American Lives: an image e book abstract
For Spacious Skies, Most Wanted and Thomas Paine and the dangerous word offer the promise of the American experiment.
For a wide sky: Katharine Lee Bates and the inspiration for "America the Beautiful" by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Olga Baumert. Albert Whitman, 2020, 32 pages, including timeline and bibliography.
Reading level: Picture book, 4-8 years
Recommended for: Age 6-10
Katherine Lee Bates spent her early childhood in the shadow of the civil war while "the heart of the country was torn in two". After the war, her small coastal town in Massachusetts didn't seem to offer much for a book girl who liked to write. But her widowed mother worked many hours to afford schooling, and as a young woman, Katherine received a grant for Wellesley herself. There she stayed as a student and later as a professor of literature, reformer and suffragette as well as author. In 1893, the opportunity to teach a Colorado summer school opened her eyes to the vastness and splendor of her country. At the summit of Pike's Peak, she was inspired to write the words for what later became known as "America the Beautiful".
The colorful, primitive-style illustration pays off with the double-page view of Pike & # 39; s Peak, which is really inspiring. The text not only emphasizes the backdrop, but also the American potential to grant women, immigrants and former slaves equality and equal opportunities, and ends positively.
Overall rating: 4 (of 4)
Most wanted: the revolutionary partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams by Sarah Jane Marsh, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Disney Hyperion, 2020, 80 pages.
Reading level: Picture book, 8-10 years
Recommended for: Age 6-12
They couldn't have been less alike. Samuel Adams was small, dull, hardworking and intense. Poor too. John Hancock was tall, graceful, fashionable and charming. Rich too. Even in small, parochial Boston, their paths rarely crossed until the motherland levied a tax on the colonies that Adams considered unjust. Hancock had initially resigned from the Stamp Act, but violent protests (partly inspired by Adams) brought concern about his porcelain tea cups and fashion wardrobe. Samuel Adams saw the richest man in Boston as a strategic recruit, and so the "revolutionary partnership" was born. With Hancock's influence and Adam's willing pen, the patriotic cause took shape – and caught King George's attention. At the beginning of the actual shooting, the two were already "Most Wanted" from the crown.
The story, which covers important events from the Stamp Act to Lexington, is well told and the illustrations in a style that is just weird enough are engaging and funny. The background contains further details as well as a timeline, a bibliography and references. Also the now mandatory tsk-tsk: “The history of the United States is complex and contradictory. And it's not all to celebrate. “This is not news; We have recognized our mistakes for some time. They do not invalidate the principles behind the document in which John Hancock signed his name, and it is still worth celebrating.
Overall rating: 4
Thomas Paine and the dangerous word by Sarah Jane Marsh, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Disney Hyperion, 2018, 78 pages.
Reading level: Picture book at the age of 8-10 years
Recommended for: Ages 6-12
"Nobody expected a lot from the young Thomas Paine." The son of an English corset maker could look forward to the same life as his father, except for one factor that made the difference: his family managed to scrape enough money to send him to school. His mind blazed with knowledge and ideas and the power of words. After a brief nautical career, a corset failure, heady debates at the local Headstrong Club, and a failed marriage, the artisan had a chance meeting with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin saw in the talented Wortling something of a spirit of the new world and wrote a letter of recommendation for Paine to bring to America. Once there, Thomas immersed himself in the revolutionary spirit and quickly got caught up in current affairs – mainly in disputes with the mother country. We know where these disputes went, but this picture book underlines the crucial role of a small brochure called Common Sense, which gave structure and form to scattered demands for independence.
Words must be backed up by action, and Thomas' words culminated in the Declaration of Independence of 1776: "America had found its voice." He was a free thinker and a deist, whose radical inclination later led him to support the French Revolution. Eventually he became a persona non grata in the States. But the nation owes him the blame for speaking so clearly and convincingly, and for changing hearts and minds at a crucial moment in history. Most Wanted's same author-illustrator team breathes life into this important historical figure.
Overall rating: 4 (of 5)
More at Redeemed Reader:
- More spectacular landscapes can be found in our Jason Chin review Grand Canyon.
- You can find a positive assessment of America's beginnings in our reviews Never before in history and The American revolution (Guts and Glory # 4).
- Words are powerful! For help learning how to use them, see Betsy's review of Word smith. (Full disclosure: I wrote it.)
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