Showing posts with label American History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American History. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Visit to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: A Photo Review

Up the Long Road to the Reagan Library at the Top

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
When we visited in June 2011, the library grounds were full of flowers. 


We visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, as part of our 47th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  The library is easy to access, since it's in a part of California that so far does not have the traffic problems of larger cities. You can find library hours and directions here. The driveway was long and curvy as it climbed to the library buildings at the top. This is what we saw when we got there.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

The view below shows the other side of the entrance.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

On the way up we passed this picnic area just before we got to the buildings. If you look toward the back of the photo below you will see part of the enormous parking lot. Parking is free, but some spaces require a long walk up to the building.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Picnic Area at Reagan Library


The Library Entrance through the Courtyard


This is the way to enter the courtyard that leads to the main entrance. You pass through the shadow into the light, where you see the fountain in the courtyard.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Through the Shadows and into the Bright Courtyard


Here is a better look at the fountain. You can pick up this view at Zazzle as a postcard, a puzzle, blank greeting card, magnet, or beverage coaster set.  I show it here as a puzzle. You can click the image if you want to purchase it or see the other products.

As you approach the door, this statue of Ronald Reagan himself greets you.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Ronald Reagan Statue


Once inside the door, you can pay for your admission and proceed to the exhibits. There is an order to it. I went accidentally the wrong way, so I didn't see the displays in the order I should have. But it was still a  wonderful walk through Reagan's life - personal, professional, and political. (Note: The docents were wonderfully helpful at getting me back to where I took the wrong turn.)

Ronald Reagan's Early Years


The library's archives reveal that Ronald Reagan grew up in a poor family. He just didn't realize it at the time. His father was a shoe salesman and the family didn't own a home. When young Ronald was 14 he got his first job - digging ditches. Later he worked as a lifeguard during the summers. He saved his money toward tuition to supplement his college scholarship for Eureka College.

Reagan was raised in Dixon, Illinois, and his mother was a devout Christian and a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) His father was Catholic. Nelle Reagan was known in her church as a prayer warrior. She maintained her ties to the Dixon church even after she moved to California. Her Bible is on display at the Reagan Library, along with many family photos and other family possessions in the exhibit on Reagan's early life.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Nelle Reagan's Bible


The Air Force One Pavilion

I think the most impressive exhibit was the Air Force One Pavilion. I was overwhelmed by the spaciousness of it when I walked in. Whereas most of the exhibits were enclosed by walls on both sides as you walked the path between them, the Pavilion displaying all the means of presidential transport was wide open and multistoried. Its glass outside walls allowed one to survey the surrounding valley as far as the eye could see. As you look at the photos of Air Force and Marine One, and gauge their size, you realize just how big this pavilion is to house it all. The library makes some space in the Pavilion available for public events. 

Maine One

The photo below of Marine One shows you how large it is in comparison to the tables you see in the background that are often used at events. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Marine One


Below is a closer view of the front of the Marine One helicopter. 


Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Another View of Marine One


Air Force One

Those of us who have only taken to the air in commercial planes can easily be impressed when we board Air Force One and see what those fly on private or special government planes are treated to. Air Force One is a flying office, command center, and a place to entertain guests and the press corps. Library visitors not only tour Air Force One, but they can also get their pictures taken as they exit. One cannot take pictures aboard the plane legally without official permission. The exterior is impressive enough!

Here's the front of Air Force One

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Front of Air Force One


Below is the tail section of the jet that carried President Reagan and all who traveled with him. I took the photos from the second level of the Pavilion. At the back on the lower level you can see the mural depicting all the air transportation presidents have used. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Tail of Air Force One


I have included this official video  from the library to give you a better view of the Pavilion. It takes a video to do it justice, but you really can't take it all in unless you actually visit. Honestly, it is truly awesome. 



The Motorcade

The Pavilion also houses the land vehicles the President and those that protected him rode in.  You will find President Reagan's 1984 Cadillac limousine and a "follow-up" or "chase" vehicle -- a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban. That vehicle handles on-site communications and transport for the agents protecting the President. I had not realized that when the Presidents travel outside the country, these secure vehicles are transported by air to wherever the President will be .  Both vehicles are in the photo below. Please click to see a larger view.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Part of the Presidential Motorcade


I just had to add this photo with the limo's Gipper license plate. They sure keep the limousine shiny. It might as well be a mirror.

