Ever-Changing History: World History | Series Nonfiction

How does history fare when seen through a contemporary lens? This season is all about using fresh perspectives and interrogating the past.

1604SMS-WorldHistory is by definition in the past and cannot be changed. It is that very fact that can lead the general public and school librarians to believe that our knowledge and interpretation of history is also fixed and that it is unnecessary to spend limited acquisition funds to purchase new history materials. That is a misconception, because research about all aspects of the past continues to uncover new evidence or present fresh perspectives about the very distant and more recent past. The best series of this group take advantage of recent scholarship to help students learn that our understanding of world history isn’t fixed, but ever changing.


Jones, Theodore. April Fools Day: What a Joke! ISBN 9781482438840; ISBN 9781482438826; ISBN 9781482438857.

––––. Celebrating Day of the Dead. ISBN 9781482438888; ISBN 9781482438864; ISBN 9781482438895.

––––. Halloween’s Spooky History. ISBN 9781482438925; ISBN 9781482438901; ISBN 9781482438932.

Smith, Maximilian. The History of Juneteenth. ISBN 9781482438963; ISBN 9781482438949; ISBN 9781482438970.

––––. The Story of Cinco de Mayo. ISBN 9781482439007; ISBN 9781482438987; ISBN 9781482438314.

––––. What Is Groundhog Day? ISBN 9781482438345; ISBN 9781482438321; ISBN 9781482438352.

ea vol: 24p. (The History of Our Holidays). further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. 2016. lib. ed. $22.60. pap. $8.15. ebk. $22.60.

K-Gr 3 –Books with cover photos of groundhogs, whoopee cushions, skulls, and jack-o’-lanterns will grab most young readers’ attention. These histories of some common holidays are well written and attractive enough to hold their attention. Each spread is composed of two to three sentences about each holiday’s origins, history, and celebratory practices, accompanied by a full-page photo or illustration. Treatment of the holidays varies slightly, with Cinco de Mayo and Juneteenth more focused on history and culture and Groundhog Day and April Fools more interested in amusing celebrations. Photos and illustrations are bright and eye-catching. This set will help primary students understand the origins and celebrations of holidays. VERDICT Purchase for reading aloud and beginning readers.

Ponto, Joanna. Earth Day. ISBN 9780766074576; ISBN 9780766074699; ISBN 9780766074514.

––––. Easter. ISBN 9780766074583; ISBN 9780766074705; ISBN 9780766074521.

––––. Independence Day. ISBN 9780 766074590; ISBN 9780766074712; ISBN 9780766074538.

––––. Mardi Gras. ISBN 9780766074606; ISBN 9780766074729; ISBN 9780 766074545.

––––. St. Patrick’s Day. ISBN 9780 766074613; ISBN 9780766074736; ISBN 9780766074552.

––––. Valentine’s Day. ISBN 9780766074620; ISBN 9780766074743; ISBN 9780 766074569.

ea vol: 32p. (The Story of Our Holidays). glossary. index. photos. websites. Enslow. 2016. lib. ed. $25.27. pap. $10.52. ebk. $25.27.

Gr 3-6 –This series is beginning to show its age. Each title describes the origins, evolution, and celebrations of the topic holiday, including familiar and unique celebrations. The revisions and updates are few and fail to incorporate contemporary interpretations or even discuss new types of celebrations. For example, Earth Day doesn’t mention climate change and is mostly focused on the dangers of water pollution and garbage. Valentine’s Day talks about sending cards but doesn’t mention social media communication. The colorful covers and photos have been updated but fail to compensate for dated content. VERDICT Too dated for either new or replacement purchase.

Middle to High School

Altman, Linda. Adolf Hitler and the Rise of the Third Reich. 112p. ISBN 9780766071759; ISBN 9780766071766.

Gaines-Rodriguez, Ann Graham. Nelson Mandela and the End of Apartheid. 128p. ISBN 9780766073005; ISBN 9780766073012.

Malaspina, Anna. Mahatma Gandhi and India’s Independence. 128p. ISBN 9780766072626; ISBN 9780766072633.

––––. Mao Zedong and the Chinese Revolution. 128p. ISBN 9780766072923; ISBN 9780766072930.

Schmermund, Elizabeth & Tom McGowan. Maximilien Robespierre and the French Revolution. 128p. ISBN 9780766072947.

