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Children's LiteratureThis attractive and colorful nonfiction text examines the time in American history when mission life thrived for more than two hundred and fifty years in the Spanish settlements of North America. This well organized book describes the years between 1500 and 1850 when Spanish missionaries established themselves among the Indians in the region which later became the states of Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and California. Complete with wonderful illustrations, maps, and photographs, this book focuses on the development, daily life, and heritage of the Spanish missions. The many primary source materials included in the book create additional interest in the topic, such as an original illustration of thatched-roof huts at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo and a reproduction of Newell Convers Wyeth's painting of the Alamo. Specific content words throughout the text are in bold print and they are defined in the glossary at the back of the book. Other features include a time line, a bibliography of additional sources, and a page that lists places to visit and websites for additional information. Upper elementary and middle school students will enjoy reading this attractive and well organized text about the mission era of American history when Spanish priests, or padres, tried to convert native people to Christianity. Particularly if read as part of the "American Community" series which includes four other titles, this book will be a welcome addition to any classroom library and a valuable reference in a school social studies curriculum. 2004, Children's Press, Ages 8 to 14.