Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: A Journey To A New World, Mayflower 1620 (Dear America Series)

By Kathryn Lasky
Published by Scholastic Press
Source- Scholastic
Released on September 1st, 2010
Ages 8-12
5 stars- Brilliant!

Twelve-year-old Remember Patience Whipple ("Mem" for short) has just arrived in the New World with her parents after a grueling 65-day journey on the MAYFLOWER.

Mem has an irrepressible spirit, and leaps headfirst into life in her new home. Despite harsh conditions, Mem is fearless. She helps to care for the sick and wants more than anything to meet and befriend a Native American.

Her wish comes true when she meets Squanto, who helps Mem and her family face a year of trial, tragedy, and thanksgiving.

Kathryn Lasky captured the rich history from the 1600's and the treacherous journey from England to America on the Mayflower brilliantly. She wrote Remember Patience Whipple, or Mem for short, story so vividly that I was able to grasp more of what it was like growing up during this time. She detailed the events on the Mayflower, to landing at Plymouth rock, to what is like to settle the land that first year, to their clothing, crops, what they ate and what the land was like. I felt like I was part of Mem's story, which reads like a journal.

Mem is such a wonderful character and I was really drawn to her inner strength. She has to deal with harsh conditions both on the ship and once they reach land. Traveling across the Atlantic during the fall and winter months isn't a walk in the park. They can't immediately leave the ship when they arrive, as the men need to scout out the land, build shelter and they also have Indians to worry about. This small group of Pilgrims who want nothing more than to be free to worship God how they choose, and not be ruled by a King, have sacrificed so much in coming to a land of freedom. They have dwelt with a lot of death, disease and are having to learn by trial and error how to go crop in this new land. Luckily for them, they befriend two Native Americans, Squanto and Samoset who teach them all they need to know about the land.

This is a fantastic cross over for both middle grade readers and adults. It's a book I was completely fascinated with and wanted to read more about when I was done. This wonderful historical book will be a great tool for teaching middle graders early American history, and life as an early settler of America. I highly recommend picking up this story! You will become part of the story, as you're transformed back into the year 1620. This is the first in the Dear America series we'll be featuring on Mundie Kids this week.

You can find out more about Kathryn by visiting her site here
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~