Schmermund, Elizabeth & Judith Edwards. Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution. 128p. ISBN 9780766074149; ISBN 9780766074156.

Worth, Richard. The Amistad Revolt and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 128p. ISBN 9780766073784; ISBN 9780766073791.

ea vol: (People and Events That Changed the World). index. notes. photos. websites. Enslow. 2016. lib. ed. $37.27. $37.27.

Gr 8 Up –These titles were previously published in the early 2000s as part of Enslow’s “In World History” series. The entries have new openings and chapter introductions, headings within chapters, and conclusions. However, the main bodies of the texts are almost completely unchanged, and those sections that have been changed are often merely reworded. Some primary source readings in the earlier editions have been replaced with illustrations or maps. Titles from the original series are widely held, and because this set has no significant revisions, it offers neither new information nor fresh perspective. VERDICT Dated and not changed enough to warrant purchase.

Asselin, Kristine Carlson. Women in World War I. ISBN 9781624039256; ISBN 9781680771022.

Eboch, M.M. Medicine on the Battlefield. ISBN 9781624039232; ISBN 9781680771008.

Edwards, Sue Bradford. Trench Warfare. ISBN 9781624039249; ISBN 9781680771015.

Lanser, Amanda. World War I Leaders. ISBN 9781624039294; ISBN 9781680771060.

Moore, Shannon Baker. Harlem Hellfighters. ISBN 9781624039225; ISBN 9781680770995.

Oachs, Emily Rose. World War I Weapons. ISBN 9781624039300; ISBN 9781680771077.

Sacks, Nathan. World War I Causes. ISBN 9781624039287; ISBN 9781680771053.

Streissguth, Tom. Christmas Truce of 1914. ISBN 9781624039218; ISBN 9781680770988.

––––. World War I Aftermath. ISBN 9781624039263; ISBN 9781680771039.

Yomtov, Nel. World War I Battles. ISBN 9781624039270; ISBN 9781680771046.

ea vol: 112p. (Essential Library of World War I). bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. ABDO. 2016. lib. ed. $24.95. ebk. $37.95.

Gr 8 Up –This series concentrates on the major topics of the First World War, discussing the war and its immediate and continuing consequences in clear, readable prose. Most of the coverage is centered on the western front and the military and political actions of the European adversaries. Women features women who enlisted or volunteered and women on the home front. Hellfighters explores the history and examines the role of African American soldiers in U.S. conflicts up to WWI. The authors do their best to objectively cover the political and military missteps that failed to avert the war, the horrible loss of life, and the aftermath of unstable peace. Related topics, such as technological and medical advances, are also explored. Brief profiles of key players and influential people augment the text. Average quality period photos and drawings illustrate some of the topics. This set doesn’t provide new information, but does make complex issues understandable. VERDICT A strong purchase for reports and interested readers.

Baptiste, Tracey. The Totally Gross History of Ancient Egypt. ISBN 9781499437546; ISBN 9781499437522; ISBN 9781 499437553.

Culp, Jennifer. The Totally Gross History of Ancient China. ISBN 9781499437584; ISBN 9781499437560; ISBN 9781499437591.

Gitlin, Marty. The Totally Gross History of Medieval Europe. ISBN 9781499437669; ISBN 9781499437645; ISBN 9781499437676.

Klar, Jeremy. The Totally Gross History of Ancient Rome. ISBN 9781499437461; ISBN 9781499437447; ISBN 9781499437478.

Mercer, Abbie. The Totally Gross History of Ancient Mesoamerica. ISBN 9781499437621; ISBN 9781499437607; ISBN 9781 499437638.

Meyer, Susan. The Totally Gross History of Ancient Greece. ISBN 9781499437508; ISBN 9781499437485; ISBN 9781499437515.

ea vol: 48p. (Totally Gross History). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen Central. 2016. lib. ed. $30.25. pap. $11.75. ebk. $30.25.

Gr 5-8 –There is plenty in this set to satisfy the middle school preoccupation with bodily functions, with coverage of each civilization’s disposal of excretion, bizarre medical practices, bodily ornamentation and decoration, gruesome warfare, and religious rites. The titles are written at a fairly high reading level, placing the gross facts into a larger narrative about the civilization’s history, albeit with use of words such as poop and boogers that appeal to the age group. Average-quality illustrations are mostly reproductions of period art and contemporary location shots rather than depictions of disgusting practices. The audience for this type of material is largely limited to middle school, although this set’s advanced vocabulary and higher reading level will reduce its appeal to the readers who are most interested in the topics. VERDICT A supplemental choice for libraries who want to put gross history into a fuller historical context.

