Recommended History Books for Kids

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 9-12 book lists; This list was last updated on 10/6/2015
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All About China
**Winner of Creative Child Magazine 2015 Preferred Choice Award**
**Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal**
**Winner of Moonbeam Children's Book Awards 2015 Silver Medal**


Take the whole family on a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and culture with this delightfully illustrated book that is packed with stories, activities and games. Travel from the stone age through the dynasties to the present day with songs and crafts for kids that will teach them about Chinese language and the Chinese way of life.

All About China is the next best thing to being there!

China is the world's largest and most populated country boasting thousands of years of history, tradition and culture. In All About China, you'll:
  • Discover the fantastic Chinese tales about the creation of the earth and the origin of the Moon Goddess
  • Delve into China's multifaceted cultural heritage, visit breathtaking places and learn Chinese folk songs
  • Take a crack at solving a tangram shape puzzle
  • Learn about the twelve Chinese zodiac animals
  • Try your hand at making a traditional brush painting of a panda, bamboo and other subjects
All About China is an exciting and captivating introduction to the country, featuring page after page of colorful illustrations, interesting stories, amazing facts, cultural insights, engaging activities and much more. Young readers will embark on a fascinating journey through the many faces of this country, meeting its people and examining its landscape, culture and historical tapestry.
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
As a child he dreamt of changing South Africa; as a man he changed the world.  Nelson Mandela spent his life battling apartheid and championing a peaceful revolution.  He spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged as the inspiring leader of the new South Africa.  He became the country's first black president and went on to live his dream of change.  This is an important and exciting addition to the Who Was...? series.
Who Was Genghis Khan?
Named Temujin at birth by his nomadic family in early Mongolia, the great Genghis Khan used his skill and cunning to create the Mongol Empire and conquer almost the entire continent of Asia. As ruler of the largest empire in human history, he was as respected as he was feared. Learn more about the man and the legend in Who Was Genghis Khan?
What Was the Hindenburg?
At 800-feet long, the Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built--just slightly smaller than the Titanic! Also of a disastrous end, the zeppelin burst into flame as spectators watched it attempt to land in Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937. In under a minute, the Hindenburg was gone, people jumping from windows to escape. However, only 62 of the 97 crew members and passengers onboard survived. The exact cause of the disaster is still unknown and remains a fascinating historical mystery perfect for this series.
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Story of the World: History for the Classical Child

This third book in the four-volume narrative history series for elementary students will transform your study of history. The Story of the World has won awards from numerous homeschooling magazines and readers' polls—over 150,000 copies of the series in print!


Now more than ever, other cultures are affecting our everyday lives—and our children need to learn about the other countries of the world and their history. Susan Wise Bauer has provided a captivating guide to the history of other lands. Written in an engaging, straightforward manner, The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child; Volume 3: Early Modern Times weaves world history into a story book format. Who was the Sun King? Why did the Luddites go around England smashing machines? And how did samurai become sumo wrestlers?



The Story of the World covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas—find out what happened all around the world in long-ago times. Designed as a read-aloud project for parents and children to share together, The Story of the World includes each continent and major people group. Volume 3: Early Modern Times is the third of a four volume series and covers the major historical events in the years 1600 to 1850, as well as including maps, illustrations, and tales from each culture.



Each Story of the World volume provides a full year of history study when combined with the Activity Book, Audiobook, and Tests—each available separately to accompany each volume of The Story of the World Text Book. Volume 3 Grade Recommendation: Grades 3-8.
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The Notorious Benedict Arnold
Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America's first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest Revolutionary War heroes. Steve Sheinkin's accessible biography, The Notorious Benedict Arnold, introduces young readers to the real Arnold: reckless, heroic, and driven. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing American Revolution battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale from history.
Taking Flight
"Michaela is nothing short of a miracle, born to be a ballerina. For every young brown, yellow, and purple dancer, she is an inspiration!” —Misty Copeland, world-renowned ballet dancer

The extraordinary memoir of Michaela DePrince, a young dancer who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone for the rarefied heights of American ballet.
 
Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. But it was at the orphanage that Michaela would find a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life.
 
