Seattle author Michael Class has started a new online discussion Web site and blog based on the controversial subjects in his award-winning new book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame. Using quotes, facts, and narrative taken directly from the pages of his book, the author's blog (www.MagicPictureFrame.blogspot.com) discusses the moral lessons of American history and how those lessons apply to modern times and current events.
"It's not an easy book, so it's not an easy blog," says Class. "The book challenges the 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. The blog is a place where readers can agree or disagree with Anthony's opinions and conclusions."
Class says that he regularly receives letters from readers, many of whom want to discuss the subjects in his book further. The online blog, he says, will give readers - parents, teachers, and young adults - a place to discuss the book and its subjects, and to share their opinions.
"That was my intent all along," says Class. "Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a factual and accurate American history book. But, inserting Anthony into the story as a time-traveler and observer from the 21st Century had a purpose. By allowing Anthony to comment on what he sees, I created a book with a unique educational dimension. I hoped that parents and teachers would ask younger readers: 'Do you agree or disagree with Anthony's conclusions? Why or why not?'"
A parent in Wenatchee, WA, wrote to Class: "The book sparked serious discussion with my daughters on several issues. Nothing in our schools comes close to giving our children such a complete and visually exciting depiction of history." The book is recommended for young adults, grade 6 to grade 12.
"It's a history book with a lesson for the present day," says Class. "So don't be surprised because the book contains references to modern-day issues like the War on Terror, affirmative action, God in America, drug use in sports, illegal immigration, vaccines, abortion, the future of America's space program, capitalism, and the definition of marriage. It has to. I wrote the book to prepare young people for the challenges of their time - and their future."
Indeed, when Anthony returns from his adventures in America's past, he returns with valuable lessons that prepare him for the future. Anthony says: "I learned that the heroes of the past have something important to tell us: that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and doing the right thing always matters."
In his book, Class 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.
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 recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, songs, and places to visit, all keyed to the subjects of each chapter.
Anthony's adventures in American history come with a moral lesson, the facet of the book that sparks discussion and, sometimes, controversy. 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. When Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island, it’s really a story about what it means to be an American. 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.
"The book is about truth," says Class. "Winston Churchill once said that 'men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.' My new blog is a place to discuss the truth that always manages to catch up with us."
A sampling of topics already posted on the author's blog include:
(1) MODERN-DAY JOURNALISTS ARE TRAITORS: "Ernie Pyle, We Miss You!"
(2) THE NEW WORLD WAR: What It's About, And Why We Must Win
(3) AMERICA FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM: Confused Europeans Blame America for Disturbing the Peace
(4) THE REALITY OF GOOD AND EVIL: Holocaust Remembrance Day
(5) OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA: What Immigrants Know, And What Your Children Should Be Taught
(6) GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY: What Every American Should Know
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named the 'Most Original Concept of 2006' and 'Outstanding Book of the Year' by Independent Publisher. The book was also honored as 'Reviewers Choice' by Midwest Book Review, and 'Editor's Pick' by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online.
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.