Beloved of home schoolers, the writer and illustrator Jeanne Bendick, who from what I understand just celebrated her 91st birthday on February 25th, has a new children’s history book, Herodotus and the Road to History (Bethlehem Books, September 2009). From the BB page for the book,
Best-selling author Jeanne Bendick takes us for another informative—and amusing—journey into places and events of long ago. Herodotus and the Road to History, written in the first person, details the investigative journeys of Herodotus—a contemporary of the Old Testament prophet Malachi—as he takes ship from Greece and voyages to the limits of his own ancient world. His persistence, amidst disbelief and ridicule, in the self-appointed task of recording his discoveries as “histories” (the Greek word meaning “inquiry”), means that today we can still follow his expeditions into the wonder and mystery of the “barbaric” north, Syria, Persia, and Egypt. Jeanne Bendick’s lucid text, humorous illustrations and helpful maps entertain and instruct as they open the way for readers young and old to join Herodotus . . . on the road to history.
Small Press Bookwatch in December noted,
Herodotus and the Road to History is a fictionalized account of the travels of Jeanne Bendick, detailing the story of Herodotus, the man who is often referred to as the father of history. Facing criticism in his day, Jeanne Bendick does well in presenting a thorough story of the man and his travel with many charming, simple illustrations. Herodotus and the Road to History is a fine pick for younger readers with an interest in history.
Jeanne Bendick‘s other books in print, all staples on most home schoolers’ bookshelves, include Along Came Galileo (Beautiful Feet Books, 1999), Archimedes and the Door of Science and Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, the last two part of Bethlehem Books’ “Living History Library”, Worth noting that another book in the library, The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker, is illustrated by Mrs. Bendick. Here you can find a timeline of BB’s books.
According to the biographical note for the Jeanne Bendick papers at the University of Oregon libraries,
An author and/or illustrator of over one hundred books, Bendick is particularly noted for her comprehensive research, clear text, and simple illustrations; her work reflects her ability to hold a reader’s interest even when elucidating a complex principle or invention. Much of what she has written clarifies the areas of television, movies, time, shapes, numbers, ecology, astronomy, heredity, and science history, urging in her readers a basic understanding followed by the curiosity to learn more.
On November 24, 1940, she married Robert Bendick [see which], a photographer who became one of the first three cameramen at the emerging CBS-TV network. This connection enabled her to work in the television field as a story editor and scriptwriter for series such as NBC-TV’s The First Look from 1965-1966, and Giant Step, 1968, as well as a segment for ABC-TV’s 20/20 titled “Evolution/Creation.” …
Bendick has commented, “One part of the job I set for myself is to make those young readers see that everything is connected to everything-that science isn’t something apart. It’s a part of everyday life. It has been that way since the beginning. The things the earliest scientists learned were the building blocks for those who came after. Sometimes they accepted earlier ideas. Sometimes they questioned them and challenged them. I want to involve readers directly in the text so they will ask themselves questions and try to answer them. If they can’t answer, that’s not really important… Questions are more important than answers… If I were a fairy godmother, my gift to every child would be curiosity.”
If you like garage and library sales, keep your eyes peeled for Mrs. Bendick’s older, out of print titles such as Exploring an Ocean Tide Pool, How to Make a Cloud, and Why Things Change: The Story of Evolution.
Belated birthday greetings, Mrs. Bendick, many happy returns, and many many thanks all of the wonderful books, including the newest.
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Other Herodotus resources for children:
The Boys’ and Girls’ Herodotus by John S. White; free online too
Stories of the East from Herodotus by Alfred J. Church; book version from Yesterday’s Classics or free online from The Baldwin Project
The Story of the Persian War from Herodotus by Alfred J. Church; book version from Yesterday’s Classics or free online from The Baldwin Project
Herodotus resources for older readers:
The Landmark Herodotus, edited by Robert Strassler and translated by Andrea Purvis (Pantheon, 2007); the NY Review of Books essay is here
Herodotus by James Romm (Yale University Press, December 2008); The New Yorker review of the Landmark volume and Romm’s volume is here
Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski; published two years ago, Kapuscinski’s last work
Just out this month — The Way of Herodotus: Travels with the Man Who Invented History by Justin Marozzi
Herodotus on the Web
Herodotus at MIT
Herodotus to listen to:
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