Gettysburg, The Graphic Novel by C.M. Butzer - Book Review & Teaching Support

They used to be called Comics, geeky connotation firmly attached, but now, Graphic Novels are the big deal. Yes, the comics name has been reinvented to a less geeky, more in the know, form. And sure, graphic novels might hold more storyline than a comic, but lets face it: Someone finally got smart and realized that all those years of hot comic sales should be repackaged for a new generation.

Smart, well, drawn and sweeping in its subject, Gettysburg, The Graphic Novel is exactly the right thing for today’s young reader. Wrapped in well-drawn, subtle, black & white rendering is the dark tale of the Battle of Gettysburg. The author does an excellent job keeping to the facts and adding just enough drama. The novel ends with Lincoln’s most perfect of speeches and drawings that evoke the sweep of the tragedy.

Parents with a desire to see their child engaged in history might want to look for this title when it is released in December. Teachers would also do well to put away those textbooks and add graphic novels like Gettysburg, The Graphic Novel to their collections. Struggling readers are especially well-served with the graphic novel format of short text bursts and pictures for added support.

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Genre: Historical Nonfiction. Age: 9-12. Pages: 80.

Publisher: Harper Collins. Date: December 2008.
ISBN-10: 0061561754 / ISBN-13: 978-0061561757

Buy Gettysburg, The Graphic Novel Here

Activity ideas?

• The novel begins with a cast of characters page. Assign reports on each person.
• Have students write imagined conversations between characters.
• Have students conduct a mock interview with one of the cast of characters.
• Research Gettysburg, Pennsylvania then & now. How has it changed? What memorial stands on the site? Why is it important to remember battles like Gettysburg?
• Have students draw their own graphic novel (much shorter, of course) for another battle in the Civil War.
• Have students use the extensive notes & bibliography for research into additional aspects of the battle as well as the war.

I thought these up in five minutes. There are enumerable ideas that would easily flow from this book. I hope graphic novels continue to be a trend in nonfiction books and educational supplementals. With modern inundation of information, students need engaging forms to motivate their attention.

C.M Butzer is editor-in-chief of Rabid Rabbit, a magazine of comic artists. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can see more of his work on his website. Gettysburg, The Graphic Novel is his first children's book, but I'll be looking for more.
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

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