10 Rivers That Shaped the World

•        Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School (Ages 9-12)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Science Middle Reader
•        Author: Marilee Peters
•        Illustrator: Kim Rosen
•        Publisher: Annick Press
•        Publication Date: March 17, 2015
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 7″ x 9.5″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 135 Pages
•        Retail: $14.95
•        ISBN:978-1554517381

“Hindus believe bathing in the Ganges River can purify you and remove your sins.”

“Johanson and Gray could hardly believe their luck as they realized they’d stumbled upon the skeleton of an ancient hominid…When the bones were excavated and studied, they proved to be from a 3.2 million-year-old species of ancient ape that had never been seen before…the little skeleton quickly became famous under another name: Lucy.”

So Much More to Rivers Than You’ll Ever Know
We teach our children that rivers are sources of water to drink and a means for transportation, but but there’s so much more to their significance that author Marilee Peters felt compelled to write a children’s book about them – and you’ll be glad she did. I was eager to review 10 Rivers That Shaped the World because as a Geology PhD student, my daughter is studying rivers and their sediment, and she often shares fascinating information with me as she learns it.

“The Nile floods were so dependable, and so essential, that the ancient Egyptians named their seasons after the changes in the river’s flow.”

10 Rivers That Shaped the World takes readers on an historical journey down ten of the world’s most renowned rivers. Each sections begins with a map and the ancient history of the river as well as fossils that have been found there, revealing the earliest human life. We learn how rivers flood and dry out, about the cultures of people who live along them, the life that lives beneath them and the plants and trees that grow along them. There have been civilizations that have risen and fallen along rivers and deadly disputes that have been caused by them. For these rivers are what attracts life and leave clues to the long history of man.

What This Book Teaches
There is so much fascinating information in the book, that my review simply cannot do it justice. Think of it as a riveting course in history, geography, biology and geology. Here are some of the lessons readers will learn as they are engaged in the book:

How the “lucky accident” of the Nile’s unique flooding patterns allowed the culture of Ancient Egypt to flourish in one of the   hottest, driest places on earth
How medieval robber barons seized—then lost—control of the Rhine
Why the Amazon helped scientists discover how species evolve
How Livingstone’s ill-fated exploration of the Zambezi changed Africa forever
Why you can trace just about every hit song back to the Mississippi River
How the massive Three Gorges Dam displaced over one million Chinese in the Yangtze River Valley
Why people in India have gathered to bathe in the Ganges for thousands of years
The crucial roles of the Awash, the Thames, and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in human history
How the rubber tree in the Amazon was discovered and how the Amazon changed the direction in which it flows
“2.6 million cubic yards of water flow into the sea from the Amazon every second. So much fresh water enters the ocean at the mouth of the river, you can drink the water 93 miles from shore.”

“Eels are among the oddest inhabitants of the Thames. They arrive in the river as tiny larvae, after journeying over 3,700 miles from an area of the Atlantic known as the Sargasso Sea. The eels stay in the Thames for 20 years before making the long trip back home to spawn.”

Why You Must Read This Book
10 Rivers That Shaped the World reads much like a story, which is a brilliant way to teach middle readers and keep them engaged in nonfiction. Peters’ writing is beautifully descriptive and flows well. The chapters are broken down into sections, making the book easy for children to read, as the information captivates them rather than bogs them down. The historic photographs and eye-catching aqua based illustrations by Kim Rosen add visual interest to the text too.  The book is a clever way to introduce children to world history and many different branches of science that may pique their interest in further study. We must educate our children about the earth so they can take their part to protect it and all its natural resources that are essential to life.

I love books that engage parents as much as they do children, and 10 Rivers That Shaped the World is a book you’ll want to read from start to finish too.

About the Author
Marilee Peters grew up in Ottawa, Ontario as an avid reader. In order to continue her favorite activity she studied English Literature, eventually earning a Master’s Degree with a specialization in Victorian novels (because they’re the longest). Along the way, she realized that writing, although harder than reading, was just as satisfying and you could even get paid for it. Since then, she’s helped write and edit guidebooks to Parliament Hill, program guides for theater festivals, newsletters about environmental policy, technology, and national parks, blogs about parenting and child development, and articles about everything from why kids don’t walk to school by themselves anymore, to money management. In addition to 10 Rivers, Marilee penned Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics. She lives with her family in Vancouver.

About the Illustrator
Kim Rosen grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and could usually be found in her room quietly drawing pictures. After high school, she moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology to study Advertising Design. After several years of working as a designer, Kim realized that she was meant to be an illustrator and attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she received an MFA in Illustration. The focus of Kim’s illustrations is on the subtle gestures and simple expressions of people in everyday situations. Kim’s color choices are inspired by the life around her. She lives with her partner in Northampton, Massachusetts, in their 115-year-old house.