing and pulls the reader into the events and does so with well explained maps and charts. The anguish and hardship of the average soldier is well portrayed, especially when the governments/commanders are giving ridiculous orders for their men.
Mizuki is a must-read author as well - as he is a pioneer/founder of the Manga format.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Showa, Meiji Restoration, Imperialism (Western and Japanese), East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Manifest Destiny, Sino-Japanese War, Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek, Good Neighbor Policy, Sino-Japanese Treaty, Tripartite Pact, Hitler, Mussolini, Fascism, Anti-Comintern Pact, Communism, Non-Aggression Pact, Blitzkrieg, Maginot Line, rationing, Operation Barbarossa, Battle of Stalingrad, A-B-C-D Line, propaganda, racism, Pearl Harbor, CIA, comintern, Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong, Philippines, Guam, Wake Island, Dutch East Indies, Doolittle Raid, Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway, Solomon Islands, Palau, Guadalcanal, and more and more!
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
As the students read, have them bullet point for which country is responsible for the Pacific War - they could then write a persuasive essay on whether or not they agree.
The students could compare the Japanese military life with American soldiers -perhaps even interview an American veteran and see if there are any similarities.
Stop the students at key points in the book and ask - if you were the emperor of Japan, what orders would you give?



8/7/14
Enemy Ace: War Idyll. George Pratt. 0-930289-78-1. 1990

external image enemy_ace__war_idyll_softcover_by_george_pratt-d5a1t4q.jpgexternal image enemy_ace__war_idyll_page_by_george_pratt-d5a1tvs.jpg
Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - 8th and up
Length -
Basic Premise
The two main characters are a WW1 ace (Hans von Hammer - a Richthofen-type personality) and a Vietnam Vet (Mannock) who compare their war experiences. The author really makes one think when looking at the two conflicts - personal VS impersonal, chivalry VS slaughter, survivor's guilt VS making the most out of life, etc.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
I am not an artist, but the illustrations blew me away - there are so many water color type drawings that I would hang up on my wall. The dark and blurred depictions add much depth to the storyline and I found myself getting lost in them. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the prose from writers in WWI that were included throughout - deep thoughts, as the saying goes. This would be a neat book to have students compare Vietnam and WWI - or modern conflicts VS WW1 in general.
Student Thoughts
Connections
My Lai Massacre, Flyboys movie
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
Mini - Research project - students could be assigned roles and create a presentation based in comparing weapons, tactics, etc of the two conflicts. Were the two wars really that different? Did chivalry really exist during WW1 air battles? Did it really even exist during the Middle Ages? Connect to the Geneva Convention - do rules in warfare work? What rules would you put into place? My Lai Massacre - were there incidents like this during WW1? Would rules of war prevent these type of incidents from happening? What should happen to those who break these rules? COMpare to the Nazis and Japanese during WW2.
Language Arts - Mannock comes to some conclusions about his life and war experiences - does your view of him match his own? Is he guilty?





*

7/25
Superman: War of the Worlds. Roy Thomas and Michael Lark. 761941212692
external image Superman_War_of_the_Worlds.jpgexternal image 33_38705_1_ElseworldsSupermanWaroftheWorl.jpg
Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
I have my students listen to a portion of the original broadcast when we are learning about the rise of totalitarianism (Hitler). As they listen, the students highlight in the packet what made the broadcast believable/credible. I am looking for them to focus on words like professor, noted astronomer, etc. This will culminate at the end of the unit with a discussion on the idea of "just following orders". We also use this to discuss the unintended consequences of inventions and technology. The day after this lesson, I expose the students to other hoaxes - the Spaghetti Tree being the most hilarious. This all plays into the theme of the course - question everything! The students will then bring examples of more modern day hoaxes - usually coming from Facebook. This Superman book is something that I would offer as extra credit - not as an assigned text. However, there is a lot to be learned from the book - different viewpoints and what ifs being the main lessons. I thought the book was well done - I don't want to write more about it because I will give away the storyline. It's not a bad addition to the classroom library.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Literature, inventions, industrial revolution, WWII, totalitarianism,
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas

7/23
Boxers and Saints. Gene Luen Yang. 9781596433595.
external image ypl_yang_boxers_saints.jpg++
Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - 8th grade and up
Length - 2 books
Basic Premise
Trailer for the book -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9JLPevOw68
This is a story centered on the Boxer Rellion in China and is told from two opposing viewpoints - one per book. The larger book (Boxers) centers around the Boxer point of view - (beginning as the Big Sword Society) who are fighting to save China from the foreign devils and Christianity. The smaller book, Saints - centers around the story of a young Chinese girl who converts to Christianity and is involved in fighting the traditional Chinese.
Boxers -
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Wow - what a clever way to present a historical event from two points of view. The artwok and coloring was very well done - the images really seem to jump off the page. The two stories intertwine so well - you will find yourself remembering scenes from the other book and will have several a-ha moments. I would suggest reading Boxers first - the stories flow better in this order. This book truly lives up to its hype and time on the bestseller lists.
These books are awesome to read just as a stand-alone story -- it would be easy to hook in the students throughout the unit.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Chinese religion VS Christianity, kung fu, General Tsao Taso (also spelled Cao Cao), Yin (female), Big Sword Society, King Arthur, Joan of Arc
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
I teach European History - so my ideas here might be different from someone teaching World or Chinese History.
European Imperialism -
1. What were some of the religious traditions the Chinese practiced before Christianity was introduced? What aspects of this do you see in the graphic novel? What are the different religions present in modern day China? Are there some major differences from the late 1800s? Why?
2. When the Boxers book begins, several Chinese gods are presented and drawn in vivid detail. The students could research each god prior to reading the story -- based on the research, students could then draw an image of the god and then compare it to the one from the author.
3. After reading both books - write a thesis essay defending the point of view that was most justified.
4. Research traditional Chinese opera and puppet shows as presented in the story. How to they compare to modern China?
5. After reading both books - go back and create a list of where the stories crossed-over.
6. While reading, keep a list of specific examples of how the opposing sides were depicted as being evil.
7. Why would the Chinese adopt Western religion and societal norms? Research and compare to the books.
8. How would you feel if you were (assigned character) and these events happened to you? What would you do? (The teacher could have students stop at certain key points in the books and try to predict what will happen - how the character will react).
9. What was life like for the average person (peasant) in China during this time period?
10. When Bao finds the sword at the top of the mountain - discuss/research connections to King Arthur and Excalibur.
11. Before reading the book - set up a scenario for modern day - invaders came in and people began to convert to their religion (if I was teaching this book - I would create a whole fictitious religion - the more out there, the better) -- what would you do? OR - if aliens landed today - what would the look like an what type of religion would they have? Would you convert Why or why not?\
12. Read the following article from NPR with the author. If the students read it before beginning the book, then they could determine if Bao is a terrorist when reading. They could also compare it to modern nationalist movements (even the IRA)
http://www.npr.org/2013/10/22/234824741/boxers-saints-compassion-quesions-for-gene-luen-yang
13. How did the foreigners maintain control in China? How did this compare to actual events? What was missed?
14. Did Bao and his followers actually become gods? Was this metaphorical?
15. Research the names of the major characters in the book - did they exist in history?
16. Research the author, Gene Luen Yang -- create a biography. Although he presented multiple viewpoints, do you think he presented one more favorably than the other? Why? What in his background might have led to this bias?
17. What propaganda came to play in the books?
18. Compare what happened in Peking to events during the First Crusade when the Europeans took over the Holy Lands.
19. When Bao decided to burn down the great library, were his actions justified?
20. p. 317 - stop the students - this is a great place for them to predict what will happen to end the book.
21. Why did four-girl (Vibiana) see the image of Joan of Arc? Were there any comparisons in their lives? Do you think Joan really visited Vibiana?
22. At the end of Saints, Bao is able to survive by making a controversial decision -- was he justified?

