CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 19 . . . . May 27, 2005
The above paragraph encapsulates the turmoil that has characterized Iraq ever since it was carved out of Mesopotamia and other countries after World War I. Where once the Garden of Eden flourished between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and philosophers and sages walked the streets of Babylon, Iraq’s more modern history is one of colonial occupation and struggles to control the oil fields.
Iraq is known to young people today because of the war launched in 2003 by a coalition of nations led by U.S. President George Bush on the assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and fostered terrorism. Hussein was overthrown, no weapons were discovered, and no link was ever made with Al-qaida or Osama bin Laden.
Ancient cities are ruined, and the economy is devastated. Instead of welcoming their liberators, the population of Iraq resents the foreign occupation. Many thousands of civilians have been killed, and different factions are now resorting to terrorist activities to drive out the foreign military forces and assert their own dominance.
Iraq may be in the news for a long time, and so it’s fitting young children be informed about the history, the people and the land of Iraq.
The books are part of “The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series” from Crabtree Publishing. They are designed according to the standard format, one which is easily understandable for young researchers: a table of contents, subdivided two-page chapters, feature boxes, interesting pictures with descriptive captions, a glossary at the end to explain words that appear in bold type, and an index. The reading level is about Grade 4-5, but the information will also be useful for older students.
All topics of history, religion, political parties, language, geography, culture, and the physical possibilities and difficulties of the landscape are discussed clearly. Current political information is presented in an understated and neutral a way as possible, for example, calling the post-war period one of “new challenges” and saying “The result has been an uncertain future for the people of Iraq.”
As is typical with this series, each book leaves out some information so that a student would be likely need all three books to do a thorough research project. However, each book can stand alone for general interest reading.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.