At the age of four, Michaela was adopted by an American family, who encouraged her love of dancing and enrolled her in classes. She went on to study at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre and is now the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has appeared in the ballet documentary First Position, as well as on Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America, and Nightline.
 
In this engaging, moving, and unforgettable memoir, Michaela shares her dramatic journey from an orphan in West Africa to becoming one of ballet's most exciting rising stars.

“A story of great courage that all women—young and old—should read.” —Tina Brown
What Was Ellis Island?
From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island was the gateway to a new life in the United States for millions of immigrants. In later years, the island was deserted, the buildings decaying. Ellis Island was not restored until the 1980s, when Americans from all over the country donated more than $150 million. It opened to the public once again in 1990 as a museum. Learn more about America's history, and perhaps even your own, through the story of one of the most popular landmarks in the country.
Who Was Abraham Lincoln?
Born to a family of farmers, Lincoln stood out from an early age—literally! (He was six feet four inches tall.) As sixteenth President of the United States, he guided the nation through the Civil War and saw the abolition of slavery. But Lincoln was tragically shot one night at Ford's Theater—the first President to be assassinated. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations and maps are included.
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Remember Your Name

2015 winner of the B.R.A.G. Medallion.  While sitting in traffic heading to her great-grandfather's eighty-fourth birthday party, Hayden asks her dad why her great-grandfather speaks the way he does. What follows is a car ride she will never forget as she learns about his difficult childhood. From living in the Lodz ghetto at age ten to surviving the hells of Auschwitz and a death march from Görlitz concentration camp at fifteen, Teddy Znamirowski faced unfathomable horrors, narrowly escaping death time and time again. Liberated at sixteen, he took on smuggling as a means to survive. It was not until the Bricha approached him and he became a lead operative - smuggling thousands of refugees across country borders - that he was finally able to begin his life again. Teddy's story is one of survival amidst horrific circumstances. The author does not sensationalize the suffering his grandfather and his family endured, but in this work of narrative nonfiction simply recreates this remarkable man's early life during one of the darkest moments of human history.

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The Story of the World, History for the Classical Child

This second book in the four-volume narrative history series for elementary students will transform your study of history. The Story of the World has won awards from numerous homeschooling magazines and readers' polls―over 150,000 copies of the series in print!

Now more than ever, other cultures are affecting our everyday lives―and our children need to learn about the other countries of the world and their history. Susan Wise Bauer has provided a captivating guide to the history of other lands. Written in an engaging, straightforward manner, this revised edition of The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages weaves world history into a story book format. Who discovered chocolate? What happened to the giant Fovor of the Mighty Blows? Why did the Ottoman Turks drag their war ships across dry land?

The Story of the World covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas―find out what happened all around the world in long-ago times. Designed as a read-aloud project for parents and children to share together, The Story of the World includes each continent and major people group. Volume 2: The Middle Ages, is the second of a four-volume series and covers the major historical events in the years 400 to 1600 CE, as well as including maps, illustrations, and tales from each culture.

Each Story of the World volume provides a full year of history study when combined with the Activity Book, Audiobook, and Tests―each available separately to accompany each volume of TheStory of the World Text Book. Volume 2 Grade Recommendation: Grades 1-6. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white drawings and maps
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Farewell to Manzanar
Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp--with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popular song except the  nation's #1 hit: "Don't Fence Me In."



Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention . . . and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.


From the Paperback edition.
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Who Was Queen Elizabeth?
Our bestselling series is fit for a queen!

The life of Queen Elizabeth I was dramatic and dangerous: cast out of her father?s court at the age of three and imprisoned at nineteen, Elizabeth was crowned queen in 1558, when she was only twenty-five. A tough, intelligent woman who spoke five languages, Elizabeth ruled for over forty years and led England through one of its most prosperous periods in history. Over 80 illustrations bring ?Gloriana? and her court to life.

