The Settlement of America (American History for Children): Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

October 16, 2012

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: The Art of Freedom by Bob Raczka

Why we love this book:

The Cover of this book and the title “The Art of Freedom” immediately captured my attention! You know how we value artistic expression here at waddlee-ah-chaa. As I turned the pages of this beautiful book, I knew I had to incorporate it into our introduction to America History. This week we’ll continue our study of American History by taking a look at the Settlement of America.

America: The Art of Freedom Book GIVEAWAY

What is America? Each page of The Art of Freedom displays simple text and a work of American Art to illustrate the meaning: America is a country. America is an idea. America is farms. America is hard work. I wish I could show you each page of this book. The variety of art work is fabulous and truly captures the uniqueness and broadness of America.

The Settlement of America

American History for Children

Discovery of America

Last week I began our series on American History for children by outlining how I teach The 50 States to Children. (It can even be fun!) I have found it important to start with some basic geography in order for children to have a frame of reference as they learn about the Discovery and Settlement of America.

Rather than beginning American History with the Pilgrims, I began with the Land Bridge and the Early Explorers. As we researched the Discovery of America, MacGyver, kept a journal full of facts, illustrated each page and then published a timeline book on The Settlement of America.

The Discovery of The Americas by Besty and Giulio Maestro

MacGyver began his study of American History with The Discovery of The Americas. When I find the perfect history book, I’ll let you know. While this book may not be perfect it does provide a good introduction to the discovery of the Americas. The text is simple enough for MacGvyer to read while covering important dates, places and people. The book begins with the Land Bridge and the Nomads that first settled in North and South America. From there the book chronicles the explorers from the Vikings to Columbus . . . John Cabot . . . Amerigo Vespucci . . . Balboa . . . Magellan.

The Discovery of The Americas helped MacGyver construct a basic timeline leading up to the Pilgrims landing in New England.

  • The Ice Age and The Land Bridge
  • Nomads, Stone Age Hunters and Early Civilization
  • Bjarni Herjolfsson, Vikings of Norway
  • Leif Ericsson, The Vikings, Newfoundland and Greenland
  • Early North and South America
  • Christopher Columbus
  • John Cabot
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Vasco Nunez de Balboa
  • Ferdinand Magellan

Discovery of America

The Settlement of America Timeline Journal 

  • Each day, MacGyver read one section from The Discovery of The Americas.
  • After reading, we discussed what important facts and dates he learned.
  • MacGyver wrote a brief summary about the time-period or the explorer.
  • MacGyver is not a strong speller. I taught him how to use the book as a spelling resource when writing his summaries.
  • MacGyver created a daily illustration to accompany his facts.
  • Reading, Writing, History, Geography and Art incorporated into one project!

Discovery of America

Using the Writing Process to Publish a student book: The Settlement of America

  • I helped MacGyver edit his handwritten journal entries.
  • MacGyver used the Publisher program to type his timeline book.
  • MacGyver created his own unique title for his timeline book.

Jamestown Virginia

Jamestown, Virginia by Dennis Brindell Fradin

I had been searching for a book to help bridge the gap between the explorers and the Pilgrims. Finally, I ran across Jamestown, Virginia at our local library. The first section outlines the Exploration and Early Colonization of America by the Spanish and the French. The book then introduces England and its early failed attempts to establish English colonies in America. Finally, Jamestown Colony is introduced. This Chapter highlights important dates, locations and people such as Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. The book goes on to describe the extreme hardship experienced at Jamestown and the legacy that Jamestown became to the beginning of The United States.

I like the timeline approach to this book. It includes just enough information for an introduction to American History.

The Settlement of America Timeline Journal

  • MacGyver continued adding entries and illustrations into his timeline journal as he read Jamestown, Virginia.

Pilgrims of Plymouth by Susan E. Goodman

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters, Photos by Russ Kendall

MacGyver and Miss Engima especially enjoyed these photo books about the Pilgrims. These reenactment pictures helped transport the children back in time, bringing to life the very abstract concept of “History.”

