Human Body Theater

Human Body TheaterHuman Body Theater
Written and Illustrated by: Maris Wicks
Publisher: First Second
Format: Hardcover/Softcover, 6 x 9, 240 pages, Full Color, $19.99/$14.99
ISBN: HC: 978-1-62672-277-4/SC: 978-1-59643-929-0


Before I weigh in on my review of Human Body Theater I must make a confession: After all of its positive press and acclaim (it was published last year), I have had it on my "to review" list for months. Even though this review is falling a little later than I anticipated it's certainly been worth the wait, however. The storyline is captivating and the artwork dances off the page and into your imagination.

Formatted as a theatrical production, each act in this pseudo-play includes a tour guide who playfully presents all of the key and various systems in the human body. The guiding questions on this tour are: "How does the human body work? And, even more importantly, how do they work together?"

Each of these questions (and more!) are whimsically and educationally answered in one of the best science-based, nonfiction graphic novels I've ever read.

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot(s): Designed as a theatrical production, complete with various acts and performances, The Human Body Theatre educates readers about all of the various systems that operate in the human body.

Major Character / Play Narrator: Skeleton "Bones"

Major Settings: The Human Body: skeletal system, muscular system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, endocrine system, reproductive system, immune system, nervous system, the five senses

Major Themes: Biology, Systems Operations, Science Education, Cooperation and Working Together

Writing Lesson Plan Recommendations For Young Adult Readers in Language Arts Grades 6 - 8

Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

*Common Core Standard (www.corestandards.org)

Reading Lesson Idea for Language Arts Readers in Grades 6 - 8

Directions: For the following writing lesson plan students will draw evidence from The Human Body Theater in order to analyze, reflect, and research main ideas. Educators can repeatedly use one copy of the graphic organizer box below to stand for each act in The Human Body Theatre.

In each of the graphic organizer boxes students need to:
1. Label the Act and its human body emphasis
2. Identify and analyze (brief comments) 2 or 3 most important details of human body information learned in that act
3. Conduct some brief online research about each Act and its focus on a particular system in the human body, and at the bottom of the graphic organizer box, note something new learned from that brief online research


ACT: _______________

Identify and Briefly Analyze 2 / 3 of the most important details of human body information you learned in this Act.









Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.