William Ayers, Ryan Alexander-Tanner
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
This graphic novel brings to life William Ayers’s bestselling memoir To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, Third Edition. From Ayers’s early days teaching kindergarten, readers follow this renowned educational theorist on his “voyage of discovery and surprise.” We meet fellow travelers from schools across the country and watch students grow across a year and a lifetime.
To Teach is a vivid, honest portrayal of the everyday magic of teaching, and what it means to be a “good” teacher—debunking myths perpetuated on film and other starry-eyed hero/teacher fictions. Illuminated by the evocative and wry drawings of Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this literary comics memoir is both engaging and insightful. These illustrated stories remind us how curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a healthy dose of reflection can guide us all to learn the most from this world. This dynamic book will speak to comic fans, memoir readers, and educators of all stripes.
William Ayers is a school reform activist, distinguished professor, and senior university scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ryan Alexander-Tanner is an art teacher and a Xeric Award-winning comic artist.
“An inspiring, heartwarming book that serves as a reminder of what teaching should, and can, be.”
—Harvard Educational Review
“A delightful book that will make readers smile.”
—Phi Delta Kappan
“This fascinating and, yes, educational book will certainly be of interest to teachers, but it will also teach, inspire, and entertain anyone else who picks it up.”
"William Ayers's new book, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics, is a treatise on educational reform in graphic format. Graphic nonfiction is a wonderful way to show, rather than just explain, complex material."
“An utterly original and deliciously irreverent book that is likely to be passed from hand to hand by tens of thousands of our nation’s teachers out of the sheer joy that they will take in reading it.”
—From the Foreword by Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities
"A serious book, but laced with humor... a novel approach. Required reading for all educators."
—Harvey Pekar, author, American Splendor series
“To Teach represents a fresh breeze in the educational and social science research community. It takes daring to reconceptualize entrenched practices and traditional modes of research. But it is better to find new seas upon which to sail, than old ports at which to dock. Bill Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner have provided a glimpse of that new sea and for this we should be grateful.”
—Elliot Eisner, Lee Jacks Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Art, Stanford University
“Weaving in inspirational anecdotes and playful visual metaphors, To Teach, The Journey, in Comics takes us through one school year with a delightful group of young learners. In the process, Ayers and Alexander-Tanner’s collaboration cleverly illustrates the vital importance—and moral necessity—of teaching.”
—Josh Neufeld, writer/artist of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
“Bill Ayers's thoughtful text is illuminated by Ryan Alexander-Tanner's picture perfect cartoons, creating an added dimension of wit and wisdom that brings comics another step forward in their evolution.”
—Peter Kuper, cartoonist and educator, books include Sticks and Stones, Diario De Oaxaca and an adaptation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis
"The perennial dance of learning that can also be teaching at its best is both brilliantly and graphically shown herein by Messrs. Ayers and Alexander-Tanner. Do keep in mind that although they can show you the right steps, you still have to listen closely to your interior music and follow its changing melodies and rhythms."
—Gary Dumm, artist, Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story and American Splendor
"To Teach is great reading not only for student teachers but for anyone who has a vested interest in our education system. I especially appreciated the smack down of the dehumanizing trend to pigeonhole every other kid with some kind of ‘at risk’ syndrome! It also is a great example of how comic art is a very efficient way to communicate complex ideas.”
—Peter Bagge, comics journalist and author of the Buddy Bradley series
“Ayers organizes a classroom like Alexander-Tanner lays out each page: with inventiveness, clarity of purpose, and a close attention honoring their individual subjects. I wish I'd read this book before I started teaching and making comics a decade ago, it's chock full of practical and philosophical advice. I know this book will inspire a generation of teachers to come.”
—Lauren Weinstein, cartoonist and teacher, writer/artist, Girl Stories
"To Teach is hilarious serious and fabulous! A broad manifesto that will change many people's lives."
—Laurie Anderson, artist and musician
2011 AESA Critics' Choice Award
2010 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist in Education
Professors: Request an Exam Copy
Print copies available for US orders only. For orders outside the US, see our international distributors.