Lifting Voices: From Cover to Cover: Crafting Identity in Graphic Novels

 In Lifting Voices, Past, Webinar

Wednesday, November 11th, 1:00pm CST

This diverse panel of talented authors and artists will delve into the creation of stories in both fantastic and contemporary worlds that include multifaceted characters and realistic portrayals of identity and friendship. We’ll look at the different education and career paths of each Graphix creator, and how their various directions and cultural backgrounds have influenced their craft and led them to where they are today.

A Certificate of Attendance will be issued to those who attend this webinar. A recording will be posted to for those who cannot participate in the live session.


Varian Johnson

Author, Scholastic

Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which was named a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, among other accolades. Varian received a BS in Civil Engineering and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

Shannon Wright

Illustrator, Scholastic

Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist based in Virginia. She is the illustrator of My Mommy Medicine by Edwidge Danticat, and some of her clients include the Guardian, TIME, the New York Times, NPR, and Google. Visit her online at

Gabriela Epstein

Comic Artist and Illustrator, Scholastic

Gabriela Epstein graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration, and has worked as a character designer for TV animation. When she isn’t making comics, she enjoys yo-yoing, listening to spooky podcasts, and watching historical documentaries. She lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her online at

Kazu Kibuishi

Graphic Novel Author and Illustrator, Scholastic

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Amulet series, which is available in 16 languages. He is also the creator of Copper, a collection of his popular webcomic that features an adventuresome boy-and-dog pair. Kazu also illustrated the covers of the 15th anniversary paperback editions of the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. He lives and works near Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Amy Kim Kibuishi, and their children. Visit Kazu online at

Meryl Jaffe, Ph.D

Author, Teacher, Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Online

Today’s moderator is Meryl Jaffe, the author of Worth A Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy (with Talia Hurwich, Wiley, 2018), a teacher at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Online, and an educational/curricular consultant for the New York City Dept. of Education – promoting verbal and visual literacies. Please visit her website for an extensive list and summary of great graphic novels for grades 1-12, lesson plans, video/panel clips, teaching resources, blogs and more. Leave any questions, queries or comments you might have. She loves hearing from teachers.