Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review Abraham's Journey - A Celebration of the American Dream

We LOVE books especially books that teach educational facts, life lessons and important character qualities. Abraham's Journey: A Celebrations Of The American Dream published by Ambassador International and written by Bob and Kathy Basmadjian is one of those types of books.

A moms review:
We received the paperback version Abraham's Journey from Inspiring The American Dream.  The book is 32 pages (text and illustrations). It was a quick read and it engaged my 5 and 7 yr old. The book went along great with our February unit studies on Black History and Presidents Day and taught my children some very valuable lessons about pursuing "The American Dream". The recommended age level for the book is 7-12 which I believe is right on target however 5/6 year olds and 13/14 year olds may enjoy it as well. Because neither of my children can really read a short chapter book on their own yet we read this book together as a family. The illustrations are done very nicely utilizing a comic book artwork style. My kids were easily able to identify the famous characters throughout the book.

Everyday before our very eyes the American government and World is changing. Children (and even some adults) are out of touch with what "The American Dream" is and why so many people (dating all the way back to the Pilgrims) have fought and continue to fight and risk everything to come to America to pursue that dream. As parents we NEED to teach our children (beginning at an early age) about pursuing and maintaining "The American Dream" or we will loose it entirely. We NEED to be teaching our children about wants vs needs, earning vs having, entitlement vs personal responsibility, their American rights and hard work. In the past few years our Government has begun to start taking more and more control and is slowly infringing on many of our rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The only way we can ensure these documents will continue to remain in tact is to educate our children and future generations on them!!!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

This book is a great start in helping parents educate their children in a fun, easy to understand way about "The American Dream". The book is about a little boy whose family is going through a rough time during the Great Recession of 2009 (which I personally think is still going on now in 2013). It is Christmas time and Abraham's father and mother have recently lost their jobs. They explain to their children that even though there won't be any presents under the tree they will still put up their tree, spend time together as a family and sing carols. Of course the kids are saddened by the news, I think any child would be.

Abraham really wants to help his family and somehow find a a way to earn some money to put a few presents under the tree for them. He begins to text his friends on his smartphone to see if they know of any odd jobs he could do to earn money to help his family. Of course as a frugal mom I did have to wonder why they hadn't cut off his cell service if they were in need of money. Anyway while he is texting a man with a white beard and black top hat (Abraham Lincoln) appears on his screen and offers to help Abraham by teaching him about "The American Dream" which could help him make his Christmas dream come true. Abraham (being a curious kid) reached out, touched the mans hand and was immediately transported through cyber world.

Lincoln promises to take Abraham on a journey to meet several great American men and women who will help Abraham uncover his talents and virtues. But Lincoln also explains to Abraham that only he (Abraham) is capable of making his dream come true and no one else.

Now I am not going to spoil the entire journey for you but Abraham meets the following people on his trip who help him realize his talents and virtues...

-Abraham Lincoln (president)
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (preacher)
-Norman Rockwell (artist)
-Amelia Earhart (aviator)
-Mark Zuckerberg (entrepreneur)
-Bill and Melinda Gates (philanthropists)

I liked how each character presented in the book has a different outlook on "The American Dream." After all "The American Dream" will vary for each person/family and it will vary throughout history as well. The characters in the book each had a different be part of a family, to be judged by their character instead of the color of their skin, to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, to be a successful businessman and to use the money they worked hard to earn to help others achieve their "American Dream."

Abraham's Journey is definitely a great way to introduce "The American Dream" to children. After reading the book we discussed more about the Great Recession, The American Dream and the characters in the book. We also worked on our MLK and Presidents Day lapbooks. And completed "The American Dream" notebooking worksheets I created (see below for your FREE copy).

I really appreciated the "Definition Of Terms" and "7 Character Biographies" that are provided in the back of the book, which helped to enhance and continue our learning. Several of the terms included are The American Dream, Compassion, Innovation, Social Media and more. The authors biographies are also located in the back on the last page.

My daughters favorite part was when Abraham met Amelia Earhart. My daughter really likes Amelia Earhart's story so she was very excited that this was included. People told Amelia that she would never fly across that Atlantic and that it was too dangerous for a woman. But she relied on her strength and courage and kept pushing on. She had many obstacles but she persevered and achieved her dream. I think Amelia Earhart is a great role model for girls.

The story ends very happily with some presents under the tree...but wait there's more. Just when I thought the story had ended we turned the page to find another surprise. Abraham's family shares the dream with others by visiting a local charity and donating money, blankets, books, etc...and that is the end of his journey and what I feel was a terrific ending to the book!!!

A Couple Issues:
There were only a couple of minor issues in the book. One I mentioned above which was the use of his cellphone. I found this a little odd since his family was going through a tough financial time. As a  frugal momma that would have been the first thing I would have cut in the budget. Perhaps a book would have been a better choice for his means of transportation? But at the same time the blogger side of me appreciated the mention of the technology (both the smartphone and social media) since in today's society technology helps many achieve their dreams. After all I am reviewing this because I am part of the TOS Crew. Being a part of the crew means my family is blessed with amazing, free homeschool products and in return the companies get the word about their products/service. Social media and technology has definitely helped me with achieving part of my "American Dream" which is home educating my children.

The second thing that was a little confusing to me was some of the timelines, like having Mark Zuckerberg as Amelia Earhart's student...umm they weren't in the same era. My kids didn't pick up on this though because even though they do know about Facebook they have no clue who created it. So it didn't affect the story for them. And while typing my review I began to understand that the authors were trying to incorporate a variety of ideas about "The American Dream," while still keeping the book short enough so it remained engaging.

My favorite quote in this book, "one kind act always leads to another."

Excerpt From The Book:
Abraham rubbed his eyes. The man on the screen waited. With a shrug, Abraham reached out to touch the wise man's hand. Suddenly, he found himself transported into a cyber world! There, the wise old man helped prepare him for the journey ahead. 

“Along the way, Abraham, you will meet several great American men and women. They will help you to uncover your hidden talent. They will share with you the many virtues you need in order to achieve your dream. However, you must understand that you...and only you...are capable of making that dream come true." 

Additional Resources:
This book went along great with our Presidents Day and Martin Luther King lapbooks.

We also utilized this notebooking page I created, which you can download for FREE. Children can write down their "American Dream", copy an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence and draw a picture of their "American Dream" as well.

Gwyns review (6 yrs old):
I liked the book. Amelia Earhart is an awesome girl. I also liked the ending of the book when they went to the shelter. I learned a lot in the book and my dream it so to have a job rescuing animals.

Links to follow:
-Inspiring The American Dream Website
-Inspiring The American Dream Facebook page 
-Inspiring The American Dream Twitter 

Where to buy:
You can purchase Abraham's Journey directly off of the Inspiring The Ameican Dream website for $14.99 + $5.00 shipping. You can also purchase the paperback book on Amazon (sometimes it's on SALE). It is also available on Amazon for Kindle for $9.99.

Click here for more Abraham's Journey reviews from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

*Disclaimer - As part of the TOS Review Crew I received a  hard copy of Abraham's Journey in return for my honest review. Please note that prices indicated in the post are subject to change. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions are our own! Many of the links found on my side bars and in my blog posts are affiliate links. As a result, I might get paid money and I will most likely spend the money on homeschool supplies. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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