Everyone knows the story of the Wright Brothers. Or do they? This biography conveys the well-known and the lesser-known facts about Orville and Wilbur’s lives, and does so by weaving the biographical information into a wonderful story. The evocative illustrations combine with the storytelling prowess of Lewis Helfand to relate the Wright Brothers’ joint biography in a way never done before.
Lewis Helfand is one of Campfire’s most prolific writers, having scripted many of our biographies, classics and original titles. Some of his most popular works include the award winning Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa: Angel of the Slums and Abraham Lincoln: From the Log Cabin… More about Lewis Helfand
“An accurate and well-rounded account of an important historical event. A focus on the Wright Brothers as children also makes the characters more relatable for the target audience. Recommended to YAs as well as myriad adult readers of YA lit.” — Library Journal
“Helfand keeps the brothers from seeming like mythical figures by showing their failures, but he also shows that those failures were a source of motivation, not merely frustration, which is what makes the Wright brothers’ story so inspiring. And their story doesn’t end with their triumphant flight. Helfand follows through with the rest of their lives, so readers learn what happened next and how the brothers were not able to rest on their laurels, but had to keep fighting to keep their work from being forgotten or overshadowed. One particularly nice touch is that the roles of women in their lives were highlighted. Their mother Susan passed down to them them her aptitude with machines and their sister Katharine was a constant source of support throughout their lives. . . . Banerjee’s soft colors and gentle lines give the right historical flavor to the drawings and his character designs are always clear enough for readers to follow easily. As with all Campfire titles, there are extras in the back–in this case factoids about the history of flight and a crossword puzzle, a nice touch for classroom use.” — School Library Journal
“I found The Wright Brothers fascinating. Whilst the focus of the book is, of course, on the invention and development of powered and controlled flight, Lewis Helfand and Sankha Banerjee show us that the lives of the Wright brothers were every bit as interesting as the contribution they made to history. The story is skilfully told, giving the reader an understanding not just of what the Wrights did but of who they were; and the deftly sensitive – and beautifully coloured – illustrations communicate a real sense of both character and period. Books that – to quote Lord Reith – ‘inform, educate and entertain,’ as this one does are to be prized. Young readers will be both captivated and inspired by the lives of the Wright brothers, and that can only be a good thing.” — Armadillo
“…a well presented and thought out account, leaving the reader wanting to explore more about some of the events described.”
— School Librarian
“I highly recommend Campfire’s comics. They do what they are intended to do and do it in a way that excites kids about classic literature.”
— Chris Wilson, The Graphic Classroom (a resource for teachers and librarians)
Campfire Writer’s Interview (Lewis Helfand)
1. Where are you from? Just outside Philadelphia in Narberth, Pennsylvania.
2. How did you first get interested in comics/graphic novels? I was first interested in comic strips and cartoons and Disney movies. When I was twelve, I was given a few comics as a gift. That became a few more and a few more and my interest just grew from there.
3. What inspired you to start writing graphic novels yourself? It was something I wanted to do from a young age. I think it’s one of those fantasy jobs a lot of children dream of doing, but one day they grow out of that fantasy and pick a “real” occupation. I never grew out of the idea of writing comic books and started doing it because I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do.
4. What titles have you published with Campfire so far? I have published adaptations of The Time Machine, Kim, A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.
5. Are you working on any other Campfire titles at the moment? I am working on a number of projects including the soon to be released Gulliver’s Travels adaptation, biographies on The Wright Brothers, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and some original graphic novels, 400 BC and Photo Booth.
6. How does your approach to adapting classics differ from writing an original script? Aside from having more freedom to take an original story in different directions, the approach is somewhat similar. I still start by figuring out how many pages to devote to each scene and putting together a basic story that will make the reader want to turn the page.
7. Is writing a full time job for you? I do write full time, but depending on my schedule I also work some additional part-time hours in restaurants or offices.
8. What motivates you to write graphic novel scripts after a hard day at work? Writing graphic novels is what I’ve always wanted to do, so it isn’t a struggle to devote long hours to a script. It’s something I look forward to when I’m done at my other job.
9. When you’re writing a script, do you imagine how the illustrations will look? And, if so, to what degree? I try to imagine every detail, from the characters to the clothing to the settings. I try to include enough detail in the script so the artist’s final work looks like what I imagined.
10. What has been the most rewarding graphic novel project you’ve worked on so far? The upcoming Gulliver’s Travels adaptation. It’s one of my favourite books, so having a chance to bring the story to a different format was very rewarding.
11. Who, in your opinion, is the greatest graphic novel/comic book writer of all time? I think there are so many tremendous writers with very different styles; it’s impossible to pick one. Some that have greatly influenced me have been Frank Miller, James O’Barr, Chris Claremont, Scott Lobdell and Larry Hama.
12. Why do you think young people should read graphic novels? To me, that’s like asking why should someone listen to music or watch a movie. Graphic novels are just a different medium, a different way of telling a story. Just like you can get lost in a great song or film, graphic novels can capture your imagination in the same way.