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Graphic Novels Tackle Tough Subjects to Help Kids Understand


The following story ran on the May 11, 2012, edtion of the Huffington Post Books blog. Rick Halperin, director of the Embrey Human Rights Program in SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, wrote the introduction for the graphic novel titled "Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan," by James Disco.

May 14, 2012

By Kate Kelly

How do you talk about genocide, human trafficking, modern slavery, oppression and the overall importance of human rights in ways that students can understand? For James Disco, the answer lies in creating graphic novels that tackle tough topics.

James Disco's day job involves working for the Dallas Tennis Association, teaching tennis to underprivileged children. This work that gives him an empathetic window into a world of children who cannot necessarily expect fairness or compassion, and this has inspired him to do work that stresses the importance of human rights.

His first effort was a graphic novel about the recent genocide in Sudan, Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan. The introduction to the book was written by Dr. Richard Halperin, director of the Embrey Human Rights Education Program at Southern Methodist University.

In an interview published on the website, Gender Across Borders, Halperin is quoted as saying that publishing stories on difficult subjects is important for many reasons, including working "to eradicate the most dangerous words in the English language, 'I didn't know.'"...