Breakfast Books: learning about the Revolutionary War

Oh – you all thought I stopped reading to my son at breakfast didn’t you? It’s been six months since my last post about breakfast books! We have been reading in the mornings but summer tends to throw a wrench in the schedule and our latest book pick was a bit of a comprehension challenge for my 7/8yo so we took it slow and sometimes took breaks to read pictures books instead.

We just finished Johnny Tremain

It’s a Newberry Award winning novel (did anyone else have to read all of those when they were in elementary school?) and we picked it because of my son’s ongoing fascination with the Revolutionary War.

It was a slow read at first. Lots of background on the characters when my son just wanted to get to some action already. To quote him, “the first half was kind of boring… it wasn’t actiony enough.” The setting is Boston just before the war. We got to meet famous characters like Paul Revere and John Hancock. We learned a bit about life at the time for a young boy who was apprenticed to a silversmith. And, as my son noted, there was far more talking of war than action.

Then the Boston Tea Party happened. J knew about this event from other books he’s read so this was probably the turning point for him. What’s funny is in the story the war was still a long way off (it doesn’t start until the very last part of the book). But at this point the story shifted from talk of merchants and families and focused on soldiers and spying. He was hooked.

The story ends right after the first battle of the war. It’s also a coming of age story so we leave Johnny ready to pick up a musket and join the fight himself. J was pretty satisfied with the ending and the overall story.

Grade: A “Because the Revolutionary War is such an exciting thing to read about and the last couple of chapters go by really fast. But the beginning was still really boring so I can’t give it an A+.”

This isn’t the easiest read for a child but if you have a reader who’s in the 9-11 timeframe and they are interested in this time period, it’s a good book. Particularly because the hero of the book is their age and that always makes history a bit more identifiable.

What’s next on the breakfast book list? I think it might be time to introduce J to the world of a certain young wizard with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. šŸ™‚

What is the breakfast book idea? I believe it’s important to read aloud to my children at all ages. The easiest time for me to gather them all together was at breakfast so a few years ago, I started reading chapter books to them. Now they have staggered start times to their day so I’m left with a one child audience for my readings but it’s well worth the time to increase his vocabulary, improve his reading comprehension and expand his horizons. Plus, we both like it.

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