American Dream: The New World, Colonial Times, and Hints of Revolution

American Dream: The New World, Colonial Times, and Hints of Revolution

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by Colleen L. Reece, Norma Jean Lutz, Susan Martins Miller
     
 

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Girls are girls wherever they live—and the Sisters in Time series shows that girls are girls whenever they lived, too! This new collection brings together four historical fiction books for 8–12-year-old girls: history and Christian faith. Featuring bonus educational materials such as time lines and brief biographies of key historical figures,

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Overview

Girls are girls wherever they live—and the Sisters in Time series shows that girls are girls whenever they lived, too! This new collection brings together four historical fiction books for 8–12-year-old girls: history and Christian faith. Featuring bonus educational materials such as time lines and brief biographies of key historical figures, American Dream is ideal for anytime reading and an excellent resource for home schooling.

Visit the official Sisters in Time website at www.sistersintime.com

 

Editorial Reviews

Mysteries Etc. - Kathryn Poulin

Four great stories for girls aged 8 to 12 to help them understand American history better while enjoying a wonderful story.  This book is written for a Christian audience and helps the reader learn important faith lessons. 
Good Family Reads - Jacque Stengel

I wish they had these sorts of Christian fiction books when I was a pre-teen. These books are a wonderful way to not only enhance your child's sense of history but also to show them more about Christian faith. The books use actual key figures in the telling of the stories and have biographies of those figures at the end and also a time line and glossaries. What a wonderful addition to a home school library, but even a great addition for a child in secular school when they history class glosses over the reasons behind why things were done because that would involve the use of the word GOD! I'd say these were written for the 9-12 year old range, but if you have any reader that loves history..pick up this collection!!! The stories all feature girls this time around, but there are some boys involved so some boys may find it interesting. The stories are wonderfully written and will definitely keep the readers immersed in the book.
Mysteries Etc.

Four great stories for girls aged 8 to 12 to help them understand American history better while enjoying a wonderful story.  This book is written for a Christian audience and helps the reader learn important faith lessons. 

— Kathryn Poulin

Good Family Reads

I wish they had these sorts of Christian fiction books when I was a pre-teen. These books are a wonderful way to not only enhance your child's sense of history but also to show them more about Christian faith. The books use actual key figures in the telling of the stories and have biographies of those figures at the end and also a time line and glossaries. What a wonderful addition to a home school library, but even a great addition for a child in secular school when they history class glosses over the reasons behind why things were done because that would involve the use of the word GOD! I'd say these were written for the 9-12 year old range, but if you have any reader that loves history..pick up this collection!!! The stories all feature girls this time around, but there are some boys involved so some boys may find it interesting. The stories are wonderfully written and will definitely keep the readers immersed in the book.

— Jacque Stengel

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616264628
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/01/2011
Series:
Sisters in Time
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
560
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

American Dream

1620-1765


By Colleen Reece, Norma Lutz, Susan Miller

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61626-462-8



CHAPTER 1

Spies


Twelve-year-old John Smythe lay flat on the floor of the dark hallway. His right ear was pressed against the crack under the door to the parlor. He strained to make out what his parents' low voices were saying.

Just then, John heard footsteps running down the hall, and before he could move, hard wooden shoes ran into his side.

"Oomph!" John quickly covered his mouth to muffle the groan he couldn't hold back. Rubbing his bruised body, he shifted position and looked up at his ten-year-old sister, Sarah. "Shh," he hissed.

Sarah clasped her hands against the long, white apron that covered her dark work dress and demanded, "John Smythe, what are you doing? If Father and Mother catch you, they'll—"

"They won't if you keep your voice down," he warned in a whisper. "I want to know what they're saying."

"You're spying!" Sarah accused. "Aren't you ever going to grow up? You're twelve years old—almost a man—not a three-year-old child to be listening at doors!"

"Can't you be quiet?" John hissed. He reached up a strong, wiry arm and pulled her down next to him. "You need to hear this, Sarah. It concerns us." Excitement filled his voice.

"I don't care," she whispered back. "It's wrong to listen in on others." Sarah started to scramble up, but her father's raised voice pinned her to the floor beside John.

"I see no help for it, Abigail. If we are to remain strong and true, we cannot stay longer in Holland."

"But William," Mother protested. "Is there no other way?"

Father spoke again. "Holland offered us a place of refuge and peace when we needed it. But now it is time to move on. Holland can never be our real home." He sounded sad.

"Was it not enough that we fled England before John and Sarah were born?" Mother cried.

John and Sarah looked at each other with concern. They rarely heard their parents disagree with each other like this.

"We've been here twelve years, William. Now you wish to uproot us again."

