“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana’s ‘The Life of Reason.’ 1905
Winston Churchill paraphrased this quote in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons when he famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” We agree that history is important, and so does DK. That’s why we’re taking a look at these bestselling reference books from DK’s Back in Time Boutique that bring to life the stories of remarkable women, scientists, and explorers who changed the world, as well as the deadliest conflict in history.
Read on to see what we thought and to enter our giveaway to win one of these historical reference books!
Click on the titles or covers to see these books on Amazon.
DK’s newest book in the Knowledge Encyclopedia series provides kids with a visual overview of human history over millions of years from our earliest hominid ancestors into modern times.
Organized into five broad chapters – The Ancient World, The Medieval World, The Age of Exploration, The Age of Revolution, and The Modern World – this hefty volume explores historical events and milestones through illustrated timelines, maps, detailed CGI images and cutouts, fascinating sidebars, and accessible text.
In between the big picture historical dates, figures, and events, readers will also learn about daily life, culture, religion, clothing, and architecture. A strip along the top of the pages offers interesting short facts and statistics. This book packs a lot of information into its pages and would be a great resource for any children’s reference library.
As a parent of two young girls, it’s really important to me that my daughters learn about the vital roles that women have played in history and in modern times. Traditional histories tend to gloss over the contributions of women, but this book is part of a growing body of books that aims to teach girls and boys about the accomplishments of women throughout the world.
Some of these historical women are well-known figures like Amelia Earhart and Florence Nightingale. Others are less well-known, but they should be! From figures of ancient history to current day heroes like Malala Yousafzai, this visual guide offers a celebration of women who have changed our world, while providing context with “Who came before…” and “Who came after…” panels showing readers how these women were influenced and how they in turn influenced others.
Information is presented in easily digestible paragraphs that share each woman’s story in a way that children can relate to. Kids will enjoy the fun factor of the cute and quirky bobble head characters, each with a comic-style speech bubble sharing an additional fascinating fact.
I would have liked to see more women of colour, and the organization would have been improved with a text box for each remarkable woman containing basic information like when and where they lived and their area of expertise. Despite these oversights, this book is inspiring for all children and a creative way of helping girls see their potential in ways they may not have before.
This children’s reference book brings science and innovation to life through these stories of 100 scientists whose discoveries changed the world. Learn about the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates and the origin of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors still take. Read about key figures in the development of quantum physics. Discover Inge Lehmann, the geologist who discovered the solid core at the centre of the Earth.
However, with only 19 women in these pages and less than half that number of people of colour, there’s a distinct lack of representation in these pages. Despite this, the book does offer great examples of how scientists build on the work of people who came before, as illustrated in the “Who came before…” and “Who came after…” panels on each page.
This is a great resource to have around the house or in the classroom covering giants in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, computer science, and astronomy, you’ll see plenty of familiar names like Pythagorus, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, along with a few that were new to us like Stephanie Kwolek and Ali Javan. Like its companion book, 100 Women Who Made History, this would have been improved with a quick reference box summarizing the basic demographics of each scientist.
This beautifully illustrated children’s reference book includes in-depth features of 60 explorers from around the world, plus maps, drawings, fact boxes, and accounts in the explorers’ own words. We were thrilled to see explorers represented from around the world including many female explorers. From Xuanzang, a Chinese Buddhist monk in the 7th century, to Jeanne Baret, the first woman to sail around the world (disguised as a man!), decorated pages invite readers to learn more about each explorer and the characteristics that make them adventurers.
In the modern era, read about Sung-Taek Hong, a South Korean mountaineer, and Mae Jemison, the first female African-American into space. These stories inspire the spirit of exploration and show kids that there is no limit to how far they can travel. Besides features on the explorers themselves, several spreads in the book dig deeper like a look into the supplies Robert Falcon Scott took with him to the South Pole, and an overview of some of Charles Darwin’s most important natural discoveries.
Backmatter includes mini-biographies of even more explorers and a glossary of terms.
Trace the epic history of World War 2 across the globe with more than 100 detailed maps.
World War II: Map by Map is a visually stunning history book that will take you on a tour of all the significant events before, during, and after the war. From the sociopolitical antecedents of the conflict, to key events and significant events during the war years, through to the aftermath and historical developments in the years following.
Over 100 maps illustrate key events and battles in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and in the Pacific. Maps, timelines, and other graphics help break down the events that changed the world, including the Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, Pearl Harbour, the Holocaust, and the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
An attractive book with silver foil on the cover, this impressive tome would make an incredible gift for military history buffs and students of history.
Win World War II: Map by Map!
Learn more about one of the most significant periods of world history. One of my readers will win a copy of World War II: Map by Map. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.