Friday, February 19, 2021

Webinar Registration

      Engaging Accelerated and Reluctant Readers with Comics, a free webinar I am one of the panelists for, is next Thursday, February 25th at 7:00 PM (ET) and here is the registration.  Please join us!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Readers and Comics Webinar

      I'm delighted to be joining a panel of experienced educators for a webinar on, as the title says, Engaging Accelerated and Reluctant Readers with Comics.  If you're an educator or librarian or are interested or invested in literacy education and comics, please join us on Thursday, February 25th at 7:00 PM (ET).  Registration is free and you can find it right here, along with a space to post questions for the panelists. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021


      Bible-toons tells both famous and obscure stories from the Bible in comics form.  No proselytizing, no satirizing, just exciting stories with historical and thoughtful content and sharp visuals.  Headed by my Graphic Novels in Your School Library and Dr. Lollypop collaborator Rush Kress, Bible-toons is off to a smashing start with six issues ready to go.  Number seven will be my first scripted story for the line, "Song of Deborah," featuring the Old Testament's only female judge.  Whether you're interested in comics or the Bible or just a rousing story, have a look.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What Puts the Evil in Evil Geniuses?

      Evil Geniuses is Kurt Andersen's work of (recent) historical and analytical journalism.  It seeks to recount and explain how a group of very wealthy conservatives used their money to alter the public consciousness and influence politics to bolster their own profits, and in so doing set the country on a path of social, economic and climatic ruin.

     In his review of the book for the New York Times Book Review, Anand Giridharadas discusses how Andersen closes the book on a note of hope (I suppose you'd technically call this a spoiler, but I doubt anyone's reading this book for a shock ending).  Just as the conservatives stole the world out from under the liberals back in the 1970s, when liberal power appeared to be at its height, so too can the liberals now take back that power and steer the country away from destruction.  They must, Andersen suggests by way of Giridharadas, simply use the same cunning, the same manipulation, the same power-grasping practices that were once -- and continue to be -- used against them and the rest of us.

     But here's what worries me.  What if it's the abandonment of self-limitation, the willingness to steamroll over everything else in order to get what you want that is the actual problem?  Granted, we are not in a good place right now and granted the liberal route is far preferable in terms of both humane existence and just plain old survival.  And granted, the methods they are currently using have not seemed sufficient to the enormity of the task.  But what if, in doing ANYTHING you need to in order to win, you become something different than you were, and the extreme level of power you wield simply sends us toward ruin, just a different kind at the other end of the spectrum?  What if how you do something is just as loaded with consequences as what you do?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Coronavirus Novel I'm Not Writing

            A woman gets herself tested for the COVID-19 and they find something they’ve never seen before in the antibody test.  Re-tested and examined, it turns out her blood holds the key to the cure.  Pharmaceutical companies will pay millions for proprietary rights to that key and they will, of course, disseminate it to the world . . . for a price.  Also, though she will be vastly wealthy, the company will control her blood for the rest of her life, meaning among other things she can only ever be examined by their doctors and any blood test she ever gets for any reason will go through them.
            She considers turning it over to the government, for the good of the country and, eventually, the world.  They will pay (way less than a corporation) and they won’t control her blood forever.  But she has deep moral reservations about their politics.  Maybe she could use her cure-blood as leverage, hold it hostage until the government takes some real and permanent steps towards, for instance, improved climate policy.  But should a single person get to dictate policy that will change the course of an entire country?
            She could give it to another country, one that seems to be handling things well, one that seems more likely to share without excessive demands.  But doesn't she have an obligation to her country and its people, which exist beyond a transitory government she may not agree with?  What are all the things her country has given her and should she be thinking in those terms?  Should she consider emigrating?  Does she need to?  What does it mean to be a citizen of a country?
            How about a non-national, she thinks, like the World Health Organization?  Probably she wouldn’t get paid.  The resources at their disposal might be minuscule compared to a private company, so the cure would likely be slower in coming, but would theoretically be distributed more evenhandedly, or at least without as much consideration for profit.
            How does she help the most people as quickly as possible and how much does she consider helping herself?