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Children's Nonfiction Personal Hygiene

All the Dirt

A History of Getting Clean

by (author) Katherine Ashenburg

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Personal Hygiene, Customs, Traditions, Anthropology, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


Cleanliness is next to godliness. At least that was the point of view espoused by John Wesley in 18th century England. But accounts of people bathing go back to the Bronze Age in the Indus Valley. All the Dirt on Getting Clean is a lively, informative exploration of the evolution of keeping clean. Starting with a number of myths about cleanliness, the author quickly establishes how our ideas have changed drastically over time, and how the definition of cleanliness in one part of the world may differ radically from another. There is just enough of a gross factor that the target audience of 9 to 12-year-olds will find the book as entertaining as it is enlightening. Colorful spreads, lots of sidebars, humorous illustrations, and photos make it ideal for browsing as well as reading in depth.

About the author

Katherine Ashenburg writes for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Walrus and Toronto Life. She is the author of three non-fiction books for adults, All the Dirt on Getting Clean is her first book for young readers.

Katherine Ashenburg's profile page


  • Joint winner, Green Book Festival Award
  • Nominated, Red Cedar Non-fiction Award
  • Nominated, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Awards nomination
  • Nominated, Golden Oak Award nomination, Ontario Library Association
  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination
  • Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

“This fascinating read will be a welcome addition to any home, class or school library.” 

Canadian Children’s Book News, 01/01/17

“Accessible and most enjoyable.” 

Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 05/15/17

“Mesmerizing in its ability to hold readers attention from cover to cover.”

Kid Lit Reviews, 05/11/16

“Author Katherine Ashenburg weaves together basic history, biology, philosophy, and chemistry in a cohesive and entertaining read.” 

CM Reviews, 01/27/17

“A recommended title that many students will read with pleasure. Teachers might also use parts in their science, history, social studies, or language arts classes. The final chapters provide useful media literacy information.” 

Resource Links, 02/01/17

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