The "Gipper" License Plate



The Berlin Wall


Perhaps some best remember Ronald Reagan for his appeal in a speech: "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  As we know, the wall finally did come down. One of the displays that really hit me was the reconstruction of part of the Berlin Wall. Here is one view of it. The hole is there for children to crawl through to explore.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Berlin Wall Exhibit


Here's a genuine piece of the wall that is displayed outside of the buildings so you can see both sides.

This is the drab side that would have faced inside the wall.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Genuine Berlin Wall Fragment


This is the other side, facing outside, where people drew pictures and wrote messages. I believe this part is particularly beautiful.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
The More Artistic Side of the Berlin Wall Fragment


 I made of two different views of this Berlin Wall panel as postcards . They are for sale in my Zazzle store, Barb's California Card and Gift Gallery.



Here is Reagan's famous "Tear down this wall" speech.




Last Photos


These photos didn't fit under the headings above. One exhibit reflects Reagan's love for horses. I'm not sure if it depicts his favorite horse, El Alamein, or not. I read that El Alamein was buried on Reagan's Santa Barbara Ranch. On the wall around this exhibit there is a life-size photo of Reagan riding his horse. That is not visible in this photo.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Reagan loved his horses. 


A fitting image to complete this post is the final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. The lettering on the monument is too light to read in the photo, but this is what it says:

"I know in my heart that man is good
That what is right will always eventually triumph
And there is purpose and worth to each and every life"
The poster below and a postcard with the same image are in my Zazzle store.

 I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of the Ronald Reagan Library. If you ever get the chance, I hope you will go see it. Some of the exhibits I didn't have room to mention here are very moving. There is a video of the attempted assassination, and other videos reveal how much Nancy and the President loved each other. The final one left me in tears. I hadn't thought to bring tissues, but a docent was handing them out after I finished watching that video.

Many exhibits deal with Reagan's relationships with the leaders of other nations. You will also see a full-size replica of the Oval Office with Reagan's desk. You can even get your picture taken behind Reagan's podium with his seal. Do you recognize those who who are listening?



If you visit the Reagan Presidential Library, be sure to leave enough time to enjoy it all. You should be able to get through all the exhibits in three to four hours. If you are hungry, there are two dining options available -- a cafe and a pub. You don't need to pay admission to visit the cafe, but the pub doesn't have an outside entrance for the public. You will also probably want to leave some time to walk the grounds.

SEE ALL TRAVEL TIPS & DESTINATIONS REVIEWED

All photos and text are © B. Radisavljevic





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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What's the Truth about the Pilgrims?

When I was in school, I learned that the Pilgrims had come to the New World from England to flee persecution for practicing their Separatist religion. After a hard journey on a small ship called the Mayflower, they founded a colony at Plymouth (Plimoth) under the leadership of William Bradford and William Brewster.

The Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower on December 21, 1620, and made Plymouth Rock famous. No one who landed on that day, though,  wrote anything about it's being the place where they stepped into the New World.

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What I Learned about The First Thanksgiving in School

By the time the Pilgrims celebrated what we now call the First Thanksgiving, about half their number had died of sickness. Those who had survived had a great feast to thank God for all He had done to preserve them.  Native Americans gave them some corn and taught them how to plant it for an abundant crop. When they harvested their crops, they invited their Native American friends to share their feast as they thanked God for the food they had been able to grow. Both in school and in the Pilgrim journals, the Native Americans were called Indians. A friend of mine who knows a lot of Native Americans say they still don't mind being called Indians.


5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
Replica of Mayflower at Plimoth Plantation, photo edited from Pixabay


What Some Children Learn in School Now about the First Thanksgiving 

Unfortunately, my curriculum materials that are used in schools today aren't accessible as I write this, so I did some research online to see how the teaching about that first Thanksgiving has changed. The first thing we learn is that we shouldn't call it aThanksgiving feast at all since there was no such holiday back then. The purpose of the feast was to celebrate the harvest. Only in retrospect do we call this the First Thanksgiving.   

I did some of my research on the Plimoth Plantation website where children can research the holiday for themselves with interactive activities. Here are a couple of telling remarks from the Teacher's Guide, which has all the text from the activity pages. 

