News from the editorial team

In commemoration of America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, the 4th of July is known for being one big party full of fireworks, barbecues, and baseball games. American media has a huge impact on the rest of the world, and the “American Dream” is a familiar concept to most. So, in honor of today we’d like to highlight some of our favorite American literature and media we feature on our platform!

  • The Truman Show: This dystopian comedy movie explores the power of media, commercialism and simulated reality. Truman has spent his whole life in a town he thought was home, but now turns out to be reality TV show set. The film is a great starting point for discussions surrounding surveillance, reality TV, American stereotypes and the American Dream.
  • Brooklyn: This Irish novel narrates the social difficulties in mid 20th century Ireland, emigration, and cultural identity, all wrapped up in an American Dream love story. The book follows Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman who cannot find work. Thus, she decides to immigrate to the United States chasing the American Dream. After some initial difficulties, she falls in love with Tony, a young Italian, and they start planning a life together.
  • American Pictures: A Personal Journey Through the American Underclass: This collection of approximately 22,000 photos shows the dark side of the “American Dream”, revealing racism, segregation, social hierarchies and white supremacy. The powerful pictures of Danish photographer Jacob Holdt were not taken with an artistic intention but rather to capture the hardship and brutal reality of America in the 1970s.

Enjoy the summer heat, and don’t forget…you don’t have to be in the US to have a barbecue get-together on the 4th of July! Happy Independence Day everybody!


“I am what I am / And what I am needs no excuses.”Gloria Gaynor, I Am What I Am (1984)

On June 28, 1969, police at the Stonewall Inn in New York led to a series of riots that would spark the fight for LGBTIQ+ rights. A year later, the first gay pride marches emerged, building the foundation for gay communities and activist groups throughout the states. Today, pride marches take place all around the world at the end of June, which is known as ‘Pride Month’, in commemoration of the Stonewall riots.

Studies, however, show that members of the LGBTIQ+ community still face discrimination on a regular basis. The report “The Istanbul Convention, Gender Politics and Beyond: Poland and Turkey”, published in June 2021, states that violent attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people did increase in those countries. Recently, Hungary passed anti-minority reforms and a law banning LGBTIQ+ content from the school curriculum, advertising and TV for children. The UEFA’s refusal to light Munich’s stadium in rainbow colours, as a visible sign of solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTIQ+ community during the Euro Germany-Hungary match, lead to a shit storm on social media and a protest wave demanding for inclusion and diversity.

Still, LGBTIQ+ representation in the german curricula and literature for the EFL classroom remains sparse, leaving a lot of room for improvement. Finding characters students can identify within literature can make a huge difference in their motivation to read and facilitating discussions about relatable topics. A paradigm shift can fuel the understanding and appreciation of our students for a diverse and colourful society. Here are some of our new additions to our platform that aim to increase the representation of LGBTIQ+ characters in the EFL classroom:

  • Asexual Love Poem: In this spoken word poem, the speaker conveys experiences of her sexuality being dismissed; wrapped up in the metaphor of “don’t worry the poem will get good“.
  • I Wish You All the Best: Ben has finally gathered the courage to come out to their parents as nonbinary. But what should be the people who love them most in the world, refuse to accept Ben’s identity. This coming of age novel addresses themes like gender identity, anxiety and love, fueling open discourse in the classroom about mental health and interpersonal relationships.
  • The Laramie Project: This alarming play about homophobia, discrimination and hate crime is based on the brutal murder of the gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard on October 6, 1998. The Laramie Project investigates the case and its aftermath capturing the voices, thoughts and feelings of more than 60 people of the town Laramie, Wyoming in short scenes.
  • Julian Is a Mermaid: If you are looking for a story to teach diversity and gender-nonconformity in the elementary classroom, this text might be an option. The heart-warming picture book follows Julian, who is about to explore his passion for colourful dress. Will his grandmother ‘Nana’ reject his new identity, or will she show love and appreciation?

