Caution: don’t look for the good guys in here.
What do Mother Theresa, Honest Abe, and Mahatma Gandhi have in common? They’re all too good for this book, that’s what.
Sure, you’ll find some familiar faces like Queen Elizabeth I and Thomas Edison in here, but you’ll learn that behind their angelic smiles were cunning con artists who stole their way to gold and greatness.
Follow the trail of twelve troublemakers to learn what really made the Mona Lisa the most iconic painting in the world, meet the most powerful pirate from history (it’s probably not who you’re expecting), and watch empires rise and fall with the theft of a simple tea plant. Turns out our world owes a lot to those who dabble on the dark side.
If you’re not scared of crooks and criminals, take a peek at this new side of history . . .
Think fugitives are always bad guys running from the law? Think again! The twelve fugitives in this book annoyed everyone, including queens, presidents and popes. But they didn’t let the peeved or the powerful stop them from breaking laws. They stood up for what they believed in, which could be as noble as freedom or as greedy as money. They founded countries, won wars, and even ended empires—all while on the run! Follow the twists and turns of these lawbreaking lives to learn how anyone can change the world. Even you! Just make sure you have your running shoes tied tight.
Fantastic Fugitives: Criminals, Cutthroats, and Rebels Who Changed History While on the Run! is the second book in Brianna DuMont’s Changed History series. The series includes Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History (2015) and a forthcoming book on thieves who changed history.
Fakes, frauds, and phonies. Sounds like a book filled with criminals and delinquents, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Some of the biggest names in history can be found between these pages—and the light isn’t flattering. (We’re looking at you, George “I must not tell a lie” Washington.) Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History is the first book in a new nonfiction middle grade series that will explore the underbelly of history, making you question everything you thought you knew about history’s finest. Follow the fake lives of these twelve history-changers to uncover the fabrications of the famous, and the should-be-famous!
Brianna DuMont grew up in St. Louis, Missouri penning letters to authors about their plot twists and character choices, but never dreamed of writing herself. In college, she got her degree in Art History and Archaeology with the intention of spending her time digging in the dirt. Now that she's fallen back in love with writing, she continues her fascination with the past through her books. Her non-fiction series for ages 10+, The Changed History Series, begins with Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History. It looks at the underbelly of history and puts a new spin on old faces, especially for reluctant readers. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Tim, and their two hyperactive cats.
History’s Best: This presentation focuses on George Washington from Brianna’s Changed History series. Brianna goes through the commonly held view of this legendary figure before getting to the real man behind the myth. Along the way, she discusses research do’s and don’ts and includes an interactive demonstration of Washington’s myths to discuss bias before linking it back to close reading in our everyday lives. (Brianna’s most popular presentation!)
Path to Publication: Through her personal journey, Brianna shows students how she chose nonfiction writing and why she loves it. From idea to published, Brianna brings in key concepts of nonfiction research and how she goes about researching and writing her own books. She includes photos of her writing space and the various stages of rejection to success to inspire future generations of writers.
*Presentations run 50 minutes, including time for Q&A.
Use the contact page for pricing and booking.
Preparing classes for Brianna’s visit
Visits are more engaging and exciting for students if
they are familiar with an author’s work prior to the visit.
Here are a few things you can do:
Read a chapter of one of Brianna’s books.
Share Brianna’s website. Teachers before have made up trivia questions where the answers are found in the bio section and given a book away for a prize.
Brainstorm a few questions with the students that they would like answered on the day of the visit.
Get them excited to meet an author! This is the best way to ensure a great visit.
A screen and projector
For auditoriums: the above plus a microphone
If your school is outside of the Chicagoland area, Brianna asks for travel expenses as well. If multiple schools in the area book Brianna, the expenses will be shared.
Roundtrip airfare and ground transportation as needed (i.e. taxis to/from airport)
If school is within a driving distance of 150 miles, $0.50/mile
"Brianna DuMont was very gracious. We had a great lunch with her and select students. Her presentation fit very well with library curriculum."
--Joan Mommsen, Teacher Librarian, Belle Aire, District 58, Downers Grove, Il
“Brianna gave 3 presentations at the ILLC Young Authors conference in Normal, Illinois this year, and I had the privilege of being her author escort. She was an outstandingly engaging speaker--the 5th and 6th graders she spoke to were hanging on her words and had tons of questions for her at the end of each session. Her warmth, depth of knowledge, and humor combined to make her talks a highlight of this year's conference. I'm hoping to be able to persuade her to come talk about writing and the research process to my 7th graders next year!”
--Shenach Cameron, Teacher, Shepard Middle School, District 109, Deerfield, IL
“Brianna is an excellent choice as a guest author because she radiates knowledge while making history accessible to middle school students.”
--Ashley Flom, Substitute Teacher
“Our 6th graders really enjoyed Brianna DuMont’s presentation about te books in her Changed History series. The students were actively engaged in the stories and ideas she presented and loved dressing up as historical figures. As a teacher-librarian, I was thrilled with their enthusiasm for this series because the books are so well-researched. Each one is easy to use in my information literacy unit. The books’ accounts of little known yet intriguing historical tidbits are a treasure to find and use as a fascinating example to my students in this era of “fake news” and Ms. DuMont’s extensive and detailed citations that support these facts helped promote our discussion on plagiarism. A great presentation with a subtle yet powerful message!”
--Mrs. Jackson, Lester School, District 58, Downers Grove, IL
*Brianna also does free 20 minute Skype calls and has a free teacher’s guide that adheres to Common Core standards with activities for each chapter of Famous Phonies if school visits aren’t in your budget.
National Women’s History Museum: click here
Navigate women spies throughout American history starting with the Revolutionary War.
National WWII Museum: click here
Check out primary and secondary sources on all things World War II, including women in service.
CIA: click here
Listen to an interview with spies at the CIA discuss the sisterhood who brought down Osama Bin Laden.
Click here to view Brianna's Citations and Extras from Thrilling Thieves.