"Nothing is more critical, I believe, than that children growing up in these critical explosive days should be given an understanding of American history as a part of the history of the world. Every year this grows more urgent, as increasingly rapid communication integrates world events more closely and the impact of foreign affairs on our own lives becomes more serious and immediate." -Genevieve FosterAlthough Foster wrote these words nearly fifty years ago, they are even more relevant to us today as our world continues shrinking at a rapid pace. It also seems that today the world is increasingly divided along religious, social, and economic lines. Foster saw that the knowledge of history would help ease those tensions, provide perspective and help inspire positive changes.
In order to accomplish her lofty goal of educating American children in their own history as well as the history of the world, Foster wrote several award-winning titles that places world events in a sort of parallel with one another. She also wrote her histories in an engaging conversational style that grabbed reader's attention and made history relatable. Here are the titles we at BFB have been honored to bring back into print.
In Augustus Caesar's World, Foster traces the seven major civilizations—Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, China, India, and Persia—from 4500 B.C. to the time of Augustus Caesar in 44 B.C. and culminating in 14 A.D. Within this timeframe readers will learn not only the stories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony, but also the historian Livy and how Virgil came to write the Aeneid. Foster will then take her readers all over the world to learn what was happening at this same time in China, Persia, India and so on. Foster's detailed pen and ink drawings are fresh and appealing, and her illustrated timelines give a clear sense of chronology, enriching the engaging text. An all-time customer favorite!
"This book is a story of the world. It is a slice of history measured by the lifetime of Captain John Smith, a small, courageous Englishman who was born in the days of Queen Elizabeth I and whose heart, he said, had been forever 'set on brave adventure.' This is a very successful and welcome addition to Mrs. Fosters other horizontal treatments of history in which she presents, along with historical events, a total picture of the world - religious, cultural, social, and economic - during the span of one man's life. As in the others, many drawings add much to the attractiveness of the volume and are in keeping with the lively, authentic text. - Horn Book
This is the story of a wonderful, changing, reawakening world—the world of the Renaissance and Reformation. Measured by the lifetime of Columbus and his sons, this book spans the years from 1451-1539. With Columbus as the central figure of this narrative, readers will also learn the fascinating stories of Prince Henry the Navigator, Ivan III of Russia, Gutenberg, Queen Isabella, Leonardo da Vinci, Mohammed II, the African ruler Nomi Mansa, Martin Luther, Erasmus, Albrecht Dürer, Copernicus, Michaelangelo and many others. Told in Foster's engaging and winsome style enhanced by her helpful chronologies and timelines, readers will learn of the religious, cultural and scientific changes that ushered in a new frontier of exploration and discovery.
Spanning the years from 1580-1631 the life of the adventurous John Smith gives a picture of the world just before and during the colonization of America. When Smith was a boy, Shakespeare was on his way to London to become an actor, the Spanish Armada had failed to conquer England, Mary Queen of Scots had lost her head, and Akbar the young prince of India sought to rule his people wisely. Galileo was perfecting his telescope and seeing things never before seen by the human eye, while Pocahontas romped the forests of Virginia and saved a young Englishman's life. A little band of Pilgrims seeking to escape religious persecution in England fled to Holland and a little Dutch boy named Rembrandt began to paint. These are just a few of the intriguing personalities, events, discoveries, and advances that made up the world of Captain John Smith and are now made alive to the reader in Foster's masterful way.
Continuing her unique approach to "horizontal history", Genevieve Foster explores the wide world of William Penn from the 1660's to the early 1700's - a world reaching across the courtyards of the Sun King in France to the Great Wall of China and beyond to Colonial America. Penn's contemporaries included such colorful figures as Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Edmund Halley, Sir Issac Newton, Shah Jahan ( who built the Taj Mahal), and the great explorers Marquette, Jolliet, and La Salle. His life also spans a fascinating age of world exploration and discovery. Penn's Quaker beliefs under girded his relationships with the Pennsylvanian native tribes and established the longest standing peace treaty between American Indians and European settlers. Wonderful maps and illustrations by the author complement the text.
The period measured by the life of George Washington—1732 to 1799 —was one of revolution and change in many parts of the world as Enlightenment thinking took hold in the minds of men. When George was a young man, Benjamin Franklin was the most well-known American, Louis XV was on the throne of France, and George II was king of England. Father Junipero Serra had just arrived in Mexico to work with the Panes Indians. Mozart and Bach were writing their immortal music and Voltaire warred with his pen against Ignorance, Injustice and Superstition. The young nobleman Lafayette watched the feisty American colonies with fascinated interest as they stood up to Mother England when she sought to tax them unfairly. James Cook was sent by the Royal Society of London to Tahiti where their team of astronomers might observe a total eclipse of the sun and thereby accurately measure the distance between the earth and the sun. These are just a few of the wonderful narratives explored by Foster in her Newbery Honor Book of 1940. Prolifically illustrated with intriguing line drawings and detailed timelines, Foster's telling of the life story of George Washington does justice to the man it celebrates.
Originally published in 1944, Foster earned her reputation by her masterful display of "horizontal history"—telling the story of world events in the geo-political sphere, while giving as much importance to advances in science, medicine, music, literature, and exploration. Thus, while Abe Lincoln was a boy romping the woods of Kentucky, Thomas Jefferson was completing his eighth year as president, George III reigned in Great Britain and Napolean was about to meet his Waterloo. Beethoven and Sir Walter Scott were at the height of their creative powers, while Victor Hugo was staging plays at school. By the time Lincoln was old enough to help his father chop wood, other young boys and girls were being prepared for the future parts they would play. Harriet Beecher was reading anything she could get her hands on, Charles Darwin was collecting toads, crabs and shells, and the impoverished boy Dickens was working in a shoe blacking factory in London. When Lincoln opened his shop in Salem, David Livingstone was opening up deepest Africa, and thousands of Americans were opening up the West on the Oregon Trail. The spirit of freedom was moving around the globe as the abolitionist movement gained power in the States and serfdom saw its demise in Russia. Technologically the world was bursting with the invention of the telegraph, the railroad and the steamboat. With her whimsical and informative illustrations and timelines Foster has magnificently captured a remarkable age and a remarkable man.
The Genevieve Foster titles have been long respected and have introduced countless children to the joys of learning about the history of our world. You can also read Cathy Duffy's review of these wonderful books here.
For those of you who want to add these classics to your family library, we offer significant discounts on our packs of 3 or more titles. Purchasing all six will save you $38.95! Check out our offers here.