Some Takeaways from "I Witness: How Graphic Storytellers Are Teaching Us About the World and How We See It"
I feel like this whenever I read Guy Delisle's Pyongyang or the Ricard Brothers' Beirut 1990 or Florent Chavouet's Tokyo on Foot. While it is true that I learn about these writers' experiences through their work, I learn so much more about the place they are visiting as though the place itself were speaking to me.
The visual brainstorming above provides a small snapshot of the ideas that come to mind when we begin to think both about travel lit and the graphic memoir. We can see that there are tremendous possibilities for making connections between the travel literature of old and those found in today's graphic travelogues. In your next travel literature unit, why NOT feature excerpts from The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Gulliver's Travels, A Pilgrim's Progress, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Into the Wild, Palestine, Pyongyang, Tokyo on Foot, and Safe Area Goradze? You can throw in A Walk in the Woods, The Fixer, Beirut 1990, and Into Thin Air for good measure. What I'm advocating is not to use graphic travel literature merely as a way to supplement your teaching of a traditional travel novel, but to include it as an equal partner in the discussion of how we write about travel.
For those who didn't get a chance to attend the workshop, here's the handout!