Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Jean Fritz was born on this day in 1915, to American missionaries in Hankow, China. She lived there for thirteen years with her family before coming to the United States. I'm sure you and your children would enjoy her autobiography, Homesick: My Own Story.

Jean has written several informal historical biographies for 9-12 year olds about the American Revolution in a style that makes distant historical figures seem real and brings their stories to life...

“I realized when I started doing research for my first book that history wasn’t what I’d been taught in school. History is full of gossip; it’s real people and emotion. I kept being surprised by the real people I met in the past. They all had their foibles and idiosyncrasies.”

One way she accomplished such realistic tellings is that she never made up the dialogue.  She found actual letters, diaries, and journals of the people she was writing about, using only their own spoken or written words. Her books are very readable and capture young readers' imaginations.  She wrote her books like a journalist, explaining "my approach is that of a reporter, trying for a scoop, looking for clues, connecting facts, digging under the surface".

Here are some of our family favorites:

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (Paperstar)
AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED, PAUL REVERE?, illustrated by Margo Tomes.
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
CAN'T YOU MAKE THEM BEHAVE, KING GEORGE?, illustrated by Tommie dePaola.

Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?
WHY DON'T YOU GET A HORSE, SAM ADAMS? illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. 

Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
WILL YOU SIGN HERE, JOHN HANCOCK? illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. 
What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA, BEN FRANKLIN? illustrated by Margaret Tomes.

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