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From Then to Now by Christopher Moore

From Then to Now is a book about the big picture, from the time our distant ancestors were hunter-gatherers in Africa to the present day

Book: From Then to Now: A Short History of the World, Tundra Books

Author/illustrator: Written by Christopher Moore, illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski.

Toronto historian Christopher Moore says he finds it stimulating to write history for young readers. (Tundra Books)

From Then to Now is a book about the big picture, from the time our distant ancestors were hunter-gatherers in Africa to the present day. Christopher Moore is a Toronto historian who has written history books for adults as well as children, but he says he finds it "very stimulating writing about history for young readers." The best-known of his books for young readers is The Story of Canada, which presented the history of our country as a series of interesting stories and engaging bites of information.

From Then to Now takes a similar format, with art by Andrej Krystoforski to enliven the text. Moore approaches each section as a theme in human history – Learning to Farm or Explorers and Colonies. But within each section there are dozens of smaller stories, about everything from Scottish inventor James Watt to the lost city of Angkor Wat. "I really believe that for kids, particularly younger kids, story is absolutely vital. You can tell kindergarten kids history if you make it into a story," Moore said.

From Here to Now combines short bites of history with a big picture view of human development. (Tundra Books)
In covering the entire scope of human history, Moore had to leave an enormous amount out. He was conscious of the need to balance the Eurocentric view of history seen in many school textbooks and is careful to tell stories of China, Vietnam, the Incas and the Inuit, as well as the kings and queens of Europe. Moore calls this a more Canadian approach to world history as people from Canada now come from all over the world.

For young readers who love information books, From Here to Now is a find. Moore never assumes background knowledge – so pre-adolescent readers can pick up the book and bite off a brief, cogent story about the development of several world religions or the impact of the plague and begin to grasp some of the forces at work in the development of human history. The writer says he doesn’t know why certain young readers are drawn to books about real stuff, but some parents have told him about catching their youngsters reading his Story of Canada or From Here to Now under the covers with a flashlight.   "It’s lightning in a bottle knowing how that works," Moore said.