Book: My Autobiography

Written by John Agard Neil Packer (illus.)
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Book tells the story of writing and book-making from the dawn of time until the current age. Written with wit and humor, this history should appeal to any curious 10-year-old or older child. Filled with philosophical quotes from various great thinkers of the world and wonderful facts about how writing developed, Book tells it like it was.

Clay tables, cuneiform writing, and pictures on a cave wall all express human beings’ desire to, well, express themselves. Regardless of the occasion or tool, writing things down and sharing thoughts with others seems to be one function basic to human existence. The development of the alphabet helped the art of writing and expressing, while the use of appropriate surfaces, such as papyrus, expanded the possibilities of the written word.

Listen to the way Book describes one of Book’s developments: “I was still rolling (papyrus scrolls) when, out of the blue, sheep entered my life. That’s right. Deep down inside of me, there’s a part that still bleats; especially when I dream of days gone by, two thousand years ago or more, when a certain Ptolemy V, Pharaoh of Egypt, took great pride in his library in Alexandria.”

The unique charm of Book’s voice carries the information about the history of writing along with a certain appeal. And, as Book evolves into EBook, it’s interesting to speculate about where Book will be heading next.