Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TOS Review: Knowledge Quest

I love Historical Fiction. But, more than that I love historical novels that are based on real life events and people. In my opinion, it doesn't get any better than a real life adventure story. I was recently given the opportunity to review the interactive biography Sacagewea: Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know from Knowledge Quest.

So obviously, the title gives the subject matter away. Most of  us remember this figure in history from our school days. We all know about the remarkable journey of Lewis and Clark.  Josiah and I had studied about Sacagawea before, but the most he remembers (prior to reading this book) was that she was a character in the Night at the Museum movie and that Teddy Roosevelt thought she was pretty. How confusing is that! 

I am a history buff, myself, so it's hard for me to completely understand why some people find history so dry and dull. You must excuse me if I gush effusively...though I certainly wouldn't gush unless I liked it! This ebook was anything but dry and dull.

We read the book on my Kindle. Throughout the book are interactive links that allow the reader to research a particular term, location or item of interest just a little further. For example, in the first chapter alone we got to see what Pompey might have worn, learn a little more about the Corps of Discovery and watch a video about earth lodges.

I'm considering requesting interactive links to all of our Kindle books :<) What fun!
Josiah and I used this as a read aloud. He is 11 (and dyslexic).  I don't believe the book will be a challenge for the average reader and actually Josiah could have managed with my assistance. We do enjoy our read-alouds together, however, and every night we read he would beg me to read a little more.

The story begins with Sacagawea speaking to her son (who she has nicknamed Pompey) about the Man-With-Red-Hair (William Clark). It is apparent that Sacagawea has a special relationship with this Man-With-Red-Hair. He is like a member of her family and has offered to take young Pompey to educate. Pompey begs his mother to tell him again about the special journey she took with Man-With-Red-Hair and Captain Lewis.

Sacagawea was a Shoshone girl captured along with her sister as a slave. She was sold into marriage to an abusive man. How could she have played such an intricial role in our nation's history?

I was captivated by this book. Not only was it an easy read, but it was a good read. The author, Karla Akins, kept the character of the era and the culture going throughout the book. I have to admit that I snuck ahead in our reading a little bit. One day I had taken it to Josiah's swim team practice with me. I sat sobbing.

Pompey was to weak to cry. For five days I prayed. I prayed to the Good Baby Jesus. I prayed to my parents. I prayed to Otter Woman. I prayed to the spirits to let my son live. 
I begged Man-With-Red-Hair.
"Heal Pompey."
Six days I prayed and Pompey looked at me with eyes that were empty no more. I felt his forehead. It was cool. 
His neck and jaw were not as swollen.
Pompey said, "Mama" in Shoshone.
Man-With-Red-Hair had tears on his cheeks. He did not think I saw them. They matched the ones that slid down mine. 

Are you kidding me? I doubt that anyone in that pool would have guessed I was crying over Sacagawea. Just plain pitiful. 

Sacagawea doesn't shy away from the more controversial aspects of this time in history or the more heartbreaking aspects of Sacagawea's life. But the author does treat the subject matter with respect. It allowed Josiah and I to discuss some of the ills and evils of this world. It made for some great interaction. 

As you can see I'm a fan. This will be one book we use again in our more formal history studies. 

You can purchase Sacagawea for 3.99. What a great deal! It's also recommended for ages 10+. Josiah and I certainly fall into that age range. 

While your puttering around the Knowledge Quest site (they have some great products) I would also suggest that you go take a long at their blog.  This article, 10 Steps to a Great Start in Homeschooling, is a must read for any homeschooling newbies. In fact, it inspired me to take a step back from our day and try and simplify things a bit more. I always need a little motivation this time of year! And a girl can only ingest so much chocolate. 

You can read more reviews on this ebook and a very interesting Timeline Builder from my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members. 


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