Almost two years ago, resident Sandy Kahn shared an idea: how about a comic book about Lexington’s history in honor of the 300th? Kahn suggested her friend, comic book author-illustrator Bentley Boyd, an artist with more than 25 titles ranging from “War for Independence” to “Jamestown Journey” and “American Symbols.” Flash forward, and his latest work “Lexington Then and Now” is arriving at Town Hall this month.
When the idea for a comic book to integrate local government and history arose, Jessie Steigerwald brought it to the attention of Barbara Manfredi and the League of Women Voters of Lexington. They agreed the book could highlight the importance of Lexington’s Town Meeting and promote civic education. Nancy Corcoran-Ronchetti helped connect the Town Meeting Members Association to the project, and they generously joined the Chinese American Association of Lexington and the LWVL to fund the book.
The theme of the book also dovetailed with two ongoing initiatives: new curricular units for Social Studies to highlight local history in preparation for the 300th and a rejuvenation of Mock Town Meetings in the Lexington schools. Carol Pilarski, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Assessment, Jane Hundley and Matt Mehler worked on these school projects with support from the Lexington Education Foundation.
This month, Mock Town Meetings are taking place in 8th grade Social Studies classrooms. Students are using the Boyd book as part of the unit, and are invited to a town-wide 8th grade Mock Town Meeting on March 16th. Boyd will also be in town, visiting schools and playing a part in LexCelebrate! events.
The project drew on talents and support from many dedicated volunteers: historians, librarians, members of Town Meeting, the Town Clerk and her office, members of the Board of Selectmen and 300th volunteers known as the “300th Book Team”. “We know that readers will have comments to share, and we welcome them,” Steigerwald smiles, “as historians, we are trained to know that history is the story of change over time – and the passage of time reveals new information about the past. It will be exciting to see how readers react, to learn what they notice, and we hope we have contributed a lasting work for the shelves at Cary Library and the book shelves in homes across town.”
Lexington Then and NowAvailable at Town Hall and at LexCelebrate!:
Illustrated by Bentley Boyd.
Meet the author at LexCelebrate