AIDS in the Endzone
Albright and Gavigan began this project in response to research indicating that the graphic novel format is a highly successful educational tool for motivating young adults to read. They chose HIV/AIDS as their topic because South Carolina ranks eighth in the nation for new HIV cases, while the capital city of Columbia ranks sixth nationally among metropolitan areas. By working with teen students at the SCDJJ, Albright and Gavigan were able to develop characters, a storyline, setting, and dialog as a collaborative project—engaging the students in the public health subject matter as well as in the creative process. This project was funded in part by a grant from the Association for Library and Information Science Education.
About the Authors
Karen W. Gavigan is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include the use of graphic novels in schools and libraries and the instructional role of the school librarian. With Mindy Tomasevich, Gavigan is co-author of Connecting Comics to Curriculum: Strategies for Grades 6–12 and the "Connecting Comics to Curriculum" column in Library Media Connection.
Sarah Petrulis studied illustrations and painting at the University of South Carolina and the School of Visual Arts in New York.
"Bottom line: Aids in the End Zone is not only of the most groundbreaking graphic novels for young adults, but also an educational and social justice gem for classroom teaching and beyond. The story has everything a parent, teacher, or librarian would want to discuss with young adult and teenage readers. High-quality and well-rounded main characters and an intriguing plot that will certainly raise eyebrows and motivate both educators and young readers alike to generate never-to-be-forgotten, life changing conversations. It's an educator's gold mine and a perfect fit for the Common Core Standards."—Katie Monnin, associate professor of literacy, University of North Florida, and author of Teaching Graphic Novels, Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels, Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning, Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts
"AIDS in the End Zone is a gripping story that weaves together the frightening threat of HIV infection and the social pressures teens feel in high school. Marcus, Brad and the other characters are given life by the young writers at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and illustrator S.J. Petrulis. They speak and act with a remarkable authenticity that sucked my middle school sons and me into the story. The book became a springboard for a discussion about the story that persisted for several days after they read it. AIDS in the End Zone is a testament to the powers of good comics to compel readers to think and feel about important issues and the people affected by them. It is a remarkable piece of work that has the potential to profoundly impact the lives of other students. I hope that it is the first of many more to come."—Jay Hosler, professor of biology at Juniata College, award-winning author/illustrator of science-oriented comics, and author of the graphic novels Clan Apis, Evolution, The Sandwalk Adventures, and Optical Allusions
"As I am of a different generation and era, my approach to educating high schoolers about the hazards of casual sex and sexually-transmitted infections would be different from the approach used to develop this booklet. But my approach would surely reach few, if any, of today's young people. I am very impressed by the manner in which the editors have developed this booklet. The story line was composed by young men who have been in the thick of today's youth culture and shaped by the editors to have as much impact as possible. The illustrations are superb. I sincerely hope the results of this commendable effort will be the steering of many young people away from the quagmire of drugs, alcohol and casual sex that overwhelm so many in the current era."—Joseph F. Albright, immunologist, retired, National Institutes of Health
Other Titles by Karen W. Gavigan
Other Titles from Young Palmetto Books