For more literature and media in this context check out our new topic cluster ‘trans rights‘. Also, we are looking forward to your suggestions in this field that you can share with the editors via email or the ‘Suggest and entry’ form.

Happy Pride Month, Everyone!

Sarah and Simon

“Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you’ve finished just to stay near it.” – Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Today, we celebrate the birthday and literary heritage of award-winning author Marcus Zusak. After growing up in Sidney, Zusak studied English, History and Education at the University of New South Wales before he became an author. His greatest success The Book Thief (2005), which foregrounds the hope-giving power of reading during the darkest days of history, was translated into more than 40 languages and adapted as a film  (2013). Zusak’s writing is influenced by his parent’s biography, who experienced loss, destruction, hope and coming-of-age in Austria and Germany during WWII. Before his great success as an author, failure, humiliation and struggle have been parts of Zusak’s life. In his motivating TED Talk “The Failure” he reminds us to stay positive, motivated and to fail better when failing again. Today, Zusak lives in Sydney, working as an author and occasionally at a high school teaching English.

Kind rgeards and stay safe,


Whenever I need to escape reality for a bit, my go-tos are music and books. Unfortunately, it can be hard to make time for reading sometimes, whereas music always seems to be readily available. Did you know that teenagers listen to an average of around 2,5 hours of music per day? Music hugely impacts everyday life and shouldn’t be ignored in the classroom!

Just like poetry, songs offer a multitude of themes to discuss with students. They can be introduced with or without the lyrics or music video as an extra layer of difficulty. Songs can help view historical events and society in a critical light, but also help reflect on the future. John Lennon’s song “Imagine” encourages listeners to envision a world at peace. He describes how without the barriers of religion, nationality or material possessions, humans could finally live together harmoniously. Songs that are more closely related to students’ lives can also be wonderful discussion starters. The song “Hunger” by the English indie rock band Florence + the Machine contemplates a relation between eating disorders and youthful loneliness. “Zombie” by The Cranberries problematises the violent troubles in Northern Ireland and offers a critical perspective on the conflict between the loyalists and the republicans.

Visuals can be a helpful addition to listening to music, as can be found in films or musicals. Here, the songs can either be put into context by watching the whole film or analyzed separately. An example for this can be found in the film Annie. Based on the musical of the same name, this film is set in 1933 New York City, in the midst of the Great Depression. A song like It’s a Hard Knock Life could be analyzed by students in regards to its view of poverty in the US.

In honor of Music Day, take some time to explore some new artists… and of course we’d love for you to share your discoveries with us!


“We can all be refugees / Nobody is safe, / All it takes is a mad leader /Or no rain to bring forth food,

We can all be refugees / We can all be told to go, / We can be hated by someone / For being someone.” – Benjamin Zephaniah, “We Refugees”, 2003 Since June 20, 2020, UN’s World Refugee Day makes us aware of the fact that every day, people across the globe are forced to leave their home escaping war, conflicts and persecution. 

From our perspective, it might be hard to understand how tough, threatening, and traumatising migration can be and, most of us have probably only a vague idea of what it means to leave everything behind. Literature, however, can provide us, and our students with paradigm shifts. On Lit4School, you will find resources that tackle the topics of immigration, intercultural contact as well as war and trauma. 

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel in pictures, which tells a challenging story about hope, following a refugee leaving his home country, travelling to and finally arriving in an unknown city. 

“We Refugees” by Benjamin Zephaniah reflects that every one of us can become a refugee, and that “we all came here from somewhere”.

 Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse is a novel in letters, written by the Jewish girl Rifka, who documents her escape from Russia to the USA. 

Also, this short animated movie by the BBC tells the story of Iayd and his family escaping from Damascus and can serve as an introduction to a unit on migration. Another animated story by BBC learning following young Ali makes us aware of how utterly important it is to support, protect and include new neighbours.

