Life in England prior to the setting of America was rife with religious persecution. While the country was protestant at that time, the accepted faith of the country was Church of England and persecution of other protestants was a fact of life. The period of English exploration and discovery had led to the desire to colonize the New World. This gave opportunity to the protestants not of the Church of England to resettle in another country with opportunities to worship as they chose. Some had already relocated to Holland and set sail from there.
As Ms. Roman tells the story of these developments, the reader can place himself right at the center. The reader will go through what a day in the life of a child during this period was like - primarily the activities of simple survival.
The illustrations have a cartoonish style and yet show a darkness that is somewhat representative of the times. Crossing the ocean on those tiny ships would have been a dark experience as would trying to survive that first year in the New World after arriving in the dead of a harsh winter. Focusing primarily on the initial settlement in New England at Plymouth, the book recounts this period giving more detail than most "first Thanksgiving" stories provide.
The living conditions and life they encountered in this raw land is shown in contrast to what they left behind in the Old World. They searched the area after landing and found an abandoned Indian village and settled there. The cold that winter and harshness of the land left their numbers decimated.
It was good to also focus on the available food upon the initial year in the New World and the building of primitive shelter. As in Roman's previous books, the "you" in the book talks about boys' and girls' clothing. The story included information about contact with the Indians and the valuable survival techniques they provided the colonists.
I especially like the sections in the back of the book. There is a section with pictures and short biographies of famous and important people during the period. And lastly, the wonderful glossary.
This is an excellent resource for the home or classroom library. More sturdily bound editions would be wonderful in children's school libraries and the children's section of public libraries.
About the book: Experience Colonial America through the eyes of a student like yourself. Similar to her award-winning non-fiction cultural series that introduces customs and cultures to elementary students, this ground-breaking series takes the theme to another level describing life in different civilizations throughout world history for older students. Occupations, food, clothing, and recreation as well as important people pepper the book, opening a gateway for discussions and lessons. Study Sheets for American Colonies
1 grand winner = both books
5 win Elizabethan England
5 win Colonial America
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