Making Curriculum Pop

Peter Gutierrez
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  • Montclair, NJ
  • United States
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Profile Information

What is your connection to education?
Elementary Teacher, MS / Junior High School Teacher, High School Teacher, Teacher Coach, Author
What subjects do you teach / specialize in?
Curriculum Development, PD, and Consulting for: ELA/Social Studies/Media Literacy/Fine Arts
School, business or institutional affiliation
Screen Education, School Library Journal, Teachers College Press, Corwin Press, etc.
Website, Blog, Wiki, Twitter, or Facebook URL(s)
@Peter_Gutierrez, ,
What 5 essential pop culture artifacts (CDs, DVDs, Books, Images, Toys, etc.) would you have on your desert island?
Morris Goes to School, Uncanny X-Men #111-113, Sullivan's Travels, Charlie Parker with Strings, Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works

NEW YORK COMIC CON! -- The Ultimate Pop Culture Resource (Well, at least on the East Coast.)l

Below is a description of the educator and librarian presentations at NYCC (Feb 6-8).

**Many are not aware that all educators are entitled to a professional pass. That means free admission on Friday (which features pro-only hours), access to a special pro line to get in, and $10 admission (!) for the rest of the weekend. You can register online ( or in person. And in addition to the workshops below, the entire con is a resource for those who teach or develop curriculum around pop culture and media (which is kind of the point of my talk on Saturday). Go and just load up on free stuff or immerse yourself in a maelstrom of promotion.**

BTW, There are many "superstars" of this world presenting, including Brian Kelley of IRA and Robin Brenner of the "no tights, no flying" Web site.

NYCC Librarian and Educator Programs

Programming for Public Librarians

Newsflash: Teen Girls Read Manga!
Presented By Robin Brenner
FRIDAY 10:15-11:15 ROOM 1A24

The wider media still seems to be realizing that female readers are a huge part of the boom in the manga market, but what about as those teen girls grow up, and the adult women who are fans now? The stereotypical manga and anime fan as long been the otaku, always male, but as women continue contributing to fandom, the professional industry, and push for recognition in the comics industry and beyond, how do we make our voices heard? This panel will discuss the ins and outs of women and manga fandom, the state of female fans within and without the manga community, and just where we might go from here in supporting and advocating for the media we love.

About Robin Brenner: Robin Brenner is the author of Understanding Manga and Anime. She has created and leads a successful Japanese manga and anime club for teens. She is a member of the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, a list she was chosen to help establish; and she co-authored the RUSA graphic novel reviewing guidelines and the "Getting Graphic at Your Library" workshop guidelines. In addition, she reviews manga for Booklist, reviews Japanese anime for Video Librarian; and she regularly speaks and conducts workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime. Besides hosting a Web site on graphic novels,, and two sister sites, Sidekicks, for children through age 12; and the Lair, for adults. Robin is the Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts.

Brigid Alverson is the blogger at MangaBlog ( and the editor of Good Comics for Kids, which is now located on the School Library Journal website ( She also writes for Publishers Weekly Comics Week and Comics Foundry. She lives north of Boston with her physicist husband and two teenage daughters.

Katherine Dacey is the Senior Manga Editor at PopCultureShock (, where she has been reviewing manga, movies, and graphic novels since 2006. She recently joined Good Comics for Kids as a contributor, and has also written for Chopsticks, a monthly newspaper serving the NY metro area. When she isn't writing about manga, she is working on a dissertation in Musicology. She currently lives in the Boston area.

Tricia Narwani is an editor at Random House, where she acquires both manga for the Del Rey Manga imprint and mainstream graphic novels for Villard. As a manga editor, she's worked both on top titles from Japan and on original manga projects, such as the X-Men manga.

Otaku Collection Development
By Dave Inabnit and Christian Zabriskie
FRIDAY 11:30-12:30 ROOM 1A24

Manga continues to play a dominant role in the library world. Now that you have become familiar with series such as Bleach, Fruits Basket and Naruto and Death Note, this presentation takes manga collection development to the next level. Two veteran public librarians will talk about how to grow your collection beyond the current popular series. The discussion will cover not only the newest titles but go over some manga classics that every library should have.

