"Though English reading and writing are her analytic loci, Monnin’s text is neither superficial nor uncritical. She clearly expects much from her students, and Monnin’s readers should similarly be prepared to think critically about their own teaching and how they can diversify their courses in both form and content. Moreover, Monnin’s selection of fiction and nonfiction books through which to illustrate her pedagogical approach is most impressive. Rather than hide in relative safety of Maus, Monnin dives head first into controversial and sensitive topics and ideas, such as ethnicity and race; she even recommends books that directly address sexuality, including Bechdel’s superb Fun Home (2006). It would have been an easier book to write if Monnin had decided to avoid talking about social identities with younger students, but it would have made the book more about teaching and less about learning. Instead, Monnin conveys her enthusiasm for working with diverse topics and literatures, and a more complicated and challenging book emerges. By using tangible teaching strategies,
animated worksheets and multicultural texts, Monnin helps us get excited about doing something unexpected in our own classrooms, regardless of course content or grade level."
–Patrick R. Grzanka, Journal of Graphic Novels & Comics, December 2010 (Click here for full review)
"So many of us grew up in an age where comics were so frowned upon that we hid the fact that we read them from most of our teachers—especially our English teachers. That’s not the case anymore. In fact, more and more teachers everywhere are discovering the wonderful aspects of comics and the enormous benefit they can offer in the classroom. English teachers are no longer the enemies of comics—they’re some of the format’s biggest proponents.
One such professor is Dr. Katie Monnin (familiar to readers of GNR already, of course), an assistant professor of literacy at University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She’s also a busy speaker working the graphic-novel circuit at conventions and seminars. So it’s no surprise that Monnin has written such an excellent resource as Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom. The book is as straightforward as its name suggests and simply and easily presents methods teachers can use to integrate graphic novels in their classrooms.
A foreword from the New Yorker’s art editor, Francoise Mouly, opens the book and sets the tone. From there, we get into these heady topics: Graphic Novel Vocabulary; Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Novels; Teaching Graphic Novel Fiction; Teaching Graphic Novel Nonfiction; Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels; and Suggestions for Teaching Graphic Novels to English Language Learners. Then there are the appendices: 25 of them, to be exact. Finally, the book is topped off with several reference lists. It’s a pretty thorough book that covers all the bases.
The graphic design of the book is pretty simple (to put it mildly), but the real star here is the content, which is exceptional. Dr. Monnin is a trusted authority who has put together an essential book on the use of comics in the classroom."
– John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter, January 2010
"This guide for teachers of grades 6-12 describes strategies for using graphic novels in the English/language arts classroom and offers curriculum-aligned lessons. The first section of the book offers a brief historical explanation about the significance of teaching modern students to read and write with both print-text literacies and image literacies, and then explains graphic novel terminology. The second section shows how to align graphic novels with the English/language arts curriculum, with chapters on teaching reading comprehension with graphic novels, teaching graphic novel fiction and nonfiction, and teaching media literacy with graphic novels."
– Eithne O'Leyne, Associate Editor, Book News Inc., February 2009
"Not just long comic books, graphic novels can prove to be powerful teaching tools. Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom is a guide for English and language arts teachers who want to entice their students more into reading using graphic novels. With plenty of assistance on how to use them teach concepts such as story structure, Teaching Graphic Novels is a worthwhile investment for the forward-thinking educator who wants to incorporate the newest trends."
– Midwest Book Review, December 2009
"During the past 10 years working with Jim Davis, Garfield's creator, I've seen dozens of letters from parents explaining that they routinely use comics strips to teach children to read. It seems logical that graphic novels can expand on that concept and teach higher order cognitive skills while motivating children at the same time. There's no better way to engage the reluctant reader or inspire a child than through the use of graphic novels. Dr. Katie Monnin's book offers a teacher-friendly approach for reading strategies using graphic novels in the classroom and even includes methods to work with English language learners. If you consider yourself a progressive teacher, this book is for you!"
– Bob Levy, The Professor Garfield Foundation
"Fortunately, Dr. Monnin wholeheartedly tackles all the issues that will confront any educator ready to embark upon the innovative approach of bringing graphic novels in the classroom. Dr. Monnin gives us a clearly articulated presentation of how one can exploit students’ almost visceral attraction towards comics and turn the medium into a rich tool for fostering the students’ interests and literacy skills throughout their schooling….If we can, as Dr. Monnin suggests here, take advantage of the many possibilities inherent in the comics medium, if we open up to a literacy that students are eager for, to a form of printed communication that is intuitively clear to children and will motivate them, then we can all, working together, become more broadly literate in the twenty-first century."
– Françoise Mouly, art editor of The New Yorker and editorial director of TOON Books
"This book begins with how to read a graphic novel and expands into how to use it in a secondary classroom setting as a visual strategy for teaching reading. Although this novel focuses on strategies for the ELA classroom, many of the ideas can easily be incorporated into other classrroom settings. Small sections focus on ELL and media literacy. Contains reproducible handouts, a cross-index of graphic novels and themes, references, and an index. Wonderful addition to a professional collection. Highly Recommended. Grade: A."
-Arlington Independent School District, 2010