Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina

The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina

Fatima Sharafeddine
Illustrator:  Intelaq Mohammed Ali 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Groundwood Books, 2015   ISBN: 978-1554987108

Abou Ali al-Hussein ibn Abdullah ibn  al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Sina was born in a village in Persia in 980. When his father was given the job of being the governor of one of the sultan’s provinces, Ibn Sina and his family moved to the city of Bukhara. There the young child was taught by scientists and philosophers, and by the time he was ten he could read and knew both the Qur’an and a lot of Persian poetry by heart. For some children such an intense learning regimen would have been a trial, but for Ibn Sina, who loved to learn, it was a joy.

Ibn Sina was especially interested in learning about medicine, so much so that by the time he was sixteen he had completed his studies in this discipline. For Ibn Sina science was easy. Philosophy and logic were harder for him to grasp and “it took quite some time to master them.”

When the sultan of Persia got sick all the best physicians in the country came to treat him, without success. Though Ibn Sina was only eighteen, he was able to cure the sultan, who was so grateful to the young man that he invited him to stay in the royal palace. There Ibn Sina would have access to the sultan’s large personal library, which he made use of for the next four years. After the death of his father and after the sultan’s rule ended, Ibn Sina moved from place to place, teaching, healing the sick, and always learning new things.

The author of this book tells the story of a man whose name is not really well known in the western world, but whose achievements were extraordinary. Ibn Sina’s revolutionary ideas regarding education and child rearing are still studied today, he wrote hundreds of books on many subjects, and his discoveries about “the science of nature” and medicine were very advanced for his times. This tribute to a great thinker will fascinate young readers who are interested in the lives of great men and women who lived long ago.