Monday, March 4, 2013
Ah, the American Dream. We hear this term from nostalgic adults as we make our way through childhood. But what exactly does it mean? Authors Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian want to share it with you on their website - Inspiring the American Dream , and seek to teach children all about it in their book Abraham's Journey .
The setting is our present day. Young Abraham and his sister are upset to hear the news that due to "The Great Recession", and the resulting financial problems for the family, there will be no Christmas presents this year.
Abraham decides to take action by finding extra work to earn money for his family. While looking for job opportunities on his smart phone, who does he meet but Abraham Lincoln himself (although he never identifies himself as such, but is referred to as the "wise old man"). Thus begins a little cyber journey through time, where he meets a variety of famous historical characters including, Martin Luther King Jr., Amelia Earheart, Bill Gates, and more.
Their travels introduce the boy to the less fortunate, and he begins to have a change in his perspective. In the process, he comes to find that "The American Dream" is about finding one's individual talents and abilities, and then working hard with perseverance to reach a goal.
The result is a change in attitude for the entire family, and they find that even in the midst of their challenges, they still have much to give.
We found this to be a quick read, and easily finished it in a short period of time. I had the girls take turns reading aloud, and they enjoyed the pretend trip through the Internet. They recognized some of the characters, and for the others, we used it as a discussion for their contributions. Both girls liked the idea of traveling through time, and it prompted immediate make believe play with their dolls and make believe time travel following our lessons.
As for me, I liked the idea behind this book. Our children need to learn the value of hard work and perseverance, and books and stories are a great way to teach that concept. Having said that, I felt like the story was a bit forced. The reader is constantly reminded that we live in a tech age, with smart phones, cyber traveling, Internet, texting, etc. It didn't feel natural. I felt that the story was trying too hard to relate to today's kids when it could have just stood on its own.
I also would have liked to see the historical characters explained more. They kind of made their appearance, and then moved on.
But generally speaking, my kids really enjoyed the book, and it prompted a good discussion. If this sounds like a book you would be interested in bringing home, check out the information below.
Ages: 7-12 years
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