Posts tagged ‘religion’

MAGNIFICENT MALI

If Lou were Me and Lived in… the Ancient Mali Empire

Written by Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

Take a step back in time to the 1300’s into The Kingdom of Mali, the most powerful empire in the Western Sudan. Imagine yourself as a child in a wealthy family living in the capital city of Niani at the crossroads of the caravan road that led to Mecca. Your grandfather and father are important advisers to the king. There is no written language. As the griot, your grandfather’s job is to hold in memory and recite the history of the people.

This book details the story of the Mandinka people. Learn about the culture and religions of the people, the farmers, artisans, and slaves who kept the economy functioning. The roles of family members differed greatly according to gender and order of birth. Foods, customs, and manner of dress are examined. At the end of the story, the author provides portraits of many of the individuals discussed as well as vocabulary words unfamiliar to readers from other parts of the world.

Arkova does a marvelous job of capturing the essence of the text in simple, colorful illustrations that portray its meaning in visual terms. There is an extraordinary amount of information packed into this picture book. Younger children will enjoy the illustrations, but I highly recommend it for children in grades five through eight as well. Wonderful classroom reference resource for teachers to place in their bookcase.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily chose to review with my honest opinions for no monetary compensation.

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ANCIENT GREECE IN A NUTSHELL

If You Were Me and Lived in …Ancient Greece

Written by Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

ancientgreece,picThis book is part of a new series which looks at the cultures and customs not of individual countries but about civilizations throughout time. Ancient Greece is the topic of the first release. The author begins by describing the geographical location of Greece and how Greece may have looked in the past contrasting it with the present. Unlike the other series, this book covers a much broader time period, and the author chooses to stage her character as a child living around 350 B.C. in classical Greece. There is no mention of the previous Greek Archaic Period, the rule of the aristocracy or the tyrants which eventually evolved into the establishment of democratic city states. Much of the book discusses everyday life, food, dress, education, family structure, occupations, and religion. Roman ends her discussion with the military conqueror Alexander the Great who established an empire, and whose death would usher in the end of the classical period and the beginning of the Hellenistic Age.

There is a great deal of information simplified and condensed for the elementary school and middle school reader. I would have liked to see more detailed maps showing locations and some actual photographs, though the simple, soft pastel illustrations are lovely and appealing for a younger reader. The glossary and list of gods and goddesses are helpful because readers will need to reference these to keep track of all the information. No doubt this book will open a child’s eyes to the vast legacy of ancient Greece and provide an excellent starting ground for future explorations on the political, social, religious, scientific and educational contributions of ancient Greece.

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A WALK THROUGH THE PAST

Egyptian Diary: Journal of a Young Scribe

Written by Richard Platt

Illustrated by David Parkins

eGYPTIAN DIARY2

An unusual picture book in size and scope. I read the paperback version, written in large print and generous in its approximately 10 X 13 inch size. This book is written in first person diary format. Nakht is a nine year old boy living in the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut in ancient Egypt. His father has just been given a promotion in the city of Memphis. Nakht writes in his diary about his adventure, including lots of details about daily life in Egypt, cultural mores, religion, farming, hunting, and craftsmen. The plot takes a dramatic turn when Nakht and his sister, Tamyt discover a tomb robber conspiracy which will take them to the city of Thebes and land them in the court of the palace of Hatshepsut. They are astonished to discover that the Pharaoh is a woman.

Illustrated with beautiful color drawings by Parkins, the reader is transported back 3,500 years. These drawings are beautifully done; the expressions of the faces are somewhat exaggerated to display characters’ emotions. The author provides an extensive appendix which includes notes about geography, society, religion, the pyramids and archaeology.

Targeted for children in grades four through seven, the large pictures might even draw the attention of children slightly younger. Generally recommended for children in the eight to twelve year old range. Anyone interested in ancient Egyptian history will delight in this book. Great choice for homeschooling parents as a fine introduction to the study of this topic.

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PINT-SIZED MYTHOLOGY

Greek Mythology: The complete guide to Greek Mythology, Ancient Greece, Greek Gods, Zeus, Hercules, Titans, and more!

Written by Nick Plesiotis

GreekMythology,pic

That title is quite a mouthful! This kindle book will give the reader a bird’s eye view of Greek mythology, its history, and a few examples. Greek myths have been around since approximately 900 B.C. They played an extraordinary role in the growth of politics, religion, and social life of the ancient world. Much of our modern day literature reflects their influence.

The author divides the Greek mythological world into three periods: the age of the Gods, the age of Gods and Mortals, and the Age of Heroes. He explains the ancient Greek religion and gives a brief summary of the gods and their equivalents in later Roman mythology. Then Plesiotis goes into detail about some of the more popular heroes like Hercules and the twelve labors he was forced to perform. One chapter explores the Trojan War and the famous Trojan horse ploy used to defeat the Spartans. Prometheus is a Titan who was particularly close to mankind. The author describes how this Titan bestowed the gifts of fire, husbandry, and metalwork upon man.

This twenty some odd page digital book is my no means a definitive guide, but is a great reference for a middle grade school report or introduction to further exploration of Greek and Roman mythology. It would have benefited from a few illustrations to accompany the stories, but I would still recommend this book as a well-written clear reference guide for children and adults age eight and up who have an interest in the subject.

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