Chester crab comics
Chester history comics for learning

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Chester comics history for the visual learner or reluctant reader


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Reading List for Teachers

Other comics with content

Chester the Crab’s series matches many state standards, but teachers interested in finding other non-fiction comic books for their students should look for the following titles at a bookstore, Amazon.com or your local comic book shop (found in the yellow pages under “comic”).

Each comic below has a description and label based on title (period of the book) / color, and / publisher.

Elementary School and Up

1602 (Elizabethan) / color / Marvel Comics

What if the Fantastic Four hit a weird storm in the Atlantic instead of cosmic rays in space? This series of stories is great alternative history, putting Peter Parker, Tony Stark and other characters you recognize into Elizabethan lives.

When Virginia Was the Wild West (1600s) / color / Colonial Williamsburg

This look at the way people lived in early Virginia even has some 3-D pages!

Sons of Liberty (American Revolution) / Marshall Poe / B&W / Aladdin

Sketchy drawings don’t show much historical detail but book is small for small hands.

Epic Battles of the Civil War (Civil War) / color / Historical Souvenir

Wording is stiff and coloring is as flat and silly as a 1950s comic. But these cover a lot.

Graphic Battles of the Civil War / (Civil War) / color / Rosen Book Works

Too wordy, but these books do have good historical detail for any Civil War buffs.

Explore Black History with Wee Pals / Morrie Turner / B&W / Just Us Books
Dr. Seuss Goes to War (World War II) / Richard Minear / New Press

See if you can find Horton the elephant or Yertle the Turtle in his newspaper cartoons.

Time Warp Trio graphic novels / Jon Scieszka / color / Harper Trophy

These comix just take images from the TV cartoon of the Trio. Simple but fun.

Middle School and Up

Cartoon History of the Universe (natural science) / Larry Gonick / B&W / Harper Perennial

Gonick’s books have underground style and humor and cover a lot of ground quickly.

Horrible Histories / Terry Deary / B&W / Scholastic

More chapter books than a comic, but comic illustrations get the history to the funny bone

Journey into Mohawk Country (1600s NY) / George O’Connor / color / First Second Books

Fun! MAJOR POINTS for using the real words of a journal written by Dutch trader in 1634!!

Four Immigrants Manga (Victorian era) / Henry Kiyama / B&W / Stone Bridge Press

Not a modern manga but a historic document of drawings by a real immigrant to U.S.

9-11, vol. 1 and vol. 2 (2001) / Various / DC Comics

Many 1- or 2-page essays by cartoonists about the terrorist attacks. Moving and solemn.

Cartoon History of the U.S. / Larry Gonick / B&W / Harper Perennial

You get one panel on Boston Tea Party or Texas founding, but there is good humor.

High School and Up

The Jew of New York (early 1800s NY) / Ben Katchor / B&W / Pantheon Books

An offbeat look at an offbeat – and often forgotten – period of American history.

Berlin (Germany in 1920s, 30s) / Jason Lutes / B&W / Black Eye Productions

Some nudity but a gripping, educational look at German society between the world wars.

Maus (Holocaust and survivor’s guilt) / Art Spiegelman / B&W

A comic so powerful it was given its own Pulitzer Prize. Provocative.

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow / James Sturm / B&W / Hyperion

Cartoons are drawn very simply, but they convey action and athleticism well. A man is shown hanging, but the B&W style keeps graphic imagery to a minimum for the topic.

Enemy Ace (World War I/Vietnam) / George Pratt / color / DC Comics

Fully painted look at war, for those who like the movies “Apocalypse Now” or “Platoon.”

Last Day in Vietnam (Vietnam) / Will Eisner / B&W / Dark Horse Comics

Accessible first-person account of military scenes by one of the giants of comic history.

KING (Civil Rights movement) / Ho Che Anderson / B&W / Fantagraphic Books

Graphic scenes of MLK’s life based on the latest research and debates on his life.

Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography / Andrew Helfer / B&W / Hill and Wang

Very wordy, and the very cartoonist drawing of Reagan doesn’t look much like him.

Persepolis (Iranian Revolution) / Marjane Satrapi / B&W / Pantheon

Political, personal, and vital. Some drug use shown, but a great coming-of-age story.

Fax from Sarajevo (1990s Balkans conflict) / Joe Kubert / color / Dark Horse Comics

Great mix of cartoons and real faxes to a family caught by sniper fire in this conflict.

Notes for a War Story (1990s Balkans conflict) / Gipi / color / First Second Books

A Lord of the Flies story about teens fumbling their way into a European war zone.

9/11 Report (2001) / Sid Jacobson / color / Hill and Wang

A great way to understand what happened before and during the terrorist attacks.

Pyongyang (North Korea) / Guy Delisle / B&W / Drawn & Quarterly

Subtle and funny look behind one of the world’s last iron curtains of Communism. (Read more thoughts)

Latino USA (Hispanic-American history) / Lalo Alcaraz / B&W / Basic Books

Lalo’s energetic art mirrors popular Mexican cartoons. A challenging viewpoint.

Still I Rise (African-American history) / Roland Laird Jr. / B&W / Norton

Drawings are sloppy and simple, and there is some graphic violence shown.

U.S. (alternative US history) / Alex Ross / color / Vertigo Comics

Great thought-provoking look at history left out of the textbooks.

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