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Press Releases



In the face of a shortened school year, schools can still see improved academic performance!

 August 5, 2010 – Pilot Hill, California –Soon there will be a cacophony of voices. Laughter and the smiling faces of eager students will greet teachers, ready to challenge the new school year. But what will that year bring?

It’s certainly not news that schools are struggling to make ends meet and deliver great educational programs to their students at the same time. But even in the face of drastic budget cuts, educators have new ways to improve academic performance in every classroom in California.

Electric Canvas, a company that brings The Gold Rush to life in books and multimedia, has developed the Interactive Multimedia educational program, The Gold Rush, which is targeted to grades 4, 5, and 6.

For years, case studies (highlights  -  entire study) have shown the advantages to learning and retention that multimedia brings to students. Among other things, the studies measure student learning outcomes of using Interactive Multimedia versus other media. Improved test scores and a significant reduction in learning times (39% - 77%) are only two of the remarkable improvements students and teachers realize with Interactive Multimedia as their learning method. And typically schools will achieve a significant cost savings using Interactive Multimedia vs. buying dozens of expensive print textbooks for their classrooms.

Couple these learning advances with a program that helps students discover the excitement and importance to California history as The Gold Rush, and you’ll not only engage students but delight parents and educators as well.

“Folsom schools used the Golden History Books to enable their students to compete in the California History Bee program,” notes Jody Hornor, co-developer of The Gold Rush Multimedia program with her husband Ric. “The teachers loved the idea of the students learning from primary sources,” Hornor continues. “But, after three years of working from them they found that the material was a bit too tough for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. Some of the teachers and parent-assistants suggested that we  develop Interactive Multimedia (IMM) instead. So that's just what we did.

The Gold Rush interactive multimedia (IMM) program uses dozens of restored 19th century images accompanied by educational narrative, rolling text, and highlighted areas on images to help students focus on specific topics of discussion. It also features pop-up text definitions of difficult words and pop up photos to provide a greater detail on certain topics. Maps help students locate places being discussed in the narrative and by clicking on the map links they will find a wealth of detail that provides more in-depth information on the area.

Two online demos provide a taste of The Gold Rush. Sit back and enjoy a self-running demo or interact with the program in a hands-on demo. Or perhaps you just want to enjoy a few interesting California Scenes.

"Multimedia does a great job of engaging students in the learning process, "says 35 year veteran 4th/ 5th grade teacher, Carol Timmerman.  "I especially like the fact it addresses all student learning modalities. As the teacher, I would present the program first to the entire class, and then allow students time for guided independent study."

The news organization California Watch has an enlightening article on the crushing budget deficits, shrinking school years and what it could mean to schools and students alike.

And, according to the August 3, 2010 Sacramento Bee, New California Academic Standards approved on Monday, August 2, ask educators to teach literacy in history, social science and science classes.

Could interactive multimedia in the classroom help students learn more and schools spend less, in spite of today’s challenges?

“It’s not going to solve all the problems schools are facing in today’s economy,” says Hornor, “but it could be a powerful tool that will help everyone examine new options and do more with less to solve these difficult problems.”



Just Released 
The Golden Hub, Sacramento 

Award-Winning Local Publisher Introduces New Sacramento Book

May 28, 2008 – Pilot Hill, CA – The new, 312 page book, The Golden Hub – Sacramento is published in the Highway 49 Gold Rush town of Pilot Hill, only 40 miles from downtown Sacramento. 

The Golden Hub chronicles the birth and development of Sacramento City and County from Johan Sutter's 1839 New Helvetia and through the Gold Rush to the end of the 19th century. 

 Excerpts from diaries and journals of over 50 different Gold Rush era individuals who were in Sacramento are included in The Golden Hub. Only a half dozen of these voices have ever been heard before. These colorful new personalities bring an enlightening new dimension to Sacramento's history through their first person accounts of the life and times in the area.. 

Publisher Electric Canvas, using the imprint of 19th Century Books, has found new gold in the Mother Lode with this, their fifth book in a series focusing on 19th century California. 

The books are unique in that they are a compilation of works written in the 19th century, instead of a rewrite or interpretation of history as is found in most history books. "The language of the 19th century pioneers and miners is much more colorful that today’s language," notes Jody Hornor, one half of the husband and wife team that produces these unique books. "Whether it’s Sir Henry conveying his disgust at ‘spittoons . . . the very sight of which invites discharge from an American mouth,’ or John Bidwell having a coyote’s ‘lights’ for breakfast, these books reflect actual events by the people who experienced them."

"The only thing we write," continues Hornor, "are the photo captions. Everything else comes straight from 19th century texts, preserving the colorful vernacular for the reader to enjoy."

Other elements of the books include side bars on every page with anecdotes, crime stories, letters from early settlers, and entries from the early pioneers' and miners' diaries and journals. There are also articles from the early newspapers including the Sacramento Bee, the Union, and the Folsom Telegraph.

A restored photo on every page rounds out the readers' experience with a clear look at the lifestyles of the time. Meticulously restored by Ric Hornor, you'll discover aspects of the era that you would have never seen without the restoration process. 

The Golden Hub – Sacramento is the fifth book in the series. The first book was The Golden Corridor, which focused on the travel routes from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe (Highways 50 and 80), The Golden Quest which covered Lake Tahoe and the Comstock Lode, Highway 49 Volume I which covers El Dorado, Placer, Nevada and Sierra Counties, and Highway 49 Volume II covering the southern five counties along Highway 49, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera Counties.

The quality and uniqueness of these books has received high praise from national and local reviewers and awards from the Independent Publisher’s Association.

"With all the new development and new people coming to the area, one of our biggest goals is to help people learn about the area’s rich past and encourage them to help protect the culture and historic sites for future generations," comments Jody Hornor.

"It takes us hundreds of hours of photo restoration time for each book," comments Ric Hornor. "Photo restoration is a lot like being an archeologist. When you clean off the dirt and grime, the discoveries, things that couldn’t be seen without restoration, are interesting and rewarding to both myself and the readers. 

"The Golden Hub, Sacramento" is available in most Sacramento area Raley’s, BelAir's, major and independent book stores, gift shops, and museum stores, online at: or by calling 800-989-8112.

High-Resolution Photos

Be sure you download images from the link provided. If you right click over the image to download you'll only get a low-res web sized image.

PDF preview of chapters and index, click here or on the cover photo.

Right Click here to Download 3"x5" High-Res "Golden Hub -- Sacramento" cover photo

PDF preview of chapters and index, click here or on the cover photo.

Right Click here to Download 3"x5" High-Res "Golden Highway Volume II" cover photo

PDF preview of chapters and index, click here or on the cover photo.

Right Click here to Download 3"x5" High-Res "Golden Highway Volume I" cover photo

PDF preview of chapters and index, click here or on the cover photo.
Right Click here to Download 3" x 5" High-Res "Golden Corridor" cover photo


PDF preview of chapters and index, click here or on the cover photo.

Right Click here to Download High-Res "Golden Quest" cover photo


Right Click here to Download High-Res - Ric & Jody Hornor, Publishers, at the Art Farm


Author's Bio's click here and cut and paste.


Links  Folsom History Museum  w Living in & History of El Dorado County

© 2009 Electric Canvas / 19th Century Books w 1001 Art Road, Pilot Hill, CA 95664 w 916.933.4490 w Contact