My two earliest books focused on teaching which, when not being a fearsome foe, has been a fulfilling career. Details about and links to purchase these two books are found below.
The Comic Book Curriculum
Click on the cover to order from amazon. Click on ABC-CLIO to order from the publisher.
Published in 2010, The Comic Book Curriculum combines philosophy, psychology, and pop-culture into a format that can be utilized in an educational setting. I created and teach a class called P3:Philosophy, Psychology, and Pop-Culture at the Norwich Free Academy and this book, without a doubt, was the foundation of that venture. Library Media Connection endorsed the book with the following statement: “This author knows his comics, and his connections to real life will be useful for teachers who would like to use comics in their classes to spark interest, as well as bridging the gap between comics and traditional literature.” I appreciate the line, “This author knows his comics…” because it neatly summarizes how I became a reader!
As I navigated high school, comics remained an interest and helped me understand and engage literature far better than I might have. Big Brother in 1984 didn’t make complete sense to me, but Dr. Doom running a nation via manipulation and double speak…got it! As comics helped me make sense of some material in both junior high and high school I sincerely hope they can assist others to inspire imagination, story telling, and the love of reading. To borrow a phrase from the great Stan Lee, “Excelsior!”
Reviews and endorsements of The Comic Book Curriculum
“…a superbly written and presented compendium that is especially recommended for teachers seeking to develop effective supplemental materials for their classroom curriculums.” – Midwest Book Review
“This author knows his comics, and his connections to real life will be useful for teachers who would like to use comics in their classes to spark interest, as well as bridging the gap between comics and traditional literature. Recommended.” – Library Media Connection
“James Rourke has written a masterful work that develops questions and insights about the virtues, personal identity, justice, and the meaning of life, by way of engaging the many characters and plots of the Comic Book. This is a delightful, brilliant work for students and general readers who wish to think philosophically about the worlds of Superman, Batman, and other superheroes.” (Dr. Charles Taliaferro, Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College)
“James Rourke does an excellent good job of showing how major superheroes and their stories raise some of the deepest and most important ethical and psychological questions we all need to ask and answer. This book will be a major help in the classroom and beyond, and will help introduce many readers into the world of classic literature through a new doorway.” (Tom Morris, author of If Harry Potter Ran General Electric and Philosophy for Dummies, and Editor of Superheroes and Philosophy)
“In this fabulous and timely book, Rourke combines a fan’s love of comics with an educator’s zeal for knowledge. Comic books have always been rich with human emotion, morality, and conflict, and in this book Rourke shows, with a wealth of examples and practical advice for teachers, how to present this to high school students as a supplement–not a replacement–for traditional literature.” (Mark D. White, professor, co-editor of Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul, and editor of Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test and Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality)
From My Classroom to Yours
Click on the cover to order from Amazon.
This is a personally gratifying and yet curious book for me. Published when I was in my twelfth year as a teacher (2007), I now look back on it with appreciation and a touch of wonder. Some of the ideas have helped me reach this, my twenty-fifth year in the classroom. Unbelievable. Some of the ideas presented not only helped my endure the trial of teacher burnout but remain the cornerstone to my resiliency. Other ideas are better geared for early to mid-career teachers, which is exactly where I was at the time. Writing it helped rekindle my love for teaching. That alone makes it a gem for me.
Reviews and endorsements of From My Classroom to Yours
Rourke describes methods for increasing student performance and reducing teacher apathy and burnout. He discusses types of instructors, how they should strive to be ideal teachers, how to deal with classroom culture, coaching in the classroom, discipline, understanding and promoting student value, critical thinking, and other topics.–Reference & Research Book News August 2007
[James Rourke] puts forth a variety of concrete suggestions for dealing with students, for both academics and behaviors. Teachers will find some to be old favorites (talk to the students) and a few unique ones. It is … a serious tome of ‘reflections on teaching.’–Barb Radmore, editor “Front Street Reviews “
From My Classroom to Yours: Reflections on Teaching is a realistic tale of one teacher’s journey of using self-reflection to regain his passion for the classroom.–Thomas E. O’Rourke, principal, Norwich Free Academy, Norwich, Connecticut
James Rourke brings to his readers insight into today’s classroom and the challenge facing both teachers and their students. His perspective of the subculture of schools and their unique problems is not only thought-provoking but also timely. Teachers, students, and parents will benefit from his commentary on contemporary schooling practices.–Lawrence Fenn, superintendent of schools, Lisbon, Connecticut
From My Classroom to Yours encourages teachers to move beyond the unproductive cycle that infests the current educational system…–Tcm Reviews
A thoroughly accessible guide, highly recommended for grade school through high school teachers of all backgrounds.–Library Bookwatch