Graphic Medicine is an emerging field that considers the role that comics can play in medicine – including medical education, health literacy, healthcare communication, and more. The NNLM Region 7 Graphic Medicine Community of Interest (COI) provides training and tools, to inform and encourage growth in the use of comics in our work. This includes training, tools to aid collection development and research, and a Book Club Kit lending program.
Contact Sarah Levin-Lederer (Sarah.LevinLederer@umassmed.edu) with questions or to get involved with the Graphic Medicine COI.
Learn more about Graphic Medicine with resources from NNLM, NLM and partners (Coming Soon)
Graphic Medicine Listserv Sign-up
Book Club Kits
- Available for organizations based in Region 7
- Loaned for eight weeks
- Free: return shipping included
- Good for both new and long-time comic readers
Kits are lent through the Lamar Soutter Library (UMass Chan Medical School) interlibrary loan. For questions about kit lending policies and procedures please call 508-856-6099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: Sobriety: A Graphic Novel by Daniel Maurer (2014)
- Description: From the publisher… “Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look into recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps.”
- Addiction Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Title: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (2014)
- Description: From the publisher… “Roz Chast and her parents were practitioners of denial: if you don’t ever think about death, it will never happen. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is the story of an only child watching her parents age well into their nineties and die. In this account, longtime New Yorker cartoonist Chast combines drawings with family photos and documents, chronicling that “long good-bye.
- Aging Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Alzheimer's Disease
Title: Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt (2010)
- Description: From the publisher: “Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer’s disease transformed her mother, Midge, and her family forever. In spare black-and- white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family’s journey through a harrowing range of emotions—shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration—all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness.”
- Alzheimer's Disease Discussion Guide
Title: Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies (2006)
- Description: From the publisher… “Mom’s Cancer is a graphic novel about one family’s struggle with metastatic lung cancer. Honest, unflinching, and sometimes humorous, it is a look at the practical and emotional effect that serious illness can have on patients and their families. In the end, it is a story of hope – uniquely told in words and illustrations.”
- Cancer Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Emergency Preparedness and Recovery
Title: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (2015)
- Description: From the Publisher: "On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana…The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality. Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history."
- Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Title: Epileptic by David B. (2005)
- Description: "A painfully honest examination of the effects of debilitating epilepsy on one man and his family, told through a combination of straightforward text and expressionist imagery that ranges in its palette from centuries-old symbolism to the secret worlds of childhood. Even as he shows up the hollow promises of every school of esoteric and alternative medicine his family encounters in their quest for help, David B. works a real kind of deeply human magic on the page-- something forged from black ink and a soul's struggle--that marks Epileptic as one of the first truly great narrative artworks of the new millennium." --Jason Lutes
- Epilepsy Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Familial Substance Use
Title: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (2018)
- Description: From the publisher: “Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family as it grapples with addiction, finding the people who help get you through, and the art that helps you survive.”
- Familial Substance Use Discussion Guide
Title: Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart (2016)
- Description: From the publisher… “Rosalie Lightning is Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart’s beautiful and touching graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife’s ongoing search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie’s death, exploring themes of grief, hopelessness, rebirth, and eventually finding hope again.”
- Grief Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Title: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (2006)
- Description: “At once a coming-out story, an examination of the complex relationship we can have with our parents and the role of art and literature in processing our lives… Smart, darkly funny and a little fearless, Fun Home reads like a true-life modern American Gothic.” – Time Best Comics of 2006
- LGBTQ Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Mental Health
Title: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney (2012)
- Description: From the publisher… “Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion. With dazzling storytelling, bold illustrations, and razor-sharp wit, Marbles offers a wholly unique and visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist’s work and seeks to answer: IS mental illness a curse, or is it actually a gift?”
- Mental Health Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Migrant Health
Title: The Most Costly Journey: Stories of Migrant Farmworkers in Vermont Drawn by New England Cartoonists Edited by Marek Bennett, Andy Kolovos, Teresa Mares and Julia Grand Doucet (2021)
- Description: “This non-fiction comics anthology presents stories of survival and healing told by Latin American migrant farmworkers in Vermont, and drawn by New England cartoonists as part of the El Viaje Más Caro Project…aimed at addressing the overlooked mental health needs of these vulnerable immigrants…this collected edition brings the lives and voices–as well as the challenges and hardships–of these workers to an English-language audience, granting insight into the experiences and lives of the people vital to producing the food we eat.”
- Migrant Health Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Title: The Bad Doctor by Ian Williams (2015)
- Description: From the publisher… “Meet Dr. Iwan James: cyclist, doctor, would-be lover, former heavy metal fan, and, above all, human being. Weighed down by his responsibilities – from diagnosing personality disorders to deciding who can hold a gun license – he doubts his ability to make decisions about the lives of others when he may need more than a little help himself. Cartoonist and Doctor Ian Williams introduces us to Iwan’s troubled life as all humanity, it seems, passes through his surgery doors.”
- OCD/Doctor-as-Patient Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
Topic: Veteran’s Health
[This Kit contains two titles]
Title: At War With Yourself by Samuel Williams (2016)
- Description: From the publisher… “In this illustrated conversation between Samuel C. Williams and his friend, Matt, they talk candidly about Matt’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. From scoping out quick exits in coffee shops to re-experiencing his traumatic events, Matt describes his unique experiences and how he has learnt to cope.”
Title: When I Returned from The Center for Cartoon Studies (2016)
- Description: When I Returned is a comics anthology containing six unique stories from veterans at the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont. Illustrated by a number of cartoonists from The Center for Cartoon Studies, these stories help show the depth and variety of the “veteran experience”.
- Veteran’s Health Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
For the University of Kentucky's 2022 Alternative Spring Break Program, R7 hosted Raeshelle Cooke who created a graphic medicine discussion guide and explained the process for creating a guide of your own.
How to Make a Discussion Guide for Tangles (10 minute video): Hear Raeshelle discuss the process of making a discussion guide and what she learned.
For the University of Kentucky's 2022 Alternative Spring Break Program, R7 hosted Lauren Laumas who created a graphic medicine discussion guide and explained the process for creating a guide of your own.
Topic: Eating Disorders
- Title: Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green (2013)
- Description: From the publisher: “A poignant, heart-lifting graphic memoir about anorexia, eating disorders and the journey to recovery. Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast. But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behaviour might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly. Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.”
- Eating Disorder Discussion Guide
Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide Creation for Lighter Than My Shadow (7 minute video): Hear Lauren discuss the process of making a discussion guide and what she learned.
Title: Pedro & Me: Friendship, Loss, & What I Learned by Judd Winick (2009)
- Description: From the publisher… “Pedro Zamora changed lives. When the HIV-positive AIDS educator appeared on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco, he taught millions of viewers about being gay and living with AIDS. Pedro’s roommate on the show was Judd Winick, a cartoonist from Long Island, and the two soon became close friends. Judd created Pedro and Me to honor Pedro Zamora, his friend and teacher, and most of all, an unforgettable human being.”
- AIDS Graphic Medicine Discussion Guide
NNLM Reading Club Graphic Medicine Resources
A Fire Story by Brian Fies (Disasters and Emergencies)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Addiction and Recovery)
Impending Blindness of Billie Scott by Zoe Thorogood (Eyes and Vision)
Kimiko Does Cancer by Kimiko Tabimatsu (LGBTIA+ Health)
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki (Teen Dating Violence)
Rx by Rachel Lindsay (Mental Health)
Taking Turns by MK Czerwiec (HIV-AIDS)