The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations, and Amazing Facts


Discover the rich legacy of the peoples of the Arab world.

Ink-filled pens, mattresses, and bars of soap — these are only some of the inventions and innovations that have been passed down through the millennia from the peoples of Arab lands. Readers may be surprised to learn that people from the Arab world have also given us the scalpel, sherbet, planetariums, and three-course meals. The school that became the University of Al-Qarawiyin in Fez, Morocco, was founded in 859 CE. ...

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Discover the rich legacy of the peoples of the Arab world.

Ink-filled pens, mattresses, and bars of soap — these are only some of the inventions and innovations that have been passed down through the millennia from the peoples of Arab lands. Readers may be surprised to learn that people from the Arab world have also given us the scalpel, sherbet, planetariums, and three-course meals. The school that became the University of Al-Qarawiyin in Fez, Morocco, was founded in 859 CE. According to many experts, it is the oldest university still operating today.

As in the other titles in this series, The Arab World Thought of It uses stunning photos and well-researched information to provide an overview of contributions made in the fields of medicine, architecture, food, and education. Also included is a look at accomplishments in the areas of engineering, transportation, and oil production. Complete with maps, a timeline, an index, and a list of further reading, this book is an excellent starting point for the exploration of a thriving culture.

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  • The Arab World Thought of It
    The Arab World Thought of It  

Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book News - Sandra O'Brien
Filled with a wealth of information, this book is an excellent resource for teachers and students studying the Arab world.
Canadian Materials - Sherry Faller
Anyone reading The Arab World Thought of is sure to develop a greater appreciation for the Arab culture that has its roots in the desert.
Resource Links - Mavis Holder
This title is a worthwhile addition to any elementary or junior high school library, and may open the eyes of some westerners to the sophisticated culture of the Arab world.
Sal's Fiction Addiction - Sally Bender
This is the newest in Annick's We Thought of It series; it continues the exemplary work that has been done in bringing cultures of the world to older readers and in providing useful and amazing information concerning inventions and innovations from that perspective.
Waterloo Region Record - Brenda Hoerle
Youngsters can delve into the Arab world's long and fascinating history in this book by Mississauga author Saima Hussain, who was raised in Saudi Arabia.
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
This well-organized book describes in simple language many inventions and innovations that originated or were developed and extended in the Arab World. Logically laid out, the book first asks "Who is an Arab?" and offers a simple definition, pointing out exceptions; then it describes traditional work roles such as desert-herding, village farming, and trading. The author moves chronologically to the establishment of the Muslim Empire spreading out from the center of Islam in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and famous contemporary Arabs who live in the Americas. Useful maps and timelines offer a structure on which readers can hang new facts. Each pair of facing pages following details inventions and innovations in a particular sector such as arts and crafts, religion, medicine or learning. The book includes many crafted definitions for terms such as observatory, caliphate, and glaze which help even the younger reader to understand how the Arab world developed new processes and artifacts. This book, with its many photographs and excellent explanations, is a good addition to a school library. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Hussain provides an enthusiastic overview of the Arab world's extensive contributions to civilization, from the universal astrolabe, an ancient computer that calculated time and the sun's exact position at any location, to the oldest university still operating today. Her prose is clear and straightforward, if slightly dry in places. Considering the breadth of subject matter, Hussain does a remarkable job of packing a significant amount of information into easily digestible entries that readers will find worthwhile. The chapter covering the long-neglected historical contributions of Arab women should prove especially valuable. The text features a brief introduction, along with maps and historical time line material, which should orient those unfamiliar with the subject. The rest of the material is not organized in any particular order, but compact chapters and an ample index make this a helpful resource nonetheless, especially considering the lack of comparable up-to-date titles about the history of the Arab world. Plentiful high-quality color photographs bring the past and present to life, complementing the book's crisp design. Back matter includes notes on the Arabic language and alphabet. Overall, a useful resource.—Ted McCoy, Springfield City Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
An introduction to the Arab world through the arts and sciences developed in the many countries of the Middle East and North Africa and other regions where Arab culture flourished. One-to-four–page introductions to many topics brim busily with excellent color photographs and provide readers with background information on education, astronomy, weaponry, architecture, food, medical discoveries, arts and crafts, religion, and everyday inventions such as mattresses and hard soap. Arab women get a little specific attention near the end, and the last few pages are devoted to contemporary life, but there is no focus on political issues. This positive celebration of learning, ingenuity and culture seeks to highlight the contributions of Arabs from earlier centuries and to make contemporary connections, occasionally with a little too much emphasis. For example, Ammar al-Mawsili is mentioned as being the inventor of "a special syringe and a hollow needle that he used to suck the cataract out of the eye," and the author avers that today's surgeons use similar techniques and equipment. While that may be true, earlier Indian, Greek, Roman and Egyptian developments are omitted, giving readers a simplistic view of the history of ophthalmology. Despite weaknesses, this survey definitely fills a niche. Tidbits of information and crisp, engaging photographs will entice browsers, while students needing information for substantive research projects will need additional resources on many topics. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554514762
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/3/2013
  • Series: We Thought Of It Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 941,966
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Raised in Saudi Arabia, Saima S. Hussain is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Munk School of Global Affairs.

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