The Lunch Witch Teacher’s Guide is Here!

The Lunch Witch Teacher’s Guide is Here!

Are you a teacher or librarian looking for resources to help you use graphic novels in your school? Are you a parent who’s looking to find new and exciting ways to get your kids to learn? Are you a kid who wishes he could read comics in the classroom? Are you a fan of seeing terrible things happen to School Principals?

If you answered yes to any of the above then our latest educator’s guide is for you! THE LUNCH WITCH TEACHER’S GUIDE is chock full of helpful information and suggestions for anyone looking to use the book in an educational environment. This handy booklet contains suggestions for reading activities, after-reading discussion, Common Core tie-ins and more. In short, everything you need to create a fun and engaging reading experience for your students.

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You can download THE LUNCH WITH TEACHERS GUIDE right now. Or simply visit the RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS section of our site to download this and many other helpful tools for educators.

Just don’t tell the ancestors that Grunhilda is making a positive difference in kids’ lives ok? If you’ve read the book, you know they never take that news well!



New Initiative Will Provide Free Magazines to Libraries That Support Graphic Novel Programming

Budget-crunched librarians will soon be receiving some respite thanks to a new program from Papercutz. The “#1 kids’ graphic novel publisher” announced today that they will be supplying 100 free copies of NICKELODEON MAGAZINE to libraries that support comics programming. It’s part of an effort by the publisher to fuel a growing trend in the school and public library space– “ComicCons” and other events focused on the fastest growing category in publishing – graphic novels.”

“Librarians have been on the forefront of the graphic novel explosion”, explained Papercutz’s President, Terry Nantier. “And forward thinking librarians have tapped in to the interest surrounding events like Free Comic Book day and ComicCon International to attract kids and parents to their facilities. We think it’s an incredibly positive thing for graphic novels in general and we wanted to find a way to ‘give back’ to the community. With the launch of NICKELODEON MAGAZINE this summer, we realized we had the perfect vehicle to promote comics readership and help librarians connect with kids who might be just beginning to become graphic novel readers.”

Comic book conventions are well known for a variety of attractions including creator appearances, costumes and, of course, exclusive promotional material from publishers. While many librarians have reached out to the comics creative community for appearances at events and patrons have picked up the costuming challenge, promotional items have been handled on an ad hoc basis, depending on the largesse of publishers or individual creators. This new program ensures that no comics-themed event will have to do without giveaways that incentivize reading.

“Nickelodeon has always been known for creating great comics material”, noted Papercutz Editor-in-Chief Jim Salicrup. “And we’re proud to continue that tradition with our new publication. I’m personally excited by the opportunity to get the great work of our writers and artists out in front of the biggest possible audience possible. The magazine is going to be a great way for kids to sample our graphic novels and be introduced to some of the fantastic Nickelodeon characters.”

Interested librarians simply need to contact Papercutz VP of Marketing, Sven Larsen six to eight weeks before their event. As soon as Papercutz receives a librarian’s request (including details of the planned event) they will dispatch 100 copies of the latest issue of NICKELODEON MAGAZINE absolutely free (the library just has to pay for shipping).

“Papercutz graphic novels are already some of the highest circulating titles in libraries ”, explained Larsen, VP of Marketing for Papercutz. “But we’re always looking to grow our audience and the readership for comics. It’s part of why we partnered with Nickelodeon in the first place. The new NICKELODEON MAGAZINE is another great way to get kids started on reading and the perfect introduction to the world of graphic novels. We’re excited that it will be a cornerstone of our efforts to help libraries expand their graphic novel programming and we want this program to be a giant ‘thank you’ to all the librarians who are helping to create the next generation of comics fans!”

Using Comics to Teach English Language Learners

Using Comics to Teach English Language Learners

Editor’s Note: Papercutz recently sponsored a special edition of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL’s “Extra Helping” newsletter focused on “using Comics to teach”. For the next few days, we’ll be running excerpts from that issue on our blog and linking back to the original articles. If you’re an educator who is already using graphic novels in your classroom or you’re contemplating taking the plunge, these articles should prove invaluable.


