"[N]eat, emotive, unvarnished stories...are engaging and inspiring."
— Kirkus Reviews
What better way for young readers to truly understand another era than to spend a day in the life of another child? Like On a Medieval Day and On a Canadian Day before it, On an American Day Volume 1 uses nine extraordinary pieces of historical fiction covering American history from 17501899 to give young readers an/i>/i>/i>… See more details below
What better way for young readers to truly understand another era than to spend a day in the life of another child? Like On a Medieval Day and On a Canadian Day before it, On an American Day Volume 1 uses nine extraordinary pieces of historical fiction covering American history from 17501899 to give young readers an intimate look at life in another place and time.
On an American Day Volume 1 begins with the story of Patrick, an Irish-Catholic immigrant seeking relief from religious persecution in Pennsylvania in 1755. From there, readers meet more characters living through historic events like the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and the Johnstown flood; through civil rights milestones like the Emancipation Proclamation; and through national achievements like the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the opening of the Perkins School for the Blind. The book ends at the turn of the 20th century with the founding of Hull House in Chicago.
Through these carefully researched and engaging stories, a complex and fascinating portrait of a nation emerges, told through a child’s everyday life activities. Detailed backgrounder pages accompany each story, using facts, maps, photos, and illustrations to bring readers further into history.
Brief fictional sketches walk readers through 150 years of American history.
Arato takes nine powerful slices of American history—such as Valley Forge, the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Gold Rush, the founding of the Perkins School for the Blind and Berea College, Hull House, the Johnstown Flood—and wraps them in neat, emotive, unvarnished stories that feature a day in the life of a child caught up in the action. Shannon introduces each segment with an atmospheric illustration, Disney-like scene-setters that function as launching pads for the affecting tales. One may be as plain as the miseries of war—"The Union army regrouped at Bull Run under a pall of defeat so thick, it seemed to suck the air from the sky"—while another may take a more psychological air, as one boy hides a gold nugget so his father can't gamble it away. Only rarely does the author let the sheer fervor of the story lead her onto shaky ground: Did the Oneida Nation really consider the Revolutionary War as "our cause," or as a strategic alliance? (She clarifies in a fact-based endnote—one accompanies each chapter—that the Oneidas were ultimately given the raw end of the stick, their treaty lands diminished from 6 million acres to 32 acres.)
Overall, the stories are engaging and inspiring, from the tribulations that came upon Emancipation to the strange new world opened to Chinese workers recruited for the Transcontinental Railroad to the pure brilliance of a school for the blind.(Historical fiction. 9-13)
Excerpted from On an American Day Volume 1 by Rona Arato Copyright © 2011 by Rona Arato. Excerpted by permission.
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Rona Arato, a former teacher, is an award-winning children’s author with a strong interest in the field of human rights. From 1994 to 1998, she was an interviewer for Survivors of the Shoah, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors. She is the author of Ice Cream Town, Courage and Compassion, and On a Canadian Day, among others. She lives in Toronto.
Ben Shannon's illustrious career extends from magazines and newspapers to advertising and television to books and comics. He has done work for Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Motown Records, and DC Comics among others. He lives with his wife and young daughter in Toronto.
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