Children's Literature

By Pauline Rose,2014-08-20 19:52
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Children's Literature

    Children’s Literature with

    Archaeological Themes

    Addy, Sharon Hart

    1997 Right Here on This Spot. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ndth; Reading level 2 through 6.

    ; Nice watercolor pictures but they don’t show very much.

    ; A relatively simple rather poetic description of events

    taking place in a single spot at various points in time.

    People begin finding the evidence and an archaeologist is

    called in to explain things.

    ; No information about what the archaeologist does he just

    studies carefully but it does convey the idea that many

    things have happened in what looks like any empty field.

    ; Might make a good book to read aloud to a group of kids

    and start an interesting discussion.

    ; Moderate recommendation.

    Agenbroad, Larry D. and Lisa Nelson

     2002 Mammoths: Ice Age Giants. Lerner Publishers, Minneapolis.

    ; Grades 5-9

    ; Detailed, readable survey of mammoth natural history.

    Topics include physiology, distribution, fossil finds, and

    extinction theories.

    ; Side boxes on ice age hunters, geologic time and other


    ; Well illustrated and includes a glossary.

    ; Recommended by library reviewers


     1979 Mummies Made in Egypt. Harper Collins, New York.

    ; Easy reader or read aloud for young children

    ; Very detailed information about how and why mummies

    were made, humorously related. Always a fascinating

    subject for kids.

    ; Detailed illustrations.

    ; Highly recommended


    1976 Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians. Harper Collins, New


    ; Easy reader. Good for reading aloud to pre-readers, easy for

    early readers.

    ; Very factual. Well told story about the history of corn and

    how it was domesticated.

    ; Talks about Indian uses through modern agriculture and

    diverse non-food uses.

    ; Directions for a corn husk doll and corn husk wreath at the


    ; Highly recommended.


     1990 Fossils Tell of Long Ago. Harper Collins, NY.

    ; Early readers or read aloud.

    ; A multicultural group of children visit a museum and learn

    about all kinds of fossils and how they are formed.

    ; Ends with a handprint activity that children can replicate

    ; Highly recommended.


    1996 Wild and Wooly Mammoths. HarperCollins, NY. strd; Easy reader (1 through 3 grade) or read aloud for pre-


    ; Tells of a find of mammoth fossils and discusses the ice age

    and ice age hunters.

    ; Good, colorful illustrations.

    ; Highly recommended.

Arnold, Caroline, Photographs by Richard Hewett.

     1996 Stories in Stone: Rock Art Pictures by Early Americans.

    Clarion Books, New York. thth; Older reading level. 5 or 6 grade and older. Text straight

    forward and clear, pretty academic in tone.

    ; Very lovely rock art pictures.

    ; Good summary of North American prehistory and

    discussion changing technology, climate, and lifestyles of

    the southwest.

    ; Good discussion of rock art: its uses, who made it and why,

    and attempts to date it.

    ; Highly recommended.

    Arnold, Caroline

     2002 When Mammoths Walked the Earth. Clarion Books, NY.

    ; Age range 5-8 years (K-3)

    ; General discussion about the Ice Age in general and

    mammoths specifically. Includes discussion of significant

    fossil finds.

    ; Introduces a lot of scientific vocabulary but the

    explanations are clear and concise.

    ; Lovely color illustrations.

    ; Highly recommended for reading or for a reference.

    Avi-Yonah, Michael

    1993 Dig This! How Archaeologists Uncover Our Past.


    ; Written for young readers grades 4-8

    ; A summary of archaeology: what it is, how it is conducted,

    important historical figures in the field, and what has been

    learned from the study of remains of past human life. There

    are brief descriptions of the cultures in the Middle East,

    Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. The writing has

    a text-bookish flavor.

    ; Recommended by the National Park Service Archaeology


    Barnes, Trevor

    2004 Archaeology. Kingfisher Knowledge Books. thth through 8 grade reading level. ; Reviewers place it a 4

    ; Includes websites, book lists, glossary, and other resources

    about archaeology and prehistory.

    ; Good discussion of what archaeology is all about, including

    history and emphasis on the responsibility to share their

    discoveries with the world.

    ; Talks about finding out about everyday life but illustrations

    and detailed discussions focus on “big finds”, cities,

    temples etc. Cahokia and the Little Bighorn are the only

    sites from North America.

    ; Basic discussion useful, lovely pictures.

    ; Recommended.

Brett, Jan

     1988 The First Dog. Voyger Books, New York.

    ; Grades pre-school to grade 1

    ; Fiction. A simple story about how the first dog may have

    been domesticated. A boy shares his food with a wild

    Paleowolf and is, in turn, saved from a saber-toothed cat by

    Paleowolf’s warning.

    ; Highly recommended.

Chorlton, Windsor

     2001 Wooly Mammoth: Life, Death and Rediscovery. Scholastic

    Reference, Inc., NY.

    ; Ages 9 and older

    ; A retelling of the discovery of a single mammoth encased in

    ice (the Jarkov mammoth) in Russia. Provides basic

    information about mammoths and other ice age animals.

