“It is hard to imagine a more important book to get in the hands of students young and old. Civics, democracy, and cartoons all in a non-partisan approach to raise people’s awareness of the real power that they and their communities hold.”–Max Silverman, Executive Director, Center for Educational Leadership.



This Is What Democracy Looks Like comic cover

This 32 page comic is an inspiring classroom resource

Using the power of comics to teach teens about the way our government works This Is What Democracy Looks Like, A Graphic Guide To Governance is a 32-page comic book created by The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS). This short comic guide helps to bring democracy back to the hands of the people by explaining what democracy actually means and how the whole thing works. This guide will be a great jumping-off point to learn about our government.

Order a print copy

You can now purchase individual print copies or classroom sets (25+ copies) of This is What Democracy Looks Like!

We are proud to partner with The Norwich Bookstore for selling CCS Applied Cartooning single-issue and educator bundle comics. Please support our local bookstore!

Download the Comic

To help us reach as many classrooms as possible, This Is What Democracy Looks Like is now available as a $0+ pay-what-you-want download on gumroad.

Download a Teaching Guide

You can also download a free PDF of our teaching resource guide, which provides a robust lesson plan that includes a week’s worth of activities and discussion questions that aligns with a C3 framework.

Media Release

Comics in the Classroom Teaching Democracy 
A joint news release by CCS and our tour partner Mikva Challenge.

classroom illustration

Comics are an incredibly effective tool
that engages even the most reluctant readers.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Children’s Literacy Foundation Community Building Grants

This program is designed to connect kids to other parts of their communities through books and stories. This is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance – grant includes a visit from The Center for Cartoon Studies, copies of the comic for students, and funds for a civic engagement project. Learn more…

Good Citizens Vermont

The friendly civics competition designed by Seven Days/Kids VT aims to help kids learn about government and prompt them to become more involved in their communities.
Sign up!

Teen Lit Mob

Teen Lit Mob (TLM) is a conference for teen readers from all across Vermont to spend a day celebrating young adult (YA) fiction. The conference takes place March 27, 2020.

Past Events

Midwest tour with stops in Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison. At each school, CCS instructors gave away comics and worked with teachers to help students gain a deeper understanding of how their government works and how they can make a difference in their communities and beyond. Follow CCS Instagram to see photographs from the tour.

  • White River Junction’s September First Friday and Block Party comicbook release!
  • Woodstock Union High School classroom presentation
  • Small Press Expo 2019
  • Constitution Day at Comic Bookstores Nationally
  • Seeing the Racial Water: Combating Institutional Racism in Schools by the Rowland Foundation, October 23, 2019.
  • Each attendee received a free copy of This Is What Democracy Looks Like.
  • The Vermont Alliance for Social Studies (VASS) 2019 Annual Conference, November 8th, 2019. Each attendee received a free copy of This Is What Democracy Looks Like.
  • VTeen Leadership Weekend workshop, November 15-17, 2019.

In The News

New Comic Book Teaches Civics Lesson
Recent poll shows three out of five Americans cannot name three branches of government.
Nathaniel Reed, NBC5 News

A New Comic Book Explains How Government, Democracy Work 
by Chelsea Edgar, SEVEN DAYS

Creative Team

Creative Team

The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) is a beehive of creativity and all of the cartoonists who worked on this book have some connection to CCS. Lead cartoonist Dan Nott ’18 is a recent graduate and cover artist Kevin Czap (Czap Books) was a CCS fellow. Contributors Hallie Jay Pope (Graphic Advocacy Project) and Eisner-nominated Summer Pierre have been visiting artists. Graduate Nomi Kane ’11 (The Nib) provided early input and Eva Sturm-Gross grew up on the mean streets of White River Junction. Michelle Ollie provided design and production expertise and James Sturm contributed writing, layouts, and was the project’s editor.


Many organizations and individuals supported the making of this comic. Thanks to the following for your expertise, financial support, and belief in a more just society: Chelsea Green Press, The Will and Ann Eisner Foundation, Mikva Challenge, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Max Silverman at The Center for Educational Leader (University of Washington), Green Mountain Foundation, The Small Press Expo, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, VT Arts Council, VT Alliance of Social Studies Teachers, VT Humanities Council, The Herb Block Foundation, Chico Eastridge/CATV, Paige Braddock, James Bandler and Rebecca Holcombe, Emily Bazelon, Courtney Fehsenfeld, Lisa Creamer, Keren Katz, Dave Lloyd, Victor Raboy, and Richard Rosenberg.

Mikva Challenge

Let's Talk About It

Let’s Talk About It: A Graphic Guide to Mental Health

Created for middle school students, Let’s Talk About It: A Graphic Guide To Mental Health is a lively and educational 24-page comic book that destigmatizes the conversation around mental health. Created by mental health experts, educators, and cartoonists this comic provides knowledge and resources for students to help them be healthier and more resilient.

Read More