Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
Just as the five senses work in conjunction to move us forward in our everyday lives, the team at Know Yourself has worked collaboratively to bring the concept of an educational graphic novel adventure to life through creativity and innovation.
Since its inception, Know Yourself CEO Nancy Howes has placed a key emphasis on creative storytelling and compelling narrative, two important ingredients that make the Adventure Series a vibrant gumbo of learning across all educational spectrums.
“In terms of modern pedagogy, it’s widely accepted that children learn more thoroughly when they have different access points, when they’re learning with story, when they’re learning with illustration and relating what they’re learning to a geographic place and time,” Howes said.
“Storytelling and graphic novels, that’s where you can connect with a lot of kids, and frankly, I think most kids would rather have an exciting story.”
The Five Senses.
Each Know Yourself Adventure Series leads children on a monthly journey towards multidimensional self-literacy that meets at the intersection of science, art, education, and history.
The first Adventure Series is titled “The Five Senses,” and serves as a launching pad of self-discovery, covering the basic senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
The narrative of this first installment lays the groundwork for all adventures that follow Dr. Bonyfide and the Time Skaters crew in a system-by-system exploration of the human body and mind.
“Storytelling was education,” Howes said. “In fact, 21st-century learning is starting to wrap around back to that and embrace these very old systems.”
These very old systems can be seen in “Fangs of Philosophy,” where the storyline of this first Adventure Series brings you back to ancient Greece in 350 B.C. where you meet Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle.
The choice to feature Aristotle as the Time Skaters crew’s first teacher was no coincidence.
“He decided the way to be in the world was to be of the world, and walked with students as he taught them,” said Howes.
“Ultimately we wanted every adventure to be a micro-expression of what we’re doing at Know Yourself in general, and that is taking children through a tiny process of problem solving and of personal recognition.”
Condensing something as complex as the human body down to a digestible format for children proved challenging for Howes and her staff.
The writing and research process involved working together with a wide range of science writers and educators to ensure that every Adventure Series, while fun and entertaining, was also authentic and meticulously factual.
“With Know Yourself, it’s so interesting because we’re incorporating so many different angles; we’re incorporating education, we’re incorporating science, we’re incorporating history, so we have a lot of research to do,” said Sam Sattin, director of comics at Know Yourself.
“So we can have a lot of fun with the stories, but then when it comes down to the educational elements we can have fun with them, but we have to make sure that we’re accurate.”
Although there are other educational comic books on the market, Sattin said that one of the main ways Know Yourself sets itself apart is by keeping an expansive vision of its mission.
“Know Yourself has a very specific mission but it’s not narrow, and what I mean by that is that you look at a lot of other comparable science comics and other educational comic books, and there are some great ones out there, some really great ones, but I think what Know Yourself does is it is trying to create a universe, it’s trying to create an entire world in which children and parents alike can inhabit,” said Sattin.
“Though education is at the forefront of what we’re trying to do, we’re also trying to show people that there are different possibilities for their own livelihoods, the way that they live, the way that they see the world.”
Although the intersectionality of science, art, education, and history remains key when developing an Adventure Series, the distinctive elements of storytelling remain central to its creative edge.
“That’s not something you find in a lot of other educational comics — the idea that we’re interested in telling our own unique story,” said Sattin.
“And that’s exciting to me because I feel like our story is not only unique but it’s exciting and it’s always expanding. And it’s always allowing us to explore new horizons.”
Concept to Creation.
Part of the beauty of comics is the opportunity for collaboration.
Much like the five senses, the different characters at Know Yourself come together for one common goal: to make an Adventure Series come to life.
“So when you come up with an idea for a comic, you have to figure out first how it is going to translate to the page,” said Sattin.
“You have to start thinking about your visual storytelling skills: How do you depict pacing? How do you measure beats of a story? What happens when a page turns? What are you expecting to see when you turn that page? And what problems can be posed if you don’t understand exactly how that process works?”
Moving the elements of visual storytelling forward in an Adventure Series includes working with a diverse cast of talented artists who can trust the vision for the narrative and who can also be trusted with bringing that vision to fruition.
“With that said, an artist is never ever going to draw exactly what you envisioned as a writer,” said Sattin.
“But even if I’m specific, an artist is never going to draw something like you imagined it. And that’s okay because often it ends up being a more interesting process, more realized when you see how someone interprets what you write, so it’s a cool thing that happens.”
Sattin said that what makes moving the process forward from concept to creation both cool and fun is working with a diverse team of artists and writers as unique as the Time Skaters crew themselves.
“We’re about inclusiveness and we try to make sure we reflect the world how it truly is,” said Sattin.