"We must find a country where we can worship freely, a place where our church will be safe from bad influences," Father replied.

A long silence followed. John edged closer to the door, not wanting to miss a single word. Move? When? Where? Surely they would not return to England, where they had been persecuted for worshiping God in their own way. News from across the water said things were no better in England now than when the first of their people had fled to Holland.

"I wonder if there is such a place this side of heaven." Mother sounded like she wanted to cry. "Where do you and the other men have in mind for us to go?"

John felt Sarah grab his arm. They both held their breath, waiting for Father's answer.

Father's deep voice rolled out like thunder. "The New World. America."

"America!" John forgot all about the need for silence and let out a whoop of delight. He rose to his knees and grabbed Sarah's hand. "Did you hear that?"

"Shh!" Sarah ordered, but it was too late. Quick footsteps sounded from the parlor, and the door was flung open wide.

Off balance, John clutched harder at his sister's hand, but he couldn't save himself from falling. He sprawled inside the parlor, dragging Sarah with him and landing on one elbow.

"Ow!" He released his sister, blinked in the more brightly lit room, and rubbed his elbow.

Mother gasped in dismay.

"What is the meaning of this?" Father's stern voice brought John to his feet.

Glancing at his sister, John could see Sarah's face was red with shame and that she was blinking hard to keep back the tears that filled her green eyes.

"It's not her fault," John confessed. His straight, cropped, brown hair shone in the candlelight. The big brown eyes that sometimes looked innocent and at other times sparkled with mischief looked enormous. "Sarah came in and stumbled over me. I told her to stay."

He swallowed hard, stopped rubbing his sore elbow, and mumbled, "You always say Sarah is her brother's keeper. She tried to make me stop spying, but I wanted to hear."

John's heart warmed a little as he caught Sarah's grateful look, but Father's answer took away the good feeling. "I don't find in the Bible that being a brother's keeper means joining in his mischief if he doesn't stop when warned."

Sarah stumbled to her feet and stood behind John. Together they awaited judgment. While Father and Mother loved their children, they also expected John and Sarah to obey.

"I'm disappointed in you both," Mother told them.

Sarah dug her toe into the woven rug and avoided looking at her mother's eyes that were so much like her own.

"So am I." Father sounded disapproving. "Sit down, please." He waited until they sat, facing each other. "I am particularly disappointed in you because of what lies ahead." He sighed and a shadow crossed his face. "In a short time, many of our people will be leaving Holland."

"For America," John eagerly said.

Father looked at him sternly.

John bit his lip and looked miserable.

"Most of the other families will be leaving all but their oldest children in Holland, but if your mother and I decide to go, we will want to keep our family together."

"You mean we would leave Holland forever?" Sarah twisted her hands beneath her apron and stared at her parents. "But what about all our friends? I've never lived anywhere but here in Leiden, and I don't want to leave Gretchen behind."

Father closed his eyes for a moment. "Leaving friends is never easy. When your mother and I left England and moved to Holland, we, too, had to leave the village we had grown up in. You've heard us tell you the story many times. But maybe telling you more of the details will help you understand why we may have to leave Leiden now."

"You lived in Scrooby, didn't you, Father?" John asked eagerly. "Yes," Father replied, looking out the darkened window as if he could see his childhood home. "It was a poor English village on the Great North Road between London and Edinburgh, Scotland. The road had a big name, but it was actually a narrow dirt lane used by rich people who came to hunt red deer in Sherwood Forest."

"We lived in a simple cottage," Mother continued, "but nearby was a great manor house, surrounded by a moat. The house was so large it contained everything anyone needed, including a bakery and even a chapel. But only the people from the manor house and their guests could hunt the deer. Those of us in the village lived on porridge and bread. As a special treat, sometimes we'd get a bit of fish or meat."

"That doesn't seem fair," John interrupted. "God made the deer, didn't He? So why couldn't everyone hunt them?"

"The deer were claimed by the king, and it was against the law for poor people who needed food to hunt them," explained his father. "Anyone caught hunting or eating the king's deer was punished—some were even hanged."

"How awful!" Sarah's green eyes flashed, and she tossed her head so hard that her long brown braids bounced against her back.

"But that wasn't the worst problem we faced," her mother added. "Because we wouldn't worship God the way King James wanted us to, we couldn't go to church. We had to meet in barns like criminals."

"Why did King James tell you how to worship God?" Sarah wanted to know.

"He said that 'kings are God's lieutenants and sit on God's throne,'" Father explained. "Everyone else had to do just what he said. We couldn't even ask questions! The king was afraid. If common people like us were allowed to choose their own church leaders and worship the way they believed God wanted them to, King James worried that they'd want to do the same thing in government. Then he wouldn't be so powerful.

