Children across the country are looking forward to a winter break on Feb. 18 — this year’s Presidents’ Day. It will give them a chance to clear their heads and prepare themselves for the new classroom responsibilities during the last months of the school year.
“But, it can also be a good time for kids to engage in a bit of unstructured learning and to have some fun, too. For example, web sites such as Garden of Praise offer an opportunity to go on an entertaining “trivial pursuit” of little-known presidential facts,” said author, publisher and history education advocate David Bruce Smith in a release.
And, since Presidents’ Day is all about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, why not give your kids a chance to be carried away by a gripping story — or two —filled with excitement, adventure and a hidden history lesson? Pick up a copy of Chris Stevenson’s The Drum of Destiny, a story that is hard to put down, Smith said.
The book is about a boy on his way to join the American Revolution’s Continental Army. According to the author, “by reading [The] Drum of Destiny, young readers can learn about history without realizing they are learning about history. Most history textbooks are written with the idea of teaching kids facts they can memorize so they can then take a test. This method misses the most important aspects of history. The real life stories, the reasons behind the facts, and the character of our country’s founders are where the real learning is discovered.”
Stevenson won the 2016 Grateful American Book Prize, which Smith co-founded with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The intent of the Prize is to encourage authors — and their publishers — to produce more books like The Drum of Destiny that make learning fun.
Said Smith: “knowledge of our nation’s history gives kids a crucial life lesson so that they can develop into responsible, civically minded adults.”
He offers these additional Presidents’ Day picks that would appeal to kids:
…Tad Lincoln’s Father by Julia Taft Bayne.
… Abraham Lincoln: The Making of America Series by Teri Kanefield
… Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis by James L. Swanson.
… George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spies Who Saved America by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.
… George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President by Justine and Ron Fontes.
The panel of judges for the 2019 Grateful American Book Prize is now accepting submissions for books published between July 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019. Historically accurate books of fiction and nonfiction written for middle schoolers are eligible for the Prize.