by Glen Downey, Comics in Education, www.comicsineducation.com
An Award-Winning Series that Presents Contemporary and Classic Poems in a Graphic Format
The Graphic Poetry series by Rubicon/Scholastic is one that is near and dear to my heart. As you'll recall from my earlier blog post on "The Literary Features of Graphic Novels," I served as series editor, having proposed a couple of panel pages for it and provided a rationale to the folks at Rubicon.
What makes the series work is that it uses a highly visual format of presenting poetry to a roughly middle school audience (although it can be used with younger or older students). However, the poems read just as they would in a text-only format because there are no extraneous sound effects or narrative asides. Sometimes the text of the poem is in narrative caption boxes and sometimes it comes out of the mouths of the characters, but it is uninterrupted by material that is not a part of the poem proper.
Each book contains one or two poems and there are twenty- one titles in all. Each also contains the poet biography's in a Between the Lines section that additionally focuses on developing children's familiarity with a specific literary feature or trope.
The series won the 2010 Textbook Excellence Award from The Text and Academic Authors Association and the 2011 Teachers' Choice Award for Children's books from Learning Magazine. For more information on the series and to look at how it can be used in the classroom, visit www.graphicpoetrybooks.com and then click the link for Canada or the US. As well, there is a PDF resource on the site, Teaching Graphic Poetry, that you can download and use in your classes!
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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