Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Why Did English Settlers Come to Virginia?

Why Did English Settlers Come to Virginia?
written by Candice Ransom
2011 (Lerner Publishing)
Source: Orange County Public Library

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On December 20, 1606, three ships commissioned by the Virginia Company of London set sail from London. They made it to the coast of Dover before setting anchor again to wait for a good wind to push them across the Atlantic. Ever waited on an airplane after it had landed? Very minor compared to the wait of these three crews. It took almost two months for them to set sail again! It would take another two and a half months for these 105 men and boys to land in Virginia. Once there, they set about trying to find silver and gold to match the Spanish who had already been in this part of the world for over a hundred years. Another goal was to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean to make it easier to trade in Asia. Neither of these goals was reached, but the settlement of Jamestown did take hold despite battles with the Algonquians, disease, near starvation, and vicious infighting among themselves.

Why Did English Settlers Come to Virginia? focuses on John Smith who is a fascinating historical figure. It's amazing how many times Smith falls in and out of favor with his fellow settlers and the Native Americans. You need to read this to any young person whose only knowledge of Pocahontas is from animation. Author Candice Ransom makes this story five hundred times more interesting than a textbook. It reminds me of Joy Hakim's A History of Us in its skillful storytelling. I like her inserts of extra background information and the side vocabulary notes as well. If you teach this era in American history or just like studying history, you will enjoy this book. The back matter is generous with website links and synopses of other books that have been written on this subject.

4 comments:

  1. I love history. I'll check this one out. Head back over today's Nonfiction Monday roundup. I think your link may be broken. Have a good week! Lisa

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  2. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Tammy
    Apples with Many Seeds

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  3. Jeff, This book sounds really interesting -- I plan to recommend it to some middle school history teachers (and I'm intrigued also). Thanks for reviewing it, and thanks for participating in Nonfiction Monday.

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  4. Thank you everyone for visiting today and for the word on my broken link! My wife and I really like this book so I hope you enjoy it as well.

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