Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In 1607, 12-year-old Sam Collier sails to Virginia on the Susan Constant in Surviving Jamestown, a riveting novel of England's first settlement in the New World. As page to John Smith, Sam becomes involved in important historical events including befriending the Indians of Powhatan's tribe, surviving the sickness that sweeps the colony and dealing with infighting and spies. An extensive author's note bears testimony to author Gail Langer Karwoski's careful research into Jamestown's first year and sheds new, skeptical light on the popular legend of Pocahontas saving Smith's life. Occasional black-and-white illustrations by Paul Casale help young readers envision the period, especially the settlers' clothing and Indians' dwellings. 2001, Peachtree, Ages 8 to 12.
—Mary Quattlebaum
KLIATT
Young Sam Collier has left his father's farm for greater adventures aboard the Susan Constant as a page for Captain John Smith. The ship is sailing for the New World, a place the crew can only dream about. The reader is brought aboard the ship with Sam and his friends, who are constantly wreaking havoc on the decks. Their playfulness adds a unique element to this story. But the journey is not always easy and pleasant. Hardships such as seasickness, fever, disease, and bitter cold weather are suffered on the open seas. Once they finally arrive in Jamestown, life does not become easier. There, the crew is met with several setbacks, including attacks by Algonquin Indians. There is always the question of who will survive and how they will survive. Sam is one of the lucky ones. This story, told from a boy's perspective, gives a unique look into part of the nation's history. Readers of historical fiction will enjoy reading about his courage in an unsettling time. It is apparent that Karwoski spent a great deal of time researching this time period. A great learning tool for middle school teachers to use as a supplement to the study of early settlers and settlements. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Peachtree, 197p. illus. map. 23cm. 00-054859., $8.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Shaunna S. Silva; Teacher, St. James School, Biddeford, ME , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
VOYA
In 1604, twelve-year-old Sam Collier considers himself the luckiest boy in all of England. He is heading to the New World as Captain John Smith's page. None of the colonists have any idea of the danger, hardships, illness, and death awaiting in the settlement that will become Jamestown. Sam lives through the "seasoning" of his first year and spends time with a friendly Indian tribe, learning the language and way of life. Smith also survives the many attempts to thwart his natural leadership by higher-born colonists and cheats death more than once until an accidental shipboard fire causes severe injuries, forcing him to return to England. He gives Sam the opportunity to choose his future—return to England or remain in America. Sam realizes he cannot stay attached to Smith forever and decides to forge his own way in the new country. Colonial life is not romanticized here. The colonists' infighting, lack of common sense, and pride often result in dangerous situations that could have been avoided. Descriptions of attacks and torture are graphic. Smith is portrayed as a man difficult to like or understand. Sam comes across as an unusually astute and optimistic young teen. Unfortunately, pen-and-ink drawings add little to the story. Although the language is formal in an attempt to capture the tone of the time, the book should be recommended to readers who have enjoyed the Dear America and My America series. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Peachtree, 198p, $14.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Pam Carlson SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
KLIATT

J(unior High)* Young Sam Collier has left his father's farm for greater adventures aboard the Susan Constant as a page for Captain John Smith. The ship is sailing for the New World, a place the crew can only dream about. The reader is brought aboard the ship with Sam and his friends, who are constantly wreaking havoc on the decks. Their playfulness adds a unique element to this story. But the journey is not always easy and pleasant. Hardships such as seasickness, fever, disease, and bitter cold weather are suffered on the open seas. Once they finally arrive in Jamestown, life does not become easier. There, the crew is met with several setbacks, including attacks by Algonquin Indians. There is always the question of who will survive and how they will survive. Sam is one of the lucky ones.

This story, told from a boy's perspective, gives a unique look into part of the nation's history. Readers of historical fiction will enjoy reading about his courage in an unsettling time. It is apparent that Karwoski spent a great deal of time researching this time period. A great learning tool for middle school teachers to use as a supplement to the study of early settlers and settlements. --Shaunna S. Silva, Teacher, St. James School, Biddeford, ME

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452453
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 350,071
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Review: This is an excellent informative book which I have read

    Review: This is an excellent informative book which I have read to my class several years to prepare them for our field trip to historic Jamestown Settlement.

    The adventure begins on board the Susan Constance while docked on the Thames River. She is one of three ships setting sail for the New World in the year 1606. Sam Collier is a twelve year old boy ready for an adventure. He is leaving his native England to be the page for John Smith, one of the original settlers of Jamestown, Virginia.

    Sam faces incredible hardships during the voyage and first several years of the settlement. The reader is given significant insight into the conflicts and difficulties which plagued this first permanent settlement.

    This book, an engaging adventure book which will appeal to upper elementary and middle school students, is well written and engaging while teaching history. After reading this book students will have a better understanding of the historic Jamestown time period and the bigger struggles which were a major part of the early colony.

    The illustrations by Paul Casale are a pleasing addition to the story and enhance its value to younger readers. (rev. A.Freeman, Grade 6 teacher)

    DISCLOSURE: Peachtree Publishers provided a complimentary review copy to facilitate our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

    Surviving Jamestown by Patrick H.

    I think this was a very good book because it is a story that is mixed with mystery and exploration. For example, it is good because it gives you an idea of what life was really like in colonial Virginia and what the colonists had to do to survive.The book is really about a boy who gets to go to the new world over the ocean.
    They travel through very harsh weather to get to Virginia.A lot of the people died on the journey but many of the colonists made it and moved on.I would recommend this book to kids at least ten to thirteen years of age because there is some violence that might disturb younger children.This story is kind of a long book for some people,but I would take my time to really read the book.Older people might like this book because it gives a lot of details and information.It also tells what they ate and what they used to live. From the information in this book I would recommend this book for a project of some sort.

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