Book Discussion and Comic Presentation for March: Book One

On Thursday, January 21st, I met with Kevin Geloff’s English class at the Interagency Academy Alternative High School (at UDYC) for our first Great Stories Club meeting. It was a combination book discussion and comic drawing workshop with local comic book artist Greg Stump.

marchbookone_softcover_lgwe shall overcome

We discussed March: Book One, the first book in Representative John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir trilogy, co-written with his aide Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. March is a critically acclaimed best-seller that received the 2013 Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award by the American Library Association among numerous other honors.

We had some great discussion around the effects of segregation and the Jim Crow laws in the 1940s – 1960s; non-violent resistance and protest in times of civic unrest; the parallels to today (we discussed Detroit Public Schools, the poisoning of Flint’s water, the Black lives Matter Movement, and more); and how the comic medium can be used to convey emotion and may make for a more powerful story.


Greg Stump did a brief “how to draw comics” tutorial and then he instructed the students in making “jam comics.” They folded a white piece of paper into four sections, drew in a panel, and then passed it to their neighbor to draw the next panel, and so on. The students had a blast. He also led a discussion with the students on the various illustrative techniques that the illustrator/artist of March used to evoke certain emotions and to convey various points and themes. So cool!

Check out some of the photos from our meeting:

This month (February), we’re celebrating our success with a field trip to the University Branch Library for a tour, library card signup, and to watch a movie!

We’ll resume book club on March 24th when we’ll be discussing X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. In April we’ll discuss a Great Stories Club title, Hunger Games, and in May we’ll discuss another GSC title, Feed.


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