One Year in History Series

By Mary Ann Whittier

Most history books start at a certain point and then discuss what happened next, presenting history as a chronological chain of events. But the books in this series present history laterally—that is, instead of telling what happened chronologically, each of these well-crafted biographical novels tells what was happening virtually everywhere in the world, all within a single year. It’s a fascinating way of offering readers a sophisticated new perspective on history.


History is generally taught as a narrative, a story in which one event follows another in chronological succession. The two books in Mary Ann Whittier’s small but significant series present history laterally—that is, they each explore the events that happened all over the globe in a single year, thereby transforming the story to multiple perspectives of a worldwide series of events that can be comprehended and evaluated in the context of one another. In this way, readers can view people making decisions in the context of knowing—or, more often, not knowing—how others in their world were acting.

For most young people, these books will be their first experience with lateral history, and as such, the series will give them an important perspective on the writing of history that encompasses six continents and a diverse array of cultures at a single point in time. Some students will gain new knowledge and understanding; others will acquire a new level of intellectual sophistication. For the most advanced, this series will initiate explorations of historiography—the study of history and how it is written and interpreted by different people in different times and places around the world.

These extraordinary books offer so much to young readers, both intellectually and academically, and they do so in the context of well-crafted biographical stories that kids will want to return to again and again. This is a series that can get youngsters thinking in broader, more expansive ways that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.


12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18+
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, College Level
History, Novels