Book Review: THE STORY OF PEOPLE, a concise history of humankind for children

The Story of PeopleThe Story of People
A First Book about Humankind
Catherine Barr and Steve Williams
Illustrated by Amy Husband

The Story of People promises to deliver an ambitious goal–summarize the history of humankind on earth in a book digestible for children–and it does an amazing job parsing two million years into around forty pages.

Barr and Williams begin when dinosaurs went extinct but small mammals survived the asteroid that killed so much life on earth. From there, readers learn about hunter and gatherer societies, the formation of towns, trade, the development of government, the influence of religion, to the industrial revolution, and today’s amazing technological developments.

They don’t shy away from difficult topics such as the slave trade, war, and climate change, though their message is one of cooperation and hopefulness.

Completed in a style I particularly like, Amy Husband’s illustrations are somewhat cartoon-like, colorful, playing with perspective, and with new details every time you look at the page.

The book includes a running timeline and a helpful glossary.

For an audience of six-to-nine-year-olds, The Story of People does deliver a full, though concise history that will also certainly inspire questions and provoke discussion. A must for libraries, this is also a great book to have at home.

Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.