Books We Read: Colonial Culture

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This week, we studied Colonial culture as we lead up the Revolutions (we’re continuing our study of Native Americans, as well).

Next week, we’re looking at the French and Indian War.  Look for that post next Friday!

(Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list of our resources… just some of the extra reading we enjoyed.)

Boston Revolts!, Susan Martins Miller  (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

Boston Revolts! tells the story of several families living in Boston during the time of the Stamp Act.  The tension between the British troops, the Loyalists, and the Patriots features prominently in the story.  The novel does a good job of leading up to the Revolutionary War.  As always, I appreciate the Christian worldview the American Adventure stories are told from, and the focus on biblical character and integrity.

This is book #9 in The American Adventure series – 48 consecutive books from Barbour.  Though the series is out of print, it was produced in the late 1990′s, and there are still lots of copies floating around.  I got most of mine in a large lot on eBay.  When I’m looking for a series, that’s my favorite way to buy, as it really lowers the cost of shipping (per book).

The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare  (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

The boys and I enjoyed this book very much.  This story of a 12-year-old boy left in Maine backwoods to guard his family’s new land and cabin while his father brings home the rest of the family is well-written and engaging.  Matt is befriended by an Indian boy.  Through their friendship, Speare explores two very different cultures, the morality of colonization, and basic universal human traits.  The Bible figures into Matt’s worldview, though at no point does it occur to him to share Christ with his new friend, nor does he pray.  He views the Bible simply as a collection of exciting stories, much like Robinson Crusoe.  All things considered, this was an excellent novel, and very appropriate for grades 4-6.

Gulliver in Lilliput, Retold by Margaret Hodges  (Annotated Classic Literature, Grades 1-3)

This was a nice introduction to part I of Jonathan Swift’s classic satire:Gulliver’s Travels.  The paintings by Kimberly Bulcken Root were colorful and (much to the boys’ delight) filled with little people.  Hodges does a nice job of telling the story.  The children were particularly taken with the silly reasons the people of Blefuscu and Lilliput are at war with each other.  As the silly reasons for war was one of the themes of Swift’s novel, I feel they’ve been sufficiently introduced.

Hearts and Hands: Volume 4: Chronicles of the Awakening Church, Mindy and Brandon Withrow (Church History, Grades 3-8)

See more about the History Lives series (published by Christian Focus Publications) in Church History Worth Selling Your Silverware For. I couldn’t imagine not including this excellent book in our studies of the 18th and 19th centuries, so I am reading it aloud as we go.

This week we read an article called “The Development of Church Music”.  The article covered worship music from the early church through the Great Awakenings, with a brief mention of composers following the Great Awakenings.  It was interesting to see the change in styles, emphasis, and beliefs.  We also read a biographical sketch called “John Wesley: My Heart Strangely Warmed”.  In the sketch, John Wesley is explaining his true conversion to his mother, Susanna Wesley.  During the conversation, he must answer for his pre-conversion behavior in America, and for his brother Charles Wesley’s departure from the colonies.  It’s an interesting overview of their “ministries” prior to their relationships with Christ.

2 Peter and 1 John (The Bible!)

The boys are nearing the end of the Bible.  We’ll be reading a book about Christ together when they’re done.  I’m not certain how we’ll address Bible next year, but I think I’ll have them read through the New Testament again.  It’s a great habit to develop, and the Holy Spirit is certainly speaking to them as they read.  We know He is, as He promises His Word never returns void!

What did your family read last week?

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.  

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