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Who Was Anne Frank?
In her amazing diary, Anne Frank revealed the challenges and dreams common for any young girl. But Hitler brought her childhood to an end and forced her and her family into hiding. Who Was Anne Frank? looks closely at Anne's life before the secret annex, what life was like in hiding, and the legacy of her diary. Black-and-white illustrations including maps and diagrams provide historical and visual reference in an easy-to-read biography written in a way that is appropriate and accessible for younger readers.
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In the Heart of the Sea
From the author of the forthcoming book, Valiant Ambition, the riveting and critically acclaimed bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture on December 11, 2015, directed by Ron Howard

Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson will star in a new film based on this National Book Award–winning account of the true events behind Moby Dick.

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea—and now, its epic adaptation for the screen—will forever place the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.
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Life in a Victorian Household
What was it like to live in a Victorian Household? What time did the servants have to get up? What was the food like and who cooked it? How did the clothing differ for the different types of servants? How much did the servants get paid? This fascinating book takes you back in time and shows you what it was really like to live in Victorian times, for those both above and below stairs, and what sights and smells would be around you.
What Was D-Day?
In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, an armada of 7,000 ships carrying 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Up until then the Allied forces had suffered serious defeats, yet D -Day, as the invasion was called, spelled the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany and the Third Reich. Readers will dive into the heart of the action and discover how it was planned and carried out and how it overwhelmed the Germans who had been tricked into thinking the attack would take place elsewhere. D-Day was a major turning point in World War II and hailed as one of the greatest military attacks of all time.
release date: Jan 01, 2012
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Bomb

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Bomb is a 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young People's Literature.
Bomb is a 2012 Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title.

Bomb is a 2013 Newbery Honor book.

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Here There Is No Why
“Here There Is No Why” was the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele's answer to Roma, the author, and to millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Written to fulfill a promise made in the darkest moment of human history, this simple and eloquent story is unique in that it spans the geography of the Nazi's Final Solution. Ruchama (Roma in Polish), the teenage daughter of a journalist, relays to us the experiences of a schoolgirl and her classmates under the German occupied Warsaw Ghetto. She is a witness and participant in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. After the Nazis smoke her out of hiding, she bravely faces the reality of the gas chambers and concentration camps in Poland and Germany. Originally written in Polish, this is an eloquent and unforgettable account of survival.
The Boy on the Wooden Box
“Much like The Boy In the Striped Pajamas or The Book Thief,” this remarkable memoir from Leon Leyson, one of the youngest children to survive the Holocaust on Oskar Schindler's list, “brings to readers a story of bravery and the fight for a chance to live” (VOYA).

This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler's list child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow.

Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson's life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler's list.

Told with an abundance of dignity and a remarkable lack of rancor and venom, The Boy on the Wooden Box is a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you've ever read.
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The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics
The #1 New York Times bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation.
 
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler.
 
At the center of the tale is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, whose personal quest captures the spirit of his generation—the generation that would prove in the coming years that the Nazis could not prevail over American determination and optimism.
 
This deeply emotional yet easily accessible young readers adaptation of the award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller features never-before-seen photographs, highly visual back matter, and an exclusive new introduction.
Malala
I Am Malala. This is my story.

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren't allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn't go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school.

No one expected her to survive.

Now Malala is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. In this Young Readers Edition of her bestselling memoir, which has been reimagined specifically for a younger audience and includes exclusive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world -- and did.

Malala's powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles and the possibility that one person -- one young person -- can inspire change in her community and beyond.

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Red Scarf Girl

This accessible autobiography is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.

It's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, friends, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. When Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life.

A personal and painful memoir—a page-turner as well as excellent material for social studies curricula—Red Scarf Girl also includes a thorough glossary and pronunciation guide.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Unbroken
The #1 New York Times bestseller, which is also a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie, has now been adapted by the author for young adults. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this riveting biography includes more than 100 black-and-white photos, as well as exclusive content, "In Conversation," with Laura Hillenbrand and Louie Zamperini.
 
“Every young person should have the chance to read this book. It's easy to think, growing up, that bravery is for other people, who are simply born heroic. But nothing about Louis marked him out for greatness. He started out as a misfit and troublemaker, but became a great man because of his choices. His story shows that everyone has the potential to rise above obstacles. It is not where you start out in life that counts the most, it is how you choose to face it."—Angelina Jolie


On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary sagas of the Second World War.
 
The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
 
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will.
 
