Marc Tyler Nobleman

Marc Tyler NoblemanMarc Tyler Nobleman    Books Boys Can’t Resist was the theme of Shenandoah University’s Children’s Literature Conference for 2012. One of the highly qualified, talented presenters was Marc Tyler Nobleman, who treated the audience of teachers and librarians to a detailed look at the research behind his books, as well as sharing ideas for stimulating reading in the classroom. The title of his presentation was deftly tuned to the conference theme: “Heroes With (and Without) Capes.” Knowing the attraction of graphic novels and comic books for many boys, he opened with stories about writing Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman. His attention to detail became obvious after the first few moments of his presentation; in fact, he admitted that he loves research.   The various subjects covered in his career have allowed him many opportunities to pursue research on a wide range of topics. With over seventy books to his credit, Nobleman has written about: nature (including eagles, tigers, foxes, sharks, etc.), history (the Klondike Gold Rush, The Great Chicago Fire, The Hindenburg, Election Day, Martin L. King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Rosa Parks, Green Berets in Action, etc.), monuments (The Washington Monument, The Liberty Bell, The Statue of Liberty, etc.), and many other things such as aliens and UFOs, mummies, werewolves, shipwrecks, blizzards, gladiators, pirates, etc. just to name a few. Boys often gravitate to nonfiction and unusual topics, so Nobleman has covered the appeal factor of enticing boys to read. In his presentations for both adults and students he uses lots of pictures and examples of his actual research. Since the “inside” stories of writing specific books is fascinating for audiences, he capitalizes on their interest in the specific details with explanations of the “how, when, where, and why.”   When a publisher approached him to write about people who had vanished under unusual circumstances, Nobleman determined to write without embracing the horror aspect of the subject and to include at least two young people who had actually saved themselves. The cover of Vanished: True Tales of the Missing is an enigmatic photo of an empty swing, which Nobleman said was more disturbing than the stories inside. It would make a reader wonder about what really happens between the covers. That wonder would grab a reluctant reader.   Nobleman’s talk revealed his dedication to providing the truth to readers through his work, using thorough research and a straightforward manner of writing. Humor is often another driving force in his writing. Well researched nonfiction is balanced with references to humorous aspects of a subject or little asides that would make a reader chuckle. Some of his titles are blatant attention “grabbers;” consider, for instance, How to Do a Belly Flop: And Other Tricks, Tips, and Skills No Adult Will Teach You. Again, one is aware of the broad range of topics Nobleman can handle with talent and careful consideration.   Giving some background on his own life, Nobleman showed pictures of himself as a young child receiving an award for a poem he wrote for Mother’s Day. He went on to tell us about his early writing experiences and a bit about his family. With a sheepish smile, he told us that his wife often has to remind him when the time has come to “write the book” and stop doing research. His photos included scenes from some of his research trips and other books he is working on.   His website includes his blog and is where he continues to write about developments in literature and his own projects. He is concerned with the preservation of “great stories” and shares some of his own favorite “classics.” David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd was a special book for Nobleman as a child. Planning for a school visit, he discovered that the author lived in the area and he worked with the librarian to set up a special appearance of Ormondroyd as a part of his own program. The event was a huge success and a lovely homage to an elderly author who deserved recognition for his writing. Nobleman’s concern with the story behind the person is truly reflected in this touching aspect of his personality.   The word “hero” is “used overmuch” he said as he spoke of the thirty-five years of efforts of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to get a settlement form DC Comics. He considers their perseverance an example of heroism. He really wants to help reveal the truth of the writers who have not been given their due in the publishing world.   Nobleman’s next book is going to be about a Japanese pilot who dropped four bombs in Oregon during WWII. The book, Thirty Minutes Over Oregon, will tell the story of the pilot and the town that decided to “capitalize” on their moment in history. In 1962, the town of Brookings invited the pilot to return to Oregon and a friendship developed between the town’s people and their former enemy. While he spoke about researching this event, he stressed that he has found that boys notice the details of his stories and so he is diligent about making sure that all of the facts and illustrations are exact. During his school presentations he stresses that the Internet does not have “all of the answers” and that research involving original documents is the only way to get to the real truth. He has made discoveries that previous researchers had overlooked and tells students about the rewarding experiences of making those finds. While he tells them not to depend totally on the Internet, he does discuss the fact that many contacts can be made using social media. Those contacts may lead to starting places for serious research.   Marc Tyler Nobleman is a fine example of the new crop of authors that are making a difference in literature that will become the “classics” of the future.   The following selections are only a few of Nobleman’s books that are included in CLCD. Take advantage of the free trial available on the home page and see for yourself all of the titles the talented Nobleman has published. The entries include awards, honors, reading measurements, and other information about each title.Contributor: Sheilah Egan, Literature Consultant  ReviewsBill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-creator of BatmanMarc Tyler NoblemanIllustrated by Ty Templeton   Every Batman story is marked with the words ‘Batman created by Bob Kane.’ But that isn’t the whole truth. A struggling writer named Bill Finger was involved from the beginning. Bill helped invent Batman, from concept to costume to character. He dreamed up Batman’s haunting origins and his colorful nemeses. He named Gotham. Despite his brilliance, Bill worked in obscurity, his name never appearing on a Batman comic. It was only after his death that fans went to bat for Bill, calling for DC to acknowledge him as co-creator of Batman. Their fight for justice continues to this day. Provided by the publisher. 2012, Charlesbridge, Ages 8 up, $17.95.
