Read for fun! Read more non-fiction! Read to meet the CCSS! These competing imperatives find a happy intersection in two excellent titles for grades six and up. Both are graphic novels that will provide plenty of opportunity to grapple with RI 6, which asks readers to determine the authors point of view.
March by John Lewis is the first book in a proposed trilogy that introduces young readers to major events of the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of Lewis’s life. There are several time shifts in the narrative as the action moves from the confrontation on the Edmund Pettus bridge, and then to John Lewis as a congressman on the day of Barak Obama’s first inauguration. Next the story flashes back to Lewis’s childhood in a sharecropping family where he attends a segregated school and hones his speaking ability by preaching sermons to the family chickens. A trip north opens John’s eyes to the possibility of a life free of the stranglehold of southern racism so when he hears the teaching of Martin Luther King , Jr. on non-violent resistance he is drawn toward the discipline and hope of the movement. The sensitive artwork adds intensity to the murder of Emmett Till, the lunch counter sit-ins, and the training needed to learn the strategies of non-violence.
How to Fake a Moon Landing by Darryl Cunningham is subtitled “Exposing the Myths of Science Denial,” and begins by refuting the beliefs of those who are sure that the footage of U.S. astronauts landing on the moon was created in a film studio firmly tethered to earth. Cunningham’s calm tone makes it easy to accept his step by step arguments supporting the validity of accepted scientific thought on such topics as the MMR vaccine, evolution, and climate change. The final chapter takes on questions about the reliability of the scientific method itself.
Cunningham’s drawing style is clear, uncluttered, and easy on the eyes of those who find graphic novels hard to follow.
Do you know readers who love graphic novels? Readers who are hesitant to tackle lots of text without picture support? Readers who will whine that it’s summer and why should they have to read? Hand them one of these graphic novels and when they are finished, sneak in a few questions to tease out the author’s point of view. Who is telling the story? Why do you think they wrote the story? Who might tell the story from a completely different point of view?
Finally decide what you are still wondering about the topic – and figure out what to read next.
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