Marching Into Interactive Learning

Today, the first time in 56 Years Blood Sunday celebrates without John Lewis, in an age where education can be perceived as monotonous, it is vital the opportunity to take advantage of the organizations and opportunities to expand the way we learn, and change learning, has never been more important that before. Accompanying the pandemic, there are many ironies and may individuals that will let these opportunities pass them by.

Others will not.

We celebrate those that have turned the pandemic into an opportunity to improve learning and push back against those that do not or refuse to improve education for the future.

School librarians, an issue near and dear to my heart, are being let go in every state all over the country. Isn’t it ironic that individuals that perceive librarians of a thing from the past, and feel a collection of texts are no longer needed, are failing to see the opportunity to capitalize on the diverse skills a properly 21st Century trained librarian brings to a pandemic era in education, to connect, diversify, and open minds and eyes to be able to sift through a tangled misinformation age? Ironic. If ever there w as a position to move education past Industrial age organizational structure, it is the 21st Century Library Media Specialist – many individuals and institutions fail to see the need to justify the required legislation of a licensed librarian in every school often unknown to parents and community members. As a result, educational opportunities suffer more in relying on an already overworked faculty staff – again, ironic.

Recognizing institutions and organizations that see books that connect to history and education are the best organizations to address misinformation. For 21 years, the Delaware Festival of Words has done just that – encouraged authors, parents, librarians, and teachers to open the word of reading, and pair literacy with history, technology, and the future and voila – misinformation does have a difficult time existing when an emphasis on an educated, thoughtful, and open-minded society is allowed a time and space to discuss how stories, legends, and history all play a role in our future.

Saturday, March 6 provided illustrator Nate Powell a chance to present his talents and how his contributions alongside Congressman John Lewis laid a defining moment for so many to follow. The March series, in all its poignant, distinct, and powerful plot outlining the Selma civil right march is yet one, of many vital elements of our history that graphic novels present a Narnia-like door to connecting United States history to wider issues that are right in our back yards every day.

Take-aways from this one on one with Nate Powell

When meeting Nate Powell, attendees learned that the techniques behind the illustrations and schedules to be successful as an illustrator, and discussed his talent with Tornado Children. We discovered there are many many layers to being an illustrator as well as the “story illustrators are living inside of their heads” as Mr. Powell stated.

One of the other ironies is the lack of knowledge of the power graphic novels, as well as comics, in fact hold. Nate Powell went on to note the unique strength of comics, having the ability to empathize, the ability to be working in critical thinking as individuals are reading, cross referencing details throughout the book all while involved in the process of reading.

Other than graphic novels as being very accessible and an additional associated to reading, ideas, plot, judgements, and values are processed much faster and more immediate than found in prose.

Certainly the power of empathy, needed more more than ever, is presented in powerful doses in faster and shorter moments, and the fact that so much can be contained in graphic novels and comics is lost on such a larger population, it is quite surprising when discovered.

Mentioning that a disproportionate response has been resulting compared to relative modest gains in civil rights protections, revisiting the messages in March volumes, 1, 2, and 3 are always in style and appropriate, now more than ever.

Being able to pushback through legislation, as well as push back to violence as expressed in the March series is as powerful a tool as you could want for a healthy country.

The fact that Nate Powell emphasized, as a reader and seeing the ” camera” turned around to see a fist, see a crowd come out from the side of the page the reader finds him or herself, often times it puts the reader in the position of someone committing a crime, the power the illustrations in March have as an experience for the reader that can’t be found in other mediums.

Seeing action come from the camera, opr the reader’s side of the book hitting a young John Lewis was one of many gripping scenarios, as well as the reader being able to get a personal 1st person perspective.

It is well worth seeing how Nate Powell has taken the origins of interest in a Food not Bombs movement, and the the idea he has behind the project http://www.seemybrotherdance.org

Everything Nate Powell presented emphasized the fact that during a pandemic, it is much easier to sit back and be passive and convince yourself that is as much as you are capable of. However, fulfilling moment of changing the world around us, realizing each of us can play an active role, is found in the individuals who fight that passivity and simply March into making a difference every day, and changing the educational paradigm as we have known it.

Kudos to school librarians and Delaware Festive of Words to being two organizations that push back and show, the need for an open mind to expand opportunities that are just waiting to be connected to the world around us!


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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