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Ancient Chinese Science

ancient chinese science book cover

Wonders of Ancient Chinese Science
Silverberg
1969

Submitter: The juvenile nonfiction section at my public library hasn’t been weeded in a very long time, as evidenced by this book about Chinese scientists. I include a picture of the card pocket in the front because of the “two cents a day” fine that is mentioned.

Holly: It does say “ancient” right in the title… but there are too many references to “recent” times in this book. A new book on ancient Chinese science would be great, though!

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Great American Negroes

great american negroes coverGreat American Negroes
Richardson
1945, 1956

Submitter: This year, the school I work at decided to start a book club where we are reading a book about helping students become better readers. We were discussing the sorry state of our high school library and I mentioned how half the books could go on the blog Awful Library Books. At the end of the book club I said I was going to find a truly awful book. One of the first books I grabbed was “Great American Negroes,” by Ben Richardson. We were horrified and decided we could weed this one ourselves. The spine is truly awful.

Holly: Yes, it is. It isn’t 1956 any more, people. There isn’t much reason for a high school library to hang on to something like this. It went from a celebration of a culture of great people to downright disrespectful. There is rarely a reason to keep something “because it’s historical” in a high school library. It’s not a museum.

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“Modern” World

Young Peoples’ Story of the Modern World
Hillyer and Huey
1966

There are some important pieces of history told in this book, no doubt about it. You can see the subjects it covers in the Table of Contents.

There’s nothing horribly wrong about this book.  It just looks old and boring, it smells a little, and it’s a little roughed up with age.  It was a lovely public library or school library choice for its day, but can safely be put to rest now.  Let’s give kids something fun and exciting to read about history, like DK, Eyewitness, or Usborne titles often do.  Even the worst-funded library in America can do better than this old thing.  (Link to BBC History for Kids – it’s free!)

-Holly

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