Good news: I read the first ever Newbery Medal Award winning book.
Bad news: What the eff. Really? REALLY NEWBERY COMMITTEE?!?!
The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon
Hey guys! I know what will get kids excited about reading! Let’s start giving medals to the best of children’s literature every year!
Great idea! What book should we choose first?
I know, let’s do something historic. Something important. Something that no kid would ever read without being forced to ever.
I got it! The Story of Mankind!
I’m going to be straight with you guys. I did not read this book all the way through. Basically, Van Loon decided to write a book that covered all of man’s history – from the caveman days all the way through the 1920’s. This book is so respected, apparently, that they still bring in authors to write about more modern happenings, so my edition follows man through the 1980’s. I decided it would be ok if I just skipped through.
The subject matter is so broad, that no topic is ever looked at in depth. Instead, the Egyptians get just a few pages. And the Romans. And the American Revolution. It does make you feel like you’re flying through history, but it’s more bewildering than exhilarating.
And please, read some of these chapter titles:
“The English Revolution – How the Struggle Between the ‘Divine Right’ of Kings and the Less Divine but more Reasonable ‘Right of Parliament’ Ended Disastrously for King Charles I”
“Medieval Trade – How the Crusades Once More Made the Mediterranean a Busy Centre of Trade and how the Cities of the Italian Peninsula Became the Great Distributing Centre for the Commerce with Asia and Africa”
Yeah. If those chapter titles don’t grab you, I have no idea what will.
So, I’m calling it with this book. I did my best and I got the gist. It’s time to move on to some other, more awesome Newbery award winners.
(Here’s the whole list of Newbery Medal Winners I’ll be reading this year)