Making Curriculum Pop

I am curious about what other comics educators think about my Reading List. Should I add more titles, eliminate any? Perhaps you could suggest manga titles? This is for grade 12 students of all abilities

These are the titles I teach during the school year (which is why they are not on the independent reading list)

A Contract with God 
A Life Force
Understanding Comics
Moore's V for Vendetta
Miller's Batman: DKR
Persepolis I, II
Funny in Farsi
Maus I,II

Your insight is appreciated!

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Replies to This Discussion

I like the basic list and have most of them in the curriculum I will be using this summer. I also include The Plot, Scott McCloud's works, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, The Vietnam War: A Graphic History, Fax from Sarajevo, and Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Version. I have several books on theory I will be using but I'm going to guess that time is a limit as well as philosophies of "correct content" as decided by the school board and school administration. Have to say, I've never heard of "Funny in Farsi" but I'm going to look it up and see if our library can borrow me a copy.
Hi Maureen! A good list...For possible additions: How about Jessica Abel's La Perdida, Matt Madden's 99 Way to Tell a Story, Nick Abadzis's Laika, or A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (by my husband Josh Neufeld)? All could work for 12th graders. Some teachers like Logicomix (about the history of math, more or less), but I haven't read it yet. Also, check out Miss Lasko Gross's short stories in A Mess of Everything (but all not appropriate) and Derek Kirk Kim's short stories...

I'd like to know what manga titles to add, as well...
I made up a list of must-have books for older high school students last summer. I did it a bit on the fly, but I do really like it. I could easily double or triple the number of books here, though.

Love to hear your thoughts on these.
Leave It To Chance
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Dropsie Avenue, but I see you have Eisner covered
Mad Love
Killing Joke
Barefoot Gen Hiroshima
* Love & Rockets: Palomar or Duck Feet or Locas in Love or...well, they are quite adult and you need to pick and choose carefully.
I agree with Tony that Kingdom Come is worth a look.
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan....wowzas! Vaughan is an amazing writer. Look him up, and anything that you can find, check it out. He also write Y: the Last Man, which would be fantastic to teach, but unfortunately that'd be incredibly costly to get the whole series.
Mouse Guard is fantastic and has some good social commentary and political parallels.
The American Way by John Ridley
Legends: The Enchanted by Nick Percival was a wonderfully creepy steampunk version of our favorite fairy tale characters. It's got some possibly movie deals.
Mike Carey's The Unwritten is fabulous. But it has a lot of adult content. I have heard of some high school teachers using it though. It's wrapped in literary references, which directly tie-in to the story.

I haven't gotten around to reading Demo yet, but from what I hear it sounds amazing.

I would love to utilize Pride of Baghdad in a lesson or unit.  I'm not sure Y: The Last Man or Ex Machina would be suitable for anything, considering their length and price, but Pride is short enough and inexpensive enough.  Plus, who doesn't love anthropomorphism?  This would be suitable for a lesson on war, or examining personification and anthropomorphism.  Vaughan is an amazing writer, though.  Ex Machina stands as my favorite graphic novel EVER.


I'm also a huge fan of The Unwritten, but this is pretty R-Rated, with the violence and language.  I doubt it would fly in even a high school setting (not in my southern town, anyway).  You're right, though.  It's ripe with literary references.

DEFINITELY Blankets by Thompson, possibly Tonoharu by Martinson (loved vol. 1, haven't read vol. 2 yet).

Ideas for manga:
-Would provoke a lot of discussion: What a Wonderful World! by Asano
-Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Kouno
-Twin Spica by Yaginuma
-Bunny Drop by Unita
I use Gene Yang's American Born Chinese in a general education class called Comics and Culture that I team teach with a colleague in history (who happens, coincidentally, to be an American Born Chinese). I think it is a terrific book, both story and art, and it is probably the students' favorite during the semester. It won the Pintz Award and was nominated for a National Book Award.

As far as Manga is concerned, I second Kevin's suggestion of Barefoot Gen. A friend in the Physics department uses it in a gen ed course called Nuclear Threat and he says that it really makes an impact on students. I was affected for days after reading it.

I am also a fan of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's book The Pushman, Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Good-Bye. Although these do have adult themes, they are powerful examples of his revolutionary alternative approach to manga called gekiga. His biography A Drifting Life is an excellent look into the world of Japanese comics and the early creators.

I am also a sucker for any Osamu Tezuka writes and hope to use some of his books (Buddha, Black Jack, MW,Ode to Kirohito or Appolo's Song) in future Comics and Culture classes.
Thanks so much for your reply! I teach ABC too in my curriculum and the kids do love it, even though they are almost 18! It's a favorite. This reading list is getting longer thanks to everyone who gave feedback. I appreciate it!



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