What is Make History?
Make History is a series of new books developed for students following the GCSE, IGCSE and international Baccalaureate history curricula. They are designed to help them understand the essential details and framework of a particular historical topic through an engaging, visual-led approach.
So far, in just under 2 years, we have written and illustrated 12 books, with an additional 2 in their final stages of completion! Each book is in an A5 format, is between 30 to 60 pages long and produced in full colour with bespoke illustrations throughout in the style of a graphic novel.
Our current catalogue of books includes:
- The Arab-Israel Conflict
- The American Civil Rights Movement
- Cold War Origins
- Cold War 1950s
- Cold War 1960s to 1970s
- Cold War 1980s
- The Interwar Period, 1919-1939
- Mao, China 1945-1976
- Russia, Revolution and Turmoil, 1897-1922
- Rise & Rule of Stalin, 1923-1940
- The Vietnam War
- Weimar and Nazi Germany
- Elizabethan England * (pending completion)
- India and The Partition * (pending completion)
An International Team effort
Creating these books has really been a team-driven process, with contributors in several different countries. We have tried to involve people from all the different angles of history education in order to create a great product – history graduates, teachers and students (bachelors and graduate), writers, illustrators, graphic designers and editors - It has really been an iterative process and with each fresh pair of eyes the product has improved.
First of all we select a series of topics from the curriculum and sit down as a team to discuss which one to focus on.
Forming the initial outline
One of our researchers then takes the selected topic and makes some initial notes on the outline of the book based on the material a student would need to cover in their history curriculum for this module. These documents are very helpful guides to make sure we cover the essential key points, and keep the book focused and relevant.
Writing the text
Having decided on the number of pages and the themes / events to be covered in them, the author (a historian) writes out the main text for each page with close reference to the curriculum.
Sketching out the frames
The main writer, together with input from the creative team, then plans out the structure of a potential page and collects together interesting visuals from the historical period to send over to our team of illustrators. The aim is to come up with something that captures the key ideas and provides a memorable ‘link’ in the historical chain. A central part of creating the frames is also writing the text inserts and speech bubbles that help summarise and reinforce the material for the student in an impactful way.
Creating Original Digital Artwork
Nino and Joel (our creative duo), then take these sketches and other accompanying materials and create digital illustrations for each page. They really have to immerse themselves in the historical milieu of the period they are illustrating in order to capture its visual essence in a way that is engaging for the reader. Their initial drawings are shared with the authors and the rest of the team and feedback is discussed as a group for potential improvements.
A Resource for Students and Teachers
We have really tried to keep in mind through the whole process that Make History is about helping students and teachers. Therefore we have also created a series of teaching resources to go with each book (with 9 out of 14 completed so far). These will help teachers utilise the books in a classroom setting and give ideas for questions and exercises based on the material covered.
Help us Launch Make History
We have poured an enormous amount of time, effort, energy and love into creating this first series of 14 books covering some of the most studied topics at GCSE and IB level. But we would like your help to continue making the journey. We really see this as the first step in a process of reinventing the way students engage with history.
We are initially asking for £5,000 to help us launch the series and market it to schools, teachers and students, trial their use in classrooms as well as launch to the general public and individual readers. The product is ready to be printed and shipped – we just need your help to make sure people hear about us, and get the ball rolling. We will also concentrate on finishing the remaining teaching resources and finalising the digital companion platforms to accompany the books.
Initial response towards the books has been overwhelmingly positive, but we know that with further feedback from students and teachers we can make it even better. With extra funding we could expand the series to cover more periods and more topics in the history curriculum, as well as potentially expanding our approach to other countries to help them embrace a new way of teaching the subject.
In the future we would also like to explore constructing an immersive digital environment for each book with more information, videos, charts, interviews, newspaper extracts etc. from each period to engage the student and really bring history alive for them.
Thank you from all of us at ERLY Stage Studios!
Risks and challenges
12 out of our 14 books are ready to be printed and sent out after final checks, so the risks that they will not be sent to our backers are very low indeed. The last two books need to go through the final review process, but apart from that we are ready to go!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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