GMercyU Alum in the Running to Receive Eisner Award

Tim Smyth ’08 is in the running to receive the prestigious Eisner Award, the highest honor one can receive in the comics genre, for his book titled Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels that he published in July 2022.

“My work is given affirmation through this nomination and gives me a wider audience to reach even more educators around the world on the power of comics in the classroom,” shared Tim. “I have put more than 20 years of being an educator into writing this book and it makes the journey that much more powerful. I also get to share the experiences of hundreds of my students and that of my own children through this award, as well. I am thrilled to share with my Gwynedd Mercy family, as I officially began this journey as a graduate student in GMercyU’s Readings Specialist graduate program.”

Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels

Tim Smyth BookTim’s book is a tool that allows educators to harness students’ love of comics and graphic novels while also increasing classroom engagement and critical thinking skills. In his book, Tim provides readers with a variety of lessons and ideas for how to utilize comics in teaching close reading, working with textual evidence, literature adaptations, symbolism and culture, sequencing, essay writing, and more. He also provides various models on how to use comics to tackle tougher topics and enhance social-emotional learning.

Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels offers numerous resources, including lesson plans. The lessons provided meet the Common Core State Standards and offer educators an easy way to adapt comics to any subject or grade level to fit perfectly into the curriculum.

"Comics and graphic novels are finally being appreciated for the rich literary experience they offer readers. They allow students to see themselves in literature, and to engage with diverse voices, experiences, and perspectives. The powerful lessons in this book empower educators to use the power of comics and graphic novels to reach every reader. Highly recommended!” said Laurie Halse Anderson of Tim’s book, author of her own graphic novels Speak and Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed.

Andrew Aydin, co-author of the graphic novels March and Run, also praised the book. "Tim Smyth's Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels is the preeminent text for any educator or librarian working to bring sequential narratives into the classroom. Tim makes it real and makes it plain how comics can be used to reach students in ways no other medium can. Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels is an essential text for every classroom and library,” he said.

San Diego Comic Con

Tim Smyth FamilyIn July 2023, Tim and his family will travel to San Diego Comic Con to attend the awards ceremony for the Eisner Award. As a family, the Smyths will present on a panel and run an educational program at the San Diego Comic Con Museum on the efficacy of comics to create analytical readers and writers.

“We will be showcasing the long and varied history of comics, the ever expanding and exciting representation in comics, inspiring way to use them to teach students to become deep and analytical readers and writing, sharing our favorite titles, and the efficacy of this medium for students of all ages,” said Tim.

Thank You to Gwynedd Mercy

“I truly began this teaching-with-comics journey when I was a student at Gwynedd, earning my MS Reading Specialist degree in 2008. When presented with studies pointing out that students were becoming less and less engaged with reading, I posed the question to my professors – what about teaching with comics and pop culture? I thought that this idea might be scoffed at in a graduate level program, but I was immediately encouraged to do the research myself and to present it to my cohort of fellow educators,” shared Tim. “This was exactly the ‘permission’ I needed to teach the way I always wanted to, and knew in my heart to be vital to reach students.”

After completing his program at GMercyU, Tim was approached to write articles for PBS Newshour and began connecting with creators and educators around the world.

“I now get to travel the country giving keynote speeches, presentations at national and local education and comics conferences, school district in-services, and to work with education majors, and so much more. None of this would have happened if not for Gwynedd,” said Tim.