For Jonathan Todd, comics have always been an outlet for creativity, connection, and expression— now, he’s sharing their power with Dedham Country Day students in the Extended Day Program, helping to bring these students together through a shared interest in creating their own cartoon art and comic strips!

The father of DCD student Elena Todd ’27, Jonathan has always found himself drawn to comics. He drew his first character on copy paper borrowed from his own father’s office, and shortly after found himself already coming together with others to share his love and knowledge of comics. In high school, he was invited to teach an enrichment program at the local elementary school.

“I was a kid drawing comics,” Jonathan reflects now, “I was 18 years old, and I got to design a class to teach other kids to draw comics. I was so excited!”

In college, Jonathan pursued a career in Journalism but, loath to give up his involvement with teaching comics, he pitched the idea of an after-school program centered around comics. And the more time he spent with this combination of kids and comics, the more he realized that he wanted to write comics for kids.

“So I ended up going to school to study children’s writing at the graduate level,” Jonathan explains. “So I had a day job, I was writing this book, and I was teaching these classes.”

Since then, Jonathan has continued to teach his comics classes in various venues and forms: summer camps, libraries, comic boot camps— and eventually, Dedham Country Day!

Through his two Extended Day classes, Cartoon Art and Exploring Comics, Jonathan has been able to bring students together to explore a shared interest in comics, art, and storytelling.

“Sometimes you see stories from a first grader that are so awesome and nuanced,” Jonathan says. “It’s like— wow! This is what you can do in first grade? So when I see kids producing like that, I’m like— You got it, kid.”

And in his experience, Jonathan has come to see the clear value in helping kids explore comics as a way to understand the stories of others, as well as to share stories of their own.

“In my middle school years, I just remember keeping so much inside,” says Jonathan. “If I had had something, a comic, that showed the stuff I was too afraid to share, that would really have been comforting to me as a kid.”

These are exactly the ideas that Jonathan explores in his own graphic novel, Timid, which was recently published on April 2, 2024.

“Comics have become like my native language,” Jonathan explains. “I just have joy in communicating in that way. I like the challenge of distilling life in comics form, trying to capture a nuance, something that goes on inside your head, that real feeling you rarely share outside. Identifying that problem, and then just capturing that moment.”

While DCD’s students have been grateful to have Jonathan as their teacher, he has also appreciated the chance to become involved in his daughter’s school beyond that of a parent. Working with students in this capacity, some of whose name’s he’s heard from his daughter, but with whom he has now built a relationship of his own, has led Jonathan to feel more closely drawn together with the DCD community.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know kids a little better, and see the school from a different perspective,” Jonathan explains. “It makes it all feel a little more like family. It feels like one big family.”

Visit to learn more about Jonathan Todd and his work, and to order his book Timid!