I discovered the power of graphic novels as a language-learning tool while teaching English in Japan in 2006. As a non-Japanese speaker, I was encouraged by my colleagues to learn more vocabulary by reading manga or comics, specifically the classic comic strip Sazae-san(Kodansha International, 1997). Since then, I have become an avid reader and teacher of graphic novels. In Japan, manga is everywhere. It was not unusual to see students reading it in the classroom, between classes, or in the cafeteria. If you’re a high school teacher in the United States today, the sight of graphic novels in the hands of a teen reader is not uncommon.

From 20082011, I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) at Pan American International High School in Queens, NY. I was excited to share the love and passion I’d acquired for graphic novels with my students. Fortunately, I had colleagues and literacy coaches who were already experienced in creating curricula around teaching graphic novels like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (Pantheon, 2004) and Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese (First Second, 2006) that supported English language learners’ (ELL) development in multiple literacies. Studies have also shown increased engagement and vocabulary development in ELLs when reading graphic novels and producing visual narratives.

During my tenure as a high school ESL teacher, I developed curricula that enabled students to practice their English language skills across all modalities by reading and creating visual narratives. Teaching graphic novels with ELLs requires specific planning and scaffolding of activities. Here are some of my best practices for using graphic novels in the ESL classroom.



When planning to teach reading comprehension and literary analysis to ELLs using graphic novels, it is best to assess students’ prior experiences with visual narratives and subject interests. From survey results gathered at the beginning of the fall 2009 semester, I realized most of my 11th grade intermediate and advanced ESL students wanted to learn more about world history. From my research, using online educator resources such as theInternational Literacy Association’s Read Write Think website, I decided to teach Art Spiegelman’s Maus (Pantheon, 1991), the Pulitzer prize−winning graphic novel about the journey of his father, who survived the Holocaust.

Although a number of students were familiar with reading manga, others needed to learn the basic visual grammar of graphic novels. This meant providing explicit instruction of graphic novel terminology such as panels, dialogue, captions, and speech bubbles. Because I had a mixed-level class, I chose excerpts from Maus for students to read aloud during class, combining excerpts that focused primarily on the main character’s experience living in concentration camps.

To help students understand the historical context of the story, I did in-class activities about Polish ghetto life. Students matched captions I’d written to select photographs of Mendel Grossman, whose work was published in the book My Secret Camera (HMH books, 2000). I also facilitated activities using PowerPoint presentations, explaining the causes and outcomes of World War II, and focusing on the rise and fall of Nazi powers in Europe.

During class, students enjoyed reading aloud select pages from Maus while writing their thoughts and responses to questions in reading guides that I’d created. They were prompted to review what happened in a scene, foreshadow what might happen later, and analyze the symbolism Spiegelman uses in the story. Students were asked why they thought the author chose to represent Jews as mice and Germans as cats, and how this device was effective to convey key concepts of the story.

After collectively analyzing Maus, students were asked to write a comparative literary essay using this story and another work of literature. I created a packet that scaffolded the essay writing process that would help prepare students for the required New York State English Language Arts Regents exam. Overall, the students were engaged throughout our selected chapter readings and discussions ofMaus. A few extended their interest in learning about the Holocaust by opting to go on a field trip to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to watch a puppetry production about Auschwitz later that semester.

You can read the full article on the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL website.

Resources for Teaching Graphic Novels in the Classroom

Resources for Teaching Graphic Novels in the Classroom

Editor’s Note: Papercutz recently sponsored a special edition of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL’s “Extra Helping” newsletter focused on “using Comics to teach”. For the next few days, we’ll be running excerpts from that issue on our blog and linking back to the original articles. If you’re an educator who is already using graphic novels in your classroom or you’re contemplating taking the plunge, these articles should prove invaluable.


