Tomorrow, the family & I will be spending the day at the Graphica in Education conference. it’s a one-day event held at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education — Lowenstein Center (Lincoln Center Campus) on the exploding issue of comics in the classroom. Unlike back in my day, when the only comics in school were hidden behind my notebook during Spanish class (or when I drew my own during lunch hour), there are now official, sanctified comics-in-education programs springing up throughout the country, in schools, libraries, and higher education venues.
The all-day conference boasts speakers like Jessica Abel and Comic Book Project founder Michael Bitz, keynote addresses by James Bucky Carter, Ph.D. and Jon Scieszka, and panels like "Making the Case for Comics in the Classroom," "Construction of the Graphic Novel & How It Fosters an Understanding of Self," "Using Graphic Novels to Improve Reading Skills and Teach Visual Literacy," and "Adult Comics Books: What They Get Out of Reading." Since we’ll be there with Phoebe, I probably won’t get a chance to attend any of the panels, but Sari, with her background in education and comics, is very interested in a number of them. I’ll probably hang with Phoebe in the table/booths area for much of the time.
The conference is a convergence of sort for my various professional selves, as it is co-sponsored by, among others MoCCA, Random House/Pantheon, and Teachers & Writers. T&W will be hawking copies of their special "Comics in the Classroom" issue (with my cover art and Sari’s piece on integrating comics into textbooks) as well as Dave Morice’s Poetry Comics book. The Pantheon folks will be pimping Persepolis and … A.D.! I hear word that they’ll have flyers, sell sheets, and, best of all, a readable dummy of the whole book, based on my latest manuscript, complete with the jacket design (which I just finished two days ago). I cannot wait to see it.
Admission to the conference is rather steep, at $140 for general admission, $85 for librarians & Fordham faculty, and $30 for students (free for Fordham students). But if you’re a MoCCA member, it’s only $25 at the door (use the code MOC1).
Saturday, January 31, 2009, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fordham University Graduate School of Education — Lowenstein Center, Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street
New York City
I have one important question, though: is "graphica" the new "graphic novel"?