November 23, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Ever-Changing Forces: World History | Series Nonfiction

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1611-sms-worldhistoryHistory isn’t often associated with math, but these latest offerings reveal a closer relationship than one may suspect. Civilizations and societies used conquest and alliance to add to their empires and influence. Sometimes, marginalized and oppressed groups gained opportunities and rights. New technologies improved standards of living. History can also be examined in terms of subtraction. Conquerors and dictators took the rights, property, and in most cases the lives of the people they seized or ruled. Internal weaknesses or external forces caused some of the mightiest empires to lose territories, decline, or even vanish entirely. The best sets in this group illustrate the ever-changing forces of history.

Elementary

Bailey, R.J. Juneteenth. ISBN 9781 620313534; ISBN 9781624964008.

––––. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ISBN 9781620313541; ISBN 9781624964015.

––––. Memorial Day. ISBN 9781620313558; ISBN 9781624964022.

––––. Passover. ISBN 9781620313565; ISBN 9781624964039.

––––. Ramadan. ISBN 9781620313572; ISBN 9781624964046.

ea vol: 24p. (Holidays). glossary. index. photos. websites. Jump!/Bullfrog. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $25.65. ebk. $17.95.

K-Gr 2 –Using a controlled vocabulary in an appealing format, these books begin by defining the holidays and explaining their history and significance. They give examples of how they are celebrated and commemorated, such as private and public religious observations, public ceremonies, family celebrations, community and public service projects, and special meals and parties. Each spread contains a few brief sentences and photos of children and families engaging in holiday rituals or drawings of historic events and people. A picture glossary provides definitions. VERDICT Suitable for read-alouds and independent reading, this set will help early primary students learn about the deep historic and cultural roots of our commemorative holidays. A first purchase.

Conklin, Wendy & Blane Conklin. Ancient Egypt 1535 BC. ISBN 9781493836024.

Conklin, Wendy. Ancient Greece 712 BC. ISBN 9781493836000.

Slepian, Curtis. Ancient China 305 BC. ISBN 9781493836017.

ea vol: 32p. (You Are There!). photos. Teacher Created. Aug. 2016. pap. $8.99.

Gr 4-6 –The texts use either first or second person as a narrative device to describe what readers would see if transported back to each place and time. This structure, in combination with the breezy and informal language, allows for the incorporation of trivia as well as the books’ best feature, interactive activities such as deciphering pictographs or writing in ancient languages. Topics are typical for ancient history texts, with information about each civilization’s organization, government, economy, family life, and cultural and technical achievements. Sidebar comprehension questions and discussion prompts are intrusive and will draw students out of the text or back to the “present.” This set doesn’t improve on recent, similarly styled sets like Gareth Stevens’ very good “Encounters with the Past.” VERDICT Additional purchases where time travel–style history is popular.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. The Jamestown Colony Disaster. ISBN 9781512411164.

Oachs, Emily Rose. Death in the Donner Party. ISBN 9781512411157.

Pratt, Mary K. Hurricane Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans. ISBN 9781512411171.

Regan, Michael. The Great Chicago Fire. ISBN 9781512411201.

Sherman, Jill. The Irish Potato Famine. ISBN 9781512411195.

Yomtov, Nel. The Children’s Blizzard of 1888. ISBN 9781512411188.

ea vol: 40p. (Cause-and-Effect Disasters). chart. diag. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. Lerner. Nov. 2016. lib. ed. $30.65.

Gr 4-6 –Human error can turn already dangerous situations and natural disasters into catastrophic events. Each book summarizes the topic incident from beginning to end and explains how public reaction triggered changes, such as stricter building codes after the Great Chicago Fire and a new federal weather bureau after the Blizzard of 1888. Concluding summary spreads use arrows to link together causes and effects for the disasters. Text averages about three long paragraphs per page, which allows for adequate background and detail without being too gratuitous, gory, or sensational. A major strength is the combination of large photos and high-quality maps, graphs, and charts that depict the magnitude of the disasters. There is no shortage of coverage about most of these topics, but the well-done narratives and images will help students understand the impact of each disaster on history. VERDICT A strong choice for pleasure reading and report writing.

