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Discovering Ancient and Medieval History

Genius of Islam by Bryn BarnardBarnard, Bryn The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World
Gr. 4–6   40 pp. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books) 2011

This volume surveys, via text and informative original paintings, the many technological and scientific advances made, refined, or dispersed during the “Islamic Golden Age.” The seventh through twelfth centuries saw progress in medicine, agriculture, optics, music, machinery, etc., to which Barnard devotes twelve topically divided double-page spreads. Tidily colored illustrations, accompanied by good captions, offer helpful amplification of the subtopics. Reading list.
Subjects: Ancient and Medieval History; Islamic Empire; Religion—Islam; Inventions and inventors

The Treasures of the Seven Seas by Frank GoddioGoddio, Franck The Treasures of the Seven Seas: Cleopatra and the Mystery of the San Diego
Gr. 4–6   45 pp. Prestel 2011

Text by Marianne Meyer Bianchi. Undersea archaeologist Goddio seeks artifacts on the ocean floor. Detailed here are his expeditions in Egypt, searching for ancient artifacts, and the Philippines, looking for remains from the 1600 San Diego. Background information on the areas and their historical significance provides context before specific finds, along with techniques for underwater archaeology, are discussed. Plentiful photos, maps, and sidebars supplement the text.
Subjects: Ancient and Medieval History; Egypt, Ancient; Kings, queens, and rulers; Women—Royalty; Cleopatra; Shipwrecks; Vehicles—Ships; Underwater exploration; Oceans; Archaeology; Philippines

How the Sphinx Got to the Museum vby Jessie HartlandHartland, Jessie How the Sphinx Got to the Museum
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Blue Apple 2010

The process of how an artifact—in this case, an Egyptian Sphinx—ends up in a museum is explained to a group of visiting children. From “ordered by the pharaoh” to “repaired by the conservators,” no step is left unexplored; textured cartoon illustrations help illuminate the events. This thorough discussion of the archaeological and curatorial processes will satisfy young historians.
Subjects: Visual Arts; Sphinxes (Mythology); Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); Museums; Egypt, Ancient; Sculpture; Archaeology

Ancient Egypt by Stuart A. KallenKallen, Stuart A. Ancient Egypt
High school   96 pp. ReferencePoint 2011
Marcovitz, Hal Ancient Rome
High school   96 pp. ReferencePoint 2011
Woog, Adam The Early Middle Ages
High school   96 pp. ReferencePoint 2011
Woog, Adam The Late Middle Ages
High school   96 pp. ReferencePoint 2011

Understanding World History series. These books chronicle the personalities and events that played principal roles in the development of Western civilization from 3100 BC in ancient Egypt to the end of the Middle Ages, circa 1450. The readable, concise texts are reinforced with numerous illustrations and maps. Readers will appreciate the sidebars that give additional information about particular eras. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Ancient and Medieval History, Egypt, Ancient; Rome, Ancient

Digging for Troy by Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. ClineRubalcaba, Jill and Cline, Eric H. Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik
Gr. 4–6   74 pp. Charlesbridge 2011

Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Rubalcaba and Cline first discuss the myth surrounding Troy’s downfall, then examine major phases of the storied city’s excavation. Evolution of excavation techniques is detailed as well as the change in thoughts surrounding the possible reality of a Trojan War and how science could reconcile history and myth. Illustrations and archival photographs throughout help support the thorough text. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Ancient and Medieval History; Archaeology; Troy (Extinct city); Trojan War

From the January 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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