Monday, May 2, 2011

Meet Heroes from History

With so many superheroes inundating our culture in books, video games, movies and media, one begins to wonder if children will ever take notice of the heroes that really lived. Not a fantasy that stems from someone's imagination but the reality of men and women who exhibited extraordinary courage, integrity and strength. Those are the kind of heroes I want my kids to know and emulate.

Finding worthwhile books for kids is always a challenge but finding history books that inspire and motivate readers is even harder. Two new books edited by Amy Puetz are two of the best ways to fill a child's mind with real heroes from history. Ms. Puetz has taken literary gems written by Kate Dickinson Sweetser from days gone by and edited and reprinted them for today's generation of young people to read and enjoy. Ten Great Adventurers and Ten Girls from History are two volumes you will definitely want to make room for in your home library.

Ten Great Adventurers will introduce the reader to the following men who influenced history:
  • Francis Drake
  • David Livingstone
  • Captain John Smith
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Daniel Boone
  • Sir John Franklin
  • HernĂ¡n Cortes
  • John Paul Jones
  • Hernando De Soto
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi
And don't forget the influence of women in history. Ten Girls from History will introduce readers to the heroic deeds of the following ladies:

  • Cofachiqui
  • Madeleine De Vercheres
  • Dorothy Quincy
  • Molly Pitcher
  • Elizabeth Van Lew
  • Ida Lewis
  • Clara Barton
  • Virginia Reed
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Clara Morris
These books have been such a valuable addition to our own family's history studies. One thing I particularly like about the volumes is that difficult words are in bold. Keep a dictionary with you as you read aloud as a family (or as children read themselves), so that dictionary skills can be practiced. But if you don't have a dictionary at hand, the words are all defined in the glossary in the back. So while learning about heroes, your children will also be expanding their vocabulary.

I heartily recommend these books to anyone who can read or be read to! For older readers, the biographies can serve as a springboard into deeper research on a particular person's life while younger children could be encouraged to illustrate pictures about what they learn. Reading biographies of these great men and women would be a wonderful activity to pair with either mealtimes or bedtimes. The volumes are recommended for ages 10 and up but can certainly be enjoyed as a read aloud for younger audiences. I thoroughly enjoyed these as an adult and only wish my own history studies as a child had been so exciting!

Special Introductory Price
The books are available in both printed and e-book formats. During the week of May 2-6, 2011, take advantage of a special introductory price on the printed books which normally retail for $25. With coupon code MAY2011, the printed books are only $15. But quantities are limited so you will want to act swiftly to get in on this great deal. You can also use the code to receive 40% off the e-book versions. Read all the details about this special here.

Visit Amy Puetz's website to find other great resources for history. Her store is full of other wonderful books that will enrich your studies. Perhaps your daughters have been inspired to create some historical costumes. Amy's book, Costumes with Character, provides instructions for making costumes for eleven time periods with just one dress!

Amy also offers free resources that you can find along the left sidebar of her home page. And make sure to subscribe to her Heroines of the Past e-zine. This free publication--delivered right to your inbox--will bring to life more women who put their stamp on history. Missed any past issues? Archived newsletters are also available. And if you are looking for suggestions for other great history books, check out a few of Amy's favorite titles.

The importance of heroes is summed up so well by Ms. Puetz in her Preface for Ten Great Adventurers:
"We all need heroes! Some are super heroes with many unrealistic powers, others are larger-than-life fictional characters who accomplish impossible deeds, but the best kinds of heroes are real men in the pages of history."
But don't just send your kids on the adventures through the pages of history, go with them yourself and enjoy these stories together!

Disclaimer: We received free of charge the e-books of the Ten Great Adventurers and Ten Girls from History for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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