The 44th book in the series, this book is set in 1938 in Seattle, Washington. Historical events included how some families were beginning to "recover" from the Great Depression and life was normalizing for them, while others were still out of work and losing their homes. Movies such as Snow White and The Revenge of Tarzan came out. Radio dramatizations and broadcasts were another source of entertainment, and the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast deceived and concerned many citizens as they were misled into believeing there was an alien invasion on the East Coast. Character issues that were touched on included responding to having belongings stolen, donating to help the homeless population, caring for others who are injured or ill, teasing and pranks (fun vs. unkind?), and different reactions to gossip with discriminatory tones.
Since this book functions both as a devotional and a coloring book, I'll review both aspects individually.
Let's dig in!
Along with learning more about the Depression than I was ever taught in school, my children learned great lessons on compassion and treating others with dignity and respect regardless of their lot in life. The children in the story meet a displaced teen and while they are reminded of the real dangers of riding the rails and the gathering places of groups of homeless people, a theme of genuine care for others is consistent. When a family is struggling to feed themselves, yet they yearn to help others in worse conditions, what can and should be done? This is one of the questions struggled with through this narrative.
As always, I give warning flags to any content which may be too intense for sensitive readers/listeners. This plot includes a teen retelling how his friend was killed by slipping down under a moving train when they were riding illegally (holding onto the outside of the cars). The description was not gorey, but it did include some suspense and evoked concern and sadness from my children. Since we've previously discussed the hazards of trains, I was able to navigate this section while reading it word-for-word to my kids. You may want to pre-read chapter 8 to decide whether you want to paraphrase or omit portions for a sensitive child.
I highly recommend this series as presenting history in an age-appropriate, engaging context with relevant and challenging moral dilemmas overcome by the characters in every book. They are great read-alouds as they keep both my youngest child and myself interested!
While this book had less action and/or suspense than some of the others in the series, it kept my interest and the interest of my children ages 5-10. The way that relationships are depicted is very easy for children to relate to and ask questions about. My kids say things like, "I know someone who acts that way!" or "How come some people do/say that?" They can see the main characters struggle with how to respond in various scenarios, but reason and sound moral choices end up prevailing.
This book touches on the fear of losing a loved one. A relative tests positive for TB and is sent to a sanatorium to heal. The young girl has heard that sanatoriums are where TB patients are sent to die, so she is reluctant to talk about the matter, write to the patient who has gone away, and secretly fears the entire process. Eventually, she opens up and asks a relative, who is a trusted source of medical information, about sanatoriums and her fears are lightened. No parts of this book were too intense for my young listeners, but it is always a good idea to read ahead if you are planning to present the book to particularly sensitive children. For someone who may have lost a close relative to illness, for example, this book may trigger many emotions.
These are excellent historical-fiction books and we'll be sad when we've finished the series. I highly recommend them as my kids are more apt to learn about history when it's made to seem real and lifelike to them. Also, the subject matter is chronological and it helps my children to see how earlier events in our nation's history have shaped the nation as new challenges arrived.
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!