Submitted photo Brian Bibi climbs to the top of Mount Etna, a live volcano, on the island of Sicily.
Submitted photo
Brian Bibi climbs to the top of Mount Etna, a live volcano, on the island of Sicily.

Archived Story

Niles grad Bibi kickstarts Explore Books

Published 9:15am Thursday, June 12, 2014

Niles native and 1994 Niles High graduate Brian Bibi has always loved to travel.

After beginning a career as graphic design artist in Chicago in the late 1990s, he took a three-month sabbatical to Western Europe, seeing as many world-class museums and masterworks as he could.

The trip inspired him to combine his love for travel, learning and design into an educational children’s book series called “Explore Books: Travel Activities.”

Using firsthand knowledge gained from his travels, Bibi created his first travel book, “Explore Western Europe,” which was later published.

“Educating kids about the diversity of the planet is one of the most important gifts we can give them,” Bibi said. “Travel can breed better understanding and acceptance of other cultures and creates growth not possible through formal education. Hence the invention of the field trip.”

Then, in 2003, Bibi went to Southeast Asia for six months to work on content for a new entry in his series on that portion of the world.

Now, Bibi has set his sights on his next project in the series: the historical Eastern United States.

“All my books so far have focused on places outside of the U.S,” Bibi said. “These three new books are focusing on the great history and amazing places and people of the U.S. East Coast — Americana in all its greatness.”

To get the project up and running, Bibi has created a Kickstarter campaign through the website Kickstarter.com. He is asking people to pledge money that will fund his trip to the east coast where he will produce content for the series.

To find out more, or to contribute, visit the website kickstarter.com and search Brian Bibi. The campaign ends July 3.

“It’s 30 days do-or-die. Either, I will achieve the goal and do the USA project, or I go back to full-time design and this gets set on the shelf and nothing comes of it,” he said.

Bibi currently lives in Amsterdam, but lived in Niles for the first 18 years of his life. He said many people in Niles influenced his work, including his parents Nadim and Ramona Bibi. Nadim taught at Niles High for 25 years.

Bibi said several educators in the Niles Community Schools system helped him get to where he is today, including Mrs. Seaman (Eastside Elementary), Mr. Denison (Ring Lardner social studies) and Mr. Isabell (Niles High art teacher).

“(Mrs. Seaman) used to give painting workshops after school at Eastside School in second grade where I formally learned how to paint at a very young age,” he said. “The experience with her is unforgettable and life-changing.”

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