________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 26 . . . . March 9, 2012


On an American Day: Story Voyages Through History, 1750-1899. Vol. 1.

Rona Arato. Illustrated by Ben Shannon.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2011.
96 pp., pbk. & hc., $17.95 (pbk.), $27.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-926818-92-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-926818-91-7 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
United States-History-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Heidi Henkenhaf.

*** /4



"Cora?" Mr. Cunningham tapped his cane against Cora's desk. "Please join us!"

Cora's head snapped up. The dream was over. The whole class was staring at her. "Yes sir, Master Cunningham."

"I am not your master," Mr. Cunningham corrected her. "You are no longer a slave, Cora. Think like a free woman; talk like a free woman." His voice turned gentle. "You will learn, child; you will learn. Keep studying and work hard and one day you might be sitting in my chair."

On An American Day is the third book in a series by Rona Arato offering a glimpse of a day in the life of a young person living in another place and time. These nine short historical fiction stories will introduce young readers of today to some of the challenges and adventures of young people living in America between 1750 and 1899.

      Some of the historical events in On An American Day are monumental in America's history and may already be familiar to readers, such as the Civil War, California Gold Rush and the Johnstown Flood. Other stories about America's history may not be as familiar to readers, such as the Perkins School for the Blind and the Hull House.

      The high impact spin author Arato adds to all of the stories is the real life adventure, drama, romance, and tragedy of the ordinary young people living through these historical times. She includes experiences that both young male and female readers of today can relate to: bullies, single parent families, natural disasters, immigration experiences and uncertainty. While learning about American history, readers also learn that the events that contribute to shaping a country's culture and politics are not that different than the life they are currently living.

      The stories in On An American Day provide a valuable supplementary social studies resource for young researchers. The nonfiction content that follows each story, including historical pictures, adds value to the book as a research resource.

      The high interest level and readability of the stories will appeal to recreational readers.

      The other titles in this series include On A Canadian Day and On A Medieval Day.

Highly Recommended.

Heidi Henkenhaf, who holds an MA, is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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