Dave Inabitt supervises the Young Adult services, collection, and programming for 4 branches of the Brooklyn Public Library. He has been a fan of comic books since early childhood, and a fan of anime and manga since he saw his first episode of "Robotech" in 1985. You can read his musings on anime, manga, and "Japanese Visual Culture" at

Christian Zabriskie is a Young Adult Librarian at the central library of Queens Library. He is a lifelong fan of comics and a vocal advocate for their use in public libraries. Christian has also presented programs on graphic novels for library shows and the NY Anime Fest.

Are You There God? It's Me, Manga: Manga as an Extension of Young Adult Literature
Lisa Goldstein and Molly Phelan
FRIDAY 12:45-1:45 ROOM 1A24

While it is now standard practice for libraries to have manga collections, manga is not often seen as much more than an alternate format to conventional prose narratives. However, manga's unconventional depictions of gender offer female teens valuable opportunities to contemplate, and thus experiment with, a wider range of sexual identities than usually afforded by young adult fiction. Manga has found a place in young adult collections because of its popularity with teens. However,it also performs the same role as young adult literature: to help teens find their identity.

Lisa Goldstein is a young adult librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. An avid comics reader, she reviews graphic novels for School Library Journal, and is a member of YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee.

Molly Phelan is a Young Adult Librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. Hired as a trainee, she traveled and worked in multiple diverse locations throughout Brooklyn, and is now at the Central Library. From Bed-Stuy to Coney Island, she's found that kids love manga.

Programming for Teachers and Media Specialists

Graphica: An Untapped Resource in Media Literacy Education
Peter Gutierrez
SATURDAY 12:15-1:15 ROOM 1A23

Want to teach film to your students or kids? Then teach comics! Want to teach literature, television, video games, and a host of other media-then graphica is your gateway. Media literacy education tends to focus on moving image media, but graphica is the perfect way to show kids how the appeal of characters as diverse as Wonder Woman, Garfield, and Naruto is in part due to their being media products that are built, maintained, and propagated by a system of message-making. Based on the presenter's fourth and fifth grade class "What Makes a Superhero Super?," this slideshow will show how comics can be used to provide instruction on stereotypes/racism, the concept of target audience, and the all-important distinction between creator and publisher. By learning how tangential products (catalogs, giveaways) can become high-interest items for study, attendees will discover how to turn free, low-cost, or student-provided media into rich teaching tools. Similarly, they'll learn how to mine largely overlooked portions of everyday comic books (the masthead, indicia) for important media literacy "clues."

Peter Gutierrez: A former middle school teacher, Peter Gutierrez is currently a principal at Skyline Publishing Solutions, providing consulting and professional development around high-interest media in schools. An Eisner-nominated comics creator, Peter is a spokesperson for, and a member of the Commission on Media of, The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). He teaches graphica and media literacy in Montclair, New Jersey, and covers graphic novels for School Library Journal, Firefox News, and ForeWord Magazine. His book on using scriptwriting (in comics, film, and video games) to strengthen the writing curriculum will be published by Scholastic in 2010.

Teaching with Graphic Novels: Practical techniques for evaluating, reading and teaching with graphic novels.
Brian Kelly and Stephen Chiger
SATURDAY 6:30-7:30 ROOM 1A23

In this workshop, teachers and educators will be exposed to practical techniques they can apply to the reading of graphic novels. The presentation focuses on strategies educators can use with graphic novels to help students develop skills that relate to the processes of reading and writing. Special attention is paid to helping educators develop criteria for evaluating graphic novels they can use throughout the curriculum (either as supplemental or primary text).

Brian Kelley is currently a doctoral student at Fordham University and has taught English at the high school and college levels for over eight years. He is also a certified Reading Specialist in the state of New Jersey.

Stephen Chige is currently an educator at North Star Charter High School in Newark, New Jersey and has taught high school English for seven years.

Graphic Novels: A New Literacy for the Library, Classroom and Home.
Elizabeth Bird, Sophie Brookover, Matt Bird
SUNDAY 2:45-3:45 ROOM 1A23

The explosive growth of graphic novels continues in the public library world and is now being felt in the classroom. Is it a legitimate reading format? What is it about these books that make them worthwhile reading? How can graphic novels help you meet your state's core curriculum content standards? Graphic novels present a new opportunity to engage readers and these three talented presenters will show you why these books work for the teacher, the librarian and the parent.

Elizabeth Bird is a children's librarian at New York Public Library's main children's room at the 42nd Street location. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, reviews for Kirkus, and currently publishes the blog A Fuse #8 Production on the School Library Journal website.

