Here’s another book that I picked up at a used bookstore and has been languishing on my shelves for quite a while.  I recall that I tried to use it with Izzy when we were studying early American history several years ago and it just didn’t land.  I think the timing just wasn’t right. The reading level and appeal is really more middle school than elementary.  In fact, most of the ‘kids’ featured are tweens and teens.

I came to this book again because I was looking for some good supplemental material on the Civil War.  This fit the bill perfectly!  It reinforced some of the things we’d already discussed and introduced some fantastic new information.  The children featured in the Cilvil War section are as follows:

Elisha Stockwell, a 15 year old boy who ran away and lied about his age in order to enlist

Johnny Clem, a 10 year old boy who ran away and enlisted as a drummer boy with the 3rd Ohio infantry and became a sort of rallying symbol for the Union cause.  This was Izzy’s favorite story.

Billy Bates and Dick King, two young Union soldiers who were held prisoner at Andersonville, the infamous Confederate prison camp.  This was my favorite story!

Susie King Taylor, a young girl who obtained illicit instruction while she was a slave in Georgia.  During the war she was charged with educating former slaves and served as the first African American Civil War nurse.

Carrie Berry, a young southern girl whose family remained in Atlanta at the end of the war and therefore witnessed Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’.

Vinne Ream, a uniquely talented and bright young girl who developed a passion for sculpture.  President Lincoln allowed her sculpt his likeness while he sat for her in the mornings for a five month period.  Later she was awarded a coveted commission of a full size marble statue of Lincoln which stands in the Capitol rotunda to this very day!

I so highly recommend this book for anyone looking for solid and engaging supplementary history material for the middle school set.  I think stories like these make history come alive for young people.  They can only hear so much about great men doing great things before they start to tune it all out.

I’m super eager to read more stories from this collection!