Seattle, WA (PRWEB) March 20, 2008
Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech entitled, "A More Perfect Union." In the speech, Mr. Obama recommended: "... taking full responsibility for our own lives ... and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny."
"That's the message of my book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame," says Michael Class, author of the new American history book for kids. "Senator Obama directed his recommendation to African-Americans. But I think it's a message for all Americans, regardless of ancestry. It sounds like Senator Obama would agree with my book's message and moral. And, I have to agree with Mr. Obama: it's time to remember this truth, and to share it with our children."
In his book, 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, Holocaust survivors, and many others. 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.
But the book goes beyond dazzling photography and solid historical facts: The book presents the moral lessons of American history. 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. 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.
"Perhaps Senator Obama would be interested in the chapter in which Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island in 1907," muses Class. "It's really a story about choosing to overcome one's past, and what it means to be an American."
Anthony summarizes the story: "As a child, my great-grandfather was dragged across the Atlantic Ocean, in the foul belly of an overcrowded steamship, for the opportunity to live in poverty in a rundown tenement building in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. Growing up, he had to fight street thugs who robbed him of his lunch on his way to school. He endured the derision of his classmates, who called him a WOP and a Dago. His father struggled to earn money; Italian men were paid meager wages for digging ditches. Most didn't complain; his father reminded him of the Italian men who were hanged and shot by an angry mob in New Orleans for crimes they did not commit, just because they were Italian. But, through it all, my great-grandfather stayed in school, worked nights to earn some money, mastered the language of America, and managed to graduate from high school. Then, as a young man, he was tossed by cruel chance into the bloody trenches of World War I. He barely survived the front-line slaughter and bouts of malaria. After the war, his hopes for the "good life" in America turned into a sour decade of hard times during the Great Depression. But he never gave up. He started a business, rose from poverty, and started a family. And I was there on his proudest day, the day he became an American."
On the day that Anthony's great-grandfather took the oath of allegiance to his new country, he relates the moral of his life story: "Life can be hard anywhere. But America is a place where, even in the hard times, every morning brings new hope and a new opportunity for a fresh start. You see, in America, my past is not my future - if I don't want it to be. My father was poor, but in America, I can become wealthy. My father was uneducated, but in America, I can become a scholar. My father was a laborer, but in America, I can become a business owner. America is the only place I know where I can choose not to let my past, or my circumstances, define who I am - or who I will become. People say that America is the land of the free. Well, isn't choice the ultimate freedom?"
"From his sermons," says Class, "we know that Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's pastor, does not believe this truth: It does not seem to be preached in Obama's church. We are left to wonder: What does Barack Obama really believe?"
Class recommends his book for grades 6 to 12, but says adults will find the book challenging, too. That's because 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.
Class designed the book to help parents and teachers. The book was a four-year 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. The book also includes recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, songs, and places to visit - a "time machine" that kids can use to experience the past, and to "meet" hundreds of people who succeeded in America, often overcoming overwhelming odds.
"It's not an easy book," says Class. "The book challenges the reader to see the modern world in light of the lessons of the past. The moral is clear, but a difficult challenge: the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and doing the right thing always matters."
Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named Outstanding Book of the Year by Independent Publisher (2006); awarded the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award for Excellent Books (2007); awarded the Parent-to-Parent Award for Most Unique Children's Book (2007); is a celebrated winner of an iParenting Media Award for Excellent Products (2007); was named Reviewers Choice by Midwest Book Review (2006); and garnered Editor's Pick by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online (2006). 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.
Amazon link: http://www.magicpictureframe.com/buythebook.html
Watch the Magic Picture Frame video: http://www.magicpictureframe.com/home/watchthevideo.html
Read Book Reviews: http://www.magicpictureframe.com/reviews.html
Author's Blog: http://www.magicpictureframe.blogspot.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, Magic Picture Frame Studio, P.O. Box 2603, Issaquah, WA 98027-0119.