Monday, October 22, 2018

How It All Began

The Luke and Jenny story goes back a little farther than I care to admit. At the time I was a docent volunteer for a historical museum in Tempe, Arizona. I later became a historical reenactor, doing costumed interpretations as an 1880s housewife in Tombstone, and I must admit, it was a lot of fun. I went to schools, visiting fourth and fifth graders, and it was a blast. Seeing me in a period correct outfit, talking as a character, really got them excited about learning. 

Back I was in school, history was all about memorizing names and dates, and it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. That's not the way history should be taught. Whether it's ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, or even the American west, history is all about people and the things they did. That's why I loved performing living history. It gave students a chance to see a real-life interpretation of people living in another time.

As much fun as it was, it simply wasn't possible for one person to visit every kid in every school, and that's how Luke and Jenny came into being. Luke, an eight-year-old boy, and his sister, ten-year-old Jenny, represented the kids I met during my time as a living history interpreter. However, this time around, instead of someone in a historic outfit visiting their school, Luke and Jenny would visit a real historic location, where they would meet the ghost of someone from the past. The ghost would then act as a historic guide, like I used to do. Telling stories of people from the past, the ghost guides would then take the two children on a magical journey back in time, where they would witness the real events, and learn lessons from the past that would enhance their lives in the present.

The Luke and Jenny books were originally published by Five Star Publications, Inc., (now Story Monsters, Inc.),  and after a successful run they were taken out of print. I put them on hiatus, and later published updated editions with my own company, Good Oak Press, LLC. So once again, Luke and Jenny can take youngsters back in time where they can meet real people from the past, and learn history in a fun and entertaining way.


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