    ; Written partially in diary form. Emphasizes the excitement

    of scientific discovery and even encourages students to

    consider the ethics of DNA cloning.

    ; Recommended by library reviewers.

Clark, Patricia Nikolina

     2003 In the Shadow of the Mammoth. Blue Marling Publishers.

    ; Ages 9-12

    ; Fiction. Coming of age story based on an 11 year old boy

    who lost his father on a mammoth hunt, creating a crisis of

    confidence. He must face a number of challenges including

    rivers and saber-tooth cats but the greatest is hunting the

    mammoth that killed his father.

    ; The setting in Paleoindian times is well done.

    ; Some reviewers comment that the plotting and pace is slow.

    Others praise the story. Nominated for two book awards.

    ; Recommended.

    Cole, Joanna and Bruce Degen

    1997 The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells. Scholastic. stth through 4 grade or read aloud. ; Easy reading 1

    ; Fun with Ms Frizzle and the kids. Bright, colorful and funny.

    ; Shows how archaeologists go about determining what

    something was used for by employing the scientific method

    of question hypothesis - testing. Lets the reader try their

    hand at guessing as well.

    ; Highly recommended.

    Cork, Barbara and Struan Reid

    1984 The Young Scientist Book of Archaeology: Discovering the

    Past with Science and Technology. edc Publishing, Tulsa,


    ; This wouldn’t make a good read but is a good reference and ththbrowsing book for interested kids probably 5 8 grades.

    It would answer a lot of their questions. Also useful adult


    ; Not written in narrative format, rather, there are short blurbs

    in boxes with interesting little illustrations.

    ; There is lots of good information. Each page has a specific

    topic: how things are destroyed, how things are preserved,

    piecing the evidence together, burials and bodies,

    radioactive dating etc. Good, accurate information.

    ; The examples and illustrations are all from Old World sites

    and artifacts.

    ; Recommended as a reference.

    Donoughue, Carol

    1997 The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs. Oxford University Press,


    ; Probably best for middle school students or really curious thth4 and 5 graders. Text is involved and dense. It gives the

    history of the discovery of hieroglyphs, their translation, and

    lots of information about reading them. Many illustrations

    and side bars of information. You can learn a lot without

    reading the actual text.

    ; Teachers might also find it useful - It immediately gives me

    ideas for activities related to early writing and hieroglyphics.

    ; Aside from the story of the Rosetta Stone there is not a lot

    about archaeology and especially not about modern


    ; Recommended as a reference.

    Duke, Kate

    1998 Archaeologists Dig for Clues. HarperCollins.

    ; “Level 2” easy reading. “Magic School Bus”-style text and

    illustrations. Grade 1-4.

    ; Lots of good, detailed information about what archaeologists

    do and why. Extra good point “archaeologists hardly ever

    find treasure…they want to learn about how people lived”.

    ; Many side bars of factual information such as a time line,

    how things get buried etc. and some suggested additional


    ; Very humorous.

    ; Highly recommended

    Erickson, John R.

    2004 Discovery at Flint Springs. Viking, New York. th grade and up. ; Chapter book reading level ca. 4

    ; Fiction. Mystery/Adventure. Set in 1920s. Two boys learn

    about prehistory of Texas and archaeology when a site is

    found on their property.

    ; Very factual account of Texas panhandle prehistory and

    archaeological methodology.

    ; Strong anti-pothunting message. Kids must save the site

    from looters and convince local grownups why it is


    ; Highly Recommended.

    Fagan, Brian

    1994 Time Detectives: How Scientists Use Modern Technology to Unravel the Secrets of the Past. Touchstone, NY.

    ; Advanced reading level High school and up.

    ; Narrative discussion of many well known sites from around

    the world. Sets up the cool site or a question about a region

    and then explains how the archaeologists know what they

    say they know.

    ; Emphasizes the diversity of sources of information and the

    care required to piece together a story.

    ; Not for kids but well written and readable. Adults would

    find it interesting and it would be a useful reference for

    someone preparing lessons on the subject. You do not need

    specialized knowledge to understand the explanations. ; Recommended as a reference.

    2003 Archaeologists: Explorers of the Human Past. Oxford

    University Press.

    ; No age recommendation 272 pages, so I would suggest

    middle school and older. NPS says “young readers”.

    ; Fagan collects together biographies of more than 30

    archaeologists of the past two centuries including eccentric

    professors and adventuring fortune hunters of old and

    highly trained scientists of today, In the process, he

    presents a portrait of how digging for treasure evolved into

    the respected and vital science we know today. Topics

    discussed include: golden pharaohs, lost civilizations,

    computers, tree ring dating, and numerous other scientific


    ; Recommended by National Park Service Archaeology


    Fradin, Dennis

    1983 New True Book Archaeology.

    ; Early grades reading level.

    ; Good, simple introduction to archaeology BUT it does show

    archaeologists digging up graves.

    ; Recommended with the caution that North American

    archaeologists no longer dig up Native American graves.