"Our leaders became concerned about how we would survive. Elder Brewster, Edward Winslow, and William Bradford met secretly in a barn to discuss possible solutions."

"Didn't William Bradford become part of our group when he was only seventeen?" John asked.

"Yes, he did," Father answered. "That action angered the aunts and uncles who had brought him up—William's parents died when he was about nine. William's uncles ordered him, 'Give up this path to destruction. If you join that treasonous, despised group, the king's tax collectors will surely seize your land. You will be penniless, scorned, and driven out of the country.'

"William proudly said, 'I accept the king as ruler of the country. I pay my taxes but kneel to no man. I also choose my own way to worship God.'"

John's face glowed with pride as he thought of what courage it had taken for seventeen-year-old William Bradford to take such a stand.

"So what happened at the meeting?" Sarah asked.

"The meeting in the barn started with prayer," Father answered. "Then Elder Brewster's voice rang out: 'Our people must suffer at the hands of the king's men no more! We have been taxed unmercifully. How can we go on living in a country where desperate persons are hanged for stealing a loaf of bread to keep their little ones from starving? We here this day are in danger of being thrown into jail for the rest of our lives. Or hanged on the gallows for daring to worship God in our own way! Thousands of the poor can find no work. They—'

"A horse neighed, and Elder Brewster stopped talking," Father said. "Heavy footsteps thudded on the hard ground outside the barn. William Bradford held up a warning hand. The wooden door slowly creaked open."

CHAPTER 2

Troublesome Times


What happened?" John asked breathlessly. "The door opened just enough to let in John Carver and our preacher, John Robinson," Father answered. John and Sarah sighed with relief. "John Robinson looked very stern," Father continued. "But he is always kind to us," Sarah protested. "Yes, but our leaders were facing a dangerous situation. Even being discovered meeting together could have landed them in prison for life, and John Robinson had just learned that two more of their followers had been sent to the dungeons. They were turned in by their own neighbors."

John gasped. "Couldn't you even trust the people you'd grown up with to keep you safe?"

"No," Mother said. "Girls and boys I had grown up playing with were willing to tell the king's men about our meetings."

"Our leaders decided it was too dangerous to stay in England any longer," Father said. "But even that decision brought problems. The law said that anyone leaving the country had to have permission. Because of our religious beliefs, we were considered traitors. The king would never agree to our leaving.

"But William Brewster reminded us that King James is not the final power on earth. 'The King of heaven and earth knows our needs,' he told us."

"It must have been hard to plan your escape without someone finding out about it and letting the king's men know," John observed.

"It was not only hard," Father replied, "it was impossible. On a dark night late in 1607, our group of men, women, and children slipped out of town and walked silently to a seaport called Boston on the east coast of England. At last we reached the small creek where a captain had promised to meet us. We waited for two days. Nothing happened, and we were afraid that someone would find us. Finally, on the second night, the captain appeared, let us aboard his ship, and collected his fee.

"Just when we thought that at last we were safe, someone bellowed, 'Stop where you are!'"

"I don't understand," Sarah said. "What happened?"

"The captain had betrayed us," Father told his family. "The officials loaded us all into smaller boats and took us ashore. We were robbed of everything we had and marched through the streets. Then we were locked up for a month before we were ordered back to our homes. Even time in prison, however, didn't change our minds. We were determined to be free."

"But everyone must have been watching you," John said.

"They were," Mother said. "And it wasn't until the next spring that we tried again to escape. This time it was even harder. All of us women and children were loaded on a small boat to sail down the River Ryton.

"Saying good-bye to our husbands and fathers was the hardest thing we'd ever done. The men and older boys disappeared into the dark and began the forty-mile walk to our secret meeting place. Then disaster struck. Our boat stuck in the mud at low tide. As day broke and people from a nearby village discovered us, they armed themselves with guns and clubs and came running toward us."

Father continued the story. "The Dutch skipper of the boat we had hired sent a dinghy to bring some of the men aboard. When he saw the mob of villagers heading toward the women and children, he panicked. He hoisted the sails, raised anchor, and sailed away!

"Those of us men who were still on shore ran to help the trapped women and children. We were arrested and hauled from place to place. The authorities didn't know what to do with us. We hadn't committed a crime, but we couldn't be sent back to our old villages because our homes had been sold."

Sarah blinked to keep back her tears. She had no idea that her parents had gone through so many hard times in England.

"Finally," Father said, "that summer we were released and sailed to Amsterdam."

"Why didn't you stay there?" Sarah asked.