Burgan, Michael. Daring Play: How a Courageous Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball. ISBN 9780756552916; ISBN 9780756552954.

––––. Miracle on Ice: How a Stunning Upset United a Country. ISBN 9780756552909; ISBN 9780756552947.

Carlson Berne, Emma. What a Kick: How a Clutch World Cup Win Propelled Women’s Soccer. ISBN 9780756552930; ISBN 9780756552978.

Nardo, Don. Massacre in Munich: How Terrorists Changed the Olympics and the World. ISBN 9780756552923; ISBN 9780756552961.

ea vol: 64p. (Captured History Sports). bibliog. chron. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Compass Point. 2016. lib. ed. $25.49. pap. $8.95.

Gr 7 Up –Capstone expands the “Captured” series into sports, with its usual combination of information about an iconic photograph and the photographer and circumstances in which it was taken. Each title emphasizes how the topic pivotal sports moment symbolized a major change in sports and the world at large, i.e., Jackie Robinson and racial integration. Books include plenty of background about the interplay between sports and society. The many illustrations and large photos are a fascinating visual record of events before and after the captured moment. This series is certain to entice sports fans to read about history. VERDICT This is a worthy addition to get students thinking critically about the impact and reach of primary source materials like photographs.

Africa. ISBN 9781422235300; ISBN 9781422283509.

––––. Australia. ISBN 9781422235317; ISBN 9781422283516.

––––. China. ISBN 9781422235324; ISBN 9781422283523.

––––. India. ISBN 9781422235331; ISBN 9781422283530.

––––. Japan. ISBN 9781422235348; ISBN 9781422283547.

––––. Latin America. ISBN 9781422235355; ISBN 9781422283554.

––––. North America. ISBN 9781422235362; ISBN 9781422283561.

––––. The Polar Regions. ISBN 9781422235379; ISBN 9781422283578.

ea vol: 48p. (Exploring World History). chron. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. Mason Crest. 2016. lib. ed. $20.95. ebk. $26.95.

Gr 5-8 –Originally published as the “Exploration Into” set in the UK by New Discovery Books in 1995 and in the U.S. by Chelsea House in 2000, this set surveys the movements of people in all parts of the world. The volumes begin with the region’s earliest human inhabitants and discuss how migration shaped its subsequent societal development. In addition, European explorers and exploration, the resulting exploitation of indigenous peoples, and the development and growth of modern civilizations are also covered. Since these titles discuss prehistory to the present in only 48 heavily illustrated pages, the content is superficial. Most of the text and illustrations are identical to the previous editions. New text is limited to a brief summary of current conditions on final pages. VERDICT Dated material, the lack of revisions, and superficial coverage make this set a poor choice for readers or researchers.

Ellis, Catherine & Jeremy Roberts. Adolf Hitler. ISBN 9781499462487; ISBN 9781499462494.

Klar, Jeremy & Henrietta Lily. Josef Mengele. ISBN 9781508170471; ISBN 9781508170488.

Lowery, Zoe & Jeremy Roberts. Oskar Schindler. ISBN 9781499462524; ISBN 9781499462531.

Oshiro, Beverly. Adolf Eichmann. ISBN 9781499462463; ISBN 9781499462470.

Roscoe, Kelly & Jeremy Roberts. Joseph Goebbels. ISBN 9781508170495; ISBN 9781508170501.

Sahgal, Lara & Toby Axelrod. Hans and Sophie Scholl. ISBN 9781499462449; ISBN 9781499462456.

Silverman, Jean & Linda Bayer. Elie Wiesel. ISBN 9781499462500; ISBN 9781499462517.

Simon, Emma & Thomas Streissguth. Raoul Wallenberg. ISBN 9781499462425; ISBN 9781499462432.

ea vol: 112p. (The Holocaust). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. 2016. lib. ed. $35.60. ebk. $35.60.

Gr 7-10 –This is a reissue of titles published about 15 years ago as Rosen’s “Holocaust Biographies” set, with new chapter introductions and conclusions. Some sections have been revised, abridged or reworded, but most of the overall texts are unchanged. The texts provide biographical information about each subject, with a focus on early experiences and describing each person’s efforts to resist or lead Nazi efforts. Period photos and maps illustrate the texts, and bibliographies have been updated. VERDICT Not changed enough to justify new or replacement purchase.

