Glad You Asked

June 2, 2006 @ 5:15 am | Filed under: Books, History

Stephanie asked:

Do you take specific book recommendation requests? If so, sign me up! I’d like to read a bit about the American Revolution with my 6 & 8 year olds prior to a trip to Williamsburg/Yorktown/ Jamestown this summer. I’d especially love to share a couple great historical-fiction read alouds with them to bring this area/time period alive. I’d like to avoid books that have a young adult romance in the story line. Anything come to mind?

Yes! I’ll add to this list tomorrow, but for now let me recommend a couple of books we’ve really enjoyed:

0064403335101_aa_scmzzzzzzz__1A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla. This short chapter book would be perfect to read before your Jamestown visit. It’s about three young English children whose father has gone to Jamestown to make a home for the family. When their mother dies, they must find a way to cross the ocean and join their father. The story of their journey to Virginia (with a detour to Bermuda) is based on a true story and features real historical figures like John Rolfe. I read this book to Rose and Beanie (7 and 5) recently and they hung on every word. Your kids are the perfect age to enjoy it. After reading it, I’m itching to take my gang to Jamestown too. (But I don’t think Rilla is quite up for it yet.)

You’re probably aware of this already, but the American Girls Felicity series is set in colonial Williamsburg. (I have a soft spot for the Felicity books because they are illustrated by the same artist as my Charlotte books, the wonderful Dan Andreasen.) When my family visited Williamsburg last fall, my girls were excited to recognize some of the places featured in Felicity’s adventures, like the Powder Magazine.

Girlshorses_2(Oh, and a tip for making your Williamsburg trip even more fun: splurge for the costume rental for your kids. They get to dress up like colonists and are given a list of items to collect from the various shopkeepers, as if they’re running errands for an elderly relative. They’ll have a ball.)

Two of our favorite Revolutionary War-era novels are Robert Lawson’s Ben and Me : An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos and Mr. Revere and I.

More to come…In the meantime, don’t miss the excellent collection of titles at Reading Your Way Through History. And of course reader suggestions are always welcome!

Anyone else looking for read-alouds to go along with summer travels?


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  1. Another place I like to get book ideas is from Rebecca Rupp’s “The Complete Home Learning Sourcebook”, and no, you don’t have to be a homeschooler to make use of it :).

    My kids are 8.5yog, 7yob, and 5.5yob, and one of their favorites is “Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes (which you could follow up with the old Disney movie…). And not historical fiction chapter books but some other favorites of ours, about children during the revolutionary period and both illustrated, are “Sleds on Boston Common” by Louise Borden and “A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy” by Jim Murphy. For the post-revolutionary period, my kids adore “Diary of an Early American Boy” written and illustrated by Eric Sloane, based on a real diary kept by a 15yo around 1800.

    P.S. We’re big fans of Felicity up here too, and, being dual Canadian-Americans, of her Loyalist friend Elizabeth πŸ™‚