Social studies teachers aren’t likely to assign these for homework, but some could easily be made in class to finish off...

EAT YOUR U.S. HISTORY HOMEWORK

RECIPES FOR REVOLUTIONARY MINDS

After encouraging kids to eat their math and science homework (2011 and 2014), McCallum and Hernandez this time pair six recipes to the history of America from 1620 to 1789.

The historical highlights include the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, Plymouth, and the first Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving Succotash); life in the original 13 Colonies (Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt); the French and Indian War (Lost Bread); slavery (Southern Plantation Hoe Cakes); the Boston Tea Party and the increasing enmity toward England (Revolutionary Honey-Jumble Cookies); and the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War (Independence Ice Cream). Each period is summarized in a single page of general background. The recipe follows on a double-page spread, and then a further double-page spread gives more (and more specific) information. An introduction includes a timeline of the entire period and some cooking tips (“Please ask an adult to assist you, especially when things are sharp or hot”), which include pointing out that the recipes have been modernized. The book ends with a brief review of each period, glossary, and index. The cutesy cartoon artwork visually represents some aspect(s) of the learning and goes nicely with some of the corny puns the author adds in. The recipes themselves include pretty basic ingredients, and the steps are easy to follow…provided readers know what to do when it says to “beat,” “whip,” etc.

Social studies teachers aren’t likely to assign these for homework, but some could easily be made in class to finish off Colonial studies. (Nonfiction 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-57091-923-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures.

LADIES OF LIBERTY

THE WOMEN WHO SHAPED OUR NATION

Highlighting women writers, educators, and reformers from the 18th and early 19th centuries, Roberts brings a group of women, many not so well-known, into focus and provides a new perspective on the early history of the United States in this picture-book version of her adult book of the same title (2008).

The women include Lucy Terry Prince, a persuasive speaker who created the first poem (an oral piece not written down for over 100 years after its creation) by an African-American; Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint and the founder of Catholic institutions including schools, hospitals, and orphanages; and Rebecca Gratz, a young philanthropist who started many organizations to help the Jewish community in Philadelphia. The author usually uses some quotes from primary-source materials and enlivens her text with descriptive events, such as Meriweather Lewis’ citation of Sacagawea’s “equal fortitude” with the males of the exploration party during a storm, saving many supplies when their boat capsized. The sepia-hued pen-and-ink drawings are inspired by the letters of the era, and the soft watercolor portraits of the women and the paintings that reveal more of their stories are traditional in feeling. In her introduction, the author emphasizes the importance of historical materials, such as letters, organizational records, journals, and books written at the time. Despite this, there is no bibliography or other means of sourcing quoted material.

These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-078005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Plenty of work for sharp eyes and active intellects in this history-based series opener.

MARY BOWSER AND THE CIVIL WAR SPY RING

From the Spy on History series , Vol. 1

Using a provided packet of helpful tools, readers can search for clues along with a historical spy in the house of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

Fans of ciphers and hidden clues will find both in abundance, beginning on the copyright page and continuing to a final, sealed-off section of explanations and solutions. Fictionalized but spun around actual figures and events, the tale centers on Bowser, a free African-American who worked undercover as a maid in Davis’ house and passed information to a ring of white Richmond spies. Here she looks for the key phrase that will unlock a Vigenère cipher—an alphabetic substitution code—while struggling to hide her intelligence and ability to read. As an extra challenge, she leaves the diary in which she records some of her experiences concealed for readers to discover, using allusive and sometimes-misleading clues that are hidden in Cliff’s monochrome illustrations and in cryptic marginal notations. A Caesar cipher wheel, a sheet of red acetate, and several other items in a front pocket supply an espionage starter kit that readers can use along the way; it is supplemented by quick introductions in the narrative to ciphers and codes, including Morse dashes and dots and the language of flowers.

Plenty of work for sharp eyes and active intellects in this history-based series opener. (answers, historical notes, biographies, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8739-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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