West, David. The Ancient Egyptians. ISBN 9781482450699; ISBN 9781482450705.

––––. The Ancient Greeks. ISBN 9781482450651; ISBN 9781482450668.

––––. The Ancient Romans. ISBN 9781482450613; ISBN 9781482450620.

––––. The Aztecs. ISBN 9781482450576; ISBN 9781482450583.

––––. The Incas. ISBN 9781482450538; ISBN 9781482450545.

––––. The Vikings. ISBN 9781482450491; ISBN 9781482450507.

ea vol: 32p. (Discover Ancient Civilizations). further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $26.60. ebk. $26.60.

Gr 3-5 –Each title in this series is made up of about 10 chapters with dramatic headings, such as “The Egyptians Loved Partying” or “Some Vikings Went Berserk.” Overall, these are introductory works. (Each chapter runs about four to five sentences long.) Occasionally, the vocabulary is too advanced for the intended audience, with words like monasteries and anesthetized used without definition. The illustrations are made up of maps, computer-generated drawings, and small inset photos. Some, such as the drawing of an Aztec priest holding up a sacrificial human heart, are intense for primary readers. VERDICT With only basic information and no clear audience, this set is not recommended.

Middle to High School

Balog, Tom. Indian Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236871; ISBN 9781422281048.

Gan, Jiao. Chinese Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236840; ISBN 9781422281017.

Martinez, Luis. Central American Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236864; ISBN 9781422281031.

McCaffrey, Larry. South American Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236901; ISBN 9781422281079.

Nagle, Jack. Rights & Responsibilities of Citizenship. ISBN 9781422236826; ISBN 9781422280997.

Ruiz, Jose. Mexican Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236888; ISBN 9781422281055.

Schmerhorn, Rick. Undocumented Immigration and Homeland Security. ISBN 9781422236833; ISBN 9781422281000.

Spranger, Pete. Cuban Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236857; ISBN 9781422281024.

Venettone, Mike. Refugees. ISBN 9781422236819; ISBN 9781422280980.

Warms, Ed. Middle Eastern Immigrants. ISBN 9781422236895; ISBN 9781422281062.

Wright, Frank. Asylum Seekers. ISBN 9781422236802; ISBN 9781422280973.

ea vol: 112p. (Immigration to North America). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Mason Crest. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $25.95. ebk. $32.95.

Gr 7-10 –Most of these titles were published in Mason Crest’s “The Changing Face of North America” set from 2004 and retain much of their original format and most of their chapter topics. The amount of revision varies. Refugees, Cuban Immigrants, and Middle Eastern Immigrants each have had substantial changes made to their historical and current information. Others, such as South American, have fewer tweaks, mostly new statistics and updates based on recent events. Coverage is objective, and the books are well written and describe the “push” and “pull” factors that draw immigrants to North America and how the Canadian and U.S. governments and their respective citizens have responded to different groups and circumstances. There is more material on the United States than on Canada. This set’s current data is good, but revisions aren’t total, and some popular culture references are dated—a significant weakness. VERDICT Updated enough to be an adequate supplemental purchase where needed.

Banzoff, Chris. Food Technology. ISBN 9781422236543; ISBN 9781 422281345.

Finucane, Brendan. Human Rights. ISBN 9781422236574; ISBN 9781422281376.

Johnson, Martin. Consumerism. ISBN 9781422236505; ISBN 9781422281307.

McDowell, Frank. Equal Opportunities. ISBN 9781422236529; ISBN 9781 422281321.

Marcovitz, Dan. The Arms Trade. ISBN 9781422236482; ISBN 9781 422281284.

Miller, Harry. Refugees. ISBN 9781422236604; ISBN 9781422281406.

Reese, Jon. Drugs. ISBN 9781422236512; ISBN 9781422281314.