Fact or Myth?
Many people think that "history" and "the past" are the same thing. But they aren’t! The past is what actually happened. The past can never change. You would’ve have to have lived at the time to truly know about the past. History is how we think and write about the past. History is always changing. So events that occurred in 1621 (the past) will never change. But how we think about these events (history) has already changed a lot!

Culminating Activity
A few years ago, historians at Plimoth Plantation decided to look at the 1621 harvest celebration in a whole new way. They knew there was more to the story than the "Pilgrims" and "Indians" having dinner together. They decided to set aside what they thought they knew and look at the event with fresh eyes. They also realized that it was important to look at the events of 1621 from both the English and Wampanoag sides of the story. A lot of their research and new ideas about 1621 have gone into the creation of this web site.
5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
 Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. Photo courtesy of Pixabay


The gist of this is that historians can't change history -- what actually happened, but they can change the way it's interpreted and taught to match whatever political view prevails in the education establishment. What I learned in school may not have been completely accurate, but neither is the current curriculum in many schools. We now live in a more secular and multicultural society that cares much more about the Native American culture than the culture and beliefs of the Pilgrims who lived at Plimoth Plantation.

The Truth about The Pilgrims


The truth is somewhere in the middle. We need to recognize how God brought Squanto to the Pilgrims, along with Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag tribe. Squanto taught the colonists how to produce food in their new land and gave them some corn to plant.  Massasoit signed a treaty to live in peace with the Pilgrims, and that peace lasted for fifty years.

So, yes. The Native Americans did play a big role in the survival of the colony. But so did the faith the Pilgrims had in their God, whom they trusted daily to provide their needs. They saw the friendship of Squanto and Massasoit as part of God's providence, a way He was meeting their needs. A reading of the primary sources, such as Of Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford will make it clear what the Pilgrims believed. It is this faith element and God's providence that contemporary teaching often leaves out.



Children's Books about the Pilgrims that Strike the Right Balance

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

I have chosen these five books as the best for teaching children about this period because most draw heavily from the primary sources. Some almost paraphrase parts of them in language children can understand.  Those sources are Of Plimoth Plantation, linked to above, and Mourt's Relation, a journal usually attributed to Gordon Winslow and William Bradford. Both were eyewitnesses to the beginnings of the Plimoth colony.

The First Thanksgiving Feast by Joan Anderson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This book brings the Pilgrims and Native Americans to life through the black and white photos taken by George Ancona at Plimoth Plantation. It has a comfortable print size for its intended audience in grades 5-7. I believe many in lower grades would also be able to read this independently. 

The first part of the story is told through quotes from actual colonists.  The last part of the book is narration by the author drawn from the source material. The last page discusses the development of the tradition of the American Thanksgiving and is not actually part of the story.  This book is out of print. You can get it at Amazon or at eBay.  



Pilgrim Music for Thanksgiving

It is likely that when the Pilgrims gave thanks they sang a hymn. The one churches still sing today that the Pilgrims probably sang is from the Genevan Psalter that dates from 1562 and was used by the Separatists. We know that hymn today as "Old Hundredth," and the Doxology sung in many churches has the same tune.  This version is probably close to what the Pilgrims sang.



You can find this version at Amazon in digital form.
You can find the CD form at eBay. 

I think it ironic that I found the same hymn being sung (different arrangement) at Westminster Abbey in a service commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. It shows much of the ceremony that the Separatists despised and separated themselves from. As the processional of the choirs and the Queen and other dignitaries came down the aisle, I was temporarily taken aback, wondering who that bewildered looking younger person in the black and white clip with the crown was. It took me a minute to realize it was a clip of  the Queen on her actual Coronation Day superimposed on the processional.



Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World  Edited by Connie and Peter Roop

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The clear, easy-to-read, double-spaced type tells the story of the Pilgrims’ first year in the New World as a series of diary entries written in the first person. The primary sources the authors drew from were Mourt’s Relation and Of Plymouth Plantation, sources authored by Edward Winslow and William Bradford. The editors modernized the language and changed Bradford’s journal from the third to the first person for unity of voice. About half of the 45 pages in this God-honoring history are gorgeous color paintings by Shelley Prichett, making this volume a feast for the eyes. The book, suitable for all ages past preschool, also contains a forward full of historical background, the text of the Mayflower Compact, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

This, too, is out of print. It is available in a Kindle edition or used at Amazon or used at eBay. Many of the used eBay copies have free shipping, and many of the Amazon cheap copies don't.


Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This paperback book for children 5-10 is my personal favorite because of its visual appeal. It is also based on Bradford’s writings. The author and illustrator, Cheryl Harness, has created a panorama of paintings that captures the Pilgrim story.  It focuses on three young children, Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton.  Their mother, Mary, along with her new baby, died in 1621.

We first meet the children in the middle of the ocean on the Mayflower and follow their life in the colony. Young Mary Allerton grew up and died of old age in 1699.  She grew older than anyone else who came over on the Mayflower.  

If your children are visual learners, you’ve got to get this book. The first major painting is a map of the Atlantic Ocean showing the sailing Mayflower with geographical notes tracing the adventures of the Pilgrims from the time they fled England for Holland until they settled in Plymouth. The next double-page spread is a cross-section of the Mayflower showing the people and supplies crowded onto the various parts of the ship. 

The main story is illustrated by spectacular paintings showing life on the Mayflower and in Plymouth. Then there is a labeled picture-map of Plymouth Plantation with a timeline of earlier New World explorations along the bottom and an illustrated chart on the far right showing what else was going on in other parts of the world while the Pilgrims were having their adventures. The last pages in the book contain labeled pictures of all the Mayflower passengers, with one double-page spread allotted to the Saints, and another to the Strangers, and the difference between them is explained. The Indians get their own double-page spread which is bordered with small drawings of native plants, animals, and sea-life. The last page is a bibliography. This book is, fortunately still in print and available new and used at Amazon. You can also find it on eBay if you prefer to look there. 


The Pilgrims at Plymouth, a Landmark Book by Lucile Recht Penner

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are as appealing as those in Three Young Pilgrims.  These illustrations are on the edges of the pages, accompanied by small bold text to differentiate it from the larger text in the story.

The author tells the story of the Pilgrims' struggle to create a new home in the wilderness of a new land and how both the settlement they founded and the principles they established helped to shape the new American nation. Each double-page spread deals with one aspect of the Pilgrims' adventure, beginning on the Mayflower and ending with the Thanksgiving feast. This book states that Mary Allerton Cushman died in 1704, which contradicts most other sources I've seen. The text of this book was copyrighted in 1996 before the term "Indians" was deemed politically incorrect. 

The Pilgrims at Plymouth offers more details about daily life in the Plymouth colony than the previously mentioned books, including an accurate portrayal of the Pilgrims' faith. It also goes into more detail on the life of Squanto. Both this book and Three Young Pilgrims are good supplements to the more journal-like books first reviewed. They answer more of the questions about details left out of the other books.  44 pages. For grades 2 and up. This book is out of print but is available from both Amazon and eBay.


Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony 1636 by Paul Erickson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The author and photographers who created this book paint a captivating portrait of an early Pilgrim settlement. Many of the photos come from Plimoth Plantation, where history is still alive. I have been there and watched as my rebellious daughter was called out by one of the adult male enacters who heard her talking back to my husband. The "Pilgrim" told her she'd never get a husband with that rebellious attitude. She was in total shock. No one she knew would have dared tell her such a thing.
In the book, Paul Erickson describes the duties of each family member -- even the children -- and their roles in the community as a whole. We watch people at work through the seasons as the women tend to the home, animals, and garden. The men do the heavy work in the fields and handle trading and defense. Children help their parents with their daily chores. We watch the activities of the family as they start their day, get dressed, work, and get ready for bed at night. 

Education was also handled at home. Parents taught their children to read so they would be able to read the Bible, which was considered the most important book. Children also learned practical skills as they helped their parents cook, farm, garden, and make clothing from the wool to the finished garments. 

The book explains how the government worked and how the colony was founded and organized. The author also describes a typical worship service in the meeting house. That couple of paragraphs is about all we learn about the religion of the colonists, except the importance of the Bible in their lives. We also learn a bit about health and how illnesses were treated. 

The author describes celebrations and special occasions. He gives three paragraphs total to what we now call the first Thanksgiving. Part of that is a recipe for the traditional Plymouth Succotash.  

