Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: John Agard
Illustrator: Neil Packer
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Book: My Autobiography is the story of books as told from the perspective of a unique character, Book itself. Between black and white illustrations and an occasional quote about books, Book describes its history from the days of storytelling before writing was invented to the burning of books. It discusses the invention of paper and the alphabet, the evolution of copying books to the printing press, the development of libraries, and the potential future of books in the digital age. All of these things help provide a broad, simple overview of the history of books, writing, and storytelling.
Some people may find the history of books as told from a book to be cute or charming, but other readers might feel like it is trying to hard or that things are confusing because Book is talking about multiple books and time periods while trying to stay in singular first person. The style can be fun at times, but it doesn’t always succeed. The illustrations and quotes can occasionally get in the way of the flow of the story. However, the book is informative and has a lot of history about books and writing that is sure to surprise the reader with at least one interesting fact. Younger readers who are curious about how books have changed through time will be interested by this book.