42 pages 1 hour read

Trevor R. Getz, Illustr. Liz Clarke

Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History

Nonfiction | Graphic Novel/Book | YA | Published in 2011

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The Authors of History

Although many people see history as a series of facts about the past, the creators of Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History demonstrate how the authors of history have the power to shape the way in which history is understood. Much of the novel’s interpretation of historical events acknowledges the influence of authorial assumptions in shaping a text and sharing histories previously excluded from discussion. This discussion illuminates the theme that history is a series of stories based on events and authors’ perspectives.

Trevor R. Getz challenges the notion of history being completely factual with the representation of Abina’s story, acknowledging that no matter how much research is done, “it is impossible for any historian to state truthfully that he or she can tell you ‘the past as it happened.’ This is true even when there are many records available, for it would be impossible to record the perspectives of every single person who witnessed an event” (143). This statement isn’t intended to make the authors of history feel as if research is for naught. In fact, Getz argues the opposite: Research should raise awareness and inspire more people to excavate, record, and share the unexplored stories of history, especially the histories of marginalized groups.