Teaching history through graphic novels

Our historical graphic works—two fiction and one non-fiction—fit naturally into the American History curriculum and are a lively supplement in language arts classes. The books combine solid historical research with humor, adventure, and even fictional characters the students' own age.

Road to Revolution!  (see a description on the home page)

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary grades studying the American Revolution.

TOPICS COVERED: Closing the Port of Boston, Minute Men, Lexington, Battle Road, Bunker Hill...and the growing political awareness of our young heroes, Penny and Nick.


Fight for Freedom  (see a description on the home page)

GRADE LEVEL: Late elementary or middle school grades studying the Civil War.

TOPICS COVERED: life of the enslaved on a Virginia plantation, Contraband, Emancipation Proclamation, Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln.


Taxes, The Tea Party, and those Revolting Rebels (see a description on the home page)

GRADE LEVEL: Middle school and high school

TOPICS COVERED: Writs of Assistance, James Otis, Sam Adams, Stamp Act, Sons of Liberty, Boston Massacre, John Adams, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, George Washington, Tom Paine, Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Valley Forge—a special look at slavery, women, the American Indian, the economy—Yorktown, Shays' Rebellion, Constitutional Convention, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights.


We've spoken to students across the country, and have seen firsthand how an illustrated historical adventure inspires their enthusiasm and passion for the subject.

Educators also appreciate our discussion of the many skills that go into the creation of our books. Our talks cover a variety of subjects:


**End of the French & Indian War to the creation of the Bill of Rights

**Civil War


**Research (book research plus on the ground research)

**Outlining your story

**Rough drafts and rewriting ("Writing = Rewriting")


Creating a graphic novel:


**Narrative vs dialogue balloons


**Final art

Here is a Teachers Guide for Taxes, the Tea Party, and those Revolting Rebels

Taxes, the Tea Party...TEACHERS' GUIDE


Both Road to Revolution! and Fight for Freedom have a Prologue, which gives an historical background for our stories, and an Epilogue, which separates fact from fiction. And here are Road to Revolution! Teacher and Student Guides.

Road to Revolution! TEACHERS' GUIDE

     Road to Revolution! STUDENTS' GUIDE


   > Teachers at the Pierce School in Brookline, Mass. created a unit using Road to Revolution! in history and language arts lessons. Here are samples:

*    CREATE A "FACT OR FICTION" WORKSHEET: Ask students to determine which statements are historical fact and which are fiction. Examples: "Nick lit the lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church." "Paul Revere carried messages for the rebels." "Nick and Penny were real people."

*    HAVE THE KIDS PAIR UP and read parts of the book aloud  to each other. Alternatively, have the kids do dramatic readings as a classroom activity.

*    ENGAGE THE KIDS WITH THE BOOK by having them write short answers or verbally answer such questions as:

— Would you rather be friends with Nick or with Penny? Why?

— Do you think you would have been a Tory or a Patriot? Why?

— What does Penny think of her father?

— Nick pitches in again and again to help the rebels. List as many of his good deeds as you can find.

*   CREATE A VOCABULARY LIST from the book. Have the kids look up the definitions and use the words in their own sentences. Examples (from Chapter 8):

— civilians, accents, reliable, pose, scrawny, delayed, promoted, essential, peasants, suspicious, suspect, surrounding, patrolled, contents

*    HAVE THE KIDS DRAW A CARTOON showing where they think Penny and Nick would be five years later.

Please let us know what you think of the books, and feel free to ask us anything. Send e-mail to: stan@stanmack.com




Stan Mack 2009 | stan@stanmack.com
design: Mariana Serra | programming: Filipe Murteira