Sophie Brookover is the Library Media Specialist at Eastern Regional Senior High School in Voorhees, NJ. She is an avid reader of graphic novels (forced to pick just one recent favorite, she offers two: Sidescrollers and Y: The Last Man), and is the co-author of Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community (InfoToday, 2008).

Matt Bird: Matt Bird is a writer and lifelong comics enthusiast. He will receive an MFA from Columbia University in May. His new graphic novel project is "The Gentleman" with artist David Baldeon ("Blue Beetle") and inker Steve Bird ("Robin").

Peter Gutierrez's Blog

Graphic Novels, Movies, and Recap of Media Literacy at Comic Con

Just a quick potpourri here to let everyone know what I'm up to; I'm really heartened by all the graphic novel and film folks here -- as well as all the great resources that Ryan and others keep posting.

1. First, I have a new piece in Screen Education magazine that's for primary and middle level educators: "Using Genre as a Springboard: A New Approach to Critical Analysis." If you're unfamiliar with this magazine, it's absolutely amazing -- wish we had something like it in… Continue

Posted on February 21, 2009 at 8:44am — 4 Comments

In One Week: The First-Ever "Graphica in Education" Conference at NY's Fordham University

If you're anywhere near the NY area and work with comics, graphic novels, manga, etc., this is the place to be next week... or perhaps just check out the Web site and follow up with me and others afterward to learn what it was like; if this conference fulfills even half of its promise I can't see why there wouldn't be one next year that many members of this Ning wouldn't want either to attend or present at...

Only recently have descriptions of all the workshops been posted, which may… Continue

Posted on January 24, 2009 at 9:42am — 3 Comments

NEW YORK COMIC CON: The Ultimate Pop Culture Resource (Well, at least on the East Coast.)

Below is a description of the educator and librarian presentations at NYCC (Feb 6-8).

**Many are not aware that all educators are entitled to a professional pass. That means free admission on Friday (which features pro-only hours), access to a special pro line to get in, and $10 admission (!) for the rest of the weekend. You can register online ( or in person. And in addition to the workshops below, the entire con is a resource for those who teach or develop… Continue

Posted on January 19, 2009 at 8:53pm — 9 Comments

Comment Wall (6 comments)

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At 7:58am on January 23, 2024, Kristalina Georgieva said…

Good day,
I have something very vital to disclose to you,could you please get back to me on ( for full details.
Best regards,
Kristalina Georgieva.

At 4:46pm on November 29, 2010, Kelly Farrow said…
Peter, hopefully you got the e-mail I sent last night!! Again, so sorry about the delay.
At 6:59pm on January 21, 2009, John C. Weaver said…
I guess that I said McCloud's helping a little bit mostly because I'm anxious about embarking on such an ambitious (for me) project. Actually, he has helped me over the years understand the art of comics. There is a certain amount of technical language that he uses that I can understand, but not enough for me to feel comfortable teaching it--at least not yet.

What you said that really helps me is the film idea. I've taught film to my students for years, analyzing composition of shots, camera angles, montage, etc., and so I'll start from there to teach the image in a comic. In fact, since I taught Batman Begins just last year, I can perhaps start from there.

Thank you for pointing out the obvious. I'm more confident now--just needed someone to slap me upside the head.
At 4:48pm on January 21, 2009, John C. Weaver said…

I'm teaching Watchmen to my senior British Literature students in a few weeks. It's actually becoming fairly exciting, because not only are some students not in my class signing out the book, but a couple of teachers have and are spontaneously beginning book clubs with some of the students.

My problem in developing the unit is this: I can deal with the themes, the repetitions and the oppositions really well--since that is basic English major stuff--but I am less confident dealing with the artwork, except to point to pictures that underscore the themes. I've been rereading McCloud's Understanding Comics, and that helps a little bit. Do you know other resources that a hapless English teacher might use to deal with comic artwork?

I put a similar comment on Katie Monnin's board.

By the way, thanks for inviting me. This site looks interesting.

At 9:56am on January 20, 2009, Caitlin Plovnick said…
Hi Peter, thanks for inviting me!
At 10:07pm on January 19, 2009, katie monnin said…
great minds think alike! when you left that comment i was emailing people. haha.

also, LOVE what you posted about NY ComicCon. hope to be involved with more of this stuff in the future. :) katie


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