Finally, this cartoon by Andy Singer can serve as a reason to discuss and rethink US immigration politics in class, as the founding fathers of the United States were European settlers (but not the first people on American ground). 

I hope, you find these suggestions helpful. However, if you know other resources for teaching migration in the EFL classroom, please, make a suggestion.

Kind regards and stay safe everyone,


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ― William Butler Yeats

Yeats was an incredibly versatile writer, producing poetry, prose, essays, and plays, and was the first Irishman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature: “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” He was also co-founder and director of the Abbey Theatre, which would later become Ireland’s national theatre. Yeats was very interested in occultism, spiritualism, myths and legends of Ireland in particular. These served as inspiration for his works, as did English writers such as Shelley, Spenser, Blake, and Wilde, and his great, although unrequited, love Maud Gonne. Maud Gonne was a well-known Irish nationalist, suffragette, actress and model for Cathleen ni Houlihan – the protagonist in the play by the same name written by Yeats and Lady Gregory. As the play explores Irish nationalism and patriotism, Gonne fittingly played the role of Cathleen. However, Yeats never really stood behind the nationalistic ideals and even actively questioned his own play in one of his poems: “Did that play of mine send out | Certain men the English shot?” (Man and the Echo) Unlike many modernist poets, who wrote in free verse, Yeats kept to the more traditional style. His poem Down by the Salley Gardens (inspired by a song he heard an old woman sing) now belongs to Irish folk music and it is definitely worth listening to it.

So let’s lift our glasses and drink to this brilliant writer. HAPPY BIRTHDAY W.B.!


Happy World Environment Day! This year’s theme is Ecosystem Restoration. Not only does it focus on restoring our destroyed ecosystems, but conserving the intact ones as well.

Reading about climate change and nature in general can give us a better understanding of just how much our environment influences our lives. Whether it be natural disasters or climate change, in the end we’re all at the mercy of our planet. This becomes apparent in the novel Salvage the Bones, which follows a family living in poverty in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. In contrast to this very real event, the dystopian novel The Wall paints a picture of a future that could await us. In a world broken by climate change, a wall is all that separates an island of safety from the “Others” desperately trying to find a way in.

Speaking of sea levels rising…In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8th, let’s not forget the impact our oceans have on the environment! The documentary Seaspiracy sheds light on the many factors that play a role in the destruction of the marine ecosystem. The beautifully illustrated children’s book We Are Water Protectors tells the story of a young girl protecting her home from the “black snake”, which represents the oil pipelines threatening to poison her people’s water. Also, this animated short film, which has been adapted from the children’s book What Happened When We All Stopped by Tom Rivett-Carnac, reminds us how nature recovered during the COVID-19 pandemic and demands for a paradigm shift concerning mindful living on planet earth. The cartoon “Do What I Say, Not What I Do” by Patrick Chappatte illustrates the unwillingness of industrial countries to make a sustainable change in climate politics.

Stay safe and have an extra sunny weekend!


International Children’s Day is about cherishing and protecting children all around the world. Though celebrated on different dates throughout the world, the main purpose stays the same. This day aims to advocate for children’s rights; and raise awareness for global issues affecting children, from child labor to war, hunger and lack of education. Having access to a variety of literature is a luxury many children around the world don’t have. Reading can help children’s imaginations flourish, letting them discover whole new worlds outside of their own reality. And although not every child is destined to be a bookworm, anyone can benefit from a magical story or two.

For our future scientists: The Magic School Bus series is the perfect introduction to dozens of topics, ranging from the mechanics of the human body to computers. Kids can feel like they’re along for the ride in a magic school bus that can transform for every occasion, whether it’s shrinking to the size of an ant or shapeshifting into different animals. The occasional fun fact will be sure to surprise adults as well! In a different vein, cooking can be just as much of an exact science as working in a lab. But, even more fun, as you can taste-test your end product! The picture book Fry Bread combines beautiful illustrations with a touching story about the meaning of food in Native American culture – with your very own Fry Bread recipe at the end!

