American Pioneers and Patriots
This text presents fictional but realistic adventure stories of seventeenth-to-nineteenth century pioneer children in America. The text is divided into twelve units, each of which begins with a short synopsis of the period being studied. The history of that period is then told over several chapters in first-person narratives from the perspective of children who were living during that time. Each unit concludes with an interesting fact on how things were done in the past (such as "how the pioneers made cloth," or "how the blacksmith worked"), unit review questions, and suggested projects.
This unique approach to history uses historical nonfiction from a child's point of view. Daily life is accented, and we get a healthy dose of "multiculturalism" as we look at pioneer families from Spain, England, Holland, France, and Norway. We feel as though we are there, traveling to a new home, felling trees, building houses, planting trees, caring for animals, spinning yarn, sewing clothes, and preparing food. Scattered throughout are 8-frame discussions of important facets of pioneer life, such as building canoes or using a fireplace. At the end of each unit are several discussion questions, projects, and activities. An important aspect of the book is the emphasis on how useful children are to America and insight into the true personality of Columbus. This book was revised in 2003, and is now hardcover with four-color graphics, has enhanced maps, updated chapter questions, and an additional unit at the end of the text describing accelerated westward expansion due to the building of the transcontinental railroad.