Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Would You Believe... in 1400, reading could save your life?!

I picked this book up originally, because I thought it was about books and reading. Since, at the time, it was World Book Day (April 23), I thought it appropriate. It's not about reading, or books, not really. It's about schooling. Which is fine, really I actually enjoyed the book quite a bit, but this is the second time I've gotten the content of this book series wrong because of the titles. Clearly they need someone to come over there and suss out more appropriate book titles.
Cover image courtesy of Amazon, via LibraryThing

From hunter-gatherers in caves to the mandatory public education systems of today, schooling and education have always been an essential part of humanity, helping prepare the next generation to run the world. Throughout history, schools have been in the home, away from home, battlegrounds for new soldiers, religious training centers, and, if you were lucking, a place to hone your homemaking skills. While schools have changed a lot in the centuries since they were created, the desire to better ourselves and instill important life skills in our children has not.
Would You Believe... gives a nice overview of the history of education, including a discussion of whether schools are necessary for success. Each page is rich with photographs, captioned with brief bits of information. While it clearly tries to focus on a broader perspective, most examples come from Western Europe, the United States, China, and the Islamic world, which is disappointing. Despite this, the book is a good introduction to the world of education and should pique the interests of students in grade 3-6.

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