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Summary: In six chapters the author presents short biographies of a wide array of black men and women who played important roles during the country's formative years from colonial times, through the American Revolution and in the years that followed. From ministers and soldiers to poets, journalists and business men, these individuals came from all walks of life and lived throughout the young nation. This is a nonfiction picture book that introduces preteens to historic figures they've not heard about.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, illustrated chapter, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 13
Interest Level: 9 and up
Reading Level: 4.9
Age of Child: Shared with a fifth grade class. The teacher made the book available to students to check out from the classroom library.
Young Reader Reaction: The students who checked out the book liked it.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an excellent resource that is beautifully designed with lots of illustrations, documents, and maps.
Pros: This book offers a wonderful way of showing the role black men and women played in the early years of the country. These are primarily individuals who have been largely ignored by other history books. The hands-on activities are an added bonus.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book I'd buy, especially if I was teaching. Every school library should have a copy!
Educational Themes: The text and activities combine to give kids an interactive experience in studying history that is likely new to them. The book expands their understanding of the creation of the United States, Black history, 18th century careers and professions, and biography.
Notes: Bob Walch, Monterey, California, sent us this review. Bob's reviews appear in the Salinas Californian, Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, Aptos Times, Ride/Western Times and Coast Views Magazine. His online reviews can be found at MyShelf, Roundtable Reviews, Parent Click, Midwest Book Review, and I Love a Mystery.
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, US history, Black History, interactive learning, biography
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2010
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