, click, readMany young people complain that history is nothing more than dates, times and places. But young skeptics, aged 8-12, will undoubtedly be thrilled with the connectivity between printed page and real world experience offered through two recent series: The Hourglass Adventures and Dear Mr. President. These Winslow Press books illustrate how well the Web enhances the reading experience. Each book is augmented by interactive activities and curriculum, games, hot links, book reviews, author and illustrator sites, while focusing on international events and U.S. history. It's a unique approach.
The Hourglass Adventures series, by Barbara Robertson, takes the reader on adventurous, action-packed journeys back in time. The international settings of bygone eras introduce readers aged 8-10 to well-researched historic events, different cultures and lifestyles, producing a true sense of the past. The first two books transport the readers to Berlin in Rosemary Meets Rosemarie and to Paris in Rosemary in Paris. Interactive Web prompts provide detailed information about a variety of subjects woven into the stories, like the Franco-Prussian War in a totally teen, totally cool way.
Also kid-engaging is the Dear Mr. President series that brings history to life through fictitious correspondence between a president of the United States and a young person. Although the letters were not actually written, the content is based on meticulous historical research that gives voice to America's past through heartfelt exchange. The latest in the series, Abraham Lincoln: Letters from a Slave Girl, journals in heart-wrenching prose the horror of slavery and a president's painful dilemma. Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Web prompts add depth, such as the causes of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. Thomas Jefferson: Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm and Theodore Roosevelt: Letters from a Young Coal Miner, both by Jennifer Armstrong, are two other titles in this set that encourage interactive exploration for readers 9-12.
Both series are a marvel at integrating the printed word with Web resources, certain to entertain and inform a technology-savvy generation of young Americans. This fall, keep an eye open for additional and equally teen-absorbing titles.