Kids Books with Jessica – Horrible Histories
We talk a lot in these blog posts about fiction books and there is so much to say about them but we always need to keep in mind that there are benefits to every type of text: fiction, graphic novels, audiobooks, movies, and today I’m going to talk about non-fiction.
Non-fiction might bring up memories for parents of the books we used to create assignments or to do projects on colourful A2 card with bubble writing and decorative cutting before it was easy to buy scissors that do it for you. But there are a lot of people for whom the joy of reading isn’t the joy of fiction but the joy of fact. That is the great thing about non-fiction books – they are full to bursting with information and we can, for the most part and acknowledging the time of publication, take the information contained within as factual. Want to know about pigs? Non-fiction is the way to go. Want to know about how pirates REALLY lived? Non-fiction.
[EDIT: Michaela shared this with me, the WA Maritime Museum currently has an exhibit about Pirates based around Horrible Histories – it’s nice how things dovetail sometimes!]
But…did you know that there is a lot more to non-fiction than just books that give us answers like how many base pairs in human genome? Approximately 3 billion.
Non-fiction has LEGO books…already knew about those? Not a surprise they are very popular.
Non-fiction has biographies and autobiographies so you can find out all about people and their lives.
Non-fiction has joke books…where? Here.
Non-fiction has look and find books like Where’s Wally?
Then we have books like the ones I’m talk about today (Horrible Histories) that are written for the pure enjoyment of a topic that some might think of as BORING!
Not that there is anything wrong with being bored – there is actually research around the need for times when we are ‘bored’ so that our ability to self-entertain develops and we have time to be quiet with the world around us and our own thoughts. It is important for developing imagination and for allowing time for reflection and autonomous self-direction.
But, sometimes information can seem boring to some…for instance, David (of Pram Jam fame) listened stoicly to me fangirl out over a book featured in my last blog post even though he wasn’t really that impressed. In much the same way as I love science and have listened to hours and hours and hours of a podcast dedicated to the History of Rome for some these topics do not appeal. For them we have books like Horrible Histories – pulling out some of the most interesting facts about history – of the world, humanity, and cultures.
No matter what part of history you’d like to read more about, there is probably something to learn from Horrible Histories. A few of the options are:
‘London’ dishes the dirt on life in the capital – the lies, the legends and all the lousy details, from the rotten Roman rulers to the plague-ridden peasants.
This work features all the festive facts you ever wanted to find out but were too stuffed full of mince pies to ask. Find out why making Christmas pudding used to be a crime and how to get rid of carol singers. It includes foul but festive food, seasonal stories to send shivers down your spine, and cruel yule disasters. History has never been so horrible!
Deadly Days in History is the most horrible Horrible Histories book yet. Embark on a whirlwind tour through the most dreadful, disastrous and deadly days in the whole of horrible history. Filled with hilarious full-colour illustrations by Martin Brown.
The Vikings were fearsome seafaring warriors with big boats, big shields and enormous ginger beards. This much you probably know. But do you know why the vicious vikings had names like Fat thighs, Oaf and Stinking? Or how to build a vicious Viking longboat and which vicious Viking god dressed up as a woman? From cruel kings and vengeful Viking warriors to the mean and miserable slaves, it is a story of beastly battles, truly terrible torture techniques and messy murders. Eeek!
And if Horrible Histories gives you a desire to know even more about history there are great history collections at each Cockburn Libraries’ branch for both children, and their adults.
Do you have a favourite Horrible Histories book? Comment below – I’d love to hear about it.
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