Robinson, Chuck. Racism. ISBN 9781422236598; ISBN 9781422281390.

Steinman, Karen. Poverty. ISBN 9781422236581; ISBN 9781422281383.

Taylor, Patty. Animal Rights. ISBN 9781422236475; ISBN 9781422281277.

Thompson, Martin. Genetic Engineering. ISBN 9781422236550; ISBN 9781422281352.

Walters, Mike. Abortion. ISBN 9781422236468; ISBN 9781422281260.

Ward, Adam. Capital Punishment. ISBN 9781422236499; ISBN 9781422281291.

Ward, Albert. Genocide. ISBN 9781422236567; ISBN 9781422281369.

Webb, Glenn. Terrorism. ISBN 9781422236611; ISBN 9781422281413.

Wise, Steve. Euthanasia. ISBN 9781422236536; ISBN 9781422281338.

ea vol: 112p. (Critical World Issues). chart. chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Mason Crest. Sept. 2016. lib. ed. $25.95. ebk. $32.95.

Gr 9 Up –This well-written, thoughtful series uses international and historical perspectives to analyze contemporary issues. Most volumes open with a human-interest profile of a person affected by the conflict, followed by an extensive overview of its history, which in some cases traces back to early human civilizations. The remaining chapters are reasoned discussions of the issue. Some authors objectively summarize opposing viewpoints about contentious issues such as abortion and animal rights; others evaluate possible solutions to intractable problems such as genocide and terrorism. The majority of the information is about the United States, but other nations are also represented. Average-quality photos and graphics supplement the texts, and back matter provides pertinent statistics and lists of organizations in each volume. This set shows readers that the impact of world issues is far more reaching and complex than the phrase current events might imply. VERDICT Primary purchases for teen collections, especially those with a need for titles on international affairs.

Burling, Alexis. Women in Business. ISBN 9781680782905; ISBN 9781680777598.

––––. Women in Literature. ISBN 9781 680782929; ISBN 9781680777611.

Edwards, Sue Bradford. Women in Science. ISBN 9781680782943; ISBN 9781680777635.

––––. Women in Sports. ISBN 9781 680782950; ISBN 9781680777642.

Lanser, Amanda. Women in Politics and Government. ISBN 9781680782936; ISBN 9781680777628.

Marciniak, Kristin. Women in Arts and Entertainment. ISBN 9781680782899; ISBN 9781680777581.

Rissman, Rebecca. Women in Fashion. ISBN 9781680782912; ISBN 9781680777604.

––––. Women in War. ISBN 9781680782967; ISBN 9781680777659.

ea vol: 112p. (Women’s Lives in History). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. ABDO. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $24.95. ebk. $39.95.

Gr 9 Up –While the series name is a bit of a misnomer, as the content is mostly centered on the 20th century, this is an engaging look at women’s participation and advancement in a variety of fields. Each title opens with a chapter on a contemporary woman who exemplifies power and status in the book’s subject field, followed by roughly chronological chapters about women who refused to accept societal limits and made significant contributions in each area—and who, in achieving their own successes, also changed the lives of countless women who followed. There are some international examples, but most of the women are from the United States. Average-quality photos, paragraph-length inserts about trends and people, and longer biographical sketches of the early, iconic pioneers in each area enhance the texts. This set could be used for reports and will inspire students looking for role models. VERDICT Recommended for all teen collections.

Byers, Ann. The Golden Horde and the Rise of Moscow. ISBN 9781499463644; ISBN 9781499463620; ISBN 9781 499463651.

Dreier, David. The Yuan Dynasty: Warfare, Slaughter, and Political Rule. ISBN 9781499463682; ISBN 9781499463668; ISBN 9781499463699.

Freedman, Jeri. The Mongol Conquests: Warfare, Slaughter, and Political Rule. ISBN 9781499463606; ISBN 9781499463583; ISBN 9781499463613.