For our art enthusiasts: Beautiful illustrations can make a world of difference in a child’s reading experience. Illustrations can convey emotions, like in Up and Down, Grumpy Monkey or Buford the Little Bighorn. They can bring magical worlds to life, as can be seen in The Gruffalo or The Cat in the Hat. Not to mention all the fun that can be found in an activity book full of illustrations like Where’s Wally!

For those looking for a laugh: Comics can infuse some humor and ease into a potentially daunting task like reading. Calvin & Hobbes tells the story of an unusual 6-year-old boy full of imagination and wit – perfect to be enjoyed with your favorite stuffed animal by your side. Zits Comics bring a more “teenage perspective” to the table, relatable to both children and parents!

Take the day to snuggle up with a snack and revisit your favorite nostalgic children’s books! And, of course we’d love for you to share them with us! Stay safe,


Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep – it can’t be done abruptly.” – Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is one of the great contemporary Irish writers and explores Irish society and topic clusters, such as loss, living abroad and identity construction. He lives openly gay and dedicates his writings to minorities in different cultures, capturing diverse voices and discourses. As a journalist and essayist, Tóibín also published critical studies on historical and contemporary subjects. His meticulous and journalistic style of writing does not involve storytelling techniques but features deep and detailed investigations of cultural complexities and phenomena. Before writing this blog post, I didn’t know much about his life and writings except for his novel Brooklyn and its movie adaptation, which follows a young woman from Ireland to New York, full of hope to find her American Dream. So, I was surprised by how incredibly diverse his writings are. Apart from the novels, his non-fictional works are definitely worth looking into. Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodóva, for example, provides the reader with a collection of essays exploring various writers’ lives and the obstacles they had to face because of their sexuality. I do hope that my blog post gives an impulse to read some Tóibín in your EFL classrooms to encourage discussions and paradigm shifts. 

Today, Colm Tóibín clebrates his 66th birthday: CHEERS and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Colm!


“[…] a painter of rainbows is now travelling across the night sky […]” – Family statement, 27th of May 2021

Eric Carle, illustrator and award-winning author of children’s books, died today aged 91. Carle illustrated more than 70 books that are used in primary education up to the present day – among them everlasting tales such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967), The Grouchy Ladybug (1977) and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (1986). His popular picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969) became a great success and was translated into more than 60 languages.

In silent mourning,

The Editors

I can’t breath!” – Georg Floyd, dying in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, on May 25th 2020

One year ago today, George Perry Floyd Jr., a black American, was murdered by a white police officer, who knelt on Floyd’s back for more than 9 minutes after he was arrest on suspicion of using a counterfeit banknote. While facing the street, George Floyd himself, paramedics and people standing by repeatedly informed the officers that Floyd was not able to breathe, which the officers seemingly ignored. His outcry “I can’t breath!” became a slogan of global protests against police violence in general and racial motivated cruelties in particular, which demanded criminal justice reform and a trial against the responsible police officers. The brutal murder of George Floyd turned the spotlight on the international phenomenon of excessive, unregulated and inappropriate use of force by law enforcement, which is frequently motivated by racism, prejudice and stereotypes. On our platform, you will find relevant literature and media that you can use to discuss similar cases with your pupils under the topic clusters Black Lives Matter and Rassismus. We also recommend using the short film “Two Distant Strangers” (2020) in higher grades. 

Today, we commemorate George Floyd, brother of four siblings, father of five children, victim of police violence.