7/22
Action Comics #900. 761941200019.
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Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - Teen +
Length - comic
Basic Premise
Multiple stories are in this issue - the best centers on Superman relinquishing his US citizenship in front of the UN so that he is no longer seen by the world as just an extension of US foreign policy. Superman realized that he can't just protect NYC - that he belongs to the world - he does a great job protecting the earth from super villiains, but not from the everday spectres of hunger and thirst. He met with the US secretary of state as the government was concerned that Superman went to Tehran to stop a protest from becoming violent. He stood in the middle of the protesters and miltitary as an image of non-violent resistance - civil disobedience. The Iranian government then threatened war as it saw Superman acting as an agent of the US government - this is why he renounced his citizenship. Although the Iranian government did not immediately stop its repression, things began to move in better direction as a result of Superman's actions.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Interesting way to teach current events in the Middle East - compares to the ideas presented in Superman Red Son (where he is a Soviet, not American - see Cold War page). This issue was received in 2011 was controversial and it would lead to some good discussions in class. To me, it appears that Superman mirrors the worldview of the US - the world's mightiest power, able to confront super villians (Hussein) - but not doing enough to help with democratic movements and general needs of the world's populatiom.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
If Superman is the most powerful being on the planet, why then is there hunger, repression, etc? Choose a conflict in the world today and imagine that Superman intervened. What would happen? Repercussions? Positives? Negatives? Why do you think Superman doesn't normally become invovled in world events in his comic universe? What would/should the American government do if Superman acted contrary to American interests?
7/20
March: Book One. John Lewis. 9781603093002
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Rating: 5/5
Reading Level -
6th grade and up
Length -
121 pages
Basic Premise
Congressman John Lewis' autobiography and his experiences in the civil rights movement.
Factual?
Yup
Teacher Thoughts
This is a great book to use in the classroom when discussing the civil rights movement - and even to connect to modern civil issues as well. The book is easy to read and the story itself is fascinating. My students have commented that they get "tired" of hearing about MLK Jr over and over again - what about the other leaders of the movement? This would certainly help to alleviate some of this frustration. The story is balanced - there are certainly "bad" whites here - but he also writes about the whites who helped and even some black leaders with whom he disagreed. There are a lot of topics covered here - but not in such depth as to bog down the reader. I would use this book as a stepping stone for more research.
Student Thoughts
Connections
President Obama, Edmund Pettus Bridge, separate but equal, segregation, nonv-violence, Gandhi, MLK Jr, Brown VS Board, Strom Thurmond, Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus, Fred Gray, Jim Lawson, F.O.R., NAACP, Nashville Student Movement, Lunch counter sit-ins, Thurgood Marshall, Mayor West
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
Have the students read through the graphic biographies of MLK, John Lewis, and Malcolm X - compare.
I have my students read the graphic novel - Nat Turner - they could compare his methods of violent uprising with the non-viiolent methods of John Lewis

7/19
47 Ronin. Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai. 9781595829542
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Rating: 5/5
Reading Level - middle school and up
Length - 151 (including extra pages with artwork)
Basic Premise -
A retelling of the classic Japanese national tale/history.
Factual?
Lotes of history and historical terms here, but many versions of this event have been handed down.
Teacher Thoughts
I enjoyed reading this novel - the artwork is well done and much research went into this book. It is a quick read and would be a great introduction to studying Japan and its culture. Although the events took place in 1701-1703, it would also be neat to make connections to fedual Europe as well.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Samurai, Daimyo, Shogun, vassal, ronin, seppuku, hara-kiri, bushido
Potential Issues - none
Lesson Ideas
Have the students conduct research on the multiple versions that have been handed down - who is the guilty party? Oishi or Kira? Perhaps have a class debate on the topic. There are also many movies made on the topic (including the one with Keanu Reeves) - perhaps have the students complete a research project on the differences between the films as well.
There is real history here - perhaps have the students put together a travel website to the story - collect and present pictures/info on Edo Castle, Senagaku-ji Temple (where the 47 are buried),etc. They could also include a biography of the people included - such as Emperor Higashiyama.