The Settlement of America Timeline Journal

  • After reading many books on the Pilgrims, MacGyver added another journal entry into his timeline journal.

Mayflower: History of the Pilgrims

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Let me make a bold statement: Mayflower is a book that EVERY American should read! This book has taken me way beyond my knowledge of the stereotypical story of the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving with the Indians. Philbrick has written a totally fascinating book about the voyage of the Mayflower and the history of Plymouth Colony. Based on the reviews I had read, I was expecting more of a “story” book. While the book is not what I was expecting by reading the reviews, it is thoroughly entertaining!

There are two versions of this book. The first was written for adults and then a second adaptation was written for ages 10 and up. I have read from both versions and both are equally informative. I was hoping that I would be able to read aloud Mayflower to MacGyver. However, I found the book a bit challenging for a 9-year-old boy to sit through with all of its details, dates and people. The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World is recommended for grade 7 and up.

Big George

Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington by Anne F. Rockwell

To transition into a study of the 13 Colonies and The American Revolution we read several books on George Washington. Big George is a powerful introduction to George Washington and the founding of the United States of America. We have checked this book out a number of times and the children absolutely love learning about our first president. Additionally, Matt Phelan’s illustrations are nothing less than thrilling. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Mom, teacher and kid tested! How often do you find a History book that children actually beg you to read over and over again?!

Next week we’ll continue with the American Revolution and Electing an American President. A very timely study for the 2012 election.


Christopher Columbus & Explorers

History of Jamestown

Jamestown Settlement


Colonial National Historical Park

American Artist

13 American Artist Children Should Know by Brad Finger

We began with an art book celebrating the art of freedom so why don’t we end with one more American Artists book. “Each artist is featured in a double-page spread with a biographical portrait and exquisite reproductions of well-known works.” The book is designed to test your knowledge, come up with ideas for your own works of art and recommendations for further reading.

America: The Art of Freedom Book GIVEAWAY

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of  The Art of Freedom by Bob Raczka.

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What is your favorite style of art? Realism, Impressionism, Abstract, Expressionism, Surrealism, Sculpture . . . Do you have a favorite American Artist?    (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Monday, October 22, 2012

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

Sharing this week at:

Hip Homeschool Moms

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessy at Our Side of the Mountain October 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Hmm…I would say Impressionism! Sadly, I need this book as I don’t know much about US Artists!

Ellie October 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

I enjoy art from all different periods, countries, and styles, but if I had to choose my absolute favorite artists, I would mention Johannes Vermeer & Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Europeans). Among American artists, a few of my favorites are Elliot Porter, the photographer, and Andrew Wyeth, the painter. Also, the contemporary artist Greg Mort. All three of them have devoted a lot of their attention to scenes of Maine, which may be why I am particularly attracted to their works, since Maine was my childhood vacation place. I also consider many illustrators to be great American artists, such as Maurice Sendak, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Allen Say, David Wiesner and Paul Goble. This sounds like a great book — thanks for all the above recommendations.

Tara H October 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

I’ve never really thought about the kind of art that I like. I guess I enjoy all types…with probably scuplture being at the top of my list. I really like Realism too though.
I’m like Jessy in that I don’t know too much about US artists either.

Shelley October 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Favorite type of art! You might as well ask me which of my children is my favorite. Right now we are studying Georgia O’Keefe, so she is my favorite – this week, that is.

Gidget October 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I’m sad to say that i really don’t know a lot of different artists. I tend to like watercolors and beachy type scenes. My daughter is an amazing artist so I like her stuff too :-)

Mary A. October 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Like a few of the posters above, I have to admit I don’t know much about art. I enjoy art that has a deeper, hidden meaning, or that reminds me of the beach in my former home state of North Carolina.

Brandy October 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I think my favorite type of art is preschool art (legs coming out of heads, two giant nostrils for noses, etc.)….it makes me so happy! But of the ones you listed, impressionism is my favorite.

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