This month I had the pleasure to include a wonderful book in our homeschooling. James Towne: Struggle for Survival by Marcia Sewall is an excellent addition to any elementary American History course of study. I have to say that the more I got into this easy reader the more I fell in love with it. Certain mysteries of Jamestown slowly were revealed to us as we read along. The topic of Jamestown has always impressed me, and there are many books about it. This one stands out amongst the crowds of books, especially for young students, because it covers the early years historically, yet still with an approach that young readers can relate to. There are many wonderful chapter books, but this is an ideal picture book option that is accurate.
The book covers the early years of Jamestown and the trials the settlers faced from their leaving England to the end of the “starving time”, 1610, at the arrival of Lord de la War. It is told from the perspective of the narrator, a carpenter from Lancashire and settler on the very first voyage. Taking a personal approach to telling of the story of the settlers, it uses much of the settlers own language and vocabulary. This does a lovely job setting the tone and real life setting of the early settlers of Jamestown. It’s like jumping into the time period and standing there watching. So it perfectly conveys to young students the hardships they endured in a realistic yet sensitive way.
Highlights of this book are:
- There are well done and stylish illustrations, also by the author, on every page engaging the youngest of readers.
- It is historically correct information presented in a personal context.
- Quotes from excerpts of the letters and journals of the real settlers are on every page.
- It includes the great importance of the roles of John Smith and Pocahontas, yet does not solely focus on them, and accurately represents their relationship in a factual way.
- Dates throughout the reading are perfect for building a timeline.
- In the back of the book, you will find a Listing of Characters, Glossary, Additional info Regarding the Three Ships to be a helpful resource.
Who is it for? Though the book is recommended for ages 6-10 and grades 1-5 by the publisher, because it is a picture book and an easy reader, I would recommend it for for grades 3 and up being most ideal for 4th-6th grade because it’s language is quite difficult at times. However, as homeschoolers, we are used to using all levels of literature with all ages. While the difficulty of it’s content, vocabulary, and language make it interesting for all ages, the simplicity of it’s picture book format can engage the youngest child, therefore, making it is perfectly suited for use with multiple ages.
Older students could go into a much further understanding of the text and historical information doing their own research, creating a time line and maps that younger students just simply wouldn’t grasp. This makes it a wonderful unit study for working together on as a family with children ranging from 1st to 8th grade, each child grasping the content at their level and doing further learning assignments. Furthermore, the ease of it length makes it possible to do a quick and easy day or two study of Jamestown.
Where to find it? James Towne: Struggle for Survival by Marcia Sewall is available from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for $ 15.19 and is hardcover. It can also be found at numerous other retailers.
We used this book in our homeschool as a week long Jamestown Unit Study and it offered a great chance for us to Explore History Hands On. Using this book as the “spine” each day, our other subjects branched off from our daily reading of a few pages. The Jamestown Unit Study was written to accompany the book and includes all the main subjects except math. We are happy to be able to offer them both to you today as a giveaway!
Now for the Giveaway!
This giveaway includes both the hardback book James Towne: Struggle for Survival plus both a digital and print copy of the Jamestown Unit study by Stephanie Harrington.
Written by Stephanie an eclectic homeschool mom of 3. I would love for you to stop over and visit Harrington Harmonies where you can find great recipes, homeschool helps, and all things creative.
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