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In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  558 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A thought-provoking collection of twenty-five stories that reflect the wonder and glory of the origins of the world and humankind. With commentary by the author. “A must for mythology shelves.”--Booklist
Hardcover, 161 pages
Published September 25th 1988 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1988)
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Nate If you click the Amazon link and then click on the cover of the book a window will open up where you can flip through the first few pages, including…moreIf you click the Amazon link and then click on the cover of the book a window will open up where you can flip through the first few pages, including the table of contents which shows the list.(less)
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Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book of creation stories and cosmogonies from around the world out-loud to my 8-year-old daughter to try and balance out the Christian stories that she is deluged by in American culture. Many children have no idea that predominant western religions did not develop in a vacuum, but are threads in a tapestry of world mythology and religion that is as varied as it is valued by so many different people in different times and climates. We really enjoyed the stories, although some of them ...more
Michelle Pegram
Hamilton has collected creation myths from 25 different cultures and put them in one volume. There are stories from Iceland, New Guinea, Russia, Nigeria, Zambia, Greece, Egypt and Guatemala just to name a few. In addition to this, the creation stories from Judaism and Christianity are included as are stories from two native american cultures, the Huron and the Blackfoot. This variety in and of itself makes this book worth a read. Hamilton also classifies creation myths based on type and give som ...more
Cindy Benabderrahman
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to know where we come from
This is an anthology of 25 culturally rich creation stories, from all over the world, accompanied by 42 color paintings by Barry Moser, a wonderful introduction placing the stories in an authentic context, and a brief exposition at the end of each story offering insights into the culture of the people from which it came. They are told in a simple voice, complimenting the simplicity of the Oral Tradition. The language is quiet and powerful. "Time was, there were no people on earth." starts
Melissa Barbier
This is a great collection of specifically just creation myths from many cultures. The index is just lacking the culture of origin for each story. The reader has to read the myth and see the note at the end to see where the myth is from. It would be easier to have the origin of the myth noted by each story in the index in case the reader is trying to find myths from a certain culture. If a reader is simply trying to learn more creation myths, this a great book for that. Each story contains one o ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've always found myths to be fascinating, and even though this book is aimed at younger readers, the bones of the stories are still there. Also, a collection of stories around a particular theme like this is even more interesting to me, because you start to see some common themes emerging, even though the originating cultures were separated by significant amounts of time and space. A few of the creation stories here were familiar to me (obviously the Biblical accounts, and also parts of the Nor ...more
Joshua Lawson
The stories in this book are simply told and easy to read. I would have liked more information regarding the cultural context and origins of each myth, and how some might have influenced others, but perhaps that is best left for another book. This compilation is good for a basic introduction as it seems to have been intended.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: In The Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World

Author: Virginia Hamilton

Illustrator: Barry Moser

Genre: Myth

Theme(s): Creation, Culture

Opening line/sentence: “Time was, there were no people on earth. The first man still lay inside the pea pod.”

Brief Book Summary: A collection of myths that has no boundaries and are from all regions of the world for all to enjoy.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1: Publisher’s Weekly
According to PW , ``Moser's watercolors gleam like jewels amid
This review pertains to the 1988 hardcover edition.

Virginia Hamilton presents 25 multicultural creation stories. Barry Moser’s watercolors depict gods, tricksters, and additionally illuminate concepts, such as Chaos (p. 126).
School Library Journal suggests a 6th grade or higher level. A watercolor painting introduces each story, and additional paintings illuminate ideas within some of the longer retellings. Some commentary, such as an explanation for an
Christina Taylor
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks
In The Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World provides multiple explanations for the origin of life, the universe, and everything as explained by the pre-scientific beliefs of many cultures and traditions. Although this text is bound by space constraints and ease of translation for as Hamilton notes in the introduction not all myths can be “rendered on a level of understanding for many readers,” the author has amassed a representative collection that is marked by her signature clarity ...more
As long as man has existed, he has wondered about the world around him, how it came into being and his place within it. This anthology lists some of the stories of origin from around the world. The best ones are those that feature the voice or actions of man and/or woman or the less-than-divine beings that create them. Some of the stories are a little dry, as they are barren of emotion, while others are surprisingly humorous. (The one about a god retreating from Earth because mankind kept poking ...more
❄Elsa Frost❄
This book contains many (though not all) creation stories from many different religions. Each religion has their own unique creation story that they believe and hold true, which this book then collects and allows you to read from. Of course, this book describes these stories as "myths," but there is an extreme importance tied to the word "myth" in here. So if you believe in God and believe in one of these creation stories but hate that this book uses the term "myths," the book has an important n ...more
Virginia Hamilton retells twenty-five creation myth stories from a variety of cultures. The entire compilation allows the reader to consider the ways each group or culture believe the way the earth and humans were created. Hamilton is clear in her introduction that each of the stories are called myths and that "Myths present themselves as truth and as accounts of actual facts no matter how different these facts or truths may be from our ordinary, 'real' experience. There are myths that are sacre ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book. There were creation myths from places I haven’t even heard of and it was interesting. There were also some myths that I have heard of or read about many time and love to hear over and over again. Some of my favorite myths are the myths of the Greek god like Zeus and the Titans. I have heard of Prometheus but I had never actually heard his story. I didn’t get the whole story granted but I know more about him then I ever did before. I also had heard about Pandora’s box but to ...more
Thomas Bell
I thought that the different stories were very interesting. I was disappointed to find that Virginia Hamilton had changed some of the stories slightly to fit the feel she wanted to give, but she didn't change them very much. I was also disappointed to see that her respect of people's religion wasn't very high. For example, she claims that these days scholars call the accounts given in Genesis the 'genesis myths.' Well, maybe the scholars that she associates with call it that. It seems that all t ...more
In the Beginning by Virginia Hamilton is a book that contains many stories of creation from all around the world. There is a total of 25 different stories within this book. In many ways I enjoyed reading In the Beginning because I had never heard any of these creation myths, so it was very interesting learning about what people around the world believe. Also, at the end of each story, the author put a footnote about the origin of the myth. I liked learning the background information. Another thi ...more
It was the dark illustration of the Egyptian Sun God, Ra that attracted me to this book.

