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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Age of the Image

The Age of the Image

Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens

Stephen Apkon; Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


An urgent, erudite, and practical book that redefines literacy to embrace how we think and communicate now

We live in a world that is awash in visual storytelling. The recent technological revolutions in video recording, editing, and distribution are more akin to the development of movable type than any other such revolution in the last five hundred years. And yet we are not popularly cognizant of or conversant with visual storytelling's grammar, the coded messages of its style, and the practical components of its production. We are largely, in a word, illiterate.
But this is not a gloomy diagnosis of the collapse of civilization; rather, it is a celebration of the progress we've made and an exhortation and a plan to seize the potential we're poised to enjoy. The rules that define effective visual storytelling-much like the rules that define written language-do in fact exist, and Stephen Apkon has long experience in deploying them, teaching them, and witnessing their power in the classroom and beyond. In The Age of the Image, drawing on the history of literacy-from scroll to codex, scribes to printing presses, SMS to social media-on the science of how various forms of storytelling work on the human brain, and on the practical value of literacy in real-world situations, Apkon convincingly argues that now is the time to transform the way we teach, create, and communicate so that we can all step forward together into a rich and stimulating future.


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I AM HERE: A short film for The Age of the Image, by Stephen Apkon (foreword by Martin Scorsese)

In his new book The Age of the Image, Steve Apkon argues that it is time we understand why and how visual images are today's most powerful form of communication. This short film, created especially for the book, shows exactly how image, sound and story can be more effective than words alone.

Praise for The Age of the Image

“This sumptuously detailed and profound new book should be required reading for anyone who thinks about how to effectively communicate in our new world of screens.” —Jonathan Demme

“[A] timely, acutely perceptive, and often impassioned book, which sets the rise of visual language in the context of the long history of communication.” —Simon Schama


Reviews from Goodreads

Stephen Apkon; Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Stephen Apkon is the founder and executive director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit film and education organization located in Pleasantville, New York. The JBFC presents a wide array of documentary, independent, and foreign film programs in a three-theater state-of-the-art film complex, and has developed educational programs focused on twenty-first century literacy. Under Apkon's leadership, the JBFC opened a 27,000-square-foot media arts lab in 2009. Since its doors opened in 2001, JBFC education programs have reached more than 100,000 children.

Steve serves on the boards of The World Cinema Foundation and Advancing Human Rights. He is President of Big 20 Productions; the director and producer of The Patron, a collaboration with Ido Haar; a producer of Enlistment Days, directed by Ido Haar; and a producer of I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful directed by Jonathan Demme.

image of Stephen Apkono
Lynda Shenkman Curtis

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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