Issaquah, WA (PRWEB) March 22, 2007
Michael Class, a retired Seattle dot-com executive, aims to transform the way American history is taught, and he puts puts his money where his values are. With his children, Class wrote, photographed, and published Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, an American history book Class describes as the "antidote for the anti-American agenda in the public schools, Hollywood, and the mainstream news media."
"I was appalled at how some teachers presented American history to my own children," says Class. "My son and daughter learned that Thomas Jefferson had slaves - before they learned that he wrote the document articulating our rights and duties as free people. European settlers killed Native Americans with blankets infected with smallpox, they found out. That allegation upstaged the stories of courage, perseverance, and curiosity that defined the pioneers. While folding paper cranes in the classroom, my children were told that a hundred thousand people died when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan - but they were not made to understand the moral context of World War II in which the atomic bomb story fit. My children were instructed to equate illegal aliens with legal immigrants, devaluing the story of their own ancestors who came to America through Ellis Island. And, classroom discussions always seemed to cast businessmen as villains, instead of as people to be emulated."
Class wondered: "What would the heroes of America's past say to the children of today?"
To answer that question, the author's real-life son, twelve-year-old Anthony, time-travels into the great events of the 20th Century. Advanced digital photography places Anthony in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. Anthony "meets" and "talks with" Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, Audie Murphy, and many others. But historical accuracy rules every page of Anthony's adventure in time: Anthony's conversations with America's heroes are based on things they really said. The Web site, http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com, displays some of the book's amazing photographs.
The book was a four-year family project that included a lot of research. Class spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others who could help him ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. The book includes more than 500 footnotes.
But the book goes beyond dazzling photography and solid historical facts: The book presents the moral lessons of American history. Anthony learns valuable lessons from what he sees in 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 chapter about Lindbergh's flight is really about choosing one's destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is really about living a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about the benefits of business leadership and 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.
"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." Class recommends the book for kids in Grade 6 to Grade 12, and for adults who "want to remember the truth."
Class designed the book to help concerned parents and teachers put American history education back on the right track. The book includes his personal recommendations for 461 books, 595 movies, 217 songs, and 155 places to visit, all keyed to the subjects of each chapter. The recommendations are offered as an exciting addition to any formal history curriculum, and as a way for kids to experience the past. The author's Web site offers a fun final exam.
"We can't afford to raise a generation of Americans who do not value their country, their heritage, and their place in the world," insists Class. "As my immigrant grandfather once told me: I became an American because I believe in America, and it's my belief in America that makes me an American - you can only be an American by choice."
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named Outstanding Book of the Year by Independent Publisher; Reviewers Choice by Midwest Book Review; and Editor's Pick by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online. Nationally syndicated talk-show host Michael Medved calls the book "entertaining and educational." Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin says "parents and teachers will appreciate the inspiring message this unique history book holds for America's next generation. I recommend this book to all young Americans, may they take us to the stars and beyond."
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $25.00) is available at http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, at select bookstores, and on http://www.amazon.com.
Note to editors and book reviewers: Michael Class and Anthony are available for interviews. Photographs and review copies of the book are available.
Contact: Michael Class, 425-890-4894, Magic Picture Frame Studio, P.O. Box 2603, Issaquah, WA 98027-0119.