ISBN: 9781580892896Boys of Steel: The Creators of SupermanMarc Tyler NoblemanIllustrated by Ross MacDonald   This is the story of two “boys of steel,” Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of the Superman comic strip. Both Joe and Jerry grew up during the Great Depression, during which they endured hardships and difficult living conditions. Both were somewhat outcasts at school, having limited friendships and little interest in sports or other school functions. However, they both had magnificent imaginations and shared a passion for writing and drawing. The two boys became strong friends in high school and developed into a perfect team. They produced several comics, which were rejected. Then, they struck on the idea of Superman. Although it was rejected four times before it was accepted, Superman became an instant hit. In the years since, the character and his story have been transformed into many forms of enjoyable media. Nobleman’s account is an engaging and informative read. The illustrations are well-designed to evoke the historical, 1930s setting. The story is inspiring in its messages about teamwork and perseverance. The final three pages develop the story of Joe and Jerry further, highlighting the injustices and morality of the publishing business. 2008, Alfred A. Knolf/Random House, Ages 7 to 9, $16.99. Reviewer: Charles E. Kreinbucher (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 9780375838026SharksMarc Tyler Nobleman   While many view sharks are vicious killers, in fact only four subspecies are responsible for most unprovoked attacks on humans, and all four have decreasing populations and might soon disappear. More than 200 subspecies are threatened or endangered, with seventy-five on the verge of extinction. During the twentieth century, technology (sonar, long fishing lines, mechanical reels, and nets) has allowed man to kill or capture more and more sharks and other fish, with the subsequent result that many are being killed faster than they can reproduce. This entry in the Marshall Cavendish “Endangered!” series provides information on shark habitats, their life cycle, diet, and bodies, as well as clearly stating the issues leading to their lessening numbers–over-fishing of other fish, which lessens their food supply, catching them for food and other body parts, hunting for sport, and accidentally catching them in fishing gear. Growing awareness of over 200 shark species listed as at least vulnerable has led to conservation efforts by private organizations as well as governments. A glossary, sharp, close-up photographs, and an occasional sidebar help readers glean more information. Age-appropriate books and websites will be useful for those wanting to know more. Current and informative, this will appeal both to browsers and those doing research. 2008, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, Ages 8 to 10, $20.95. Reviewer: Peg Glisson (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 9780761429883The Johnstown FloodMarc Tyler Nobleman   This is a historical account of one of the deadliest disasters in United States history. Songs, poems, and films have been written about the flood, caused by a break in the dam on the Little Conemaugh River in Pennsylvania. The dam was built in order to create a continuous flow of water in the canal between Johnstown and Pittsburgh. But the fourteen-year project was obsolete by the time it was finished. Railroads were the main means of transporting goods by 1873. The dam became weak from neglect; and in 1889, a major storm flooded Lake Conemaugh. On May 31, 1889, Colonel Elias Unger began sending telegrams and messengers on horseback to warn the neighboring townspeople of an impending flood. Many people ignored this warning, since many previous warnings had been false alarms. But the lake exploded through the dam and water reached speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Photographs and illustrations show the devastation that resulted in the deaths of over two thousand people. This is one of the first disasters whose victims were aided by the new American Red Cross. The new library in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was one of the first projects of the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. This is one of several books in the “We the People series.” Others include Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, The Hindenburg, and The Great Chicago Fire. 2006, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12, $23.93. Reviewer: Debbie West (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 9780756512675Updated 9/1/12To stay up to date on new books by this author, consider subscribing to The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database. For your free trial, click here.If you’re interested in reviewing children’s and young adult books, then send a resume and writing sample to to Top

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