Monday, April 04, 2011

Civil War- Books, Books, Books

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is having the opportunity to casually read books that I missed out on as a child/young adult.  Being under pressure to read for a book report or a test is not the same as curling up on the sofa and leisurely soaking up the characters and setting of a well-written novel or taking in the beautiful illustrations of a children's book.  When we are focused on a unit study, I try to gather many books about the era including picture books, biographies, historical novels, and fiction.  We also have to look for books that are suitable and enjoyable for the wide range of children in our family.

This morning we read Abe's Honest Words The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.  It was a beautiful picture book with thoughtful quotes from our 16th President.  We had a little four year old friend join us for our early morning studies.  We introduced her to Abe, showed her his face on the penny and planted our "Abe Lincoln" tomato seeds so she could take home her own little memento of our morning together.

After our little friend left, we picked up where we left off in our Harriet Tubman biography.  I've had this book since I was a very young girl and have NEVER read it.  We're learning so much about Harriet.  She was a bold, strong young girl with a purpose in life.  One of my favorite lines from the book was following a tragic event in her life.  After being hit in the head with a two pound weight and enduring months of painful recovery she realized, "...she had fought against slavery and survived.  She was no longer only a piece of property, like the horses and cows who dumbly did Master's bidding.  While still a slave in form, she was in spirit a human being and a free woman." 

Another book the kids enjoy is from the "You Wouldn't Want to Be...." series.  We began reading them last year when doing our Revolutionary War study.  Currently we have, You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier- A War You'd Rather Not Fight by Thomas Ratliff.  These books are fun, similar to a comic with colorful illustrations by David Antram.  There's actually quite a bit of great information in them.  These books invite children in to read them.  Each section is short, humorous and educational.

Some other books we've read during this study include:

Amos Fortune- Freeman by Yates
Frederick Douglas Fights for Freedom by Margaret Davidson

Dave The Potter- Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill

The Beatitudes from Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Boston Weatherford

Lincoln Tells a Joke by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer

Lincoln- A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation by Pat Sherman

My America- My Brother’s Keeper Virginia’s Diary Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1863 by Mary Pope Osborne

One resource I use while studying history is A Patriot's History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen.  It's a pretty hefty book with tremendous detail.  Throughout our study, I try to learn as much background including major events as possible and share the highlights with the kids.  The focus has to be to glean the highlights so as not to bore them to tears.

I'm finding  there are so many great book, so little time.  We'll do what we can.

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