Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Read Me a Story: The One and Only Declaration of Independence

The 6-year-old has fallen in love with the plenitudinous volumes of the American Girls series, which means frequent trips to the library and much time standing around waiting while she crawls around on hands and knees (under-window shelf) making her latest selections.  Imagine my glee, then, when I figured out that the shelf directly opposite the American Girls section houses the children's American history collection! :-D

Fortunately, the kid has been indoctrinated from a very young age and enjoys learning about "old-fashioned things" and the "olden days."  This means Mom here has had the opportunity to begin perusing some rather nifty children's history.  Some of these books make me want to share, so I figured I would begin doing so.  Note I am not receiving any prompting or remuneration for anything I post to the site, and if anyone ever sends me anything to review (not likely) I'll state this specifically.

My find of the moment is Judith St. George's The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence (Philomel Books, 2005; illustrated by Will Hillenbrand).  St. George cleverly traces the history of the Declaration of Independence as a physical object from 1776 to the present, revealing the many fascinating twists and turns (and shockingly poor 'archival' practice) it has lived through along the way.  The question of what to do with and/or how to protect the Declaration has figured into a remarkable amount of American history, from the years of the War for Independence through the War of 1812, the American Centennial and on through World War II.  St. George smoothly juxtaposes the events of the day with the Declaration's personal journey, making good use of recurring catchphrases to keep children engaged while they learn quite a bit about the nation's history.  The book is fairly text-heavy and best for children old enough not to mind that the pages won't be turning super-frequently.  That said, I heartily recommend it -- my daughter loves it and I'm always amazed by how bits and pieces of what she learns pop out in other times and places.

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