"In The Beginning", who received a Newberry Honor, is an anthology of different creation stories from around the world, as told by Virginia Hamilton. She retells 25 creation stories that are bundled with illustrations that represent them.

More appropriate from grades 3rd-5th, this book lends itself to several reads, comparing and contrasting creation stories, interesting social studies topics and the making
Rebecca Maidl
I chose this book as my informational selection.

This is a compilation of world creation myths. It is a very interesting and informational book; well written, and has beautiful paintings to accompany each creation myth. I find it intriguing that many cultures from around the world separated by continents, oceans, mountains, and time can have many similar characteristics and yet be all distinct and different from each other.
Cultures’ and religions’ myths featured include: Greek, Jewish, Christia
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberry-awards
Excellent selection of creations stories selected from around the world.
Newbery Honor Award book for 1989
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Lexile Measure: 640L

Other Newbery books of Mythology or folklore are:
ZLATEH THE GOAT (1967 Honor), both by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
THE WHITE STAG (1936 Medal) by Kate Seredy

These books had to adhere to the Newbery criteria. "“Original work” means that the text was created by this writer and no one else. It m
I didn't really care for this book. This was an interesting collection of creation stories or myths. Some of these I was familiar with, but others, I had never heard of. I find it fascinating how each myth “explains” how man and life came to earth. While there is an abundance of myths from Africa and North America, I was disappointed to see that no Aboriginal myths were included in this compellation. I enjoyed reading the ones from India and Russia. The one from the Middle East is similar to ano ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book on Creation Myths from around the world. That being said, I think that it would only really be very interesting for people who are interested in creation myths to begin with. It takes you on a trip around the world and gives you a glimpse into the minds of people for a time passed in different cultures. I noticed that something that a lot of the stories share is the first creation rebels or challenges the creator, thus the first creation being banished to the underworld. ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of diverse myths from around the world that explain the origins of death, blindness, men, women (and their tempers), dogs, animals in general, fire, etc. I found the stories – which spanned three to five pages – to be lacking. They were interesting concepts, and I think that children would enjoy them, but for me, it was too brief and too bland. For that reason, I was unable to truly appreciate the stories for what they were worth... which is disappointing since I wanted ...more
Mary E R
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An nice selection of creation myths from around the world followed by a paragraph about their origins. This books can help students understand why myths were developed and compare and contrast different creation myths from around the world. I break students into small groups and focus on one of the myths and then present it to the class. While the Greek, Egyptian, Christian and Jewish creation myths are all included, I tend to select the myths that are less familiar to the students such as man c ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional-lit
This is a great anthology of creation myths/stories from all over the world. This book was a little disappointing with the lack of creativity and color. As you read through this book you don't see anything that stands out other than having multiple stories in one book. I would recommend this book to teachers to use as a way to begin a unit when teaching world history. I would not, however, have students use this book to read for pleasure or assign them this book.
Felicia O'Brien
This book was okay. Some of the stories were interestng while others were almost frightening such as the one called Death the Creator from the Kono people of Guinea. The one that offered the most hope is from the Holy Scriptures. I thought it was interesting to see some of the common threads and the contrast that each story bore, as well as the different belief systems.

1989 Newbery Honor book
1989 Newbery Honor Book

This is a very nice collection of creation stories all in one volume with some great painted illustrations. Hamilton includes many different cultures in this book including tribes from Africa, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Babylonian and Greek mythology and the Biblical account of creation. She also comments on the different types of myths that are commonly found in the creation genre.
Yoon Jin-  ISB
From ancient histories, people were questioning about the creation of the world and the creatures. This book by Virginia Hamilton gives us an idea of how people in the different parts of the world were thinking in back time and how different cultures affected their stories. For the people who are interested in the ancient stories and the cultures around the world, this book is for you.
Daniel R.
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book. The artwork for each story is amazing and concept of the book is wonderful. I just couldn't get past the staccato prose used to tell each creation myth. Even though it's targeted at young adults I expected more flowery storytelling given the grandeur and scope of the myths.
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read, myth, children
Great introduction to various world creation myths and thus cultures. The illustrations are fun too. My son enjoys looking at the drawings. The text is pretty simplified.

Some of the author's comments are not super helpful (she comments after each myth), and she is biased toward Christian mythology, though not unexpectedly.

But overall a great addition to our library!
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Huda by: Mrs.NJD
Shelves: arabic-books
الكتاب يسرد لنا بعضا من الأساطير التي اختلقها الناس عن بدايات الخلق
وجدت الكثير منها مضحك حقا، لكن كم هو غريب أن نخترع الحقائق ونسلم بها

لابأس بقراءة الكتاب لإشباع بعض الفضول
أما عن نفسي فاتخذته لعبة تخمين
بقراءة الأسطورة وتخمين الشعب
:) نجحت في اثنتان فقط

وأخيرا الحمدلله على نعمة الهداية والإسلام

Ps.Thanx Dr
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeously illustrated and simply written, this book provides an around-the-world tour of creation myths at 30K feet. Best read one a day, with time to ponder and reflect. As an adult, I'd sometimes wish they went a bit deeper, but found that it wasn't all that hard to dig there myself. A wonderful book for young and old.
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