1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann (Knopf, 2011) details the ecological and human impact of the Columbian exchange. As a dense book full of research carefully explained and expanded, 1493 was certainly not a book I “galloped” through, as one of the historian commentators exclaims on the back cover. But

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I’ve mentioned before that I love the nonfiction books I’ve read by Sally M. Walker. Ghost Walls (Lerner, 2014) is no exception. With Ms. Walker’s conversational style of writing and clear explanations of both science and history, Ghost Walls digs into the anthropological history of a seventeenth-century house in Maryland, giving life to a house that fell into

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For our Thanksgiving homeschool unit, we learned more about Squanto by reading Joseph Bruchac’s masterpiece Squanto’s Journey (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2000). Illustrated by Greg Shed, this gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of Thanksgiving from the perspective of a young man who had grown up in the area that became Plymouth Bay. Squanto was kidnapped

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My son (age 5) and I learned about the departure of the pilgrims and the voyage of the Mayflower in Tattered Sails by Verla Kay and Dan Andreasen. Although Kay never mentions either the Mayflower or the pilgrims by name, in her book, she depicts children in a crowded and dirty city, a crowded and dirty boat, and then

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I couldn’t resist picking up Joseph Bruchac’s Pocahontas. Although fictionalized, it is obvious from the complexity of the story that Bruchac did research into the John Smith and Pocahontas story. I loved the alternating viewpoints: one chapter was Pocahontas’ narration, and the next would be Captain John Smith’s. Their voices were unique. I really enjoyed seeing

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My son (age 5) and I read about the mystery of Roanoke in Jane Yolen’s Roanoke, The Lost Colony: A Mystery from History. Told from the perspective of a fictionalized child with a detective father, Yolen’s picture book had just enough information about the colony of Roanoke to interest my son, but without too many

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