By Kathleen S. Wilson, School Library Journal, April 11, 2017
Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave Receives the Accolades of School Library Journal
By Kathleen S. Wilson, School Library Journal, April 11, 2017
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (March 23, 2017)—It’s a story… It’s a tour… It’s a Story Tour, and just in time for summer travel planning too. Time Traveler Tours launches Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took His Grave on the Google Play & Apple App Stores today. The story-driven mobile treasure hunt to the Renaissance, written by digital storyteller Sarah Towle in collaboration with award-winning children’s author Mary Hoffman, enables users to discover 16th century Florence through the eyes of master sculptor and tour guide, Michelangelo. The app combines the traditional power of narrative with the magic of the touch screen to create an interactive portal to the past, whether in the city, home, Florence museum, or school. It’s Horrible Histories meets Pokémon Go with a bit of Lonely Planet thrown in.
Everyone knows Michelangelo. But few know that he once hid out, in fear for his life. For 446 years, no one had a clue as to where he hid or that he left behind buried treasure. That’s the mystery at the heart of this pioneering mobile story and touring experience to Florence.
Nottingham, UK (March 15, 2017)—Sarah Towle pitched today at the prestigious Pitch@Palace BootCamp at The University of Nottingham on behalf of her edTech startup Time Traveler Tours. A mashup of Horrible Histories and Pokémon Go, Time Traveler Tours are story-driven interactive treasure hunts to historic places enhanced with gamification and augmented reality.
Pitch@Palace was founded by the Duke of York in 2014 to support entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters, including CEOs, Angels, Mentors and key business partners. Towle's company was one of 42 to win a spot among the hundreds of UK startups that applied.
This exceptional endorsement came with TTT on the verge of launching its newest mobile story tour, Buried Alive: the Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave, which takes you to Florence at the height of the Renaissance in the company of Michelangelo.
(July 1, 2015: New York, New York) – Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Time Traveler Tours & Tales, a ground-breaking publishing imprint that combines the traditional power of story with the magic of the touch screen to create portals to the past, will launch its first project. In the Footsteps of Giants, the story of the making of Michelangelo’s David, by international bestselling author Mary Hoffman, is tentatively slated for release in spring 2016. The digital-first, multiplatform company raised $41,491 thanks to the support of 277 backers, exceeding its goal of $40,000 to create a story-driven app. The print, audio, and interactive eBook editions of the tale will follow.
“Before seeking investment capital to build our imprint, we decided to take our idea to the crowd, to ask them what they thought it. I’m thrilled at their collective endorsement!” said Sarah Towle, founder and award-winning author and creator of TTT&T.
With the completion of the campaign and these secured funds, TTT&T is now able to produce Hoffman’s StoryApp Tour, while simultaneously building the architectural foundation for a digital publishing engine dedicated to bringing historic events and places to life for young readers, thus changing the face of cultural education. Future story-driven app projects include The American Revolution, The Civil War, and World War II.
As the digital revolution gathers pace, the pressures on writers and publishers only increase. But authors, magazines and independent presses are starting to respond to the challenge of the online world by turning to the internet themselves, reaching out to readers through crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.
Since launching in 2009, Kickstarter has seen $70m pledged to projects in the site’s publishing category. But recent years have seen the number of successful books-related projects more than double, from 735 in 2011 to 2064 in 2014.
According to Kickstarter’s publishing outreach lead, Margot Atwell, the book industry has lagged behind gaming, technology and design, perhaps because “traditional publishing can be a little conservative and risk averse”. But “lately we’re seeing more authors and high-profile publishers,” Atwell says. “They’re becoming a critical mass and people are starting to notice it more.”
(June 1, 2015: New York, New York) – Time Traveler Tours & Tales, a ground-breaking publishing imprint that combines the traditional power of story with the magic of the touch screen to create portals to the past, made it more than halfway to its Kickstarter campaign goal of $40k in one week. Now ten days in, the campaign – which runs to June 26 – has brought in 80 backers pledging more than $25k and been named a “Kickstarter Staff Pick.” Time Traveler Tours & Tales aims to bring immersive historical tales to life in app and book form for teens and tweens.
“Our hope going into the campaign was to raise 20% in the first week. By the time our launch event at KidLit TV began, four hours after going live, we’d already hit 22%. So we decided to go for 50% in one week at which point we’d hit 60. I can’t tell you how gratifying and exciting it is to feel the crowd saying ‘Yes! We like your concept and want to help make it happen!” said Sarah Towle, founder and award-winning author and creator of TTT&T.
(May, 2015: New York, New York)–Time Traveler Tours & Tales, an imprint that combines the traditional power of the story with the magic of the touch screen to create portals to the past, is launching a Kickstarter campaign May 19, 2015, to raise $40,000 to bring its immersive stories to life in app and book form. The initial project is In the Footsteps of Giants, the story of the making of Michelangelo’s statue, David, by international bestselling author Mary Hoffman. The story-driven app will allow users to meet the young model who posed for David, go behind the scenes touring Florence and walk the streets Michelangelo walked, view archival images, hunt for historical artifacts, and take part in interactive puzzles and games. The book will take readers on a narrative fictionalized journey of how the artist came to immortalize the biblical hero King David who became a symbol of the defense of civil liberties. When TTT&T meets its monetary goal, it will have the means to not only bring this suite of apps and book to fruition, but to create the architectural framework to enable them to bring many more stories and places to life for young readers. Future story-driven app projects include The American Revolution, The Civil War, and World War II. The company’s debut tale to the French Revolution is already available through Apple and Amazon.
Many kids (and adults) find it hard to grasp the distant past; they find history boring. But with TTT&T’s virtual tours, people and places come alive and are no longer just facts in a textbook, thereby encouraging kids to literally and figuratively turn history on. Some educators call this “Place-Based Education”—learning through the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place—, and while the apps and books will be great classroom companions, they will also be fun for readers interested in exploring the world, art and story, and for traveling families.
(LONDON, Monday, 23 March) – Time Traveler Tours & Tales, a newly launched digital-first, multi-platform publisher dedicated to bringing the past to life for children and teens, is pleased to announce that internationally renowned author Mary Hoffman is the first writer to join its ranks with In The Footsteps Of Giants (2016), an interactive story-based quest through Renaissance Florence. And Hoffman, who has transported readers to Renaissance Italy with her acclaimed Stravaganza series, is the perfect companion for this start-up whose mission is to make history exciting.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mary Hoffman by my side as we embark on this new publishing adventure,” says Publisher Sarah Towle. “Her participation is the best possible validation that we’re onto something with the Time Traveler Tours & Tales concept, mission, and vision. My daughter, a huge Stravaganza fan, is possibly even more chuffed than I am!”
Narrated by Michelangelo’s invented “milk brother” and model for the colossal statue, In the Footsteps of Giants promises a radical unveiling of the making of the David. It’s an intimate view of a genius, whose brilliance flourished on the mean streets of the de’ Medici. Emma D. Dryden of drydenbks, who has worked with such award-winning and bestselling authors as Ellen Hopkins, Karma Wilson, Susan Cooper, and Cornelia Funke, will edit the project.