As an adult who needed some gaps plugged in my knowledge of world history, this book sure did the trick. For kids aged 8-14, it’s a colourful, fact-filled extravaganza of cultures and countries, tribes and travellers, posses and pioneers, explorers and entrepreneurs.
They’re all here: the Vikings, Marco Polo, Alexander the Great, African nomads, Romans, the Roma, Aborigines, Pasifika peoples... why, even the troublesome globetrotter Covid-19 gets a mention (in ‘The Journeys of Diseases’).
There’s the Windrush generation - Carribeans who arrived in Britain seeking jobs after WW2; the various inhabitants of London’s Brick Lane, from French to Jews to Bengalis; the warmongering Indian king Ashoka, who had a change of heart and spread Buddhist teachings throughout Asia.
A World Full of Journeys & Migrations is grand in its scope: topics traverse religion, racism, war, trade, animals, food, dance, and music - all starting waaaaay back, 70,000 years ago, when a small tribe of human beings walked out of Africa and into the country now known as Yemen. It delivers: the tales told are fascinating and vividly detailed, and the accompanying eye-catching illustrations have a gorgeous, quirky style.
Despite touching on many negative instances of human history - the likes of Jewish children fleeing Nazi Germany, South African apartheid, climate change migration, African-American slaves - A World Full of Journeys & Migrations isn’t depressing, and these instances are dealt with in a sensitive, unbiased, plain-truth speaking way.
Touchingly, the book ends on a note of hope; while acknowledging the world has problems, “...those problems will never be solved with hatred and unfairness. When we look back, history teaches us that human journeys have always taken place and always will. We should celebrate those journeys because when we travel in friendship and arrive in peace, we walk together towards a world with amazing new possibilities.”
Clocking in at 127 pages, it’ll keep a child occupied for hours - and perhaps turn them into a walking Wikipedia.
Reviewer: Stacey Anyan
Allen & Unwin