When I began reading on my own, I gravitated towards biographies. I recall reading about pioneers, heroes and heroines. These folks inspired others. I followed the struggles and triumphs of the likes of Elizabeth Blackwell and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Then, I found out some biographers equivocated in their writings of these “good guys.” Well, folks said to me, they couldn’t tell the kids. Thus, I turned towards the wonderfully made up world of Fiction.
One of my coworkers mentioned Scholastic’s series called “A Wicked History” in a staff book club meeting. These short biographies focus on despots, barbarians, evildoers – basically the bad guys of history. My coworker showed us the one on Napoleon. These biographies may say they’re for kids but I’d recommend them to teens. HCPL keeps the Wicked Histories in the Young Adult nonfiction.
While I checked out the one on Napoleon, I requested one about Catherine the Great. Then, my dad and I had to duke it out over who read what first. Within a couple of days, both of us found these biographies to be candid (no equivocation for teens), informative, and well-contained. This is one of those nice series that doesn’t require reading in a certain order. (Thank you!) These biographies are written by different people as well.
I’ve read a few of these already and taken note of similar formatting. The covers present almost a caricature of the subject. Each villain has a word graffiti-ed across them. In addition, the books present a map entitled “The World of ______,” “A Wicked Web,” “_____ in Pictures,” “Wicked?,” “Timeline of Terror,” “Glossary,” “Find Out More,” and “Author’s Note and Bibliography.”
So far, so good! I’ve read some and intend to read more. I anticipate more Wicked Histories on more women. . . hint, hint.
For more on A Wicked History series, check out the following links: