Books We Read: The American Revolution Begins

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This week, we studied the first battles of the American Revolution.

Next week, we’re looking at the midst of the 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.)

The American Victory, JoAnn A Grote  (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

Paul’s father returns from fighting the Revolutionary War, and Paul struggles to submit to a stranger he hardly knows.  I’ve loved this series (so far) for the moral and spiritual issues it works through in the context of American history.  Paul meets John Hancock and General Lafayette as America struggles to define herself and her people.  We see the fate (and the conviction) of the English loyalists, the rendering of families caused by the war, and the struggle to become men and women that boys and girls inevitably face.

This is book #12 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 series runs through the end of World War II; this is our last book from the series for this school year.

Arrow Over the Door, Joseph Bruchac  (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

This short (80 page) book is based on an actual encounter between a group of Native Americans and a meetinghouse full of Friends – or Quakers – during the Revolutionary War in 1777.  It is an interesting piece, written alternately from the viewpoints of an Indian boy and a Quaker boy.  The worldviews portrayed are decidedly not Christian, so you will want to be certain to read the book, and discuss the worldviews and religions with your children.  I found the author’s note regarding the actual event interesting.

Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?, Jean Fritz (Biography, Grades 1-3)

Jean Fritz paints a picture of John Hancock as self-absorbed, self-indulgent and narcissistic.  It surprised me that she quoted him saying that he would not pay a penny of that “damned tax” (page 12).  My children have read the Bible, and thus have encountered the word.  However, I prefer it not be included in the children’s biographies we read.  Her theme for this book centered on a wishing rock in the Boston Commons.  She spent some talking about what Hancock may (or may not) have wished for.  Cute, but not really knowable.  Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations are fantastic.

The Declaration of Independence, Illustrated by Sam Fink  (Historical Document)

What a wonderful way to read the Declaration of Independence!  Sam Fink’s illustrations are fantastic, and – after covering the causes of the American Revolution – the boys were able to understand the meaning of the Declaration  (with some interpreting from me).

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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