7/16/14
Malcolm X: a Graphic Biography. Andrew Helfer. 9780809095049
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Rating: 3/5
Reading Level - 8th grade and up
Length - 102 pages
Basic Premise
Factual? No issues with the facts presented.
Teacher Thoughts
I think this is one of the few times that I would say that perhaps a graphic novel format was not a good fit for a topic. The book is well drawn and full of important information - but it is more of a brief sketch of Malcolm X's life - much time was spent on his youth. This is a good book to build some background - but it needs to include more of what Malcolm did as a leader - discuss more of his beliefs and impacts on the African-American community - as well as whites.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas


7/14/20104
Arrowsmith: So Smart in their Fine Uniforms. Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco. 9781401202996
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From the back of the book - "1915. WWI rages in Europe... but it is a war of wizards, dragons, vampires and magic as much as a war of bullets and barbed wire."
Teacher Thoughts -
This is not a true history book - it is set in an alternate reality with monsters, wizards, flying soldiers, etc. That being said - there are plenty of allusions and connections to be had --
The United States of Columbia (NE USA) is not yet invovled in the European war. Some Americans volunteer for the escadrille to fight against the Prussians. Trench warfare. Lufbery is a character. A magical bombing raid destroys a city -- could be compared to WWII and Dresden. The magic mist that turns soldiers against each other looks and acts a lot like mustard gas. This is not a book that I would use to teach WWI, but I will cerrtainly add to my classroom library to be read as extra credit. It certianly raises some interesting questions about alternate universes, etc. I had fun reading it.

The Storm in the Barn. Matt Phelan. 9780763652906
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Kansas- 1937 - Dust Bowl.
Teacher Thoughts -
A quick read - very little reading. I liked how the story focused on an individual boy (11 years old) and how his life directly relates to today - bullying, wanting to grow into a man and impress his dad, etc. The historical framework was well done - the reder really gets a feel for the time period. The illustrations give a good sense of the immensity of the problems during the dustbowl. However, I did not like the ending of the book - the fiction in this historcial fiction. A younger reader would get more enjoyment form the story - a more mature ready will be left wanting as the ending is simplistic and anti-climatic.
6/28 -
Machiavelli. Shane Clester. 9781610660167.
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From the back of the book:

An illustrated adaptation of Niccolo Machiavelli's best-known book on acquiring and keeping political power. To retain power, a prince who inherits his throne must maintain the socio-political institutions to which his people are accustomed; however, a prince who is voted into power must first build a foundation for the future, requiring the willingness to act immorally and use brute force and deceit as necessary.
Teacher thoughts -


Sun Tzu. The Art of War: Your Guide to Winning in Life. Shane Clester. 9781610820080
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From the back of the book:
"As a wise man once noted, life isn t easy. But that s because no one ever taught you how to get ahead. Once you learn how to conquer life s challenges, you become unstoppable.
Master general Sun Tzu cracked the code for winning any competition over 2,000 years ago. His insights have been updated for the 21st century into a fully illustrated masterpiece that will have you blazing past obstacles into your kick-ass new future.
Forget slogging through dense text. Whip through these gorgeous illustrated panels so you can start using Sun Tzu s wisdom in your own life. "
Rating:
Reading Level - High School and up
Length -
Basic Premise
Taking tenants from Tzu and applying them to contemporary situations. Check out the video on their website:
http://www.smartercomics.com/the-art-of-war-comic.html
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
It comes with a free audio book as well!
This book is highly accessible to most students. Different tenants of Sun Tzu are broken up into an event lasting only a few pages. Many current histroicial events/possibilities are given throughout the book - political elections, office politics, Chicago gangsters, wrestling, video gaming, paintball, SWAT teams, rapping, etc. There is something here for everyone.
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas
You really don't need the graphic novel to complete the below lesson plan, but it'd be great to give the students the comparison. The students could also go through the lesson and then create their own scenerio for a current day student - cheating, becoming valedictorian, having a difficult teacher. Ha ha - now I wish I taught this topic - it'd be a lot of fun to teach.
1. Give a pair of students a tenant from the book - have them create a cartoon (or story) based on the tenant and subject area. They can then compare it to what Shane Clester drew in his book and make comparisons.
Example: Create a story or comic based on the following ideas of Sun Tzu -
"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat."
"The good fighter waits for an opportunity to defeat the enemy."
"Preparation leads to invincibility."
"When the vulnerability becomes apparent, strike with force."
"Preparation protects you and provides the space you need to find the perfect moment to attack."
Use the above quotes to create the storyline centering on the subject of modern rap. (see picture at top)


