Monday, August 1, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: A Land of Big Dreamers

A Land of Big Dreamers: Voices of Courage in America
by Neil Waldman
Millbrook Press, 2011.
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from e-galley provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Book blurb:
From the time Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal" in 1776, equality has been important to our nation. Yet for much of our history, women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other groups faced unfair treatment. In each generation, brave people who shared Jefferson's dream have spoken out. Over the years, America's dreamers have brought about dramatic changes.In this inspiring book, Neil Waldman honors thirteen Americans who stood up for their beliefs of equality and justice. Many of these brave leaders did not live to see their dreams come true, but each, in his or her own way, achieved a victory that took the nation a giant step ahead toward achieving Jefferson's ideal. (
This book is very thought-provoking, but it only provides a brief introduction to some of the people who have helped our country become what it is today.  The organization is clear and crisp and easy to follow.  Each double-spread page has a quote, a brief biography and explanation of the context of the quote, and a beautiful illustration.  I did notice the Martin Luther King, Jr. page was missing the quote (in the ARC), but I assume that has been corrected in the finished book.

The additional biographical information included at the back is helpful, as are the source notes, but it would have been nice to see a bibliography and a list of resources for student use.  Overall, the book is well-presented and I think that my fifth grade teachers could use this for an introduction to their history fair unit (the students dress up as a famous person from United States history).  This book provides a great way to get students interested in some of the people from our past.  It would also be a great discussion starter to get the kids thinking about dreams and what they really mean and what dreams they themselves might have.

Nonfiction Monday provides a list of other nonfiction books for children.  Today it is being hosted by Lori Calabrese Writes.

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