I read about this book when Melissa from Don’t Let the Teacher Stay Up Late blogged about reading it with her 4th graders to teach Virginia history. She made it sound so great I had to bump it up on my huge to-read list. And I’m so glad I did!
Reading this book made me wish *I* was teaching Virginia history.. and I *thought* Louisiana history was interesting. Wow! This book is not only great for teaching Virginia history, but also for teaching American history since the book is set in Jamestown in 1607. The main character is Samuel, the 12-year-old apprentice (fancy word for boy servant) for Captain John Smith. An orphan, he finds himself on the Susan Constant sailing to the new world to start the Jamestown settlement. This book intwines so many historical FACTS while wrapping the reader up in a captivating story!
My favorite thing about this book is the way the author develops the conflict between the English settlers and the Native Americans in a way that is unbiased and leaves the reader feeling empathy for both sides. Just as Melissa promised, many of your boy readers will be captivated by the bloody battles, constant struggle for survival, and disgusting details like the slop buckets on the ship and the moldy, wormy food they were happy to eat. It’s also full of good old-fashioned wholesome values as Samuel learns to channel his anger and use it for good.
IF I were teaching American history (or if I ever get the privilege) this is a book I would *definitely* use! This book reminds me of the reasons I love historical fiction so much. I absolutely love when an author takes me back to a time and shows me what it would feel like to have lived through it while at the same time teaching me so much about a particular time period. I’ll definitely be putting this one on my shelf and recommending it to my historical fiction fans – and believe it or not, I do have many!
This is one of my shorter Monday-Reading posts as I’ve got to get ready and head out the door to a workshop. I’m VERY excited about it! Cure for the Common Core – Strategies for the ELA Classroom. I’ll be there today through Wednesday and seriously hope this one doesn’t disappoint!