Miyamoto Musashi: the Book of the Five Rings. Mark Dos Santos. 9781610820011
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From the back of the book:

What can you learn from a 17th century samurai? Plenty, if that samurai happens to be Miyamoto Musashi, the master strategist who started fighting at age 13 and never lost a fight in his sixty match career. His insights on how to defeat any opponent are still relevant 400 years later in a world where winning isnt just a resume builder, but an absolute necessity.
Musashis expertise extends beyond the technical how-to of swordplay into the deeper philosophy of successful combat. His emphasis on mastering not only your environment but yourself ultimately empowers you in all aspects of life. Success is not a fluke; it is a way of being.


6/23/14

Persepolis
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Rating: 4/5
Reading Level - High School and up
Length -341 pages
Basic Premise
This is the author's memoir of growing up in revolutionary (70s/80s) Iran.
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
There is a movie on this book as well - www.persepolismovie.com
Overall, great book - I completely understand the hype. My only fear is that it does present a more liberal/Western point of view -- perhaps it could be compared to other accounts for a more balanced approach. Very timely book and it is easy to make connections between the life of the author and modern teens.
Student Thoughts
Connections
I kept finding myself going back to the French Revoluton and Robespierre - the ongoing internal revolution while fighting an external war and teh extremism/radicalism that presented itself in both events. (Iran/Iraq War).
Role of teachers as government mouthpieces of propaganda - changining with different regimes. Easy to connect to Nazi Germany.
Fundamentalism
Jews trying to get out of Nazi Germany before borders were shut -- anti-Revolutionary Iranians also trying to get out.
Marx -- dialectic materialism (loved this connection!)
Caste system from India -- different social levels in Iran as well. Compare/contrast.
Political prisoners - North Korea, USSR, Guantanamo?
Arab Spring -- compare/contrast -- are revolutions a good thing?
Women's rights and education
Teenager/parental conflicts. Iranian teens listening to banned Western music - Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, etc.
This would be a neat pairing with A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah -- I remember hearing him speak about listening to Western Hip-Hop as he went through multuple civil wars in Africa.
p. 302 - easy to make connections to Louis XIV and his crazy rules for the nobles -- keep them focused on the rules and they will be too busy to rebel
Swing Kids - a movie I show to students about teen rebellion in Nazi Germany (great film!) - same idea for many teens in Iran.
Potential Issues
Violence from war and protests -- nothing graphic. Use of some curse words - very few and used well in context. This is one person's view, and it tends to be more of a "western/liberal" type of view/
Lesson Ideas
Have students put together restrictions that they face in our society - as individuals, children, students, etc. Compare to those in the book.
Ask what the students would do. Then compare to the modern Arab Spring movements.

Marvel Masterworks: the X-Men. Volume 1. ISBN 9780785136989
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Why is this on a social studies comics wiki? I have often used the modern X-Men as an allegory for modern LGTB issues - the connections are all too obvious. However - a middle school social studies teacher opened my eyes to the idea that the series can also stand in for the civil rights movement. The original series was written in the mid-sixties and I am now reading through the original comics to make direct connections. My mission over the summer is to research this topic and to help this teacher bring it to life in his classroom. p. 106 is such an obvious reference to Jesse Owens and the Nazi Olympics. Cool stuff. Below are some helpful links to aid in the research -- feel free to email me if you are interested or if you have suggestions. (Tsmyth2@gmail.com)
http://curiata.com/content/2600.php
http://theresapablos.wordpress.com/x-men-as-an-allegory/
http://youtu.be/WsiKcf_SwJU -- lecture from Villanova
http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MsKyle08/news/?a=38850

http://www.politeonsociety.com/2013/02/12/civil-rights-and-the-metaphor-of-x-men/




Rating:
Reading Level -
Length -
Basic Premise
Factual?
Teacher Thoughts
Student Thoughts
Connections
Potential Issues
Lesson Ideas