Thursday, April 05, 2012

A Book a Day

It isn't often that a blog like this ventures from adult oriented materials into things for children. As in the last post, which included Cry of the Benu Bird, I want to take some time in between all of this heavy duty stuff to present some information for children, youth and young adults. Being a teacher by profession, I have the unique opportunity to provide these resources where others might not have the training to do so beyond a few books.

Ancient Egypt has a unique place in both fascinating many children as well as providing a good source for a life time love of language. It offers a doorway into seeing what another culture is, what another language is and why we should be interested in learning it. These are all very important concepts in a world where we need more tolerance for those who are different than us. Granted that need for tolerance is just a personal opinion but it doesn't change the ability of this ancient culture to open children up to language.

There are many awesome books on hieroglyphs geared toward children. I am not going to try and cover all of them, rather, I am going to cover one now and then later on, there will be more youth books in other posts.

Today I am going to share a little about The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs: The Story of the Rosetta Stone and the Race to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs. by Carol Donoughue. This book is for 3rd to 6th graders as far as reading independently. Younger children could understand it if it was read to them as the wording is very simplistic and well written. A nice feature about this book particularly is that despite being short, it has a table of contents, glossary, index and related sources. These are important features for students in this age group to start learning, that is, how to use a book's parts. The book also includes most of the vocabulary necessary for reading other, more demanding books about hieroglyphs. All the important vocabulary is bold face throughout with great context clues.

Some content that I find worthwhile in this particular book is that it shows in pictures many concepts in familiar images. For example, describing the difference between hieroglyphs, hieratic and demotic by using comparisons to modern type faces or describing Egyptian word structure by comparing it to English compound words. The book also gets into the more complex ideas of phonograms, determinatives and logograms without becoming overwhelming for a younger reader. It also has interludes of history about the men who worked on deciphering the hieroglyphs before it goes on with some simple instructions on how to start deciphering them yourself.

All in all this book covers a lot of very complex topics in very easy to understand terms. I would even suggest this book as a very beginning starting point for an adult who wanted to start learning about hieroglyphs and how to read them.

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