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2015 Nominee
Voted 17 out of 20

Before the World Was Ready

By Claire Eamer. Published in 2013 by Annick

Eight fascinating tales of scientists and inventors ahead of their time.

Earth revolves around the sun. Washing hands helps stop the spread of disease. Poisons in the environment affect the entire ecosystem. Today these ideas are common knowledge, but at one time they were all rejected. In this thought-provoking book, find out what happened when people weren’t ready to listen to innovators who came up with revolutionary ideas.

  • Alfred Wegener struggled to convince geologists that the ground beneath our feet is moving
  • “Mad scientist” Nikola Tesla‘s futuristic ideas about electricity were dismissed
  • Charles Darwin delayed publishing his controversial theory of evolution for decades
  • Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace nearly invented the first computer in the 1800s
  • Copernicus proposed a sun-centered model of the universe
  • Ignaz Semmelweis tried in vain to persuade doctors to use disinfection methods
  • Aviation pioneer George Cayley‘s ideas were decades ahead of the technology that would make them work
  • Rachel Carson sounded the first alarm about the effects of pesticides on wildlife.

Nowadays, we think of these scientists as heroes, but they all endured great personal hardships for daring to think differently.

Enlivened by colorful and witty illustrations, these compelling stories of great minds — and often eccentric personalities — are sure to draw in young readers. Look around: can you spot the next world-shaking idea?

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4 thoughts on “Before the World Was Ready

    1. Aslan

      What is unfortunately not a secret is that the likes of Julius Malema does not inspire the youth of this country to seek a better life through education.He inspires a false sense of ”getting it all” It will be long before the damaging effects of Apartheid can be erased, if ever, but the only way forward is through creating a culture of self-worth and the importance of education.I think it was Ghandi who said: There is enough for ev&#roneey8217;s needs but not for everyone’s greed

  1. Hillhurst School

    Before the World was Ready
    Before the World was Ready was a well written book with accurate facts that were spot on and the factor of humor. Very detailed book but short and precise made the book fun and easy to read. This book generated a lot of enthusiasm in me and I’m sure it did for many other readers as well. I love how specific the facts are and how Claire Eamer used the factor of humor to attract readers. Before the World was Ready is great book to read and was well worth my time.

  2. Hillhurst School

    RMBA book reviews
    Before the World Was Ready
    Earth rotates around the sun, the continents used to be one supercontinent, washing your hands keeps germs form spreading, the theory of evolution and more. Nowadays, almost everyone knows this, and if you didn’t know, you’d think “oh, cool!” But in the times the scientists that discovered this were alive, people reacted in a much different way: “why should we believe that Earth isn’t the centre of the universe?”, “How could you think that the continents could move around? Shame on you!”, or “I’m tired of washing my hands!” This book is all about fascinating discoveries and how people reacted when they found out.
    I think this is a great book with lots and lots of information but at the same time, short, so you don’t have to spend hours (of boredom) reading it. It is an interesting and funny read, well written and hilariously illustrated.
    In just 113 pages, it explains how eight people’s ideas were dismissed because the world wasn’t ready for it—Nicolaus Copernicus and his idea of sun being the centre of the solar system, Alfred Wegener who thought the continents looked like a jigsaw puzzle, Ignaz Semmelweis, who tried to get people to wash hands, and five more.
    “Before the World Was Ready” is a great book, I recommend reading it.


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