A quick history of…..

Nonfiction can be dry and dull, but it doesn’t have to be. I recently discovered this new series by Clive Gifford and Quarto books on NetGalley. I downloaded a review copy of A Quick History of Politics and was hooked. Turns out that this is a new series with 2 books already published, one published today (July 6) and one coming out later this month (July 20). These books are meant to be funny and engaging introductions to complicated concepts and they work! I promise that while I got access to 2 of these through NetGalley, my raving on all 4 is completely my own.

In A Quick History of Politics, Gifford takes a look at the silly side of government, big and small, throughout the ages, and also explains the important stuff, like suffrage, elections and getting your voice heard. How did Ancient people make decisions? Can you spot fake news? Who was Karl Marx? Going from cave man days through modern times, many challenging ideas are taught in a way that kids, and adults, will understand.

Later this month, the next installment, A Quick History of Money, comes out. The blurb from the publisher says: Why is a $5 note worth $5? Where do coins come from? What do banks actually do? All this and so much more is answered in A Quick History of Money, a crash course from cash cows to cryptocurrency. Money might sound all grown-up and serious, but the history of buying, selling, saving, and stealing is full of crazy stories and unbelievable facts. A Quick History of Money is here to show you the silly side, as well as give you the lowdown on the important stuff like interest, stocks and shares, and wealth inequality.

Quick History of the Universe is a ride through the history of the universe, starting with the Big Bang, and bringing us right up to present day. Gifford answers many questions and apparently throws in a few dad jokes. But these are the things kids want to know. Like, in the beginning there was… what exactly? Which stars are really hot stuff? How do stars die, and why? What is a black hole? What will the universe be like in the next few billion years? And how do we even know this stuff? Read about the scientists who are figuring it all out.

Finally, the 4th book in the series is described as follows: “Math + history + jokes – boring bits = A Quick History of Math. This book begins around 43,000 years ago with a notched baboon leg, the Lebombo bone (the very first mathematical object in the world) and rushes us past Hindu numerals and the invention of zero, via Pythagoras, Pascal and probability, right up to the present day, with big data and the maths that rules our digital lives. Geometri-cool!

These are all really fun books that upper elementary school kids are going to love. A great addition!

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