Hinman, Bonnie. Mystery of the Nazca Lines. ISBN 9781680780253; ISBN 9781680772425.

Kenney, Karen Latchana. Mystery of the Sphinx. ISBN 9781680780277; ISBN 9781680772449.

Krasner, Barbara. Mystery of Area 51. ISBN 9781680780222; ISBN 9781680772395.

––––. Mystery of the Mary Celeste. ISBN 9781680780246; ISBN 9781680772418.

Rea, Amy C. Mystery of Atlantis. ISBN 9781680780239; ISBN 9781680772401.

––––. Mystery of the Roanoke Colonists. ISBN 9781680780260; ISBN 9781680772432.

ea vol: 48p. (Mysteries of History). glossary. index. maps. ABDO. 2016. lib. ed. $22.95. ebk. $35.95.

Gr 5-9 –Budding conspiracy theorists and mystery lovers will be intrigued by this set, which suggests plausible and more sensational (aliens, ghosts, strange natural forces) explanations for each historical mystery. Each title uses a common format, with first chapters providing background and history about topics, followed by three chapters containing theories that might solve the puzzle. Authors outline the theories and objectively present the arguments for and against each. For such mysterious subject matter, the design of the titles is a bit conservative, with few wacky or vibrant photos and illustrations. Chapters include comprehension questions, primary source quotes, and a concluding “Weighing the Evidence” section that summarizes each theory and its pros and cons. Although the books are written at an upper-elementary reading level, they are also likely to appeal to older readers, especially reluctant ones, who will be drawn to the topics. VERDICT Good choices for middle level and secondary high reluctant readers.

Hyde, Natalie. Gladiators. ISBN 9780778722885; ISBN 9780778722274; ISBN 9781427180865.

––––. The Lost City of Atlantis. ISBN 9780778722984; ISBN 9780778722373; ISBN 9781427180919.

Johnson, Robin. The Great Chicago Fire. ISBN 9780778722960; ISBN 9780778722359; ISBN 9781427180902.

––––. William Shakespeare. ISBN 9780778722908; ISBN 9780778722298; ISBN 9781427180872.

Newland, Sonya. Space Exploration: Triumphs and Tragedies. ISBN 9780778722922; ISBN 9780778722311; ISBN 9781427180889.

Peppas, Lynn. Tanks at War. ISBN 9780778722946; ISBN 9780778722335; ISBN 9781427180896.

ea vol: 48p. (Chrome). glossary. illus. index. photos. Crabtree. 2016. lib. ed. $30.60. pap. $9.95. ebk. $45.90.

Gr 5-9 –The latest entries in the Chrome series provides highly readable basic information in attractively illustrated formats. Gladiators and Tanks combine bright action photos and drawings with detailed information about warriors and weapons. Atlantis, Chicago Fire and Shakespeare are adequate choices for reports and reading practice. Unfortunately, Space Exploration is little more than a list of successful and tragic space missions. Its discussion of the space race is overly simplistic and will have little appeal beyond dedicated space buffs. VERDICT Purchase Gladiators and Tanks; consider other titles based upon need and student interest.

Ridley, Sarah. Life in Ancient Egypt. ISBN 9781599209494; ISBN 9781680710045.

––––. Life in Ancient Greece. ISBN 9781599209500; ISBN 9781680710052.

––––. Life in Roman Times. ISBN 9781599209517; ISBN 9781680710069.

––––. Life in Viking Times. ISBN 9781599209524; ISBN 9781680710076.

ea vol: 32p. (Everyday History). chron. illus. maps. photos. Smart Apple. 2016. lib. ed. $21.95. ebk. $31.95.

Gr 4-7 –This set is an abridged version of books published as “Clues to the Past” by Watts in the 1990s and Sea to Sea in 2005. Topics and illustrations are virtually identical to those in the earlier editions, but the text has been reduced and simplified from the previous versions. Topics are standard everyday life material, including information about each society’s origins, food, homes, gender roles, children, education, entertainment and sports, religion, and death rites. The only change in illustrations is the addition of little kilts that clothe previously naked athletes. Because their content has simply been abridged, these books don’t offer new information or even improve on previous editions. VERDICT Too dated to consider for either reading or reports.

Roxburgh, Ellis. Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis: Presidents of a Divided Nation. ISBN 9781482442212; ISBN 9781482442199; ISBN 9781482442229.

