Books contain countless tales—but what if Book told its own story? From clay tablets to e-readers, here is a quirky, kid-friendly look at the book.
Books are one of humankind’s greatest forms of expression, and now Book, in a witty, idiosyncratic voice, tells us the inside story. A wonderfully eccentric character with strong opinions and a poetic turn of phrase, Book tells of a journey from papyrus scrolls to medieval manuscripts to printed paper and beyond—pondering, along the way, many bookish things, including the evolution of the alphabet, the library (known to Egyptians as "the healing place of the soul"), and even book burning. With bold, black-and-white illustrations by Neil Packer, Book is a captivating work of nonfiction by one of England's leading poets.
Grades 5-8. Be still youth librarian hearts. Consider this a love letter to the physical object of the book, chronicled through time with humorous lyricism by Agard, a Guyanese British poet and author. From story to writing to alphabet, the evolution of the book as an item, up to and including its transformation into e-books, is told in first person by “Book,” which shares its memoir with Agard, who duly “transcribes” it for the reader. The lighthearted narrative is interspersed with relevant quotes, myths, poems, and Packer’s fittingly whimsical black-and-white illustrations. Back matter includes a brief but excellent source list of adult titles. Creative educators may find that this slim volume serves as an instructional model for projects that document the development of one of humankind’s most important handiworks. Teachers, librarians, and young readers with an interest in the format of books over time will especially appreciate Book’s open account of bearing witness to change.