Children's Literature - Lynn O'ConnellIn the thousand years after 500 AD, Africa, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India developed the cultural identities that are recognized today. Readers will discover unusual details about each culture as well as learn the many things these ancient cultures had in common. Morris details the empires of the Zoroastrians and Christian Byzantines that ruled in western Asia before the rise of Islam. In the chapter addressing early African kingdoms, he describes those of Nigeria, Mali, Benin, and Ghana. He also describes the trading routes of the early empires, starting with routes across the desert and moving to routes across the seas. In the case of the Chinese Tang rulers, their trade routes were along the Silk Road. Another chapter illustrates Chingis Khan's rule, a Mongol whose empire extended across a vast part of Asia. When explaining Japan, Morris features the Heian period as well as the shoguns. Along the way, interesting facts are introduced, such as the period in Japan when the world's first novel was written. Religions of the time, including Buddhism, are also carefully explained. This book is well designed for libraries or classrooms and will make an addition that will encourage young readers to learn more about the Middle Ages in the non-European areas of the world. It is part of the series, "History of the World." Reviewer: Lynn O'Connell
School Library JournalGr 7-10–Similar in style to DK’s “Eyewitness Books,” this appealing series moves from prehistory through medieval Europe and onward to the global issues of today. Along the way, readers are introduced to many prevalent themes in the areas of religion, government, and economics, for example. Spreads discuss a subtopic each, such as the literature and arts of ancient Rome or Inca society and religion. Their effectiveness lies in the combination of lush illustrations, well-chosen, captioned photographs of contemporary artifacts, and reasoned, concise narratives. Succinct time lines border most pages, and effective introductions, the proper amount of white space, and clear dark print maintain organization and clarity. A superior choice.
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