Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts.

I almost finished The Story of Mankind, the first Newbery Medal winner, by Hendrick Willem van Loon, updated by John Merriman.  I'll admit, I was very reticent to start this.  It's a nonfiction title from 1921 and clocks in at over 650 pages.  I was wrong.  It's amazing.  I was never a good history student.  While I was often interested in specific incidents, nothing about the way it's taught stuck with me.  Van Loon's style puts everything in context in a way that really resonates with me.  I think it's the fact that everything starts not with the "what," but with the "why."  He's telling the story of people, who just happened to have shaped history, not events that affected people as a sort of byproduct.  He's also not afraid to insert his thoughts and feelings into the narrative, which apparently some find off-putting, but I think is charming.  I've completely fallen in love with him to the point that I actually was nearly moved to tears reading about his death (which is not in the book, just my research).  In case it wasn't obvious, if you're at all inclined to pick up this book, I recommend you do it sooner rather than later.

This week, I'll be finishing The Story of Mankind, then moving on to Horde, the third book in Ann Aguirre's Enclave trilogy.

What are you reading?


  1. I have loved reading your comments about The Story of Mankind! This kind of enthusiasm is catching. I'm actually looking forward to getting this book from the library and reading it now. I've really been in a rut with my Newbery challenge, so I think I'll pick up this one and try it. Thanks!

  2. Whew...650 pages would give me pause too, but the WHY of history does sound fascinating!

  3. Good for you! I agree The Story of Mankind is kind of daunting, but actually I found it fast moving and for the most part pretty readable. The moments of wit and humor are pleasant surprises. On the flipside though, I kept thinking, "What child would have read this?" It seems the perfect book to give to some college student taking a history survey course! Hope you enjoy the rest of Story--are you doing the Newbery Challenge?


  4. I probably would be hesitant as well, but it sounds like it's worth it.

    Happy reading!

  5. Good to hear it is amazing. I wouldn't even attempt to start a 650-page book. :)


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