Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Awesome America: Time for Kids

Awesome America
written by Katy Steinmetz
2016 (Time Inc. Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Discover how America has changed through the centuries, learn about the documents that are the basis for American democracy, and revisit the great moments that changed America with introductions to great Americans. 

In less than a week, the United States will turn 240 years old. That's a lot of candles on the cake. The story of America is an amazing one. It is full of powerful events, personalities, and stories. It is a unique tale that Awesome America tells in a little over 200 pages. This book does not take a chronological tack, but instead divides its chapters into different sections that cover cultural, geographic, and historical aspects of this country. Chapter 4 is all about the 50 states. Beautiful photographs of four iconic areas greet you in the beginning of the chapter. From there, each state is afforded a fun fact section that gives nicknames, some kind of official state entity (my state has an official carnivorous plant), and claims to fame. Chapter 5, The Land, gets my vote for photographic star of the book. Many different land forms are featured including purple mountain majesty (Denali) and flowing volcanoes (Kilauea). If you are a history buff, there are chapters featuring the presidents, the history of the Civil Rights movement, and influential Americans. The influence of American culture (movies, music, sports, etc.) is featured extensively in chapters 11 and 12. Like a great 4th of July fireworks event, Awesome America ends with a showy display. A twelve page timeline starts at BC with native people crossing a land bridge and ends with the election of President Obama in 2008. In between, there are events that chronicle the growth of America.

I love books like this because you can sit down in a cozy chair, look up from your book, and realize that two hours have passed by in the blink of an eye. History lovers will be engrossed by the combination of facts and photographs that highlighted familiar and new information to me. I didn't realize that Thomas Jefferson had invented a swivel chair because he didn't want to get up every time he needed to turn his chair. Awesome America is a comprehensive look at the red, white, and blue.

Click on this link for a curriculum guide to help in your instruction.

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