The American Revolution for Kids, A History with 21 Activities

Book cover: 'The American Revolution for Kids, A History with 21 Activities'
Janis Herbert
Chicago Review Press
Number of pages: 
160 pages

What is history? A story. In The American Revolution for Kids, Janis Herbert has given us a well written, high interest story. Her style of writing is lively and interesting as wells as fair and impartial - giving us a fair and balanced picture of an emotionally turbulent time. This book offers a good overview of the time period (suitable for putting together a unit study on the time period) or interesting reading for its own sake.

Although the majority of the book follows the development of the war from its onset until its conclusion, Herbert also takes some detours, offering information about other events and people of the time - like a typical colonist and the life of soldier - to give us a sense of day-to-day life and customs of the time. The story doesn't end with the closing of the war; the last chapter discusses the Constitutional Convention through the final ratification of the Constitution.

There are many other extra features in this book:

A timeline sets the stage beginning with the French and Indian War (1754-60), following the development of important battles, explaining important dates along the way and finally ending with Congress adopting the Bill of Rights in 1791.

Spotlight biographies cover such important figures as John Hancock, George Washington, and Nathanael Greene. Other interesting facts are also spotlighted throughout the book, such as how many musket balls were made from the torn down, lead statue of King George.

The 21 Activities noted in the title are sprinkled throughout the text and include making a fringed hunting shirt like one worn by frontiersman Gen. Daniel Morgan, reenacting the Battle of Cowpens, creating a powder horn, sewing a pouch, and baking Boston Brown bread.

The end pages include a glossary, a list of famous Patriots and Redcoats, a list of biographies, the Declaration of Independence, web sites to explore, Revolutionary War Sites to visit in person, a Bibliography, and an index.

I would suggest that families make a point of reading about how Catholics were treated at this time, since this is overlooked in most secular texts. Far from religious toleration, there was a great deal of bigotry at that time, creating mixed feelings for Catholics as to which side they should support.

Additional notes: 

Sepia and black and white illustrations

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