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The House of Wisdom

by Florence Parry  Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
Illustrated by Mary GrandPré

Published by A Melanie Kroupa Book / DK Ink, 1999
40 pages
ISBN: 0-7894-2562-9

Ages 9 - 12

"From time to time, as the world turns, something different happens . . . a kind of brightening. . . . No one knows why it starts, or why it ends, but the echoes of it last and last. A brightening like this happened a thousand years ago in Baghdad." During those centuries Western history calls the Dark Ages, a highly advanced culture flourished in Baghdad and throughout much of the Islamic Empire. The ruler of Baghdad built a great library. This well-researched story features Ishaq, the son of a renowned translator in the "enormous edifice serving as a learning institution, library, and translation bureau." His father tells Ishaq that although the boy might not understand the languages of people he sees in Baghdad's marketplace, "that does not mean they have nothing to say." After Ishaq travels widely, he determines he will become one of the links to "someone from another land, speaking another language . . . searching as I am." Mary GrandPré's pastel paintings suggest the palette and patterns of Islamic images. The story is followed by a reliable bibliography. CCBC categories: Historical People, Places and Events; Fiction for Children.(GMK; Feb 14) ©1999 Cooperative Children's Book Center


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