The Editors

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle was an outstanding and very successful author, physician and gentleman. Born in 1859 from wealthy family background, he studied medicine and was the assistant of the surgeon and lecturer Joseph Bell. Indeed, he is best known for the Sherlock Holmes stories. Doyle was also well acquainted with Harry Houdini. However, they went separate ways when Doyles’s belief in the supernatural grew too dominant (he saw Houdini as a magician with actual powers). As a great sportsman, Doyle got involved in playing football, cricket, and golf quite skillfully. In fact, he was the first British man to complete a day trip in Alpine skiing, an achievement that made the polar explorer name a Glacier in Antarctica after him. Arthur was married twice as his first wife Louise died in 1906, but his next wedding was barely a year after the death. I think, all in all, this can be seen as a satisfying life. Sherlock Holmes certainly is one of the best-known and most celebrated fictional characters and inspiration for numerous adaptations. As Doyle had difficulties finding a publisher for his Study in Scarlet, he published the first Sherlock Holmes story in a magazine, which sold out after just a few weeks. Holmes and his deductive methods are based on Joseph Bell, who was a pioneer in the field. Fun fact: Robert Louis Stevenson, who was a friend of Bell, even recognised the surgeon: “My compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes. … can this be my old friend Joe Bell?” Doyle let his protagonist die at the Reichenbachfälle because he wanted to dedicate his time to other literary projects but Doyle used him for The Hound of Baskerville, which is set before Holmes’ demise. And eventually, he brought him back for good, solving cases in a collection of short stories. By the way, the character of Dr Watson is most probably based on Doyle himself.



Culture is the flower of the human being – the fruit of our minds, the product of our traditions, the expression of our yearnings. Its diversity is wondrous, part of the rich tapestry of civilization.” – António Gutierres, UN Secretary General 

The UNESCO World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development raises consciousness for cultural diversity, fosters mutual understanding and respect and stands up against intolerance and hatred. Since 2001, the day celebrates and encourages intercultural and interreligious dialogue, which eventually brings people with different backgrounds and identities together. On Lit4School, we aim to recognise cultural plurality and diversity with topic clusters – such as native perspectivesdiversityintercultural contact and multiculturalism for literature and media in the EFL classroom and DiversitätInterkulturalität and Migration for literature and media in the German classroom.

Kind regards and stay safe,


On May 17th 1990, the World Health Organization officially removed homosexuality from being classified as a mental disorder. 15 years later, the first International Day Against Homophobia was celebrated on that same date to commemorate said decision. IDAHO aims to raise awareness of the violence, discrimination and hate directed towards the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis.

Many of us grew up reading and falling in love with our favorite characters that we related to. Sadly, not everyone has the privilege of finding representation in literature so easily. Having those characters that just “get” you is incredibly important for people of all ages to feel seen and represented. Here is a selection of LGBTQ+ books we feature on our platform:

  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin: A classic that tackles themes of gender roles, sexual identity and self-hatred… David is an American living in Paris trying to find himself. When he meets a young bartender called Giovanni, his attraction is instant. He is consumed by his feelings, yet unwilling to accept that they are for another man.
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: Felix has never been in love. He worries that being a black transgender young man could make him a target. This fear is confirmed when he receives transphobic messages by a classmate. The novel navigates themes like bullying, gender identity and feelings of insecurity, all important to discuss in the classroom.
  • Neither by Airlie Anderson: This illustrated book spreads a message of positivity and embracing diversity, no matter your age. In a world of blue bunnies and yellow birds, a green little creature called “Neither” struggles to fit in. Suitable for young readers, this story can help start a conversation about the importance of inclusion and the beauty of diversity.

To find more LGBTQ+ books, take a look at award lists! The Stonewall Book Awards as well as the Lambda Literary Awards have made it their mission to celebrate the very best of LGBTQ+ literature. Do you already have a favorite book featuring LGBTQ+ characters? We’d love for you to share it with us! Today is the perfect day to spread love and acceptance to those around you, just don’t forget to leave some for yourself!


Poetry is often a rather neglected genre in the EFL classroom. However, Limericks are usually appreciated by younger peoples because they are brief, provide humorous topics and a fixed structure. Lines one, two and five share the same rhyme, and lines three and four rhyme with each other:

There was a platform called Lit4School, a resource for teachers, a useful tool, literature and media teachers could find, materials of any kind, and all for free, how cool!

Take this annual opportunity to let your students come up with the familiar five-line verse, which is constructed to put a smile on your face. By the way, National Limerick Day is set on May 12th to mark the birthday of Edward Lear, an author and poet, who is still remembered for his nonsense limericks.

Happy Limerick Day, kind regards and stay safe everyone,


Dear readers,

I dare you to ask your EFL learners “What comes with great power?” Chances are they will know the missing bit to one of the most famous quotes from the world of comics and superheroes. Do read on if you need to dust off your superhero knowledge!

With recent superhero movies taking over where comics started, a new canon has been years in the making, a canon which teachers would be wise to consider. When students struggle to find personal value in the ‘classic’ canon – that is important literary works, agreed on by people who are usually far older than the average EFL student in school – it might be time to utilise the canon students already bring to class. Numerous heroes nowadays follow archetypical stories of love, loss and self-sacrifice. And the best bit for teachers and learners alike: The original versions broadcast into the world are widely available in English. This is authentic language material waiting to be used, created already with a young audience in mind. Let me introduce you to two examples:

“With great power comes great responsibility” is the catchphrase from any story about Spiderman, a young man transformed after he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Yes, this transformation serves as an obvious symbol for puberty and its challenges, superpowers or not, but at the same time, it can be so much more. One of the latest instalments, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, passes the torch from well-known white protagonist Peter Parker to Miles, a young black boy, who in turn is trying hard to fill the shoes of his idol. The film’s message is as fresh as it is classic: Having superpowers surely help, yep, but for someone to be of service, to become a hero to their community, there is no alternative to facing the challenges posed to them. (For another example revolving around a heroine look no further than 2019’s Captain Marvel.) Isn’t this a message about responsibility for oneself and for others which we should be teaching to our students?

Another example of a brilliant start down your superhero-fuelled rabbit hole is Black Panther, the 2018 movie which shone a bright light on late actor Chadwick Boseman and fictional Wakanda. After decades of watching heroes the stereotypical white middle-class male could identify with, it is about time to look for diverse role models. Enter Black Panther, a black man who has to convince both his fellow citizens and the world that there is a future of peaceful co-existence for all of them. Stemming from a Peter-Parker generation myself, I cannot possibly put into words what it might mean to a child to see a person who looks like them succeed on the big screen. I do know, however, that we all profit from having a range of role models, and I will gladly suggest that superheroes like Miles or T’Challa (Black Panther’s real name) become role models for my students.

There are several advantages of working with cross-media material: Go back to the original comics and have their pictures trigger a discussion in class. Maybe edit out the speech from the speech bubbles and have your students write their version of the dialogues? Have them track down differences between the movies and the comics and how that influences a story – media literacy, anyone? These movies usually include speeches of manageable length addressing core values of human life: honesty, dedication, courage. And of course, superhero stories being movies, lend themselves nicely to the myriad of teaching sequences you can find when dealing with films. For some inspiration, why not start with these ideas covering Black Panther in the Classroom?

If you have a superhero story you would like to recommend to the EFL world, do share it with us, please. Growing up, your students will need all the super-charged, super-fast and super-reliable help they can get to navigate a challenging period. So let me double-dare you, fellow EFL teacher: Use your great power, and responsibly lead your students along the way towards a new canon: their canon.

Thank you for your time and feel free to get in touch!

Rico, on behalf of the Lit4School team

A picture is worth a thousand words… But does that also ring true in the EFL classroom? Whether it be a funny comic strip in the daily paper or a thought-provoking graphic novel, they all represent authentic parts of modern media that can help fuel that spark of interest in students.