In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a man's breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and featuring an exclusive interview with Zamperini, Unbroken will introduce a new generation to one of history's most thrilling survival epics.


Praise for Unbroken

"This adaptation of Hillenbrand's adult bestseller is highly dramatic and exciting, as well as painful to read as it lays bare man's hellish inhumanity to man."--Booklist, STARRED

"This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. A strong, well-written work."--School Library Journal

"This fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to young readers."--Kirkus Reviews
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A Young People's History of the United States
A Young People's History of the United States brings to US history the viewpoints of workers, slaves, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whose stories, and their impact, are rarely included in books for young people. A Young People's History of the United States is also a companion volume to The People Speak, the film adapted from A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History of the United States.
Beginning with a look at Christopher Columbus's arrival through the eyes of the Arawak Indians, then leading the reader through the struggles for workers' rights, women's rights, and civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ending with the current protests against continued American imperialism, Zinn in the volumes of A Young People's History of the United States presents a radical new way of understanding America's history. In so doing, he reminds readers that America's true greatness is shaped by our dissident voices, not our military generals.
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Kennedy's Last Days

On a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, at the end of a campaign trip, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated by an angry, lonely drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes briefly, but is hunted down, captured, and then shot dead while in police custody.

Kennedy's Last Days is a gripping account of the events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century. Author Bill O'Reilly vividly describes the Kennedy family's life in the public eye, the crises facing the president around the world and at home, the nation's growing fascination with their vigorous, youthful president, and finally, the shocking events leading up to his demise.

Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's best-selling historical thriller Killing Kennedy, with an unforgettable cast of characters, page-turning action, and art on every spread, Kennedy's Last Days is history that reads like a thriller. This exciting book will captivate adults and young readers alike.

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The Hiding Place
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."--Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.

Here is the riveting account of how Corrie and her family were able to save many of God's chosen people. For 35 years millions have seen that there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still. Now The Hiding Place, repackaged for a new generation of readers, continues to declare that God's love will overcome, heal, and restore.

"A groundbreaking book that shines a clear light on one of the darkest moments of history."--Philip Yancey, author, The Jesus I Never Knew

"Ten Boom's classic is even more relevant to the present hour than at the time of its writing. We . . . need to be inspired afresh by the courage manifested by her family."--Jack W. Hayford, president, International Foursquare Church; chancellor, The King's College and Seminary

"The Hiding Place is a classic that begs revisiting. Corrie ten Boom lived the deeper life with God. Her gripping story of love in action will challenge and inspire you!"--Joyce Meyer, best-selling author and Bible teacher
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Hitler's Last Days

By early 1945, the destruction of the German Nazi State seems certain. The Allied forces, led by American generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, are gaining control of Europe, leaving German leaders scrambling. Facing defeat, Adolf Hitler flees to a secret bunker with his new wife, Eva Braun, and his beloved dog, Blondi. It is there that all three would meet their end, thus ending the Third Reich and one of the darkest chapters of history.

Hitler's Last Days is a gripping account of the death of one of the most reviled villains of the 20th century―a man whose regime of murder and terror haunts the world even today. Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's historical thriller Killing Patton, this book will have young readers―and grown-ups too―hooked on history.

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See Inside the Middle Ages
This is a fabulous flap book for older children showing what life was like in the 14th century. Stunning illustrations and over 80 flaps reveal fascinating historical facts of life in the Middle Ages. Scenes include a town market day, a lord's castle, a country village and a castle under siege. It includes an illustrated who's who in medieval society, a delightful small booklet on living in a castle and internet links to fun websites to find out more.
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Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
This is a new edition of the popular and successful encyclopedia describing the remarkable history of Ancient Egypt. Discover remarkable facts of one of the world's oldest civilisations from its origins as a group of settlements along the banks of the Nile, its rise to one of the world's greatest civilisations to its decline at the hands of the Roman Empire. It is filled with stunning photographs and detailed illustrations. It includes a comprehensive factfinder featuring a time chart, a list of who's who and details of recent archaeological finds. Internet links offer a fascinating selection of recommended web sites - with sound, animation or video clips which provide additional information for projects and homework.
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