Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Dear America Books

I love this series of books. Not only do they give a spotlight a specific time in history but they offer lessons in geography, too. Told from a child’s perspective, they give honest and moving portrayals to very important milestones in our nation’s history. Here are my favorites in alphabetical order.

Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie; The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell: This book described in detail the dangers of traversing the Oregon Trail. I nearly cried when several beloved characters perished. It also offered simple lessons in loss and forgiveness.

A Journey to the New World; The Diary of Patience Remember Whipple: This book made me realize how hard it was founding this country. The work seemed never-ending, and the sacrifices made by everyone, including children, tugged at my heartstrings.

A Picture of Freedom; The Diary of Clotee a Slave Girl: The character in this book was brave beyond description. Not only was she a slave girl who knew how to read and write, but she kept a diary and took great risks to write in it.

The Great Railroad Race; The Diary of Libby West: I learned something when I read this book. One, that Hell on Wheels was a real community that traveled behind the railroad camp. I guess working, and traveling, on the early railroads was dangerous business.

One Eye Laughing, The Other Weeping; The Diary of Julie Weiss; The first half of this book took place in Vienna Austria. I hadn’t seen that in other Dear America books. The last half is set in New York City. I really felt the danger this character was in while living in Europe while Hitler reigned. Although I rejoiced to see her escape Hitler’s clutches, at that point, her heartbreak wasn’t over.  

Survival of the Storm; The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards: This book gave me the clearest picture I had of what it was like to live in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. People in that area, during that time, had a very real and justified fear of the terrible storms. Still, they found ways to survive, like eating jack rabbits for dinner, and wearing clothing made from donated material.     

Voyage on the Great Titanic; The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady: The character in the book made me feel like I was actually on board the Titanic. She described in detail the Grand Staircase, right down to the mahogany steps and the intricate carvings of the hand-made clock.   

When Will This Cruel War Be Over; The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson: There is a gritty honesty on the pages of this book regarding how hard it was for the women left behind while their men were off fighting the Civil War. The suffering they endured was heart wrenching.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone; The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty: I loved how this book was set in the 1960’s. I haven’t seen too many that are. The character Molly is honest in her feelings regarding the Vietnam War. I thought it was very mature of her to understand both sides of the debate.
The Winter of Red Snow; The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Ann Stewart: I learned just how much the surrounding communities helped the soldiers during those cold hard winters during the Revolutionary War. The sacrifices they made, the great loss of life, made me appreciate the freedoms we have today.

Join me next month when I post my favorites in children’s literature.