The House of Wisdomby Florence Parry Heide, Judith H. Gilliland, Mary Grandpre (Illustrator), Judith Heide Gilliland, Mary GrandPré (Illustrator)
Timely and timeless -- this illuminating, luminous picture book brings ancient Baghdad to life as it tells the story of one boy's discovery of the power of the written word. This is the story of Ishaq, a young boy in ninth-century Baghdad. And it is the story of the House of Wisdom. More than a house, more than a library, more even than a palace, the House of Wisdom was at the very center of the new ideas that flourished in Baghdad. It was here that thousands of scholars gathered to read, to exchange ideas, and to translate the dusty manuscripts that were brought by camel and ship from all over the world. Ishaq cannot understand why ancient words, words from faraway places, can cause sucvh excitement. Then he embarks on a difficult journey seeking lost manuscripts. But it is what he discovers when he returns that ignites his imagination and changes him forever. Lyrical prose and glorious illustrations capture the splendor of Baghdad when it was the center of one of the world's great civilizations. They tell the story of Ishaq's transformation from a bewildered young boy searching for understanding to a brilliant scholar, the greatest translator of Aristotle, whose work preserved Greek thought for civilizations to come.
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This is the best book I've read in quite a while. I used it to prepare for teaching a summer enrichment course to 4th grade students. Not only does it appeal to them, but to adults as well. Nothing is more powerful than the search for WISDOM!