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All the Dirt - A History of Getting Clean

All the Dirt

A History of Getting Clean

Interest Age: 9–12
Grade: 4–7
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: SL.6.1,1a,1b,1c,1d,2

Reading Level: Lexile 1110L
Hardcover : 9781554517909, 108 pages, October 2016 , 9" x 6.75"
Paperback : 9781554517893, 108 pages, October 2016 , 9" x 6.75"


Cleanliness is next to godliness. At least that was the point of view espoused by John Wesley in 18th century England. But accounts of people bathing go back to the Bronze Age in the Indus Valley. All the Dirt on Getting Clean is a lively, informative exploration of the evolution of keeping clean. Starting with a number of myths about cleanliness, the author quickly establishes how our ideas have changed drastically over time, and how the definition of cleanliness in one part of the world may differ radically from another. There is just enough of a gross factor that the target audience of 9 to 12-year-olds will find the book as entertaining as it is enlightening. Colorful spreads, lots of sidebars, humorous illustrations, and photos make it ideal for browsing as well as reading in depth.


  • Nominated, Golden Oak Award nomination, Ontario Library Association 2017
  • Joint winner, Green Book Festival Award 2018
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2017
  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination 2017
  • Nominated, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Awards nomination 2017
  • Nominated, Red Cedar Non-fiction Award 2018


“Mesmerizing in its ability to hold readers attention from cover to cover.”

- Kid Lit Reviews, 05/11/16

“Author Katherine Ashenburg weaves together basic history, biology, philosophy, and chemistry in a cohesive and entertaining read.” 

- CM Reviews, 01/27/17

“A recommended title that many students will read with pleasure. Teachers might also use parts in their science, history, social studies, or language arts classes. The final chapters provide useful media literacy information.” 

- Resource Links, 02/01/17

“Accessible and most enjoyable.” 

- Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 05/15/17

“This fascinating read will be a welcome addition to any home, class or school library.” 

- Canadian Children’s Book News, 01/01/17