"Amsterdam is a noisy city that didn't have much in common with quiet little Scrooby," answered Mother.

"And some of our group had serious arguments with each other," admitted Father. "After about a year, we moved the forty miles here to Leiden, and until recently we've been content. But our reasons for leaving Holland will have to wait for another day. It's late, so let's say our prayers and get to bed."


* * *

John opened his eyes and stared around his tiny room. He slid farther down in bed. The small amount of light in his room told him how early it was, too early even for Father and Mother to be up getting ready for the new day. Yet he felt so wide awake he knew he couldn't go back to sleep. He wondered what he could do that wouldn't wake up his parents. Father worked hard in the factory, and Mother worked at the loom. They both needed their rest.

"John, are you awake?" Sarah's voice whispered from the doorway of his room.

"Of course," he said, peering out at her over his coverlet. "Who can sleep when we may be going to America? Oh, Sarah, it's going to be wonderful!"

Sarah perched on a stool by his bed and pulled her shawl closer around her. "I just don't want to leave Leiden. It's so beautiful, and our friends are all here."

John's brown hair stood straight up from sleeping. "I'm sorry everyone won't be going, but think of what fun those who do go will have."

"I still don't understand why any of us have to leave Holland."

John awkwardly patted her hand, the way he used to do when they were both small. "There are a lot of reasons. I heard Father say—"

"You've been listening again," Sarah accused.

"Do you want me to answer your question or not?" he demanded.

"Yes, please."

"Pastor Robinson and our elders are concerned because we are getting more like the Dutch every day. We dress like them. We talk like them. I like the Dutch ways." His brown gaze bored into her green eyes. "The Dutch are fun! They laugh and dance and sing, even on the Sabbath. What is wrong with dancing and singing? God wants us to be happy, doesn't He?"

John didn't wait for an answer. "Sometimes I wish our church weren't so strict, don't you? Sarah, we aren't even allowed to smile in church, and the sermons are so long!"

Sarah's hands flew to her ears. A few weeks earlier, the deaconess had boxed them because Sarah had whispered to John. "It's no fun having your ears boxed," she admitted.

John made an awful face. "It's worse being whipped with a birch rod. All I did was smile when Elder Brewster told about poor old Jonah sitting in the hot sun and grumbling because a worm had eaten the plant that had given him shade."

John stretched and yawned. "It just seems like Jonah would have learned his lesson after the big fish spit him out and he was safe."

"It just seems like you would learn your lesson after you got us in trouble," Sarah teased.

He only grinned. "Run back to bed, little sister. It's almost time for Father and Mother to get up."

"I may be a whole lot shorter, but I'm only two years younger than you are," Sarah reminded him. "And say what you will, life in Leiden is never going to be the same." She scooted out the door and tiptoed to her own room, and a few minutes later John heard her clatter to breakfast in the wooden shoes she liked so well.

As the day continued, John had to admit that Sarah was right about life in Leiden changing. Gossip and rumors ran wild in every home, in factories, and in fields. His neighbor Hans, who was six months older than John, was full of news about war.

"It's feared that Spain will attack Holland," the tall, blond boy told John as they walked along the canal. "If Spain wins, Holland will become a Catholic country instead of a Protestant one, and Spain's royal family will rule over us. I only wish I were older and could sign up on a Dutch ship. Then I'd be able to protect my country."

"Some of the older boys from our group already have," John said. "What an adventure that would be."

"Almost as much of an adventure as that wild tale I've heard about some of your people going to the New World," Hans said, his long legs easily keeping pace with John. "Do you know anything about it?"

"There's been a lot of talk," John answered, careful not to reveal what his parents had told him, "but no one's made any final decision that I've heard of. Of course, people are worried that we wouldn't be able to worship freely if Holland lost the war."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from American Dream by Colleen Reece, Norma Lutz, Susan Miller. Copyright © 2006 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

COLLEEN L. REECE was born and raised in a small western Washington logging town. She learned to read by kerosene lamplight and dreamed of someday writing a book. God has multiplied Colleen's “someday” book into more than 150 titles that have sold six million copies. Colleen was twice voted Heartsong Presents' Favorite Author and later inducted into Heartsong'sHall of Fame. Several of her books have appeared on the CBA Bestseller list.

Norma Jean Lutz began her professional writing career in 1977, when she enrolled in a writing correspondence course. Since then, she has had over 200 short stories and articles published in both secular and Christian publications. She is also author of five published teen novels.

Susan Martins Miller has been writing and shaping books for more than twenty years. She has nearly sixty books to her credit in various genres, including titles for both children and adults, and books to enjoy at home or use in church ministry. Colorado Springs is home, where she lives with her husband and two young adult children.

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