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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets’ children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Jamestown — Celebrate History

May 10, 2007

The Queen of England commemorated the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown (Virginia) settlement earlier this month but the celebration is just starting. There's a lot of information available to help adults bring Jamestown's history to life for children, and an increasing number of books for young readers.

Probably because history requires a level of experience (read: age) to actually grasp and understand it, most of the books about Jamestown are for children at least 8 years old; lots are for older readers.

But I think that even young children can get caught up in the drama of the time. Rosalyn Schanzer's John Smith Escapes Again! (National Geographic Children's Books) presents the period from the perspective of probably one of the best recognized names from the period in word and picture.

Adults will appreciate the author's notes which detail how she researched both text and illustration. These fascinating tidbits can be shared with kids as the drama unfolds. And drama abounds in Smith's derring-do – and his story (from his point of view) helps bring a place and a period to life.

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"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." —

J.K. Rowling