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September 7, 2007

History Heroes-Patrick Henry: Quest for Freedom

Biased? Yes, I might be. I was an American History major in college. However, I happen to remember some particularly dry history lessons in my elementary school years that even I the avid little historian did not want any part in. Too bad my teachers didn’t have a copy of History Heroes. I think the entire class would have been a lot more interested in America’s heritage if they did.

History Heroes, the new DVD series from American Animation Studios aimed at children ages 8 and up, combines the latest technologies to tell historical stories about American heroes and heroines by having the characters talk to the viewer rather than at them. This highly engaging 3-D animation was created by two Dads who wanted entertaining and informative videos for their own kids have simple storylines that are aided by Boomer, the Eagle. Boomer has plenty of snarky comments and asides that will certainly have your children soaking up history as pure entertainment. Don’t believe me? Well, it held my attention the whole time and actually taught me a thing or two about the long forgotten story of Patrick Henry. I had no idea he worked in a bar alongside his father before he went before the Legislative Assembly in Virginia and gave his famous speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

I liked this DVD for many reasons. It is highly informative while interacting with its audience and yet not achingly dull. The personal background bits that are included in each story not only shed a personal light on the historical figure, but create a common ground with the viewer. It is one of the best ways I have seen in a long time that will get kids honestly interested in our country’s history. To me, that is invaluable.

Patrick Henry: Quest for Freedom, set for release on September 18, is the first DVD in the series. Each DVD runs 35 minutes and has many bonus features including a behind-the-scenes look at how the DVD is made. This story and the others would work great in a classroom or even just your family room. American Animations Studios plans to release two to four DVDs a year with features on historical figures such as Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass just to name a few.

For more information, fun facts and activities on History Heroes ($19.95) for your home or classroom visit their website or visit American Animations Studios here.