Harrison, Kathryn. Mongols on the Silk Road: Trade, Transportation, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Mongol Empire. ISBN 9781499463729; ISBN 9781499463705; ISBN 9781499463736.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. Genghis Khan and the Building of the Mongol Empire. ISBN 9781499463521; ISBN 9781499463507; ISBN 9781499463538.

Swanson, Jennifer. The Fall of the Mongol Empire: Disintegration, Disease, and an Enduring Legacy. ISBN 9781499463767; ISBN 9781499463743; ISBN 9781499463774.

Vietze, Andrew. Kublai Khan: Emperor of China. ISBN 9781499463569; ISBN 9781499463545; ISBN 9781499463576.

ea vol: 64p. (The Mongols). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen YA. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $34.45. pap. $12.95. ebk. $34.45.

Gr 6-10 –At its greatest extent in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongol Empire stretched from northeastern Europe to northern China and the Pacific, and this well-written set covers its entire history, from founding to expansion and enormous influence to decline. Authors objectively describe how Genghis Khan and his heirs perfected fierce warfare and extreme cruelty to capture and rule the empire’s vast territory, even as they tolerated religious differences, experimented with innovative governance, and encouraged trade on the vital Silk Road. They also explain the enduring legacy of the Mongol Empire, including dynastic changes in China, the age of exploration, and the spread of bubonic plague throughout Eurasia. Images are average-quality period art and contemporary photos of locations and artifacts; the set’s few maps lack detail and are a weakness. The Mongol empire is an often overlooked part of history, and this set gives it the attention it deserves. VERDICT A first purchase for middle school and early high school students.

Gibson, Karen. Taj Mahal. ISBN 9781 624692116.

Orr, Nicole K. The Sydney Opera House. ISBN 9781624692093.

Orr, Tamra. The Space Needle. ISBN 9781 624692055.

Reusser, Kayleen. Big Ben. ISBN 9781 624692017.

Roberts, Russell. Eiffel Tower. ISBN 9781 624692031.

Tatlock, Ann. Statue of Liberty. ISBN 9781 624692079.

ea vol: 32p. (Building on a Dream). chron. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. notes. websites. Purple Toad. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $26.50.

Gr 4-8 –Clearly written narratives and informative graphics tell the stories of the conception, construction, and symbolic importance of some of the world’s most magnificent structures. The entries are brief but have enough text to explain societal background and the specific situations that were the impetus for building each edifice. They also profile the structures’ designers and builders, shed light on the complex challenges of their design and construction, and include a variety of facts that will hold reader attention or serve as examples of physical or engineering feats (e.g., the Statue of Liberty’s copper “skin” is about as thick as two stacked pennies.) Most important, authors analyze why each is an enduring symbol of its country’s culture and heritage. Readers will marvel at these “dreams” that became reality. VERDICT Highly recommended for middle school libraries.

Hardyman, Robyn. What Caused the Civil War? ISBN 9781482451801; ISBN 9781482451863; ISBN 9781482451757.

––––. What Caused World War I? ISBN 9781482451825; ISBN 9781482451887; ISBN 9781482452051.

––––. What Caused World War II? ISBN 9781482451832; ISBN 9781482451894; ISBN 9781482451771.

Howell, Sara. What Caused the American Revolution? ISBN 9781482451795; ISBN 9781482451856; ISBN 9781482451740.

Levete, Sarah. What Caused the Afghanistan War? ISBN 9781482451788; ISBN 9781482451849; ISBN 9781482451733.

––––. What Caused the Vietnam War? ISBN 9781482451818; ISBN 9781482451870; ISBN 9781482451764.

ea vol: 48p. (Why War Happened). further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05. ebk. $31.95.

