Comics Discussion Guides

book cover

Click on the link to download a PDF of the Toolkit. Additional toolkits will be available soon!

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman (The Holocaust)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Iranian Revolution)
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (LGBTQ History in the United States)
  • One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry (Creating Comics)
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (Comics as Medicine)
  • The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (Vietnam War)
  • Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Janet Hong, translator) (Korean “Comfort Women”)
  • March by John Lewis (US Civil Rights Movement)
  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (Comics: A Medium)
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco (Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)
  • Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf (Pan-Arab Nationalism)

The toolkits provided here are modeled after the Get Graphic! with the Ohio Center for the Book discussions hosted at Cleveland Public Library (home of the Ohio Center for the Book) since 2014. We thought it was time to share with what we have learned to promote the study of comics with other libraries, classrooms, book clubs, independent readers, and anyone else that wants an education in comics! The toolkits offered here represent some of our favorites as well as some we consider among the most significant works of the medium.

book cover

Each of the toolkits is designed to help anyone to lead a discussion for new comics readers as well as those for those more acquainted with the medium and includes:

  • a short description of the book
  • a biography of the author
  • background material to provide context
  • general discussion questions
  • supplemental questions derived from interviews with the creator(s) and scholarly writings about the books and associated topics
  • a sampling of online videos and other materials connected to the book’s topic
  • a suggested reading list that will lead to the next book discussion!

We hope you will have as much fun in your discussions as we did! Share these toolkits far and wide, and let us know how they worked for you.

A quick note on language: Following Scott McCloud, we refer to comics with a plural noun and singular verb (i.e., Comics is… not Comics are…). We will refer to these books as comics because this form is a medium of its own, not a genre. Additionally, as a number of the books for which we have created toolkits are autobiographical, referring to them as graphic novels, would be a misnomer. Though, we freely admit that graphic novel has become a catch-all term that many use, so go with what feels best for you! As long as you’re reading, we’re more than fine with whatever you call them!