Making Curriculum Pop

Hi there,

I just accepted a Writers in the Schools residency at Lincoln High School in Portland Oregon. I'm going in once a week to two 9th Global Studies classes, which as I understand it, is like Social Studies or World History. I'm going to be teaching them how to make comics and self-publish. I have the self-publishing part covered. But I'm looking for recommendations for good comics to read and use as models that focus on world history. I'm aware of Maus, Persepolis, Palestine, but curious if anyone has additional suggestions...

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Pride of Baghdad is a perfect one, according to my 10th grade AP History student/comic fanatic daughter :) She will think of more - she is truly the expert.
Hey John,

Check these earlier posts (some are from the first week of the blog) for a range of ideas!!

COMICS: American & World History Ink

Not world history, but of interest...


I'll also make a wall post in the world history group to this post - perhaps folks will be able to add more ideas!
I don't know how mature the readers are or how liberal the school, but if you're considering the ones you listed, then I'd also recommend Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima by Keiji Nakazawa (there are several volumes but reading vol. 1 would be a good place to start); Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda by J.P. Stassen (about the genocide and pretty brutal but also compelling and, I'd guess, realistic); and Laika by Nick Abadzis (about the first dog in space, told from the pov of the Russians who put her there). For contrast, you might pick up titles from the Osprey Graphic History series--I have Hitler's Last Gamble: Battle of the Bulge and Day of Infamy: Attack on Pearl Harbor. These are short--about 45 pages--and basically retell the events mostly with narration and images. I just don't think they're all that well done, though. For example, the image that goes with "Heavy American anti-aircraft fire greets them" has the sound words "Wunch" and "Fafoom." But there might be redeeming qualities, especially for discussing how action and sound can be portrayed. And I also like Pride of Baghdad.
Louann, I must respectfully assert that any comic making even quasi-effective use of "WUNCH" would win points in MY book! 8^)
-- M
Your assertion carries a lot of weight with me, Marek. I'll try to convince myself that "wunch" is an effective sound effect, but I'm still skeptical (even if I've moved a bit away from critical).
Okay! Remember, it's so much more than Elmer Fudd's mid-day meal!
I've been SUPER impressed by The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert -- it's about Afghanistan in the 1980s, so of course it's quite relevant to today. (Guibert also wrote Alan's War, about WWII & its effects on the life of one GI... Both books have online previews at those links.)

You might also consider The Arrival by Shaun Tan & American Born Chinese by Gene Yang (re: immigrant experience)... Here's my RECOMMENDED READING page for full links, and I'd love to hear of any books you find for this class.

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DEPARTMENT: I've also been reading my own graphic novel in to share some Central American history with high schoolers: NICARAGUA Comics Travel Journal

Hope this helps!

~ M ~
PS. Oops, I forgot People's History of American Empire (Howard Zinn & al)...
PPS. Aaaaaand while we're at it, I'll toss in some resource pages from past (& current) comics world history units here:
World War II in Comics, Comics in WWII
Japanese Culture & History in Manga
Yes, there's a big blog about Marek's work that is pretty cool and worth a check...

These are tremendous recommendations, Marek and Katie. Thank you. I'm especially glad you added The Arrival, one of my favorites.
1. bourbon island 1730 presents an interesting take on shifting world politics between the colonial era and the era of piracy

2. superman: red son is GREAT too b/c it changes the typical superman premise from that of an american hero to a soviet hero during the cold war.... what is superman landed in the USSR instead of america in the late 1930s???

3. the buddha series by osamu tezuka

thats just right off the top of my head for now. :) katie monnin



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