We love books! Who doesn’t, right? Our house has so many books I couldn’t even fashion a guess at the number. From children’s picture books to parenting to history and art books. There is something for everyone on our shelves.
One of favorite genres is historical fiction. The whole family enjoys fiction books that have a good tie to a historical period. We also enjoy biographies. We have really enjoyed reading biographies lately. When I saw this What Really Happened series from Knowledge Quest, I couldn’t wait to read them. The first in the series is What Really Happened in Ancient Times: A Collection of Historical Biographies and I recently had the opportunity to read it.
What Really Happened in Ancient Times by Terri Johnson and her team of authors is a collection of historical biographical stories that give the reader a look into the lives of historical figures. The author takes some creative license in filling in the blanks that history books and the Bible have not provided. However, everything is historically accurate and direct references are footnoted to give the reader reference.
What Really Happened in Ancient Times tells the historical account of such Ancient History greats as Eve, Noah, Cyrus the Great and Constantine, to name a few. Each chapter accounts for a particular time in the figures life, providing wonderful maps, of course, to correspond with the story as well as lovely illustrations by Darla Dixon which are second to none.
The maps throughout the books are exceptions. For instance, there are maps depicting the possible Garden of Eden, as hypothesized by historians. There are also maps of The Empire of Cyrus the Great and The Persian Empire. Each map helps the reader identify with the location of the story and the time period that is referenced.
The illustrations are simply beautiful. Each story includes a drawing of the historical figure which helps the children see the person being discussed in the story, helping the story come alive.
Most chapters include a dedication of the story, an epilogue explaining what happened after the story ends, and something about the author. Every chapter has footnotes explaining any references. I like the footnotes are not so small that you cannot read them and they are complete sentences that are very clear to read so, if a child is reading it themselves, they would have no trouble referring to the footnotes.
The book is written well enough for an elementary student to read themselves but engaging enough for a family to read together. The author states that the book is meant from children ages 8 to 14 but I enjoyed reading it as much as my kids enjoyed hearing the stories. I found them thoughtful and fascinating. A wonderful way to realize that the characters in the Bible and in Ancient history actually lived their lives, much as we do, but, in the meantime, did amazing things that shaped our world today.
I found this an inspiring and pleasing book and look forward to the opportunity to read the rest in the series. If you are looking for something to use as a good family study as you learn more about some important people in our history, you will want to consider adding the What Really Happened books to your library.
Right now, the titles included in the What Really Happened series are:
- What Really Happened in Ancient Times
- What Really Happened During the Middle Ages
- What Really Happened in Colonial Times
- What Really Happened During the Modern Era (coming soon)
I look forward to including the rest of these great titles in our history studies as we study them over the next few years. As usual, I’m very impressed with what Knowledge Quest offers. You can even read a sample chapter of one of the biographies from What Really Happened in Ancient Times if you go here on their website. If you haven’t checked out their products, be sure to check out their website, you will not be disappointed.
*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of What Really Happened in Ancient Times for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*