Gr 6-8 –Pedestrian best describes this set that surveys the conditions and hostilities that lead to the outbreak of war. Each title only very briefly summarizes the conflicts and analyzes their impact. Authors objectively discuss the merits of the combatants’ stances but speculate whether the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars could have been avoided. The set’s concept is a good one, but execution is flawed. Background is limited and occasionally oversimplified. World War II is almost exclusively focused on events in Europe. There are some content errors: Civil War misstates the number of military deaths, and Vietnam misdates the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Not all volumes include maps, and the photos are often uninspired. VERDICT Not recommended.

Hayes, Amy. Ancient Inca Government. ISBN 9781499419511; ISBN 9781499419481; ISBN 9781499419528.

––––. Ancient Maya Geography. ISBN 9781499419740; ISBN 9781499419719; ISBN 9781499419757.

Hofer, Charles. Ancient Maya Technology. ISBN 9781499419832; ISBN 9781508149040; ISBN 9781499419849.

Honders, Christine. Ancient Aztec Government. ISBN 9781499419214; ISBN 9781499419146; ISBN 9781499419221.

––––. Ancient Maya Culture. ISBN 9781499419610; ISBN 9781499419580; ISBN 9781499419627.

Keppeler, Jill. Ancient Maya Government. ISBN 9781499419788; ISBN 9781499419764; ISBN 9781499419801.

Levy, Janey. The Ancient Maya Economy. ISBN 9781499419696; ISBN 9781499419665; ISBN 9781499419702.

Linde, Barbara. The Ancient Aztec Economy. ISBN 9781499419078; ISBN 9781499419054; ISBN 9781499419085.

––––. Ancient Aztec Geography. ISBN 9781499419122; ISBN 9781499419092; ISBN 9781499419139.

Machajewski, Sarah. The Ancient Inca Economy. ISBN 9781499419412; ISBN 9781499419382; ISBN 9781499419429.

Mahoney, Emily. Ancient Aztec Culture. ISBN 9781499418989; ISBN 9781499418958; ISBN 9781499418996.

––––. Ancient Aztec Technology. ISBN 9781499419269; ISBN 9781499419238; ISBN 9781499419276.

Morlock, Theresa. Ancient Inca Geography. ISBN 9781499419467; ISBN 9781499419436; ISBN 9781499419474.

Nagelhout, Ryan. Ancient Inca Technology. ISBN 9781499419566; ISBN 9781499419535; ISBN 9781499419573.

Nelson, Kristen Rajczak. Ancient Inca Culture. ISBN 9781499419313; ISBN 9781499419283; ISBN 9781499419320.

Niver, Heather. Ancient Aztec Daily Life. ISBN 9781499419030; ISBN 9781499419009; ISBN 9781499419047.

––––. Ancient Inca Daily Life. ISBN 9781499419368; ISBN 9781499419337; ISBN 9781499419375.

––––. Ancient Maya Daily Life. ISBN 9781508149026; ISBN 9781499419634; ISBN 9781499419658.

ea vol: 32p. (Spotlight on the Maya, Aztec, and Inca Civilizations). further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. PowerKids. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $11.75. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 4-7 –These surveys of the societal infrastructure and daily lives of people in highly advanced pre-Columbian empires have general introductions, followed by spreads with one to three paragraphs of text that discuss aspects of the subject. The topics in each volume are greatly interrelated because each aspect of the civilizations influenced all of the others, and there is some overlap and repetition in the content and illustrations. The images, some full page, are a strength. They are well captioned and combine contemporary photos of locations, ruins, and artifacts with reproductions of period art, and Aztec and Mayan codices. Dates are in the less preferred “B.C.” and “A.D.” format. These books are readable and would support basic reports, especially the titles on geography, technology and economies, but as a group these options don’t improve on the large number of extant titles about pre-Columbian civilizations. VERDICT While they don’t break new ground, there is enough illumination throughout to be considered for supplemental purchase.

Hyde, Natalie. Internment Camps. ISBN 9780778728603; ISBN 9780778728627; ISBN 9781427118417.

Peppas, Lynn. Workers’ Rights. ISBN 9780778728610; ISBN 9780778728634; ISBN 9781427118424.

ea vol: 48p. (Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Crabtree. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $31.32. pap. $10.95. ebk. $46.98.

