Homeschoolers Applaud "Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame"
New American History Book Excites Kids, Provides Tools for Teachers
Author and photographer Michael S. Class has used advanced digital photography to place his twelve year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. The result: It looks like Anthony really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. The Web site, www.MagicPictureFrame.com, displays some of the book’s amazing photographs.
"I wanted to capture the interest of today's kids," says Class, "by turning American history into a grand time travel adventure." The book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, is recommended for young adults, grade 6 to grade 12.
The book is fun for kids, but Class designed the book to help homeschool parents and school teachers, too. Years of meticulous research went into the book: Class spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others to ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. Historical accuracy rules every page: even Anthony’s conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said, all properly footnoted. Class also included built-in curriculum aids: recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, songs, and places to visit - all keyed to the subjects of each chapter. The author’s Web site includes a fun final exam.
Homeschool expert Annette Hall (www.reliableanswers.com) applauds the inclusion of the lists: "The author has provided a tremendous resource of books, videos, historical places and more, to encourage a deeper understanding of the subjects being studied. This is a terrific aid for the teacher or homeschooling parent committed to presenting an accurate view of history that will entertain and educate the student, without putting them to sleep, something most children will appreciate."
One homeschool mom is already taking advantage of the book's built-in curriculum aids. At www.homeschoolreviews.com, she writes: "I am using this book as a spine for a homeschool history course targeted for high schoolers. For each chapter, they read the story and discuss the photographs and then they each get to pick some additional resources from the recommended materials to extend the study. I printed the final exam from the author's website and the students have used the test to see how much they have learned."
The editors at Homefires, The Journal of Homeschooling Online (www.homefires.com), say: "Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a terrific new book that makes history fascinating for kids. Homefires highly recommends it for homeschoolers." The book also made the "Best of Hoagies Shopping Guide" at www.hoagiesgifted.org, a Web site devoted to providing educational resources to parents and teachers of gifted children.
Anthony's adventures in American history come with a moral lesson, another facet of the book with strong appeal for homeschool parents and teachers. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business and the benefits of hard work. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.
It's not an easy book," says Class. "The book challenges the young reader to see the modern world in light of the lessons of the past. Anthony compares the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose."
Cindy Downes, a teacher and homeschool consultant (www.oklahomahomeschool.com) finds the emphasis on the moral lessons of history especially attractive. She says: "The author wrote the book 'to encourage young people to become productive, honest, thoughtful, moral citizens - and to contribute in a positive way to American society and the world.' He has done an excellent job of fulfilling this mission. I highly recommend this book for everyone, even adults. I also like that the author chose to include references to God and Bible scripture rather than make this politically correct."
Pollywog Creek Porch (www.homeschoolblogger.com) calls the moral lessons "particularly timely, considering the events surrounding our current immigration crisis." In one chapter, Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island: it’s really a story about what it means to be an American.
"If you only purchase one history book this year for your middle-school-aged child, make this be the one," recommends Annette Hall (www.reliableanswers.com). "With so many books written today that are morally bankrupt and leave a child looking for a strong moral foundation upon which to build, this book is a breath of fresh air."
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $35) is available at www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, and on www.amazon.com. Reviews by homeschool teachers, school teachers, parents, newspapers, magazines, and real witnesses to history can all be found on the official Web site. There is a video, too.