A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars

By Maria Birmingham and Josh Holinaty

From 8 to 12 | 48 pages

Is it possible to live forever? People have been trying to figure out a way to escape mortality since, well, forever. This book takes readers on a fast-paced tour of several wacky and wise methods humans have used to try prolonging their lives, from ancient immortality elixirs and quests for a fountain of youth to modern-day research into cryogenics and robotics.

Touching on folklore from around the world, famed literary immortals and studies of animals that seem unaffected by aging, the book delves into topics as diverse as genetics, religious rituals surrounding the afterlife and research into basic lifestyle choices, like eating blueberries or getting a pet, that could help you live longer. Each page is a playful mix of fascinating facts that open up cross-curricular topics in history, science and social studies to explore.

Illustrations of historical figures, imaginary places and scientific specimens add a touch of whimsy and bring out the beauty, sincerity, and playful side of human curiosity.

Informational text features: table of contents, introduction, chapters, sidebars, fact boxes, headers and labels, map, index and sources
"Birmingham offers a wide-ranging look at the myths...scientific efforts...and religious traditions surrounding the extension of life." — Publishers Weekly
"A tasty distillation of history, religion, chemistry, biology, technology, and pop culture." — Kirkus
"This fun, enjoyable read manages to inform and entertain—a combination perhaps as rare as the fountain of youth—and will be a welcome addition to both school and public libraries." — Booklist
"Birmingham takes readers on a lively tour of the many ways people have sought to cheat death throughout history...a visually striking, thought-provoking look at a topic that will encourage further investigation." — School Library Journal
"Whimsical...quirky...humorous and engaging. A must-read for anyone interested in science, magic, and everything in between." — Foreword Reviews
"Humorous but informative...with fun facts and thought-provoking info...that is sure to pique the interest of even the least morbid kids." — Quill & Quire
"A Beginner's Guide to Immortality has it all. Highly recommended." — Canadian Review of Materials
"A cornucopia of wise and wacky ways people have tried to achieve immortality, Birmingham's witty book will appeal to even the most reluctant readers...this handy reference tool offers an endless bounty of possible cross-curricular discussion ideas and topics for teachers, including science, social studies, and history." — The National Reading Campaign
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One of Foreword Reviews's Best YA Titles of Winter 2016,
Canadian Science Writers' Association Science in Society Book Awards (shortisted), 2015,
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