Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kids' Guide to American History

Whether you're looking for homeschool curriculum or just a fun book to supplement your child's education, Tracy M. Sumnar's Kids' Guide to American History is an excellent resource. The subtitle explains the book well: "Who, What, When, Where, Why - From a Christian Perspective" - all in a colorful and appealing format.

The book begins with Columbus (but points out Columbus wasn't the first European to land in North America). You won't find any Columbus-bashing here. Instead, you get facts about why Columbus was sailing and how he bumped into North America. There are colorful photographs and fun sidebars correcting myths about Columbus and offering quotes by the man himself. For example:
"It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) that fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures."

And so goes the book, covering all the major aspects of American history - from Jamestown and spiritual revivals, to the Revolutionary War and the second war in Iraq, to Watergate and American invention. Throughout you'll learn interesting facts other books often miss, such as:

* "The New Deal" was President Roosevelt's backup plan; his first "New Deal" was found unconstitutional.

* America's "First Great Awakening" targeted those who already attended Christian churches; the "Second Great Awakening" targeted those who didn't.

* John Hancock wrote: "Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual...Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."

The book ends with the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the 2010 midterm elections, noting political difficulties and challenges. "Where do we go from here?" the author writes. "Only God knows. But never forget that He's in control."

At the back of the book, there's an illustrated list of the Presidents of the United States, plus the text of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

What I Like: This is a colorful, fun book that hits all the major points of American history. It's the sort of thing my 7 year old picks up on a rainy day and becomes engrossed in. I also love that the text points to God throughout - while carefully avoiding opinions about politics.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: about 8 and up.

Publishing Info: Barbour; 2012; ISBN: 978-1616266004; paperback, 160 pgs., $9.99

Buy Now at Amazon for $9.99
Or buy at for $8.19


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