BEVERLY HILLS—It is not easy to get the young to read of figures long gone and long dead. Why would a teenager want to spend an hour or two reading on the political machinations of a monarch who has no sway and no say over his/her life? No, unsurprisingly, the youth would likely prefer to read a more modern fantasy book of their own choice, watch a movie or connect with friends on the exceptionally popular social network site Facebook. Now, however, two satirical writers have teamed up to combine humor, Facebook and Wea smattering of some of the most famous and infamous moments in Western history. And the surprising part is, the result is highly enjoyable.
Travis Harmon and Jonathan Shockley’s Let There Be Facebook (Simon & Schuster) is a witty compilation of major historic, religious and cultural figures and moments presented as though Facebook was always the dominant medium of communication. The authors cleverly connect the old-time stories with modern youth, with the briding ideae that had Facebook been around, these larger-than-life characters not only would have used it like today’s youth do, but their communication would have been streamlined, humorous to a modern audience, and not so different from the way young people communicate today.
What makes this book stand out is its quiet way of forging identifiable connections between ye olde history and young readers. The book mocks and cleverly repackages historic and religious events such as the flight of Jonah, the binding of Isaac, the Black Plague, the adventures of Alexander the Great, the marriages of King Henry VIII, the ride of Paul Revere, Abraham Lincoln and much more.
Larger-than-life figures are brought down to earth and made much more human within the covers of this easy-to-read 142-page book. (Sometimes it is easy to forget that Lincoln, the Wright brothers, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein were mortal, too.) By stretching the bounds and facetiously boiling world events down to brief Facebook status updates, the authors suddenly make history fun and playful for younger readers.
This book could even serve as a good scaffolding tool in middle school, high school and college classrooms in which students who are far more familiar with Facebook than the history book. Such a fun introduction may even inspire curious readers to learn the full story.
Who knows: this entertaining and intellifently plaful book may even inspire a life-long love of history.
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