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Comics for Classrooms: Grades 6-8

Title

Diverse Recommendations

Bingo Love

Hazel and Mari meet as teenagers in 1963 and become fast friends. A kiss in front of a church turns their relationship into something more. Their romance blossoms until Mari’s grandmother catches the couple and her homophobia tears the two apart. As time passes, Hazel marries James and starts a family, and her sexuality becomes invisible to all but her. A serendipitous night out at the bingo hall reunites Hazel and Mari, who are now in their 60's and have a second shot at love.

Grades 7+

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spiderman vol. 1

Miles Morales, the ultimate Spider-Man, is back in action with a new status quo and a new outlook on life! It's the anniversary of Peter Parker's death, but as the world mourns the original Spider-Man, a gathering of Spidey's friends and foes reveal some shocking truths about Peter and his world! A big, big villain from Peter's past is alive and well...and about to turn New York upside down! Now, Miles must come face to face with the worst nightmare of the Spider-Man legacy: Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin...the man who killed Peter Parker...or did he?

Ghosts

Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but her little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake, and her own.

Ages 8-12

Amina's Voice

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Grades 4-6

American Born Chinese

Jin Wang is the only Chinese-American student at his school, but he just wants to be an all-American boy. Danny is an all-American boy, but his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee's annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny's reputation at school. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines, but there's no place in heaven for a monkey. These three characters are going to have to find a way to help each other if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

Ages 8-12

A Quick and Easy Guide to They/ Them Pronouns

Genderqueer writer and illustrator Bongiovanni and cisgender writer Jimerson, longtime friends, present this educational comic guide to gender-neutral pronouns. Speaking to each other and directly addressing readers, they emphasize the importance of inclusive and respectful language.

Grades 7+

Jonesy

Jonesy is a self-described "cool dork" who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love Anyone. With anything. She's a cupid in plaid. With a Tumblr. There's only one catch--it doesn't work on herself. She's gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong...

Ages 11-14

Lesson Plan: Ghosts

Resource: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Age: 8-12

Areas: English, Cultural Competence

Summary: Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but her little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna.

Lesson:

  • Halloween is a time for spooky scares, while El Di­a de los Muertos is a celebration of deceased loved ones — and an opportunity to see them again. What do you think these holidays mean to the people who celebrate them? Do you like being scared on Halloween? Who might you like to meet on El Di­a de los Muertos?
  • Moving to Bahia de la Luna reminds Cat and Maya's mother of traditions she once shared with their grandmother, and she tells her daughters about them. What family traditions do you have that have been passed down from previous generations? Have you ever explained a family tradition to someone outside your family?
  • The spirits of Bahia de la Luna help both Cat and Maya think through how they feel about the dead and about the possibility of dying. What do you think meeting the spirits means to Maya? How about to Cat?

Lesson Plan: Graphic Novel Text Analysis

Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Ages: 9-12

Areas: English Language Arts, Reading Comprehension and Analysis

Summary: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived.

Lesson:

  • Have students select a chapter or adventure that Tom Sawyer embarks on and analyze the key points, dialogue, and character traits.
  • Using a template like the Comic Strip Planning Sheet, have students present their chosen scene in the form of a comic strip
  • Encourage the students to think carefully about which scene(s) they will feature, what the dialogue will be, and what details are necessary to get across the important parts of the story
  • Have students create their own art or use online comics creators like the ReadThinkWrite Comics Creator to illustrate their report
  • In pairs or small groups, have students share their comic book reports with fellow students. Students should discuss why they chose their specific scene, how they developed their comic strip idea, and the key points they wanted to illustrate.

Lesson Resources: A Guide to Using Graphic Novels with Childrens and Teens; ReadThinkWrite Comics and Graphic Novels

Lesson Aids