Thursday, September 12, 2019

True Stories of War

I wish I had paid more attention in History class as a kid.  Really, I do!  But all those names and dates went in one ear and out the other.  It didn't help that my cute boyfriend (now my husband) sat across the row from me in optimal note passing distance. Plus, I could never quite figure out how all those random facts were supposed to be important to me anyway.

Fast forward many years and I now know why those dates and names are important.  Now, as I am teaching my kids, I am trying to find better ways to show THEM why those things are important.  One of the ways I have found that works is by trying to make it more personal- let them see the stories and the people that often get lost behind just the facts.

Enter True Stories of War set from Timberdoodle!  This set of four books has been a hit already and have been read and re-read several times.  Each can be bought separately, but the set includes-

  • True Story of World War I
  • True Stories of World War II
  • True Stories of the Revolutionary Way
  • True Stories of the Civil War

Each full color, paperback book is seven chapters long.  The first chapter of each book covers "just the facts" of that particular war, to include an overview summary, key dates, and a map.  The following six chapters each tell a side of the story from a particular person's point of view.  A few names you will recognize, but many you may not.  They are ordinary people like you and me who happened to find themselves in the middle of the war.  From doctors, to wives, to spies, you get to hear their views of the events that happened.

The most engaging part of this series is the fact that they are graphic novels.  Honestly, that is not particularly my favorite genre, but my 7th grader loves it so it is a great fit for him.  Only a few pages long each, a simple scene is portrayed and you get a first hand account of a moment in history.

 These are NOT events you might read about in most History books.  Instead they are very personal, behind the scenes accounts.  They make you feel as if you are there, seeing it all first hand.  That being said, some are pretty intense and I would read them ahead of time if you have a child sensitive  to that type of thing.  I would say they are most appropriate for middle scoolers and above due to the nature of their content.

So how are we using these books for school?  Well, as soon as they arrived my son confiscated them and read them one after another.  Since then, they have been used for car trips and free time reading on multiple occasions.   I asked him which was his favorite and he said- "World War II was my favorite but the Civil War one was also really good.  The Flag Over Iwo Jima was my favorite story.  The picture of the flag being raised is so cool."

For the record, I finally got a hold of the set last week and read through them myself.  As we continue to study the specific wars in our history curriculum I intend to have him go back to each of the books, pick a story, and do some research to see if he can find out more about that person or event.  Yep, the learning never stops when you are a homeschooler!

Thankfully, books like True Stories from War makes learning a whole lot more fun while giving you a front row seat to the action!


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