If your child is anything like mine, they might be going through or have already gone through a phase where they are obsessed with all things historical. Today I’d like to explore the importance of research books to early and emerging readers. I didn’t plan it this way but the three books I’ll highlight today all come from DK Publishing. All are of excellent quality in both layout and content. Your child will go back to these books again and again; they’re that captivating.
Since turning eight a few months ago, my son hasn’t been able to soak up enough information about Pompeii, the Great Pyramids, the Titanic or ancient Rome. These are just a few of the topics that have been consuming him lately and I give full credit to a book that he discovered at school called Timelines of Everything: From Woolly Mammoths to World Wars.
Produced by DK Smithsonian, this book truly does cover a ton of historical events, running the gamut from the prehistoric to present day. Spanning 320 pages, over 130 timelines are covered using beautifully detailed illustrations and photos. The book is laid out in chronological order beginning with the creation of the universe and concluding with the story of robotics and the advent of the internet. Though it’s technically laid out chronologically, it may be difficult for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for without using the index. A glossary is also included to help budding researchers understand the terms used in the text.
My son is particularly drawn to the pages that showcase the creation of the Universe, the village of Pompeii prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the evolution of our human ancestors and the history of aviation and space travel. But believe me when I say that this is barely scratching the surface of what this text has to offer. It’s like having an encyclopedia at your child’s fingertips without he clunky set of potentially outdated books taking up a shelf in your house. And yes, of course we all know Google and Wikipedia exist but there is something truly enchanting about the layout and design of this book that really draws kids into history.
In a similar, research-focused vein, a paperback reference book called Dkfindout! Stone Age has been very popular in my home lately. Of all historical eras, my son is currently most fascinated by the Stone Age. He reads books, asks to watch videos, even chose a video game to buy with his chore money because it’s based in the Stone Age. He’s a child obsessed!
This book is also presented in full color and includes 64 pages of detailed information about the life and times of Stone Age dwellers, including early humans and animals. Food sources, hunting tools, shelter, clothing… it’s all covered in this book. Additionally, the Stone Age is split into the three main eras, to include the Neolithic Era when early ancestors moved away from hunting and gathering to begin farming. This was fascinating to my son and helped him to see early man as more related to us than he previously imagined possible.
There are also sections that delve into the taming of wolves to become the domesticated dogs we know and love today, as well as extensive coverage of the woolly mammoth and their importance in the survival of Stone Age man. The book contains a glossary that will help readers better understand some of the new terms they’re learning as well as an index to promote independent research.
Lastly, we’ve recently added DK’s A City Through Time to our library. This book takes the reader through 6 architectural periods of time, revealing what has changed and what has stayed largely the same. The periods covered include: Greek, Roman, Medieval, 17th century, 19th century and modern day. The way in which the illustrations are labeled reminds me of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever which is to me, a symbol of my childhood that even today evokes strong feelings towards my early reading days.
Each page spread showcases a cast of characters who might be found in the depiction of that time and place. I’m impressed that women are shown in traditionally male dominated roles like police officer and paramedic. The faces are tiny but it also appears that the illustrations are fairly inclusive of race. I will give a word of warning that the Roman section includes a mention of slaves and that the public baths page does show some nudity from behind. I think it’s very minimal but we all know that kids zero in on that sort of thing so I didn’t want parents to be caught off guard.
If you have a budding anthropologist on your hands, I urge you to add any or all of these texts to your home library. They will be revisited time and again over the years and are well worth the investment. Just prepare yourself to hear historical facts… so many facts! Happy reading!