cover image All of Us: A Young People’s History of the World

All of Us: A Young People’s History of the World

Christophe Ylla-Somers, illus. by Yvan Pommaux, trans. from the French by Anna Lehmann. NYR Children’s Collection, $29.95 (88p) ISBN 978-1-68137-321-8

The first nonfiction volume in the NYR Children’s Collection, this ambitious panorama of human civilization covers the origins of life to the end of the Cold War. The narration moves across cultures and continents, marking developments keyed to an advancing timeline; detailed illustrations and maps by Pommaux augment the text. Readers may have conflicting feelings about Ylla-Somers’s approach. The narrative frequently uses an omniscient we and is often written from the perspective of the oppressors (“We slaughtered lepers, vagrants, and Jews, who were increasingly shunned”; “There was land to be taken from the native people and cities to be built for future generations of brave emigrants”), and in at least one place removes fault from colonizing forces (“Chinese and Indian civilizations also whetted the appetites of the colonizers”). Though outmoded phrasing jars and the underlying perspective is primarily Eurocentric, the book also depicts the wide-ranging impacts of slavery, racism, colonialism, sexism, and environmental depredation. Ages 8–11. (June)