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The House of Wisdom
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The House of Wisdom

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Timely and timeless -- this illuminating, luminous picture book brings ancient Baghdad to life as it tells the story of one boy's discovery of the power of the written word. This is the story of Ishaq, a young boy in ninth-century Baghdad. And it is the story of the House of Wisdom. More than a house, more than a library, more even than a palace, the House of Wisdom was at ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 15th 1999 by DK CHILDREN
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 116)
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Karina Macias
The House of Wisdom is a book set in ninth-century Baghdad about a boy who lives in a library, which is also a palace considered the center of Baghdad, and they referred to it as the house of wisdom. The main character, Ishaq, was fascinated by books, as was his father, and they both idolized Aristotle. Ishaq made the decision that he wanted to be a "man of learning". He studies books for years and finally he is called to lead an expedition to search for books and he travels the world. He return ...more
Gretchen
Read this to a fifth grade class--it tells of Bagdad in the 9th century before Europe was awakened and a boy's quest for knowlwdge and how he finds it in books and the library was the House of Wisdom! Very timely considering the state of Bagdad now.
Ashley Bell
The book The House of Wisdom, by Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland, was an interesting tale about how a boy learned to love books. Ships and caravans filled with goodies, books and manuscripts came to the ruler of Baghdad, Caliphal-Ma'mun. For all the books that came to him he built a library called the house of Wisdom, which was like the center of Baghdad. A little boy, Ishaq, and his father, Caliph, both loved the library. Ishaq's father translated the books into Arabic so the rest of the wo ...more
Diana (Bever) Barber
This is a terrific picture book for children. I just happened to enjoy it, too. I learned more about the House of Wisdom, this amazing museum and center of learning in Baghdad, Iraq. There is so much that we Americans fail to realize about the Middle East. One of them is what a priceless cultural and intellectual center Baghdad has been for centuries--not only for the Muslim community, but for the world. I remember hearing of the treasures that were stolen during the Iraqi wars. It was only a fa ...more
Jana
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Ishaq, the son of the chief translator to the Caliph of ancient Baghdad, who travels the world in search of precious books and manuscripts and brings them back to the great library known as the House of Wisdom.
Teri
Really really well done picture book that really brings the library of Baghdad to life!!! Loved it. (Interlibrary loan)
Heloyce
I loved this book. It is the true story of a boy from ninth-century Baghdad whose passion to understand the power of words led him on a journey to secure books for the House of Wisdom, a house of learning.
There were all kinds of books for scholarly intrigue available at that time and the same challenge beckons us today. We should be searching for our own House of Wisdom and willing to build our own house of learning.
The illustrations are large and loud, but wonderful.
Julianne
This is a children's picture book Beautiful illustrations! Not much story. There's a boy in Baghdad about a thousand years ago who lived in the library, which was a grand palace. His father worked there as a translator. Ishaq observed the scholars who seemed to enjoy reading and studying all those books. The books were brought in from all over the world! Thus, Badhdad's palace library was known as "The House of Wisdom".
Emkoshka
I'm a sucker for books about books or libraries, and this one didn't disappoint. While Europe was stumbling around in the Dark Ages, Iraq was the centre of an Islamic Empire of education, science, philosophy and medicine; it's always good to see the history of the world from the other side to realise that we in the West aren't masters of the universe.
Renee
May 18, 2008 Renee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 2nd - 5th grade
In 9th century A.D. Baghdad Ishaq travels and brings back books for the library called the House of the Wisdom. This story is centered around a real historic setting, where Baghdad was the center for learning. Beautiful cray-pas illustrations mirror Ishaq’s enthusiasm for his task.

Positively reviewed in SLJ and Booklist.

Lesley
This is a really interesting story about 9th century Baghdad, with fascinating illustrations, to boot! Considering how so much of the current news about Baghdad is war-related, it was a delight to read this story about the "House of Wisdom!"
Johara Almogbel
Another great book. I wish there wasn't so many mentions of camels and sand, but that's just me being tired of that theme and the illustrations are gorgeous. It's a beautiful English introduction to بيت الحكمة, and very well researched.
Kim
This children's picture book is a bit serious for a 6yo boy, but this book is an outstanding, relatively child-friendly view of the immense scholarly tradition of the Arab world. They didn't call it the Cradle of Civilization for nothing.
Finny
Mommy says: A bit serious for a 6yo boy, but this book is an outstanding, relatively child-friendly view of the immense scholarly tradition of the Arab world. They didn't call it the Cradle of Civilization for nothing.
John
What a wonderful book about searching, learning, and self discovery. This is a nice little prize, especially for those who like to collect books.
Miriam
A scholar's son goes on a long voyage to collect books.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What else could it be but a library?
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a picture book on readers and reading 1 1 Aug 31, 2014 03:46PM  
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"What do I like about writing for children? Everything," says Florence Parry Heide, the award-winning author of more than sixty children’s books, including the classic THE SHRINKING OF TREEHORN, illustrated by Edward Gorey. "I like the connection with children," the author says. "I like the connection with all kinds of book people. And I like the connection with my childhood self, which is the mos ...more
More about Florence Parry Heide...
Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated The Shrinking of Treehorn The Treehorn Trilogy: The Shrinking of Treehorn, Treehorn's Treasure, and Treehorn's Wish Dillweed's Revenge: A Deadly Dose of Magic Always Listen to Your Mother

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