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Creating Honest History

Creating Honest History

Dear reader,

As our name suggest, we strive to present a clear and transparent version of historical events that is unbiased. Our mission is to tell the whole story while also bearing in mind that our readers are children. Each magazine issue has a little bit of our heart and soul poured into it, and I think it is important as parents, guardians, teachers, and members of your community to know how each topic is chosen and what our process looks like.

Here is a basic step by step process on how each issue is imagined and what our research process looks like.

Step One: Brainstorming

We usually start working on ideas for the next issue long before we are done working on whatever issue is currently in the works. The goal is to have a diversity in each issue, so that takes months of planning and preparation. We knew we wanted Ludwig II to be our first subject, and from there the other subjects were able to fall into place. When brainstorming the next subjects, we usually try to think a full year (or four issues) in advance to ensure we are covering a wide range of topics, people, and time periods. For the second issue, we will explore the life of a Chinese female pirate who ruled the South China Sea. Diversity is important to us, and we also want to make sure that we focus on historical subjects that we are passionate to write about and that are appropriate for children.

Step Two: Initial Research

Before we are set on any given subject, we have to check to make sure there is enough information available to provide us accurate content. Usually this involves a search on JSTOR, local libraries, and even Google to see if there is enough academic sources available for use to finalize the topic we want to cover. If we can’t find academic journals, books, and papers written on a subject we want to cover, we scrap it and move on to the next subject.

Step Three: Creating the Content and Doing Research

From here we start compiling research, ordering and reading books, and digging through academic archives to finalize which sources we want to use. This step involves a lot of fact checking and making sure the journals/books/ and articles we use come from legitimate sources and experts in each field. This is also when we source an illustrator or illustrators to work on the issue, carefully choosing some of the best in the world. 

A sneak peak at how the illustrator created the cover for Issue 9: Era of Exploration, from initial sketch...

Process image Issue 9
To painting...
Process image Issue 9
To final cover!
Honest History Issue 9 Era of Exploration

Step Four: Writing and Editing (and editing, and editing…)

Step four takes the longest - it’s the part where we write and rewrite the stories. Each story goes through four to seven drafts before being shown to our academic advisers who edit for reading level and content. From there we usually go through another four to six full rounds of edits before it is seen by a professional editor. The writing and editing process is usually the most grueling and time consuming, but also the most fun.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions regarding our process. We want to make sure that we live up to our name and provide honest history for you and your family. By sharing how we do things, our hope is that if gives you peace of mind knowing that your child’s education is important to us as we strive to create young historians.