Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: If You Were Me and Lived in the American West


Carole P. Roman's new series on different historical periods throughout the world also includes a book on the American West. As usual, there are tons of facts and details, including the clothing, foods, and housing used by the pioneer families. Carole describes a typical family, explaining the wagon they would have lived in during their western migration, the social customs, and the chores children would have been assigned. She compares the conditions the families have left behind in the eastern part of the U.S. to what they hoped to find in the northwest territories. She includes information about the various Indian tribes those traveling in the wagon trains may have encountered, the supplies typically packed into a prairie schooner, and the custom of several families working together to construct the houses and barns needed by the settlers.

Carole explains the reason why so many families traveled west from the more established states and out into the territories. She also gives details about the journey, including the fact that buffalo chips were gathered and used for campfires (that's guaranteed to get some groans and even some "Ewwws!" from readers). Young readers may also be surprised at the way school was held in the winter and summer when the children were not needed to help with crops, or the fact that all the children in the area attended a one-room schoolhouse with only one teacher.

At the back of the book there is a section with brief descriptions of famous people such as Annie Oakley, Sacajawea, and Red Cloud. And there is a glossary of terms to help out readers who may not be familiar with bodice, daub, or tenderfoot.

A nice introduction to young readers who are curious about the past and important time periods and people. This series gives a broad overview of each period and location, and enough specifics to answer basic questions while also giving facts that can lead to further research. This will fit in well with elementary school social studies lessons on westward expansion, wagon trains, and the Oregon Trail.

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

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