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Who Discovered America?
     

Who Discovered America?

by Valerie Wyatt
 

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Who discovered America? There's no simple answer. The question points to an ongoing mystery of continent-sized proportions.

Christopher Columbus stumbled upon America in 1492 while looking for a western route to the Indies, but he wasn't the first. The Vikings settled briefly on the coast of Newfoundland hundreds of years before him, and left ruins to

Overview

Who discovered America? There's no simple answer. The question points to an ongoing mystery of continent-sized proportions.

Christopher Columbus stumbled upon America in 1492 while looking for a western route to the Indies, but he wasn't the first. The Vikings settled briefly on the coast of Newfoundland hundreds of years before him, and left ruins to prove it. Explorers from Portugal, China, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and elsewhere can also stake claims.

In addition to investigating all serious claims, award-winning author Valerie Wyatt delves into the continents' most ancient mysteries, some stretching back 40,000 years. Who Discovered America? reveals that historical sleuthing takes many years of hard work, puzzle solving and comparing legends and artifacts.

Young readers will find the question of who discovered America much less simple, and much more fascinating, than they ever dreamed.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
An engaging introduction to the topic.
Children's Literature - Kathryn Erskine
This fascinating and eye-opening look at the so-called discovery of North America is a must for both the home and the classroom. Wyatt gives many alternative views to the popular Columbus belief. She explores the Portugese claim that Corte-Real arrived in Newfoundland twenty years before Columbus. She considers archeological digs in Nova Scotia which indicate that the Chinese may have settled in the New World almost a hundred years before Columbus' arrival. She notes that there are even artifacts suggesting that the Welsh or Scots made it to Nova Scotia and the New England States 100-300 years before the famous 1492 date. We already know of a Viking settlement in Newfoundland dating from about the year 1000, so it's quite possible that others made it to America before Columbus. The author also explains how earlier peoples walked across the land bridge from Asia to the Americas, and how they might have sailed a coastal route from Asia to the Americas. Throughout the text, appealing pictures and sidebars explain concepts such as genetic tracking, skull morphology, archeological techniques, and map-making. A timeline, a glossary and an index make the book useful for research. Reviewer: Kathryn Erskine
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

With interesting sidebars and engaging illustrations and photos, this "whodunit" of sorts describes, on a spread each, evidence for the journeys of various groups who discovered, or claimed to have discovered, this continent. Since most explorers arrived here by water, boats play a large role in the story. In the early 1400s, for example, "swimming dragons," with decks bigger than football fields, set out from China. Wyatt writes clearly about how scientists unlock clues to how and when various groups could have made landfall. Columbus gets a mention, along with the Norse, Welsh, Irish, Africans, and, of course, the aboriginal settlers from Asia. The time line dates from 40,000 years ago to Columbus's voyage. Raising perhaps more questions than it answers, this book leaves it to readers to decide the solution to the mystery. It complements Russell Freedman's more in-depth Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas (Clarion, 2007).-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Designed to appeal to middle-grade readers, this overview of the many theories and archeological discoveries relating to human presence in the Americas goes backward in time, from Columbus in 1492 to the possible footprints in Toluquilla Quarry near Mexico City from 40,000 years ago, or earlier. Photographs and Woo's gently humorous cartoon illustrations enliven topical double-page spreads; occasional maps and boxed sidebars add information. Wyatt ranges far more widely than most writers on this subject, mentioning potential explorers and discoverers from as far away as Australia and as distant in time as Paleolithic Europe. She mentions archeological discoveries by an African-American cowboy and a teenage boy as well as the more usual experts. Readers will be delighted by the variety of boats shown-replicas of the Santa Maria, a Chinese "swimming dragon" and the Irish Saint Brendan's leather boat as well as a Welsh coracle and Inuit umiak. Fascinating fare for the historically curious. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
An engaging introduction to the topic.

... Wyatt ranges far more widely than most writers on this subject ... Readers will be delighted ... Fascinating fare ...

... Wyatt ranges far more widely than most writers on this subject ... Readers will be delighted ... Fascinating fare ...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554531288
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
09/28/2008
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Valerie Wyatt is an award-winning author more than 14 nonfiction books, many of them about science. She also writes on historical topics and, from time to time, picture books.

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