Journalists Donna Griffin and Gary Varvel are once again teaming up on an innovative graphic novel that will inspire and educate a new generation of informed citizens and support journalism education across the country – “The Birth of the First Amendment.”
Newspapers, media outlets and journalism organizations, along with news literacy and civic responsibility groups can sponsor this innovative movement by donating school/classroom copies in their communities and hosting an interactive author visit. (Please contact us or email Donna Griffin at to discuss an interactive author visit.)
Format: Middle Grade Graphic Novel-48 pages with 4 pages of interactive back matter aligns with Common Core standards for Language Arts, News Literacy and Social Studies
Synopsis: The story of John Peter Zenger’s trial, “The Birth of the First Amendment” is full of drama, suspense and a timely message that speaks directly to current discussion, especially among young leaders whose voices are resounding throughout this country.
Marketing and Distribution: Marketing will include author visits in partnership with local schools, media outlets, libraries and booksellers with an emphasis on the First Amendment, News Literacy and Civic Engagement.
Author/Illustrator visits will include an immersive experience with hands-on activities and Speak Your Truth media creation geared toward grade levels 5-8 and 9-12. Schools will be able to purchase the novels at a reduced rate for their individual fundraising purposes.
Your sponsorship will:
- Empower students to create media in a responsible way for a community audience to use their ideas and diverse perspectives in a responsible, innovative way in a journalistic format.
- Support those current First Amendment Heroes among young journalists (New Voices) through GMP website, social media, print and multimedia productions.
- Provide a forum through the GMP website for those middle and high school students without journalism or media literacy classes or opportunities through media creation experiences to create classroom projects for project based learning in an interdisciplinary program meeting language arts, media literacy, digital design, social studies and STEM standards.
Griffin and Varvel previously collaborated on “Old Whiskers Escapes!” released July, 2018 by the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.
Griffin is also the author of “The Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana,” 2014 (Hardcover) 2017 (Board Book), a student media adviser at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and director of the Urban Media Project, an initiative of her non-profit organization, Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp.
Varvel is an national award-winning syndicated editorial cartoonist who has worked for the Indianapolis Star for 40 years. He is a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame and author/illustrator of “The Good Shepherd,” 2014.