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Hero or Villain?

ANDREW THE GREAT: The Heroic Story of Andrew Jackson That “They Don’t Want You to Know” Written by MS King  

This book, as the title implies, is not a traditional retelling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson. The author is not a historian. He is an investigative journalist with a penchant for uncovering inaccuracies and misconceptions widely accepted by the public. King carefully traces the origins of the American Revolution as an important prelude to how the Republic came to be and the influencers behind its foundation. He names the major players in the Federalist Party like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams as well as the opposing, Democratic-Republicans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who believed in limited government and states’ rights.

Andrew Jackson grew up as a self-educated orphan who would rail about the powerful interests like the Rothschild bank in Europe that would greatly influence the role of the central bank and its early failures in the United States.

The author is a firm believer that a person’s actions and role in history should not be judged by the standards and morals of the present. Consequently, King points out that though Jackson owned slaves and trapped Native Americans, he also recruited blacks and Native Americans to fight alongside him in The Battle of New Orleans and paid them equally.

Jackson also foresaw the importance of eliminating Spain and English control of Florida and the Mississippi River trade. King gives a fascinating account of Jackson’s struggles with the news media, his enemies and his personal struggle to maintain individual rights and avoid global entanglements.

The book contains lots of illustrations of contemporary reports, drawings, and speeches. I would recommend this book as a highly readable and informative account for students and the general public. While it does not qualify as an objective, unbiased resource, it certainly contributes to a healthy discussion of Andrew Jackson and the period in which he lived.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Canine Super Sleuth

Hide and Panic Stations (Super Sleuth Sam Book 1)

Written by Monty J. McClaine

This is the first book in a nine-part series. The author uses the introduction to present the characters of the series. Jack is a mischievous six-year-old. His father likes to tinker in the garage with his Corvette, his mother is a devoted stay at home mom, his sister, Molly has just begun to crawl. Sam, the basset hound is always on red alert protecting the family and serving as Jack’s constant companion. But Sam is no ordinary dog, he has magical powers passed down to him from his ancestors. When Sam recites his chant, he develops super speed and the detective skills of a Sherlock HolmesadventureBook Reviewschapter bookchildren’s booksclassroom resourceselementary gradesfictionhomeschoolingmiddle gradesmysteryreluctant reader

One day Jack and Sam are playing hide and seek. Jack pushes the envelope by finding a hiding place in which no one discovers him. While Jack is comfortably ensconced reading his dad’s comic and enjoying a snack, the rest of the family is in panic mode. Readers will enjoy how Sam employs his super speed and detective smarts to solve the mystery of Sam’s disappearance. Sam’s parents are about to call the police. Will Sam be able to solve the mystery? Perhaps young readers will be able to help.

This book is a fun chapter book for beginning and middle-grade readers. It presents a typical family with some atypical characteristics, some humour, and a mystery for readers to ponder. Recommended especially for third to fifth graders. The length of approximately one hundred pages makes it a good choice for reluctant readers as well.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Stewardship with Joy

The Adventures of Joy Sun Bear: The Blue Amber of
Sumatra

Written by Blanca Carranza and John Lee

This is the first book in a series of adventures featuring a bear named Joy. Set in the tropical rainforest of Sumatra, readers are rapidly propelled into a nonstop fantasy adventure. Joy will learn a lot about himself and teach his readers about courage, bravery, and standing up for themselves and others. Joy meets an assortment of magical characters, an exotic bird, a magical frog, orangutans, and a trickster fox to name a few.

Joy teaches readers the importance of family relationships, stewardship of Mother Earth, and respect for creatures of other cultures. Readers are exposed to the good and bad of humans as well as the inner struggles faced within oneself. The color illustrations move the story along for younger readers and help to illuminate the hidden storylines. The  chapter book runs close to two hundred pages so it might be a challenge for beginning readers who might want to approach it in several phases; it would make an excellent teacher read aloud book to discuss in the classroom.

Recommended audience is for ages six through ten, though I would classify it more as a middle-grade selection. I am looking forward to reading the next tale and following Joy’s growth journey.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMIssHistory.com

Let’s Visit New York!

Hey Kids, Let’s Visit New York City

Written by Teresa Mills


Mills has written a travel guide that performs a dual purpose. Families who are planning a vacation or move to The Big Apple are provided a comprehensive introduction to the history, culture, and entertainment highlights that will appeal to young visitors and this just under one hundred page book can also serve as a reference for a classroom report on New York City.
Iconic architecture like the Empire State building, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Flatiron Building are featured. Historical landmarks like The Statue of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum are explored and explained. The book features recent additions to the NYC landscape like the 911 Memorial and Museum. Who can forget the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller City? Mills talks about Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock. She takes us on a walk through Central Park and Times Square and reminisces about the history of Broadway and some of its famous productions. The City is a big place and after a day of shopping along Canal Street, one will eventually need to jump on the New York subway and visit Grand Central Station. Visitors to New York City will want to take a tour or eat in one of the many ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy or Chinatown. Perhaps a trip over the Brooklyn Bridge might entice visitors to try one of the famous Coney Island hot dogs.
Mills has it all covered, the culture, the entertainment, and the history wrapped up in an easy to read guide for middle-grade, young adult and adult members of the family. Highly recommended for any prospective visitor to the Big Apple.

To find out more about The State of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, check out my Little Miss HISTORY book series at:

http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

Barbara Ann Mojica

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The Magic of Kindness

Hazelita And The Magic Broom

Written and illustrated by Hope Finning

Hazelita is a destitute, lonely old woman. Every day she wanders from village to village with her only valuable possession, an old broom passed down to her from her mother. At night she knocks on the door of a local inhabitant seeking a warm meal and a place to state. In return, she promises to sweep their home in gratitude for their kindness. Hazelita cries herself to sleep each night because she has no family to care for her. After a while, word spreads around that her broom is magic and that it will grant any wish the family requests.

One evening she comes to a family headed by Thomas who goes out of their way to shower kindness upon Hazelita. The next day, they refuse to allow her to sweep as she is their honored guest. But Hazelita is horrified to discover the next day, that her broom has lost its magic. What will happen to Hazelita now that she cannot pay for
her room and board? The answer lies in kindness rewarded. Read the book
to find out how.

This book teaches children the value of community responsibility and the lesson that we should not expect rewards for everything we do. I would recommend the book to elementary and middle-grade students.

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Book Series

LittleMissHistory.com

Technology & Fairy Tales

The Innovative Engine

Written by Jim Gribble

Illustrated by Jack Gribble

This book is a unique tale combining technology, fairy tales, and student writers. The Innovative Engine grew up in New York City hearing the tales of the little engine that could. One day she received a letter from a teacher with a special request that she readily accepted. A group of student bloggers would board her at Grand Central Station. There they would begin a nationwide trip stopping at cities, farms, and lake country to learn about innovation and write about their discoveries.

After stopping at Washington D.C. and receiving a tour of the Capitol, the students travel west to explore old technology and experiment with new ideas. The Innovative Engine is then equipped with solar panels, the students learn about using magnets for transportation, and how to transform the engine into a vegetable garden to feed the hungry. At the end of their journey, the President greets them and thanks them for blogging about their discoveries.

Readers find a pleasant mix of traditional characters, a dose of upcoming technologies, and meet some student journalists of the future. Illustrations and images that were drawn by the students for their blog entries are included. The plot is unique, fanciful and creative. Particularly recommended for middle-grade students, but an enjoyable read for all ages.