From the series title (History Smashers), it was obvious to me that Christopher Columbus and the Taino People by Kate Messner and Jose Barreiro (Random House, August 2023) was going to an accurate and historically based book about Christopher Columbus. Some books for kids glide over the negative aspects of Columbus’ journey to the Americas,
Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen (Heartdrum, August 2023) is a middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with a unique heritage: she is half Jewish and half Native American, spending most of her life with her Jewish mother and devout Jewish stepfather and attending a Jewish middle school. When people start teasing her about her
The middle grade novel No Place Like Home by James Bird (Feiwel & Friends, August 2023) is a heartfelt tale of resilience and the power of cultural identity. Twelve-year-old Ojibwe boy Opin faces the increasing discomfort of homelessness as he and his mother and brother make their way to Los Angeles to be with family.
The middle grade novel We Still Belong by Christine Day (Heartdrum, August 2023) celebrates Indigenous People’s Day with Wesley Wilder, a girl with Native American heritage (Upper Skagit), as she heads to school for an exciting day. She can’t wait for the school population to see her poem in the school newspaper dedicated to her
The middle-grade volume Native Americans in History by Jimmy Beason (Rockridge Press, 2021) shares the powerful stories of Native American leaders, artists, activists and athletes from history and today. The ninety-page volume is easily readable and nicely formatted for either reference or a straight readthrough. The fifteen people discussed receive about 5 pages of text
I spent a few months reading about the Native Americans last fall, so Native Americans: A Visual Exploration by S.N. Paleja (Annick Press, 2013) caught my eye on Netgalley. As a brief visual overview to the subject, it was a nice book for young readers. In general, however, it provided too little to be an
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (published 1970, reissued in ebook form by OpenRoad Media) is an incredibly painful book to read. It is a straight-forward historical account of the last three decades of Native American Indians in the American West, an account of the great leaders and cultures that are no
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
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
To accompany our history studies in our homeschool, I read Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla. But, although I had intend to read it aloud to my son (age 5) as well, but we didn’t get to it. Bulla’s story is the romanticized story of Pocahontas saving John Smith’s life. I liked reading it, but
James Fenimore Cooper created an American heritage in his historical fiction novels of the American frontier. For that reason alone I would be glad to say I’ve finally read one of his works. The Last of the Mohicans (first published in 1826) is a romanticized story of the dying days of the Native American culture.
There seem to be a variety of ways of approaching explorers to America. Share superficial information? Delve into the negative facts about the explorers? Although I’m not keen on focusing on the negative colonial aspects of American history, it is important that my young kindergartner(age 5) get some type of overview of the various explorers
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