    Gerrard, Roy

    1992 Mik’s Mammoth. Sunburst Publishers, New York.

    ; Grades pre-school to 3

    ; Fiction. Mik, a timid but intelligent “cave man”, is not

    valued by his tribe until he befriends a mammoth and the

    two friends save the tribe from “hordes of hairy men”. A

    tale of brains and wit winning out, told with droll humor. ; Beautiful watercolor illustrations.

    ; Highly recommended by librarian reviewers.

    Goodman, Susan E.

    1998 Stones, Bones, and Petroglyphs: Digging into Southwest Archaeology, an Ultimate Fieldtrip. Atheneum Books for Young

    Readers, New York.

    ; 3rd grade and up

    ; Scrapbook style chronicle of a fieldtrip to an excavation in

    the American southwest with a group of school students.

    Focuses on archaeology and culture of the Anasazi.

    Includes working on an excavation and trying out skills and

    games from the past.

    ; Lively, colorful photographs for illustrations.

    ; Librarian reviewers give it five stars.

    ; Highly recommended.

    Giblin, James Cross

    1999 The Mystery of the Mammoth Bones and How It Was Solved.

    Harper Collins, NY.

    ; Ages 8-12

    ; The story of the discovery of the 1801 mammoth bones in

    New York and how it was determined what it was and what

    it meant about past life and climate etc.

    ; Detective story pacing

    ; Emphasizes how astonishing it was to suggest that there

    was a time when such different animals lived and that they

    had become extinct.

    ; Recommended by library reviewers.

    Griffin, Peni R.

    2004 11,000 Years Lost. Amulet Books, New York. thth; Readers 4 or 5 grade and up

    ; Fiction. After discovering an 11,000-year-old spearhead,

    11-year-old Esther Aragones becomes fascinated with

    learning about the Ice Age Clovis people. Esther steps

    between two trees and finds herself transported to the Ice

    Age and unable to get back to her own time. She is taken in

    by some nomadic mammoth hunters. Esther learns their

    language and their ways and joins the women and girls as

    they forage for plants to be used for food and medicine.

    Very adventurous and based on sound archaeological

    research about Ice Age life.

    ; Highly recommended.

    Hackwell, W. John

    1986 Digging Into the Past: Excavations in Ancient Lands. Charles

     Scribner’s and Sons, NY.

    ; Middle School and older

    ; Very detailed and accurate text about the many and varied

    aspects of an excavation in the Middle East. Describes goals,

    and the many specialized tasks required to do the job.

    ; Text is dense and a little dry. Not very exciting illustrations.

    ; Low recommendation.

1987 Diving into the Past: Recovering Ancient Wrecks. Charles

    Scribner’s Sons, New York.

    ; Written for upper elementary age students.

    ; Offers a short introduction to marine or underwater


    ; Recommended by National Park Service Archaeology


    Hehner, Barbara

    2001 Ice Age Mammoth: Will this Ancient Giant Come Back to Life. Crown Books for Young Readers.

    ; Reading level 9-12

    ; Recounts the story of the mammoth found encased in ice in

    Siberia. Provides much factual information on mammoth

    natural history and the relationship between mammoths and

    prehistoric hunters.

    ; Discusses the possibility of cloning and the creation of a

    modern day Pleistocene Park

    ; Brief readable text, many information boxes, highly praised


    ; Recommended by librarian reviewers.

    Higginson, Mel

    1994 Scientists Who Study Ancient Temples and Tombs. The

    Rourke Corporation, Vero Beach Florida rd grade. ; Easy reading ca. 3

    ; Defines culture and artifacts and explains in very general

    terms what archaeologists do and illustrates with varied


    ; If I were recommending books to use or purchase this would

    not be one it is OK but the picture of an archaeologist

    excavating burials in Florida, the tendency to look at the

    spectacular (Tut’s Tomb, Temples etc.) and lack of detail

    about how archaeologists work make it a poor choice when

    there are so many better books for the same reading level.

    Lauber, Patricia

     1998 Painters of the Caves. National Geographic Society. th; 5 grade and up even adults would find it interesting and

    enjoy the cave art and National Geographic pictures.

    ; Starts with discovery of Pleistocene rock art in southern

    France (Chauvet Cave) by a child in 1994 and continues to

    talk about the time period and the people using material

    from all over Europe.

    ; Presents hypotheses about why the rock art was made and

    what we can learn from it.

    ; Very lovely color photographs including rock art, artifacts,

    maps, reconstructions etc.

    ; Highly Recommended.

    Levy, Elizabeth

    2001 Awesome Ancient Ancestors! Mound Builders, Maya, and

    More. Scholastic Books. rdth; Reading level 3 to 4 grade

    ; Written to be funny with cartoon-like illustrations. Side bars

    about specific sites, time lines, or other facts. There is a

    great deal of misleading information (like the picture of the

    saber tooth cat and the T. Rex looking in the window at the

    prehistoric people).

    ; After the Paleo-Indian period most of the discussion focuses

    on the American Southwest and Central America with some

    talk of the Hopewells, mound building, and Cahokia.

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