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Robert Agnello Writing New Graphic Novel, "Band of Innocence"
Robert Agnello, of On The Lamb Productions and Emmy Award Winning Carmen Sandiego music fame, is writing a new graphic novel, "Band of Innocence" in collaboration with Illustrator, Louis Manna, of DC Comics.
According to an article in The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire, the The National Center for Family Literacy is creating a new set of materials patterned after comic books and graphic novels. Today, where many people scan most of what they read, children learn how to "text" at an early age, and instant messaging is becoming the language used, the graphic novel offers the opportunity of both graphics and minimal text, offering ease and saving time. For children, as well as adults, graphic novels can be a gateway to other reading material. The graphic novel is, in essence, becoming an educational tool.
For this book, Agnello states, "This book is different. I've put several different twists and turns into the pages of this graphic novel. Writing this book has been a lifetime in coming. I've always wanted to do something that would express to the young people of the world that they can make a difference, but on their terms, in their way. Reaching out to them in a different kind of way, the characters are innocent of any pre-conceived notions. They don't judge, they act. There is no thought of physical violence since they believe everyone has a story and that that story can be changed. When you understand someone's story you understand why and who they are. This is where compassion comes from. From understanding."
"The mission of this book is to create a movement, "band", if you will, that encourages children of all ages to take responsibility for their actions and spread kindness and good for others. This story is filled with action but gently pushes children towards an understanding that they have a destiny that they can guide. They have a voice. An interactive website is under development where children all over the world can pick their favorite characters. Kids can talk about what they are doing in their community to help the world around them. Each book will come with two Band Of Innocence bracelets. These bracelets signify that these children are now part of "BOI." The bracelets empower children with truth, compassion and the realization that anything can be accomplished if you are positive and in the moment."
Louis Manna of DC Comics, the Illustrator of the book, commented, "When Robert approached me about this project, I could see right off that that it had a lot of potential and was a very full and inspiring story not only for kids, but it could work as well with an older audience. Working on a long book like this can be hard to do if you are not into the material but from day one Robert's work kept me into it throughout the entire process. A book like this takes a lot of time to create and there is nothing worse than working on projects that lose their drive or the story falls apart. I can honestly say that was not the case with this. In my 25+ years of doing illustration work, this is by far the most complex book I ever worked on. One day I am drawing a lion, the next minute I may be asked to draw a charging wildebeest…or something even more exciting. The story has kept it's freshness all the way through and I am proud to be a part of this, I can see this as a set of books or movies, it's that strong."
Agnello explains, "We were looking to create a community where kids feel comfortable – where they are able to relate to what is happening in the book. In several different ways, they are able to identify with a character, which in turn will help them with situations they are dealing with in real life.
There will be many activities and extras for the kids. It will all be unveiled soon."
Taking his idea direct to his audience a few weeks ago and presenting it directly to children in a New York City public school, Agnello says it was very well received and all the children were very excited about it.
Band of Innocence will be available for purchase online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, comic book stores, as well as the author's website in January.
Agnello and Manna will be appearing at area New York City comic book stores in the coming months.
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Robert Agnello is an author, musician, comedian, storyteller from the New York/New Jersey area. His latest graphic novel, Band of Innocence, is due out in January. He is now embarking on a new venture, telling his story of "Fear It Then Do It!"