Medieval LEGO guides readers through English history in the middle ages, written by world-renowned historians and medievalists including John France, Christopher Given-Wilson, Anne Lawrence-Mathers, Stephen Morillo and Kathleen Neal.
The unique twist is that every historical event is illustrated by a tiny LEGO scene built by several of the most talented builders in the world. The author who compiled this book is Greyson Beights, a fifteen-year-old college student with a passion for medieval history and LEGO.
You can read about 32 important individuals and episodes from England’s medieval history, including the Battle of Hastings, the Signing of Magna Carta, the Peasant’s Revolt and Margery Kempe.
We interviewed Greyson to learn more about his book:
What was the idea behind creating a medieval history book that makes use of LEGO?
History has always been my favorite subject, and I truly believe that we can better prepare ourselves for the future by learning from the past. I strongly support teaching history to the next generation, and when the US National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that 82% of 8th graders are below “proficient” level in knowledge of the history of their own nation, there is a big problem. Our education system isn’t working, and we need to find outside and intuitive ways to teach history. Using LEGO to teach it seemed like an obvious choice to me.
LEGO has been around for over 80 years, and in the last decade or so it has seen a big revival. Why do you think that this fairly simple children’s toy has been so successful, both as a product and as a way of fostering creativity among children and adults?
I don’t think there’s one direct reason for LEGO’s massive popularity. Rather, it is a combination of things. One reason is that LEGO itself is an ingenious invention. Everyone can become a builder or engineer right in their own bedroom and create their own domains with these little plastic bricks. I’ve also heard LEGO bricks described as combining the fun of painting and putting together a puzzle, without the negatives of either.
In this book you put together a team of both builders and historians to create the images and write about medieval England. What was that process like?
It was an exciting process. We had contributors with a variety of backgrounds from over six countries spanning three continents, and bringing them all together was a fun challenge. During the whole journey, the contributors’ passion for both the subject and teaching it to others never ceased to amaze me. They saw my vision and helped me accomplish it selflessly. Their passion was inspiring to me then and still is today.
See also: Using LEGO to teach the Middle Ages