Unlike the books I reviewed above, this one doesn't  tell us a story or let the characters themselves say much. It has a more academic tone, showing and telling us about life in the colony. The last page analyzes the Pilgrims' place in history. Readers will learn what happened but probably won't relate to it as much as they will by identifying with the characters in the other books.  Vivid full-color photos and drawings along with smaller black and white drawings show us a family and the items they would have used in their home and in the fields in Plymouth. 

The book also features a timeline of the colony from 1455, when Guttenberg finished printing the Bible to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. There is a reproduction of a 1635 map of the world so students can compare it to maps depicting today's world. We also see a color diagram map of Plymouth Colony. A glossary and index are also included. This book is the most secular in tone of all the ones I review here. Like most of the others, it is out of print. It is available at Amazon or eBay. For ages nine and up. 48 pages. 

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reviews of Books for Children Which Bring American History to Life

These Amazing Books Bring American History to Life


Peter Crabtree and Bobbie Kalman are responsible for some of the most appealing American history books for children of all ages that I've ever seen. I first became aware of these books while I was in the business of selling educational books for children. They are not boring, like textbooks. They are designed to make children want to pick them up and read them. When I sold these at home school conventions, even the parents loved reading them. These books sold themselves as soon as people looked inside of them. I myself learned much from them. 

The Early Settler Series


Buy Early Settler Storybook
Educator Bobbie Kalman wrote most of these books. The first series she produced was called the Early Settler Series. It is now mostly out of print, but copies are available on Amazon. As you can see by the cover art on this title, the art is nostalgic in style. The books look old fashioned. There are lots of illustrations to enhance the text. The reading level is about third or fourth grade and up. The illustrations will not be considered too young by older children. 

These books sold very well for me. Titles include Early Christmas, Early Stores and Markets, Early Loggers and the Sawmill, Early Travel, Early Village Life, Food for the Settler, Early Schools, Early Family Home, Early Settler Children, Early Settler Storybook, Early Artisans, Early Pleasures and Pastimes, Early Farm Life, Early City Life, and Early Health and Medicine.The link above should lead you to all available titles. A complete collection will show children exactly what life was like for the earliest settlers of what is now the United States. 


The Historic Communities Series


Bobbie Kalman's next series, Historic Communities, made some changes in format. These books look more modern. Wherever possible they are illustrated with photographs from living history museums and towns. If you've ever been to Williamsburg or Sturbridge Village, these books will make you feel like you are there again. There are several photographs and / or color illustrations on each two-page spread. Each book 32-page book also has a glossary to explain unfamiliar words and an index to make it easy for readers to find what they are looking for. These books are visually designed for children as young as first grade, but I would expect most children would need to be at a second or third grade level to read them independently. 


Buy A Colonial Town Williamsburg
Let's use an example: A Colonial Town Williamsburg. This book gives an overview of the history of Williamsburg followed by a beautiful pictorial map illustrating the buildings and their locations. The reader then gets a photographic tour of some sights that would have been common to the colonists. These include shops and taverns and the garden areas that were often behind them. We see children getting water from a well, since there was no indoor plumbing. We see a ladder on the roof for putting out chimney fires. We see a slave boy grooming a horse and we learn why horses were important to the colonists.

In the next parts of the book we visit the buildings: the Governor's Palace, the public buildings, Bruton Parish Church, The College of William and Mary, the apothecary, the windmill, and the shops. We not only see photographs, but we learn the purpose of each building and why it was important to the community. As the courthouse is shown, we learn about colonial justice and punishments. In relationship to the apothecary we learn about colonial health care and treatments. We learn how the windmill works.

We meet the people of Williamsburg, from the gentry down to the slaves and get a feel for their places in the community. We see a harness maker at work in his shop. At the end we learn about Project Williamsburg and how students are involved.

Each book in the Historic Communities series introduces readers to a rich pictorial presentation of some aspect of early American colonial life. Each book allows children to step hundreds of years back in history and see what a child's day was like, which games children played, how food was produced and cooked, what people wore, what a school day was like, and more. Here is a brief summary of selected titles. You can see all the titles available for sale on Amazon.

Buy A Child's Day
A Child's Day: Ever wondered what chores the early settler children did, or what they did in their spare time if they had any? How were their schools, foods, and clothing different from those of children today? Color photographs and original artwork bring these children from earlier times to life.

