Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crew Review: Inspiring the American Dream


Inspiring the American Dream was created to help children learn about the American Dream. They were kind enough to send us a copy of their book, Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian, to review.

PhotobucketThe basic story is about a boy named Abraham who is looking for a way to earn money to buy Christmas gifts for his family. Abraham Lincoln magically pops out of Abraham's smart phone and takes him on a journey through American history, meeting famous Americans who represent the American Dream.

Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream, is available for $14.99.

I was excited about this review. We love books, we love American History, this sounded like a perfect fit.

So, it came, and the next day for history, I pulled it our as our read aloud.

The book begins by talking about "the American Dream" being important to Abraham's parents. At which point, the girls, interrupted me to ask "What's the American dream?", since the whole point of the book, as I understand it, is to help children learn about the American Dream, I assumed it would be defined in the book, so I told them to wait and find out. My bad, the book never defines the term, except in the glossary in the back of the book.  This is a big oversight, in my opinion,, but as long as you're aware of it, it is easily dealt with. Just make sure to have a discussion with the children, about what "the American Dream" is/means, before reading the book.

After reading the book, I asked Sassy and MiniMe what they thought of it. They found it "weird" that Abraham apparently never recognizes Abraham Lincoln, even after being told that his name is Abraham. Throughout the book, he is referred to as "the wise old man". On the other hand, Abraham DOES recognize Bill Gates and Martin Luther King Jr. MiniMe and Sassy's biggest complaint was that it doesn't tell the stories of the famous peoples' lives. There are short biographies (a paragraph each), in the back, but that's not enough for my detail-loving children, and the story itself doesn't even explain who some of the people are.

This book is designed for children age 7-12, so my girls, at age 9, almost 10, are pretty much smack, dab in the middle of the age range. I think it's a pretty accurate age range. Younger than 7, even with explanations, I don't think would "get it". Even at almost 10, my girls were "tearing apart" the story to some extent . . . by teen years, the story would be too "young" for them."

If you are looking for a book to stand alone in teaching about the American Dream, I don't believe this does that. It doesn't explain things enough, at least for my inquisitive kids. However, if you're looking for a resource to use as a part of a "unit study" on the American Dream, this could be great. To use this book effectively, I would begin by talking to the kids about what the American Dream is, why it's important, what it entails . . .THEN we would read the book together. And once we'd read it, I would have biographies standing by ready to read and learn about the people we "met" in the book. After learning more about all the people mentioned, we would revisit the book and discuss more about how each of these people represent the American Dream.

To see what other crew members thought of this book, and how they used it, click here.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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