This book is #31 in The American Adventure Series. The book is set in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1903. The historical events covered in this book included President Theodore Roosevelt visiting Minneapolis in a parade including veterans from the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, as well as members of the MN National Guard, telephones becoming increasingly common, automobiles remaining very expensive (Henry Ford had not invented the assembly line yet) and being ordered through catalogs, and large numbers of people coming to the United States to start a better life and seeking citizenship here. Moral issues in this book that were presented included how different individuals deal with grieving the loss of a loved one, adoption of a child, remembering your culture while embracing a new culture (immigrants), and judging others and how doing so affects them personally.
As I've said before, I love how these historical fiction books weave so much history into an engaging story. It is much more interesting to hear how someone wanted a car, ordered it from a catalog, and had to learn how to drive it, with another person helping to crank at the front when starting the engine, than it is to read some dry facts about the rise of popularity of automobiles in the US in the early 1900s. (At least in our opinions!) These books continue to engage my boys, ages 4-10. The window this book gave us into the life of a girl who has lost her mother and a woman who has lost her husband gave my children an opportunity to develop empathy and compassion, as well as gratitude. My kids keep asking for me to read more and we've read them all from #1-#31 so far. Very few of the books have had parts that were a bit too scary or intense for my youngest kids, and I just paraphrased my way through those sections. We've had great conversations and the kids ask questions about what life was like "back then." On the plus side, as a parent, I enjoy reading these and have learned a lot that I didn't learn in school. I highly recommend this book for ages 6-12. (Some older kids may enjoy it as well!)
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