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Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs
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Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  37 reviews
To a child, the future is a magnificent dream. For Jean-Francois Champollion, the dream was to sail up the Nile in Egypt and uncover the secrets of the past. In 1802, when Champollion was eleven years old, he vowed to be the first person to read Egypt's ancient hieroglyphs. He faced great challenges over the next twenty years as he searched for the elusive key to the myste ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 24th 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  243 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
I’ve always loved Egyptian Hieroglyphs, and have read books about them and had (and given as gifts) kits with rubber stamps, and other hieroglyphs projects. Reading this book, I find it truly amazing that these symbols/this writing were able to be deciphered.

Throughout the book and on a page at the end, there are various hieroglyphs. Having them included was crucial for this book. The ones interspersed with the story did break up the story a bit, but it was worth it to have them there.

What’s wo
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very pretty and interesting child's book

Visually appealing, watercolor painting and hieroglyphs. Short read that fits in with the study of the Ancient world, obviously Egypt.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
Pre-read for CC1 and the study of Egypt. My boy is very fascinated with all things Egyptian.
Nathan Albright
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2019
This book is a pleasant and surprisingly instructive children's book on the life of Jean-Françios Champollion.  To be sure, there is some oversimplification here, as the author focuses on Champollion and not on the context of his life.  But seriously, this is a children's book, and there is going to be some simplification here.  In reading a book like this it does not work to be hard on those matters that are not included in this book, which would include the subject's possible illegitimate birt ...more
Runway Family
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even more than a story of cracking the heiroglyphic code, Seeker of Knowledge is a story of the passion and perseverence of a man who "would not rest until he had found the answer" to his question.  This, in and of itself, is a wonderful lesson for all children.  The story also brings the life of Jean-Francois Champollion and his amazing accomplishment to life through concise prose and superb watercolor illustrations.  Certain heiroglyphs in the margins and supporting texts are also lovely (e.g. ...more
Tim Vandenberg
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous paintings and well-researched writing tell the tale of the decipherer of Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Jean-Francois Champollion. Why don't more teachers share about this young man's 21-year journey that began when he was just 11 years old....What a perfect example of You Can Achieve What You Set Your Heart To! He even almost DIED trying to figure out the ancient code (due to lack of eating). MUST reading for all teachers who teach ancient Egypt. I wish I had known about this book 18 years ag ...more
Winifred Rogers
Still Curios

I chose this book because of curiosity in my ancestors way of communication. I liked the history of his and who the man was who discovered the deciphering of Hieroglyphics. What I didn't like was my thought of being able to learn how to write it myself. I don't think I'm going to recommend this book.. But, then again other title is exactly what I have learned.
Lauren Duffy
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
My 9 year old enjoyed this book much more than me. It’s a good edition to Egypt studies but not my favorites
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations.
Hyeonjeong Lee
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction - I like this book very much because of its theme. This is a biography of Champollion who was a linguist and amateur of ancient scripts. Personally, I am very interested in ancient scripts. My family sometimes went to museums to see different ancient scripts. From the experiences, I could learn about ancient scripts as well as its history. It's one of my best childhood memories.

Purposes-I would recommend this book to second graders of elementary school for several potential pu
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
Seeker of Knowledge is a picturebook biography of Jean-Francois Champollion, the first person to decipher ancient Egyptian script. Jean-Francois first dreamed of decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs as an eleven-year-old living during the time of Napoleon’s tours through Egypt. Without overwhelming the young reader, the story gives accurate details of Jean-Francois’ life culminating in his successful solving of the hieroglyphics and subsequent travels to Egypt. The pictures are a gentle supplement to C ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe how much I've learned about hieroglyphs and Napoleonic France from reading this book. To begin with, I was completely unaware when it came to Egyptology before this. I never had an interest, but after reading this I am completely enthralled with it. I never imagined that this would be so illuminating. I didn't know that the Rosetta Stone came from Rosetta, Egypt. I thought that it came from the Middle East. Guess it just goes to show how little I really knew about the topic. I wa ...more
Along the Nile River, the ibis bird uses it's long curved bill to search for food. In ancient Egypt, the ibis was sacred to the god Thoth, who also had a long, curved bill. Bur instead of searching fir food, Thoth searched for knowledge. According to legend, Thoth gave the ancient Egyptians pictures to use for writing. With the gift if writing, the Egyptians became seekers if knowledge, too.
For three thousand years, the Egyptians wrote about their world, covering their temples with words, filli
Very good (and sometimes dramatic) picture book about how Jean-Francois Champollion came to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and publish the first translation of the Rosetta Stone.

My 6 year old enjoyed acting out this part:

Jean-Francois raced down the street to his brother's office. He burst through the door exclaiming, "I have the key!" Then he collapsed. He had not eaten. He had not slept. For five days, he lay near death. On the fifth day, he awoke. "Pen and paper," he whispered, and he
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My kids were fascinated by this story. Jean-Franscios is a French youth during the time of the Revolution who falls in love with Egyptian culture and specifically hieroglyphics. He is obsessed by them, and wants to solve the mystery of the writing. After the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and progress in this feat by others, Jean-Franscois finally cracks the code.

The book also has hieroglyphics on almost every page, explanations of how they fit into different words. Reading this sent my boys to
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such a fascinating read about Jean-Francois Champollion, the man who deciphered the mysteries of the Rosetta Stone that led to unlocking the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The afterward portion shows several hieroglyphs, their translation and also a bit of info on how they may have been pronounced. Perfect for students covering Ancient Egypt in World History, or just for fun.
The story itself wasn't very interesting but I liked the way the book was put together. There were little hieroglyphics scattered through the paragraphs and larger hieroglyphics with definitions around the outside.

Jean-Francois was a genius who lived all things Egypt. He was determined to be the first to read Egyptian writing.
May 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was OK. I can't believe that on the back it says that even the must reluctant reader would beg to read it. All it did was talk about Jean-Francois Champollion and some about hieroglyphs and I am not interested in hieroglyphs.
An intriguing book filled with themes of a man fulfilling his boyhood dream by cracking the code of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Beautiful illustrations, gentle narration and mysterious hieroglyphs complement the inspiring story. A pleasure to read.
Glad we tracked this down. The story of Jean-François Champollion, the man who decifered Egyptian hieroglyphs (thus the title, eh?). His vision and determination to do something no one else could do was exciting to read about.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books we have read on hieroglyphs. It is very well told, illustrated beautifully and full of very useful information. This one is absolutely wonderful for studying ancient Egypt with children.
Simon Wojtaszek
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
We loved not only the story of the man who learned to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, but the beauty of the words themselves, formed in part by letters or symbols of sounds, but also by pictures, like that of the crocodile in the word trouble.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful picture book about an Egyptian hieroglyph scholar.
Chacha Centeno
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. I'm starting to learn that all Rumford's children's biographies are superb! Now to find a kid to recommend it to and watch them get hooked.
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very simple for kids to understand. Great lesson in achieving your goals.
Suburban Homeschooler
Decent for an informational book. lovely pictures, but wish pronunciations were listed throughout, rather than all at the end.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to hieroglyphics and the man who deciphered them. Makes us want to learn more!
Dawn Roberts
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful artwork and an inspirational story to help children understand the process of studying history. Lots of fun hieroglyphics embedded in the text.
Leia Horton
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manning
Excellent book about a frenchman, Jean Francois Champollion, who deciphered hierogliphics.
Mar 14, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-new
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I have been writing, illustrating, and designing children's books since 1996. I am on the verge of self-publishing through books that are printed on demand and via the internet. For more on my children's books, see my website: I also have a blog about writing and illustrating children's books at Besides commercially published books, ...more