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10 Plants That Shook The World

Format: Paperback
Status: In Print
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;
Authentic Canadian Content

Dig up the amazing stories of the plants that have transformed our lives.

Plants might start out as leafy things growing in the earth, but they can come into our lives in unexpected ways. And believe it or not, some have even played an exciting role in our world's history. Discover how:
- Countries went to war to control trade centers for pepper
- A grass called papyrus became the first effective tool for sharing knowledge through writing
- Europeans in the 1600s cut down rainforests to grow sugar, contributing to soil erosion
- Cotton improved the livelihoods of a few, but caused unthinkable suffering for many more
- Corn fuelled new technologies and turns up in thousands of everyday products
- The discovery of rubber revolutionized transportation, making bike and car tires possible
- Tea and chocolate became big business, and the race for profits was on
- Dependence on the potato caused one of the greatest tragedies in history, while the bark of the cinchona tree saved countless lives from malaria.

The ten plants in this book are the source of profound changes in the world, both good and bad. Through vibrant illustrations and astonishing facts, you'll discover that without them, our lives today would be vastly different.

- de Bary Children’s Science Book Award

- Green Book Festival Award

"A treat to read no matter what age you are... Each section begins with a fact sheet on the plant and its place of origin, various "pros and cons" associated with the species (which might involve nutritional benefits versus environmental issues), followed by a one-page short story designed to pique the reader's interest. The bulk of the chapters then flesh out how the world has been affected by the spread of items, such as corn or rubber, which underpin modern civilization. Richardson is a fine writer and the text is accompanied by vibrant illustrations. There are useful maps, as well as a bibliography, a suggested further reading section and an index." — George Sheppard, Canadian Teacher Magazine, May 2014

"Sugarcane, rubber, pepper, cacao, cotton, tea, papyrus, corn, potato, and cinchona have something in common: their influence on human culture. Gillian Richardson explores the history and value of these plants in 10 Plants That Shook the World. Facts, stories, and sidebars combine with photographs and folk art in this intriguing book for middle grade readers. [Richardson] integrates the discovery, politics, science, economics, agriculture, and technology behind the featured plants. Each engaging chapter offers both "pros" (cinchona bark for the treatment of deadly malaria) and "cons" (the role of slavery and child labor in the growth of cotton). Reference to ancient times (using BCE terminology) and religious practice (such as the Mayans' worship of corn as a gift from the gods) are presented alongside modern concepts such as "biorespecting", deforestation, and genetic modification. 10 Plants That Shook the World is a fascinating read on many levels; adults as well as students would surely find the information noteworthy and the back-stories compelling. Kim Rosen's bold illustrations have a dramatic quality. Each page is a colorful array of text and graphics that invite the reader to peruse and revisit. Plant origins are displayed on a two-page world map, and references for further reading are included along with a detailed index. — Nina Ditmar, Christian Library Journal, June 2014

Educator Information
Themes: history, social studies, ancient civilizations, multicultural, nature, war, slavery.

Interest Age: 9-12 | Grade Level: 4-7 | Guided Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell W

Additional Information
132 pages | 7.25" x 9.50" | color illustrations throughout, bibliography, further reading, index