Gr 6-9 –This series makes use of primary sources to enhance a general historical overview of a topic. The United States and Canada are tackled, and the books show the two nations’ shared history and experiences, with coverage slightly weighted toward the United States. Readers are instructed about many different types of primary sources (called “evidence”) and offered examples of how these sources can help piece together the past. Background information and a thorough discussion and analysis of the topics are supported by source quotes and numerous reproductions of photos, cartoons, posters, and many types of documents. Boxed “Evidence Record Cards” document and explain each source, and “Analyze This” questions encourage readers to think about how sources can provide new or conflicting perspectives or change their ideas about the topic. VERDICT Good additional purchase to demonstrate the importance of primary sources.

Kovacs, Vic. The Culture of Athens. ISBN 9781508150008; ISBN 9781508149958.

––––. The Culture of Sparta. ISBN 9781499422603; ISBN 9781508149965.

––––. The Culture of the Byzantine Empire. ISBN 9781508150015; ISBN 9781508149972.

––––. The Culture of the Islamic World. ISBN 9781499422597; ISBN 9781499422573.

––––. The Culture of the Mongols. ISBN 9781508150022; ISBN 9781508149989.

––––. The Culture of the Qin and Han Dynasties of China. ISBN 9781508150039; ISBN 9781508149996.

ea vol: 32p. (Ancient Cultures and Civilizations). further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. websites. PowerKids. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 5-8 –Clear and well-organized texts describe the origins, expansion, consolidation, achievements, declines, and legacies of ancient civilizations. Although the volumes are brief, they provide adequate background and context and are forthright about the strengths and weaknesses of each civilization and its contributions to world culture. Sidebars add information about remarkable places, people, and curiosities— for example, the location of Genghis Khan’s tomb. Average-quality maps show locations and the extent of the empires; illustrations are an attractive combination of drawings and photos of locations, ruins, and artifacts. There are many extant sets on these topics, and this set breaks no new ground in either content or interpretation, making most of the books supplemental purchases. VERDICT Consider Byzantine and Mongols as primary purchases for their good single-volume coverage of two often overlooked ancient civilizations.

Watson, Danielle. The Castle in Medieval Europe. ISBN 9781502618788; ISBN 9781502618795.

––––. The Church in Medieval Europe. ISBN 9781502618849; ISBN 9781502618856.

––––. The City in Medieval Europe. ISBN 9781502618801; ISBN 9781502618818.

––––. The Countryside in Medieval Europe. ISBN 9781502618825; ISBN 9781502618832.

ea vol: 80p. (Life in Medieval Europe). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Cavendish Square. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $35.64. ebk. $35.64.

Gr 5-8 –In 2001, Benchmark published the four-volume set “Life in the Middle Ages.” In 2009, Cavendish Square combined the four books into the single title Everyday Life in Medieval Europe. This newest set, published under Watson’s byline, is a very slightly revised version of the two previous publications. It has new chapter introductions with primary sources quotes, new headings, and some new sidebars about topics such as the Magna Carta in City and the Domesday Book in Countryside. Aside from some minor rewording, most of the content is unaltered. However, the images have been updated, including photos of surviving places and structures. VERDICT Not revised enough to justify purchase.

Most of the sets in this group illustrate the impact of history, and several are good first purchase choices. The best is Purple Toad’s “Building on a Dream.” Rosen YA’s “The Mongols” is a comprehensive set and is highly recommended. Mason Crest’s “Critical World Issues” will help high school readers analyze current issues. ABDO’s “Women’s Lives in History” is notable for its subject matter. Other sets are good secondary choices. Powerkids’ “Spotlight on the Maya, Aztec and Inca Civilizations” has basic report information for intermediate students; books that focus on the empires’ geography, technology, and economies are the best purchase choices. By reflecting on the past, students can come to a better understanding of the present.

Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

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