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A Different Medieval History

by Stephen Shapiro
illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist Silver Birch Award nomination, Ontario Library Association

Enter a medieval world unlike any you’ve seen before.

Welcome to an innovative and reader-friendly approach to medieval history, one that combines visually appealing infographics, whimsical cartoons and lively, informative text. Each spread offers a snapshot that highlights an aspect of the diversity and intercultural dynamics of the medieval world, from Europe to the Byzantine, Ottoman and Islamic empires.

Readers get the inside scoop on crusaders and caliphs, Mongols and midwives, as they read about expanding trade routes, power shifts, conquests, adventure, and persecutions. From the daily life of the medieval child to Rabban bar Sauma’s extraordinary pilgrimage, the result is a colorful and varied picture of what life was like a thousand years ago. For example, did you know:

• 5% of babies in English peasants’ homes died from pig bites?
• what medieval workers did for a living?
• you could buy a Turkish horse for 455 cartloads of dung?
• the best way to stop the unstoppable knight?
• A Viking longship is the length of two of today’s school buses?
• who was most likely to die from the Black Death?
• how Rome and Constantinople rose and fell?

Shapiro’s meticulous research is brought to life by Ross Kinnaird’s historically based, humorous, illustrations. Who would imagine medieval history could be this much fun!


“A creative and useful book that will be an added treasure to any school library or classroom. Highly recommended.”
—CM Reviews, 10/11/13

“Gets below the surface on more than one occasion . . . likely to encourage readers to take the next step in learning about medieval times.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 10/20/13

“Shapiro has done an excellent job describing the Middle Ages . . . style is particularly accessible to those who struggle with reading.”
—Quill & Quire, 06/13

“This very appealing graphic text is truly a “different” history of the Middle Ages! . . . Each page contains a wealth of clearly presented information.”
—Resource Links, 12/13

“I absolutely LOVED this book and will be using it in my classroom this year.”
—, 08/10/13

“Filled with numerous fun . . . facts that will surprise even adult readers, this is a great introduction to history for children.”
—, 10/04/13

“I wish I’d had this book as a kid, because I would have loved it!”
—Goodreads, 09/26/13

“A great historical introduction to a time period that was anything but simple.”
—Children’s Atheneum, 02/28/14

“[Addresses] all nature of the medieval times world-wide . . . uniquely in the form of infographics, thereby drawing all readers in.”
—CanLit for Little Canadians, 10/27/13

“The illustrations will keep kids chuckling; the print sections . . . provide students with a good starting point for projects.”
—Canadian Children’s Book News, 10/13

“It’s hard to find history dull, as presented by the author.”
—Reading and Sharing, 11/20/13

“A great book for expanding young readers’ understanding of this period, while also engaging them in ways that will help them absorb and remember the information. Bravo!”
—National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 01/10/14

“Filled with intriguing facts that will surprise even adults.”
—The Book Shelf, 05/22/14