by Glen Downey, Comics in Education, www.comicsineducation.com
When people ask me how I started writing graphic novels, my answer is usually one word:
When they ask me how I was inspired to write for the Rubicon / Scholastic series, my answer is always two words:
When my son was very young he was fascinated by Ancient Pompeii...not just the fateful events of August 24-25, 79 CE, but the vibrant city bustling with life that preceded it. He was similarly fascinated by gladiators and fullers and senators and emperors, and he was so interested in the people, places, sights, and sounds of the ancient city that we had to do something about it.
So, we decided to take a trip to the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa/Hull, where the plaster casts were being exhibited. These were the same plaster casts that were created by archaeologists who injected plaster into the air pockets of the volcanic debris that had hardened over the course of more than 1600 years. By doing so, the archaeologists were able to bring to life the forms of those who perished in one of the worst pyroclastic surges in the history of Volcanic eruptions.
When we got back home from our trip, we watched videos and read books and talked about what we had seen. When I asked my son what more we should do about it, he said, "You should write a graphic novel about Pompeii."
So that's what I did.
What follows, then, are the books I wrote for the Timeline series, entirely inspired by my son's self-directed learning. Writing them was tremendous fun and I could always count on a certain someone to provide me with an endless assortment of ideas about how these stories should be told.
With adventures that take place throughout history—and into the future, Timeline is packed with heroes and villains that will capture the imaginations of both boys and girls. Students love them because they are cool and teachers love them because they are motivational and packed with non-fiction learning. Each title blends a fictional protagonist with real historical characters in a unique story that teaches children about an important moment, time period, or event from the past. The series is also available in the United Kingdom under Oxford's Treetops Graphic Novels brand. For a review of the series have a look at Jared Robinson's review, "Rubicon's Timeline Series...Timeless!"
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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