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PBS's American Experience Launches Interactive Educational Graphic Novel

Posted Dec 10, 2013
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American Experience has launched Tales From The Poisoner's Handbook, a digital graphic novel for students, educators and armchair sleuths of all ages, produced in conjunction with the premiere on PBS of the American Experience film The Poisoner's Handbook on January 7, 2014. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Deborah Blum,The Poisoner’s Handbook tells the story of New York City’s first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris and his talented chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, who together turned forensic chemistry into a formidable science. Using a vivid comic book style and an array of engaging rich media, Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook recounts four of their most notorious cases involving lethal poisons – carbon monoxide, radium, cyanide and arsenic. Players find the visual evidence, chemical trails and supporting evidence to solve these real-life mysteries and learn about the biochemical impact of poisons on the human body.

Developed in consultation with high school forensics teachers, the content supports 9-12 grade national science standards. Built in HTML5, the educational digital graphic novel can be accessed through a regular web browser to any internet-enabled whiteboard for use in the classroom, or can be used at home on computers or tablets. The knowledge of chemistry that players will need to solve the crimes is seamlessly integrated; no formal prior knowledge of chemistry is necessary. The companion website features additional content for teachers, including in-class experiments, extra clues and a community space where viewers and players can share their experiences.

Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook was made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, whose support has enabled American Experience to explore the central role that science and technology have played in shaping American history.

Visit Tales From The Poisoner’s Handbook at

About American Experience

Television’s most-watched history series, American Experience celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013. The series has been hailed as “peerless” (The Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune), and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, American Experience documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for the series represented by Freedom Riders, Triangle Fire and Stonewall Uprising.

Source: PBS,

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