Classroom Games: Even back in early classrooms, teachers used games to help their students learn spelling and creative writing, arithmetic and science, geography, art, history, drama and reciting, good behavior, and music. They even had scavenger hunts back then. Besides games still played in classrooms today, such as spelling bees, students played word games, alphabet games, arithmetic games, and more. In outdoor classrooms, students made gardens and nature crafts. The games in this book are easily transferable to today's classrooms, where they can still make learning fun

Colonial Crafts: Watch the artisans and craftsmen at work in colonial times. Visit the workshops of the wheelwright, the cooper, the founder, the shoemaker, the milliner, the gunsmith, and many more. Discover how these people were trained through the apprenticeship program.

Buy Colonial Life
Colonial Life: Meet the hard-working members of a colonial community. Learn about the importance of family relationships and discover the importance of religion and education to these people. Watch plantation life and see the plight of the slaves. Observe how people traveled and spent their leisure time.

Customs and Traditions: This is one of my favorites. It explains how the early settlers preserved history, predicted the weather, cooked and ate, welcomed a new baby, and celebrated courtships, weddings, holidays, and the harvest.



Buy Fort Life

Fort Life: Forts played a vital role in the New World because they offered protection. Learn about the different types of forts, the parts of the fort and how they functioned, and what went in in the lives of the families who lived in the forts.



The General Store: The general store was the hub of a town's life. It's where people went to buy their supplies, sniff the marvelous aromas, and see the colors of bright, new fabrics. It was a place for people to dream, make deals, gossip, and socialize. The photographs and illustrations will make you feel you are there.

Home Crafts: In this book you will see, step by step, how the early settlers made candles and soap, carded and spun wool, dyed cloth, and sewed samples. The color photographs really make you feel as though you were watching.

Buy In the Barn
In The Barn:  See all the activity that went on in the barns of busy settler farms. Watch as cows are milked, hogs get their slop, and the stalls get cleaned. Share in the work and fun of a barn-raising. See how the chores changed with the seasons.

The Kitchen: When you've read this book you will feel you've visited a colonial home, and entered the kitchen where the family spent a good deal of its time. You will see the fireplace, the tools and utensils surrounding it, and the chores that were done there (baking bread, churning butter, etc.)

Life on a Plantation: Watch the daily activities of plantation owners and their slaves. Compare their lifestyles. Readers will see life in the "big house," in the slave quarters, and in the cotton, rice, and tobacco fields. The customs and festivals of the estate are also explained.

Buy A One-Room School


A One-Room School: The first priority of any early settler community was building a school. This book explains what these one-room schools were like, what they taught, how students studied when books were scarce, how students were disciplined, and what went on during recess.













Buy Pioneer Projects
Pioneer Projects: In this book you will find step-by-step instructions for children and parents who want to make pioneer crafts. There are also instructions for making a model of a settler town.














Buy Early Settler Sayings
Settler Sayings: This is another of my favorites. Ever wondered why we say such things as "flash in the pan" or getting down to brass tacks"? This book explains how some of these old saying have their roots in the day-to-day lives of the early settlers.

Other titles this series include The Gristmill, Visiting a Village, Tools and Gadgets, Old Time Toys, Children's Clothing of the 1800's, The Victorian Home, Spanish Missions, 19th Century Girls and Women, 18th Century Clothing, 19th Century Clothing, Victorian Christmas, Colonial Home, Travel in the Early Days, Pioneer Recipes, and Schoolyard Games. You can find all Historic Communities titles in print (and maybe some that aren't) by following this link.

I highly recommend the books in these two series to parents who want to take their children to see places important in our country's early history. I found that using books to prepare my own children for living history museums and other historic places helped them to understand what they were seeing and got them thinking about which questions they wants to ask docents when they had the opportunity. 

These books are also great resources for children educated at home or in schools, who might not be able to visit historic sites in person as we did. Videos may also be helpful, but they move quickly. Books allow children good long looks at what most interests them.  These should be in every elementary school library. Because of their low reading level and visual impact, these books are also ideal for reluctant or low-level readers in upper grades. 

If you would like to show your children how the early settlers and colonists lived in America, don't miss these. 







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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