Good stuff: ten great graphic novels for schools; online resources; information about publishers; and other recommended reading.

Online resources

cbldf_logo_shadowComic Book Legal Defense Fund (CLDF) A nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium.

Reading With Pictures  A national organization that advocates for the use of comics in the classroom. Their graphic textbook Comics that Make Kids Smarterhas just been published by Andrews McMeel.

No Flying, No Tights  Graphic novel reviews by librarians.

Good Comics for Kids Graphic novel news, reviews, and interviews by librarians and other critics.

The Comic Book Teacher High school English teacher Ronell Whitaker reviews graphic novels and discusses how he uses them in the classroom.

Comics in Education  Gene Luen Yang, the author of a number of acclaimed graphic novels includingAmerican Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, is also a high school teacher. This website is the online version of his Masters degree in education project and includes information on the history of comics in education and the use of comics in education as well as other resources.

Diamond Bookshelf This monthly newsletter from Diamond Book Distributors, which specializes in graphic novels, features information about graphic novels for children and teens, as well as graphic novel lesson plans.


Additional reading

Banned Books Week Handbook, available for free download from the CBLDF website.

CBLDF Presents Manga; Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices, edited by Melinda Beasi (Dark Horse, 2013)

Graphic Novels and Comics in the Classroom: Essays on the Educational Power of Sequential Artedited by Carrye Kay Syma and Robert G. Weiner (McFarland, 2013).

contentareaUsing Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning: A Guide for Middle-Level Educators by Meryl Jaffe (Maupin House, 2013)

Graphic Novels in Your School Library by Jesse Karp (American Library Association, 2012)

GraphicNovelClassroomThe Graphic Novel Classroom: POWerful Teaching and Learning with Images by Maureen Bakis (Corwin Press, 2011).

Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom by Katie Monnin (Maupin House, 2010). The author is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books edited by Kat Kan (Reference Shelf, 2010). A collection of essays on using graphic novels in libraries and classrooms, including writings on graphic novels as literature and interviews with Marjane Satrapi, Gene Luen Yang, and other creators.

22_tencentThe Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hajdu (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008). A very readable account of the anti-comics movement of the 1940s and 1950s and the effect it had on the industry in subsequent decades.

Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom by Stephen Cary (Heinemann, 2004).

The Power of Reading: Insights From the Research (Second Edition), by Stephen D. Krashen (Heinemann/Libraries Unlimited, 2004). Krashen devotes a chapter to comics as light reading.


You can read the full article on the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL website.


Teaching With Graphic Novels

Teaching With Graphic Novels

Editor’s Note: Papercutz recently sponsored a special edition of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL’s “Extra Helping” newsletter focused on “using Comics to teach”. For the next few days, we’ll be running excerpts from that issue on our blog and linking back to the original articles. If you’re an educator who is already using graphic novels in your classroom or you’re contemplating taking the plunge, these articles should prove invaluable.


Illustration by Gareth Hinds

On March 14, 2013, teachers in the Chicago Public Schools were told, without explanation, to remove all copies of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis (Pantheon, 2003) from their classrooms.

A day later, facing protests from students and anti-censorship organizations, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett explained the move. The “powerful images of torture” on a single page of the book made it unsuitable for seventh graders and required the district to give teachers in grades eight through 10 special professional development classes before they could teach it. The book was pulled from classrooms for those grades, but remained in school libraries.

This is the paradox of graphic novels: The visual element that gives them their power can also make them vulnerable to challenges. Researcher Steven Cary calls this the “naked buns” effect. “It’s the rare student or parent who objects to the words ‘naked buns,’” he writes in Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom (Heinemann, 2004). “But an image of naked buns can set off fireworks.”

At the same time, graphic novels are increasingly used in the classroom. For over a decade, public librarians have been promoting graphic novels as literature, and researchers have studied their benefits in educational settings.

You can read the rest of the article on the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL website

Resource Kits by Title

Resource Kits by Title

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