Haunting History Into the Present

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EverWitt, MacMillan, and Christy Ottaviano/Holt Publishing launch Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces for Middle Grade readers.

On July 17, 2012, Tween Ghostorian Virgil Dante hits your local bookstore, phone, and nearest mobile device. His tales will seep through the fabric of time and space, captivate kids, and teach them history too.

Virgin Dante, the lead character of Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces by J.H. Everett and Marilyn Scott-Waters, published by Christy Ottaviano and Holt Publishing, is the first in a larger series entitled Haunted Histories (http://us.macmillan.com/hauntedhistories/JHEverett).

This first book meanders through the shadowy corners of life from the Tower of London to the murky dungeons of ages past, where secrets lurk and history starts to loom its intricate web. "Disney might have some believing that castles are clean, pink and full of unicorn tapestries. But Virgil Dante, youngest Master Ghostorian in London, is here to disabuse readers of that notion," say the Kirkus Review.

"Haunted Histories came out of my desire to help kids experience history closer to the approach and point of view of a professional historian," says J.H. Everett, who himself has a PhD in history, apart from being a multi-media artist. "History is not just one thing after another in a textbook or dates in a timeline. It is connections, mutations, accidents, trivialities, and everyday life. In short, history is messy. History is about people...History is fun!"

And because History is about people, Virgil Dante listens and interacts with the ghosts of those that once were -- from the infamous to the marginalized -- just as a historian digs through archives. Raven and cursed pocket watch in hand, Virgil Dante also gets into messes.

Not only does the book have a great deal of fun embedded in its pages and its images, however, this book also aims to talk up to kids. "The most important thing was to write the best possible book that we could for kids," says Co-Author/Co-illustrator, Marilyn Scott-Waters, "children deserve our best and highest work."

The drawings themselves are both charming and true to the past. "When illustrating actual historical figures, we looked at a lot of paintings and source material. When drawing anonymous people from history, like workers or children in workhouses, we could get a little more creative...[but] as much as possible we tried to keep things accurate." And yet, this book isn't just about the past. Structured in the form of a graphic novel, the book brings the lure of past into the present.

EverWitt (http://www.everwitt.com), an interactive entertainment media company founded by J.H. Everett and Rick DeWitt, is taking the marketing of this book to a new level. Mixing digital art, animation, and puppetry, EverWitt is creating an animated trailer and animatedigi-cards (if you don't know what these are, that's because they're a new innovation -- EverWitt would love to tell you more about them!).

"EverWitt believes that the best in digital art and entertainment always shines the most when real handmade artistry meets the digital took world in a meaningful way," says J.H. Everett.
Virgil Dante may not have had a digital tablet, but he was sure to have had a tablet nonetheless (those old things made of stone and paper!) -- Haunted Histories is where Virgil's world meets the present, and sheds light on the future.

For more information on Haunted Histories, visit http://us.macmillan.com/hauntedhistories/JHEverett or http://www.hauntedhistories.com.

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