BY STACI WILSON
While a young man living in the Montrose area, Tim Ogline’s love of history was stoked by the great amount of time he spent in the Susquehanna County Library and Historical Society, as well as several influential history teachers at Montrose High School.
“My imagination was fired and it became something that I’ve always been passionate about,” Ogline said.
That passion has taken over the better part of the past decade for the 1986 graduate, as the Philadelphia area graphic illustrator has embarked on several book projects – all about one man – Benjamin Franklin.
Ogline has two complete bookshelves dedicated to works on Franklin – providing some of the research information needed for him to complete “Ben Franklin for Beginners,” a young adult oriented biography that discusses Franklin’s life and achievements in topic oriented chapters that were also illustrated by Ogline.
“Being local to Philadelphia – which is, of course, Benjamin Franklin’s hometown- I have access to historic places and museums such as Franklin Court, the Franklin Institute and the Independence National Park; so I’ve spent a great deal of time looking at exhibitions that document Franklin’s life,” he said.
Ogline said he was most surprised at the preconceptions he had about the Founding Father as a “garrulous old man with a twinkle in his eye.”
“I never thought of someone who might be motivated by pride and anger,” Ogline said.
It was a public dressing down before the Privy Council in London in 1774 that propelled Franklin into the revolutionary movement.
“He had been publicly humiliated and was then stripped of his post,” Ogline said. “Benjamin Franklin turned from a loyal British subject into an American. It doesn’t seem to be a slow evolution in political philosophy that occurred in Franklin, but a seismic shift. In the end, it was anger that ignited his Revolutionary zeal.”
“Ben Franklin for Beginners” was released Oct. 1, but he exhibited the book in September at the Baltimore Comic-Con. Since its release, Ogline has attended several book signings in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, as well as making an appearance at the New York Comic-Con in his publisher’s booth.
He said he has been happy with the reception the book has received from parents and educators.
“My whole intent is to make history accessible and entertaining, and I hope that as more people are exposed to the book that they’ll feel it achieves that goal,” he said.
In addition to “Ben Franklin for Beginners,” Ogline is also nearly finished with a graphic novel adaptation of “The Way to Wealth.” Other book projects in the development also include a historical fiction graphic novel and an alphabet book – all based on Franklin.
In addition to writing and illustrating works on Franklin, Ogline lives in Marlton, N.J., with his wife, Candace, and nearly three-year-old son, Phillip. His parents live in the Hallstead area and his sister and her family live in Great Bend.
“Ben Franklin for Beginners” is distributed by Random House, it can be ordered in any book store and is also available online from Barnes * Noble, Amazon, Book-a-Million, Powell’s, Target and Wal-mart, among others.
For more information about the book and all the books in the “Beginners” series, visit www.forbeginnersbooks.com.