Comic strips gained massive popularity in the early 20th century, adding a bit of humor to everyone’s daily newspaper. A century later, comic strips continue to occupy a permanent spot in most newspapers, with themes ranging from light humor and puns to political commentary. A prime example of this success can be found in Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Waterson, a comic strip series featured in over 2400 newspapers from 1985 to 1995. The story of 6-year-old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes enchanted readers left and right. But of course, fans of comic strips couldn’t be expected to hoard newspaper cutouts to reread their favorite parts, right? And so, the 1930s marked the start of ‘the Golden Age of the Comic Book’. Marvel Comics flooded the market with superheroes we still know and love today, shaping the comics industry as we know it. Comic books can also be collections of periodical comic strips, as is the case with Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman. Making its debut in 1997, Zits comics narrate the everyday life of 15-year-old Jeremy; a teenager living in Ohio. But suburban life and high school come with their own set of problems, along with a healthy dose of Mom, Dad, you’re embarrassing me! 

Following the raging success of comic books, the 1970s made way for a new sub-genre of comics: the graphic novel. Also described as a “visual novel”, the graphic novel doesn’t have a clear definition per se. In general, this genre includes a standalone story accompanied by or consisting completely of illustrations. Young readers can find a lot of joy and beauty in graphic novels. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy offers beautiful illustrations along with a heartwarming story about an unusual friendship. Though not quite as wholesome, Diary of a Wimpy Kid tells the story of a preteen’s desperate yet humorous attempts to become “popular” at his school. A wonderful example of a graphic novel with no need for words at all is The Arrival, a multifaceted story about migration, multicultural societies, and hope.

What are your favorite comics? Take the day to bask in the nostalgia, have a laugh and share them with us!


Freedom of the press is probably one of the highest public goods we have. It grants us access to a diverse variety of information and thus the opportunity to form a critical and comprehensive opinion and to engage freely with more controversial topics. I think that’s a good reason to talk about press freedom.

Although we are used to the freedom of the press in Germany, it wasn’t that long ago that it was implemented. While other Western countries like Great Britain, Sweden, France, and Belgium acted much more progressively after the end of the totalitarian period, Germany, still divided into smaller states, restricted press freedom. After the March Revolution in Germany in 1848, more liberal press laws were introduced. However, when the German empire was founded 23 years later, regulations were implemented again. So it was only with the founding of the Weimar Republic that a censor-free press law was adopted just to be abolished again in the Third Reich, of course. The GDR never allowed any journalistic freedom unlike the Federal Republic of Germany at the time. In the end, you might say that Germany as a whole has enjoyed these high-held privileges since the reunification.

World Press Freedom Day promotes the belief that freedom of the press and freedom of expression provides a basis for mutual understanding and sustainable peace. “It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended, and closed down, while journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”( And we don’t have to travel to the other side of the earth to experience the oppression of journalism. In Turkey, for example, journalists are imprisoned for publishing dissident opinions. Many have to leave their country to be safe. Can Dündar is one of them and wrote about his life and experiences before and in prison. Lebenslang für die Wahrheit is just one of the books he wrote about the political circumstances in Turkey. And even though it might not be school literature, Dündar and his story are definitely worth integrating into German/English/Politics/etc. classes when discussing the press and its rights.

In dystopian literature, the freedom of the press and expression are amongst the first rights that are taken away because control over the distribution of information equals control over the distribution of knowledge equals control over society. At least, that’s the causal structure described in many dystopian texts from Huxley, to Orwell and Atwood. Of course, most of these are quite extreme examples, which, however, makes them so great for engaging with the subject critically. George Orwell even wrote a preface to Animal Farm that describes the process of the book’s publication which was difficult because he so harshly criticizes the Russian regime.

I think history and literature show that press freedom should not be taken for granted. Today is the perfect day for a little impetus for thought, be it with a dystopian novel, newspaper articles, or some TV. It’s important to talk about the freedom of the press and actively appreciate the opportunity of a differentiated discourse!

Stay positive and tolerant and have a great day!