Monday, October 24, 2011

The Revolutionary War An Interactive History

As I have mentioned in several previous blogs I have been trying to locate history books that present accurate, but interesting presentations of American history to children with the hope that they will actually engage in learning it.

The Revolutionary War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History) provides an interesting format for learning about the time period of the American Revolution. I thought the introduction was rushed. However, I did like the format of allowing children to choose a path and follow it through the story making choices and following those outcomes.

Three original paths are provided to the reader, the daughter of a colonial militia captain, a young Connecticut Patriot who chooses to fight, and a loyalist who sides with Great Britain.

The girl is presented with original choices of following her father to war to care for him or staying with her mother to care for the family. That original choice provides the next choices available to the reader. The young Connecticut Patriot must choose between joining the Continental Army or going to sea and becoming a privateer. The loyalist lives near Charleston, South Carolina. He is presented with the options of staying on his father's plantation or joining his Uncle's business in Charleston. Once the reader chooses the character to follow, additional choices are presented and the reader follows the path that these choices create.

Years ago, we tried to create these types of scenarios manually for history units and it was a great deal of work. I think this book would work wonderfully as an independent book for parents who want their children to understand the different perspectives and choices people made during the Revolution. I think homeschooling parents would also find it an asset for their educational purposes. However, I also think this book has specific applications in the classroom or group setting. This book would be a great choice for a cross unit literature circle. It would make a great gateway to discussing cause and effect, choices and consequences of choices. Children could meet in-group with students that represented all three paths and meet with students from their own paths to discuss the various choices and consequences.

This is not a book that will teach children important dates and times. However, it does add a layer of perspective that is often lacking in the books that do teach those concepts. This helps kids to look at how people approached the event from an individual life experience, not a homogenous group. History books often group people without teaching children that even in groups of people those people are individuals, not identical clones.

After previewing the library copy, this book made it to my Christmas giving list for this year.

1 comment:

  1. Books that make children think for themselves are rare these days. This sounds like the type of book I'd get for my little one, once he's old enough.