Biographies are a great way for kids to learn about important figures from the past, and the book Heroes of History- John Adams is a great example. Given to us to review by YWAM Publishing, I found it to be interesting and engaging.
Heroes of History- John Adams
The book we received was a physical soft cover book of over 200 pages. It included chapters covering John’s upbringing all the way through to and past his Presidency. It has been written colorfully so you aren’t just stuck reading dull facts. No, the story comes to life as the authors let us in on how he must have felt during his struggles and resistance to his most worthy causes.
As I was reading, I felt like we were part of the story, or at least watching along as it happened. The book did a great job of giving enough back story that we could all follow along, whether or not we had a true background knowledge of the period of history or historical figures mentioned. You really got to know John Adams and the important people in his life’s story through conversations and realistic depictions of events as they really happened. My younger sons were able to follow along as I read the story out loud to them.
If your kids love to be read to, or learn better that way in general, note that YWAM Publishing does have this title (and many others) available as audiobook CDs or MP3 downloads. This could save your voice from doing it as a read-aloud yourself, or it could help your very auditory child to take in the story even better than by reading it alone.
In addition to the book itself, we were given a review copy of the Downloadable Unit Study Curriculum Guide for the book about John Adams. There were 2 parts to this download.
The first part included information and questions such as important quotes, ideas for collections and activities to display, chapter questions, activities to appeal to different learning styles (essay questions, creative writing, hands-on projects, and audio/visual projects), ways to link the studied information to your own community, an extensive vocabulary list, geography and timeline prompts, related themes to explore, and ideas for a culminating event to close off the study. Additionally, there is a key to the chapter questions and an extensive listing of related resources.
The second part of the curriculum download included a few reproducible items, including a timeline, 3 maps, and a fact sheet for students to fill out. These are perfect for students to use to really dig deeper into the lesson, and would work beautifully for families that like to lapbook or notebook as well.
I was impressed with this book. We have previously reviewed other books from YWAM Publishing, including one about Clara Barton and one about Thomas Edison. My kids can still quote information from those books, which they read a long time ago! This makes me confident that they’ll retain much of the information they just learned about John Adams as well.
The text is written in such a detailed, yet emotional, way that we were all eager to continue reading to find out more about his life. I love that it touches so much on his personal life and beliefs rather than simply stating events or quotes from him. This is an easy way to get kids to learn about historical figures without the moaning and groaning that usually goes along with reading history textbooks.
I highly recommend this to families with students in upper elementary or above for independent reading. It is also a great read aloud for younger students to listen along to as well.
If you use the study guide along with it, this Heroes of History book becomes a great living textbook for students to learn more about this notable American. The questions and projects suggested in the guide will help the information to really stick.
By using the study guide, we were able to enhance our discussion quite a bit. I did ask my kids questions from the chapter question section of the curriculum guide. I also printed out the maps so that they could follow along geographically to see where things happened as they were mentioned in the book.
YWAM Publishing puts out a ton of great biographies. See what some of the other Crew members were able to review by clicking on the link below: