History’s Mysteries

One of the longest books I’ve worked on, and one of the most difficult to edit. This textbook is aimed at English-language learners and uses historical mysteries and conspiracy theories to give students content to talk and write about. There were five authors and a broad range of topics, from aliens to the JFK assassination to how the dinosaurs died.

Each unit needed to be edited for relevance to ESL learners and clarity, as well as the quality of the accompanying activities and also needed to be fact-checked. Decisions needed to be made about how to present controversial opinions and what subjects were taboo for the classroom or needed to be handled with sensitivity. The educational benefits of the chapter were used as the final guidelines. At the same time, there needed to be cohesion of the book as a whole. I edited for consistency in activity types, questions, and also tone and approach.

Multiple rounds of editing were required with all the authors’ input. I also found appropriate images where needed and used various archives to find historical images and visual aids to support the student.

The interior design was also not easy. The book needed to look and feel like a textbook. The readings needed to be clear for students whose first language is not English and teachers needed to be able to navigate the activities easily. On the other hand, I wanted to keep the feel of mystery implied in the title. The book uses a gimmick of students being secret time agents travelling in time to find out what really happened or even setting wrongs right! So I used a typewriter text and framed the authors as Senior Agents. For the introductory letter, I created a little logo of an imaginary Historical Secret Agency.

The cover also reflects this theme of a secret agent. I took inspiration from DK Publishing or National Geographic kids books. Without getting too busy, the cover is meant to reflect the desk of a secret agent, with a folder full of evidence and photos of various mysteries!

A really fun one to work on!

Publisher: Alphabet Publishing

Skills: Cover Art Design

What do you think?