Story of China

These books by Suzanne Strauss Art are designed to take middle school students on a journey through Chinese culture and civilization. The books are the same format but cover different time periods. The first book, Story of Ancient China, covers China's evolution from earliest times (7000 BC) through the Golden Age of the Tang dynasty (907 AD). Each chapter focuses on a specific time period. At the end of each chapter are a dozen or so review questions that require short answers and test understanding of the chapter. Simple instructions for a few projects are also included after each chapter which require outside materials like an atlas, the Internet, art supplies, books easily found at the library, and more. The first book is especially good at presenting the information in an almost story-like format, so students learn about the founding of China, major historic events, common cultural aspects, important leaders, and more in a friendly and readable way. In both books, text is presented in double columns, with short paragraphs, easy-to-read sentences, and black and white illustrations interspersed sporadically. Both books also have small text-boxes at the bottom of some pages that go into further detail about especially important or interesting historical figures, locations, or events. The second book continues the tale of China's history, covering up until 1911. The books do flow together well, but they can be used independently as the second book includes a beginning section that gives an overview of the major achievements of earlier times. The second book seems geared towards a slightly higher grade level. The reading level is about the same, but there are twenty or more review questions after each chapter, which is much more than the first book, and the projects seem a bit more advanced. The books suggest using many outside books, Internet sights, and films along with this resource so students get a good understanding of China and how it has developed. The books themselves are full of many details about China's history and include timelines, maps, pronunciation guides, and glossaries. Story of Ancient China has 176 pgs and China's Later Dynasties has 200 pgs. pb ~ Rachel




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