Lake-of-Tears-Fiadzigbey-Ofei-Schaidler-Mock-up-Cover_preview.jpeg Podcasts 

Comics Syllabus 023 – Empathy, Human Rights, Literacy, and Comics with John Schaidler, and “Lake of Tears Ghana”

By | November 14th, 2017
Posted in Podcasts | % Comments

( 16:45 ) Multiversity’s John Schaidler talks with us about empathy, literacy, and comics and graphic novels like “Spinning,” “Arab of the Future,” “American Born Chinese,” “Persepolis,” and “Nimona.” ( 1:24:26 ) Then we talk to John about his work in education and literacy, and how it leads to his part in the “Lake of Tears” comic project with writer Kwabena Ofei and artist Setor Fiadzigbey, in collaboration with Human Rights organization Challenging Heights. NEXT WEEK: Jason Shiga’s “Demon” (First Second)

Welcome to the Comics Syllabus podcast, where we read widely and we dig deep. Your host Paul, a literacy researcher and English teacher, introduces curious readers to a range of current and classic comics, and then engages in closer discussion and analysis of particular comics works.


Or download the podcast episode here.

First, in the introduction, ( 0:00 ) a shout out to “Plant Pathologist” for his Apple Podcasts review, and some of Paul’s comments on Bendis, Berganza, and podcast business. Mentioned: Elias Rosner’s “Thor” longform piece at Multiversity: (Also, apologies that in comments about Bendis I misname Gabby Rivera as “Gabby Ramirez”…. great job, Paul)

On our General Ed segment (at 16:45 ) , we talk about “Empathy and Comics” with Multiversity’s John Schaidler ( ), discussing notions of how comics can help us build empathy and understanding of others and what that has to do with literacy.

John and Paul discuss: Tillie Walden’s “Spinning” (First Second), Riad Sattouf’s “Arab of the Future” (Metropolitan Books), Gene Luen Yang’s “American Born Chinese” (First Second), Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” (Pantheon), Noelle Stevenson’s “Nimona” (Harper Collins), and Honorable Mentions: Thi Bui’s “The Best We Could Do” (Pantheon), Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” Craig Thompson’s “Blankets,” and Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s “This One Summer.”

Also mentioned, Kidd and Castano’s study in Science about Literary Fiction and Theory of Mind:

Then our creator chat (at 46:01 ) is about John’s literacy education and comics life, culminating with the new “Lake of Tears” project based in Ghana. “Lake of Tears,” drawn by Setor Fiadzigbey and written by Kwabena Ofei, is edited by John and done in partnership with Challenging Heights, a human rights organization founded by James Kofi Annan.

Lake of Tears Ghana:

And on facebook:

Interview about Lake of Tears Ghana with Setor Fiadzigbey:

Challenging Heights, working to end child trafficking in Ghana:

Subscribe and follow the Comics Syllabus podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Soundcloud, or copy this RSS feed to your podcatcher: or you can find archives for this podcast (previously named “Study Comics with Paul”) here:

Join the discussion on the Comics Syllabus Facebook page: or Follow Paul on Twitter: or leave your comments here on the showpage.

Thanks for listening!

“Lake of Tears” images by Setor Fiadzigbey

Also, “Gizo-Gizo” children’s book project mentioned in the discussion


//TAGS | Comics Syllabus

Paul Lai


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