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Who in the World Biographies (Peace Hill Press) Review by Diane Wheeler

Peace Hill Press Biographies
Who in the World Was The Unready King?
Connie Clark
Who in the World Was The Secretive Printer?
Robert Beckham
Peace Hill Press
18101 The Glebe Lane
Charles City, VA 23030

Do you have a younger student who is interested in reading historical biographies? Finding quality options can be difficult, as the library shelves are often filled with stories of the latest rock star or sports phenomenon. Well, things are looking up. The first two biographies have just been released in the junior-level Who in the World series by Peace Hill Press.

Who in the World was The Unready King? tells us of Ethelred the Unready, England's last Anglo-Saxon king. The story of how England was given over to the Vikings is filled with people and events that will engage young students, especially the tale of a young, unprepared king and how much he wanted to be just a boy, not a ruler. Connie Clark has written this story well, and the illustrations by Jed Mickle help to engage the imagination. In the author's final note, she gives a simple, age-appropriate description of how history research is conducted and ends with this: Was Ethelred a coward, or was he just unprepared for his job? Historians have debated questions like these for centuries. Perhaps you can add your own opinion to the debate." An excellent question, and one that can capture the reader's interest and encourage them to pursue further study.

Who in the World Was The Secretive Printer? is the story of Johannes Gutenberg and his struggle to invent the printing press. The author, Robert Beckham, does a lovely job of describing life in Germany during the 1400's, as well as the life challenges that were an important part of Mr. Gutenberg's childhood. Finding the money to finance his invention, and to keep his business in working order, was a constant struggle. What a gift he gave us in the printing press; books can be taken for granted in this day of bookstore chains in every shopping center, but the sacrifice to print those first volumes was great. How good it is for students to catch a glimpse of Gutenberg's important part in history. Also illustrated by Jed Mickle, this story is an excellent introduction to the world of historical biography. May these two excellent junior biographies be the beginning of many more to come. Move over pop stars, Who in the World biographies are here to enrich the history shelves in our homes and libraries. It is a welcome addition!

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine