First Second Books has announced a new line of graphic novels that will tell stories from American history. The aptly-named History Comics was announced by the publisher today via the School Library Journal. The opening slate of History Comics will feature six books aimed at readers from grades 4-8, and detail events from the first European colony in North America to events as recent as the 1980s.
The titles, creators, and planned release dates for the first slate of books is as follows:
- History Comics: The Roanoke Colony Mystery by Chris Schweizer (6/30/20)
- History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire by Kate Hannigan and Alex Graudins (6/30/20)
- History Comics: The Challenger Disaster by Pranas T. Naujokaitis (Fall 2020)
- History Comics: Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin by Tracey Baptiste and Shauna J. Grant (Winter 2021)
- History Comics: Mustangs by Chris Duffy and Falynn Koch (Spring/Summer 2021)
- History Comics: Crazy Horse by Joseph Bruchac and Marty G. Two Bulls Sr. (Fall 2021)
In the SLJ announcement, line editor Dave Roman described how the decision was made to focus on those particular stories:
“Writing history is intrinsically biased,” says Roman, “so we are aiming to counteract some of that traditional bias by including stories that are often left out of national narratives. History is often way more messy and complicated than what we initially learn growing up. Hopefully these books will encourage kids to ask tough questions and dig deeper with an aim toward getting closer to the truth of the matter.”
History Comics joins the publisher’s Science Comics, Maker Comics, and World Citizen Comics lines of young reader non-fiction books. The line-up of initial titles is certainly diverse, and I’m particularly interested in Chris Schweizer’s book on the Roanoke colony, both as a fan of Schweizer’s work and as someone who’s been fascinated by what happened to the lost colony since grade school.
You can see preview pages from The Roanoke Colony Mystery and The Great Chicago Fire below. Those two books are due out in June 2020, with the other books following in late 2020/2021.
Joe Grunenwald is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest. He’s taller than a lot of people but not as tall as some people.