Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Art Spiegelman

When I began teaching a course in Content Area Literacy, I decided to introduce preservice teachers to graphic novels as a means of integrating reading into middle and high school subject area classes. They were skeptical, but after reading Art Spiegelman's book Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History, they were convinced. This graphic novel presents the story of his father's struggle to survive the Holocaust and is drawn from information gleaned when Spiegelman interviewed his father about these events. In graphic format, the Jews are portrayed as mice, the Germans cats, and the Americans dogs. In addition to presenting the events of the Holocaust, Spiegelman shares the effects of these events on survivor's years later, as well as the impact on later generations. Despite the graphic format, Spiegelman was able to convey the terror of the Holocaust. Maus is not an easy read, largely because it places readers squarely in the midst of the action and forces them to rethink their views of these events.

Maus was the first graphic novel I read. I fell in love with the form and have not been disappointed since. I was particularly moved by his recent book, In the Shadow of No Towers, a collection of comics in response to the events of 9-11. You can learn more about this book at these sites.
Together with his wife, Fran├žoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman has edited three anthologies of comics for children, entitled Little Lit. You can read more about Little Lit in this interview with Fran├žoise Mouly.

Art Spiegelman celebrates his 60th birthday today. You can learn more about this talented comic artist, author and illustrator at these sites.
Best wishes for a fabulous birthday, Mr. Spiegelman, and many happy returns.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Tricia. I'm definitely going to look for Little Lit. My favorite Spiegelman book has to be Open Me...I'm a Dog (another one for the dog list!).

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