––––. Cleopatra vs. the Roman Empire: Power, Conquest, and Tragedy. ISBN 9781482442250; ISBN 9781482442236; ISBN 9781482442267.

––––. Elizabeth I of England vs. Mary, Queen of Scots: Battle for the Throne. ISBN 9781482442298; ISBN 9781482442274; ISBN 9781482442304.

––––. Robert Peary vs. Frederick Cook: Race to the North Pole. ISBN 9781482442335; ISBN 9781482442311; ISBN 9781482442342.

––––. Sitting Bull vs. George Armstrong Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn. ISBN 9781482442373; ISBN 9781482442359; ISBN 9781482442380.

––––. Thomas Jefferson vs. John Adams: Founding Fathers and Political Rivals. ISBN 9781482442410; ISBN 9781482442397; ISBN 9781482442427.

ea vol: 48p. (History’s Greatest Rivals). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. 2016. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05. ebk. $31.95.

Gr 6-8 –This series explores notorious conflicts in history by examining the key rivals. Roxburgh explains how personal beliefs and experiences influenced each duo’s behavior and contributed to the outcomes of their rivalry, adding background information to give context. This approach allows readers to see how personality affected historical outcomes, such as how Lincoln’s political and military flexibility contrasted with Davis’s rigid governance and Elizabeth I’s self-control with Mary’s impulsiveness. The author concludes with the aftermath of each rivalry and history’s judgment of the rivals. Period photos, drawings, and quotes from the rivals supplement the texts. VERDICT Good additional choices that show the interplay between leaders and events.

Royston, Angela. Henry Ford and the Assembly Line. ISBN 9781508146292; ISBN 9781508146278; ISBN 9781508146308.

––––. Robert Fulton and the Steamboat. ISBN 9781508146377; ISBN 9781508146353; ISBN 9781508146384.

Spilsbury, Louise. Alexander Graham Bell and the Telephone. ISBN 9781508146254; ISBN 9781508146230; ISBN 9781508146261.

––––. Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press. ISBN 9781508146339; ISBN 9781508146315; ISBN 9781508146346.

––––. Robert Goddard and the Rocket. ISBN 9781508146414; ISBN 9781508146391; ISBN 9781508146421.

––––. The Wright Brothers and the Airplane. ISBN 9781508146452; ISBN 9781508146438; ISBN 9781508146469.

ea vol: 32p. (Inventions That Changed the World). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $10. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 5-8 –Combining biography and history, these books explore inventor and invention to understand an individual’s impact on the world. These texts are not comprehensive biographies; instead, they concentrate on how each inventor’s early interests led to his often prolonged efforts to make his invention viable and profitable. Each title traces the steps in the development of invention, explains how it worked, and analyzes its impact. Inventors are called by their first names throughout the books, lending a familiarity uncommon in series nonfiction. Descriptions of the inventions and the underlying principles of their operation are sometimes quite complex, with either missing or inadequate visual information. Illustrations are largely period photos and drawings of people and the inventions. Quotes in “The Word Is” sidebars aren’t documented. VERDICT A supplementary rather than first choice for reports.

Many of these sets take students far beyond the mentality of, “it’s history.” The best of the group is Compass Point’s “Captured Sports History,” with its important focus on how small moments can epitomize wider societal change, perfect for libraries from middle to high school. Elementary students will enjoy the whimsy and cultural diversity found in Gareth Stevens’s “The History of Our Holidays.” Other sets are good supplemental purchases. ABDO’s “Essential Library of World War I” chronicles the horrors and legacies of the First World War for secondary readers. ABDO’s “Mysteries of History” offers theories about perennially popular topics that will appeal to middle-level and older reluctant readers. Other sets could fill specific needs, including the latest of Gareth Stevens’s “History’s Greatest Rivals” and some of Crabtree’s ongoing “Chrome” series. Rosen Central’s “Totally Gross History” provides considerable historical and cultural context in the “gross” category.

Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

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Ali Sutton

I think kids need as much access to history in whatever form. Otherwise they will never know what the future can hold for them and the world. I have my kids reading Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of American Leadership right now and having them compare todays leaders with Teddy. They are really getting it, Jon Knokey is the author. makingofamericanleadership.com is his site for the book. It just takes a little history to change so much!

Posted : May 03, 2016 09:15




Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones


Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones


Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

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