The Secret History of Giants
by Professor Ari Berk
Illustrated by Wayne Anderson, Douglas Carrel, Gary Chalk, Kevin Levell, and Larry MacDougall
Publisher: Candlewick (US), Templar Books (UK)
(US) ISBN-10: 0763640476
(US) ISBN-13: 978-0763640477
(UK) ISBN-10: 184011648X
(UK) ISBN-13: 978-1840116489
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From The Order Of The Golden Quills:
Welcome to the Order!
Gentle Reader and friend of the Secret Folk --- For two
thousand years we have watched and listened, chronicled and collected, and now
we invite you to join us. More than ever, inconsiderate humans are running
roughshod over the land, ignoring the hallowed places, ruining ancient
landscapes, forgetting their compacts with the Secret Folk, pushing wonder to
the margins of the world. Long and ago, these races (giants, merfolk, dwarves,
elves and the rest) were not called Huldur, "the Hidden," but were
known as the Durodath, the "bright, golden, shining ones," or simply
as "our Good Neighbors." We
hope those days of mutual understanding may come again.
thousands of years we, The Order of the Golden Quills, have chronicled and
collected knowledge and wisdom of The Huldur or Secret Folk, those races spoken
of in legend, about whom little is now known.
on one such race of Secret Folk is complete -- that of the mighty Giants. We
present it to you here, New Friend, for you to share the life of these titans
and the work they have undertaken to shape our world. Within these pages you
may explore their secrets, witness their fun -- and their fury, and learn where
you might seek out the noble Great Folk -- for they might be nearer than you
with you these Secret Histories, The Order of the Golden Quills spreads
knowledge and understanding for peace in all realms and between all good
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From the Publisher:
Volume one in the award winning Secret Histories series by Ari Berk.
Ancient Greece had its Titans, the Celts their Green Knight, the Bible Goliath -- and for those who know where to look, signs of these legendary hulking creatures still abound. Now comes a hugely engrossing chronicle of giants since antiquity, from their role in forming mountains and causing earthquakes to the mysteries of their sacks (watch out for hitchhiking humans); from their means of employment (how did the Druids built Stonehenge?) to an extensive map of places around the world where giants may likely be found. Exhaustive and lushly illustrated, this enormously valuable resource is sure to fascinate all who open its covers.
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Awards and Reviews
Winner of a 2009 prestigious Notable Award by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
Selected as a 2009 Notable Book by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)
The charge of the seven-member national committee is to select thirty titles each year that best exemplify the criteria established for the Notables Award. Books considered for this annual list are works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry written for children, grades K-8. The books must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or the history of language;
- demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language or style;
- invite child response or participation.
In addition, books are to:
- have an appealing format;
- be of enduring quality;
- meet generally accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written.
Winner of a 2008 Parent's Choice Recommended Award:
"For those silly grownups who don't believe giants are real, and the kids who have always known they're wrong, the evidence is very carefully presented by the Secret Order which has kept track of the existence of giants for centuries. The very best imaginary reference books have a conspiratorial air that allows readers to think they have bought the last copy of a rare text. This one succeeds on all counts. The age-old covenant between humans and Huldur ("hidden ones" to those unschooled in giant lore) has been damaged and the goal of the book is to reacquaint us with the history and nobility of our hidden neighbors. Berk has written a brilliant, incredibly well illustrated, ethnography of giants for kids. Everything from giant recipes to their literature (and the fiend named Jack) is covered. A good way to become a giant expert is to read this book, and then read it again. An excellent primer to aid those bound for Middle Earth."
Scholastic Education Plus:
"Encyclopedia Britannica was never like this! A visual treat and a browser's delight."
"A captivating little book that packs an enormous literary punch."
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"It might be a stretch to get it into a stocking, but any Harry Potter fan will be glad you did."
As seen in the movie Thor
A Few Words from the Author
Everyone wonders where things on the land come from. From the earliest times people have told stories about the origins of hills and mountains, about standing stones and stone circles. More often than not, the stories about the big things we see in the world will include a giant or two.
The evidence of all the ancient lore is about us all the time. But giants are even closer than the landscapes around us. Myths of human origin include tellings of giants as well. Stranger still, we become them. Looking back at our childhoods, we see small chairs, a little desk, tiny toys.
In this book, I wanted to explore the stories behind things we see but forget sometimes to ask about. I wanted to see the land from a giant's point of view. I wanted to write a book that once you read it, you'd see the world - the rocks, the hills, the mountains - with new eyes and a renewed sense of wonder.
My favorite part of writing this book was getting to interview the giants themselves who always had marvelous stories to share. Of all the legends and tales told to me by the Great Folk, the one that made the greatest impression on me, the one that haunts me still, is the simply told account of the giants' origin myth, told to me by Ainar Rocktongue, called the
of Beginnings." And here it is:
the sparkle was put upon the granite, in the earliest times, which are but
moments ago to our Eldest Folk, we were part of what we now tend and love:
rocks, trees, mountains, tors, the song of the water passing over the stones in
the rivers of the land. But the hills -- bless each wrinkle and fold of 'em! --
wanted a voice, so we became their mouths. The mountains wanted to know
something more of the wandering world, so we became their legs, striding far,
but never forgetting our roots, our fathers and mothers of earthfast rock. And
at our long days' ending, we shall return to them. To the mountains, to the
tors, to the earthlight. We shall return to the arms of our First Families.
Ainar Rocktongue, by Larry MacDougall
Gigantes Giganticus, by Larry MacDougall
Some giant creatures, by Wayne Anderson
Celtic Giants, by Douglas Carrel