"This may be the most exhilarating and revelatory history of our country. It is must reading for today's youth-as well as their elders." --Studs Terkel
From the boys who sailed with Columbus to today's young activists, this unique book brings to life the contributions of young people throughout American history. Based on primary sources and including 160 authentic images, this handsome oversized volume highlights the fascinating stories of more than 70 young people from diverse cultures. Young readers will be hooked into history as they meet individuals their own age who were caught up in our country's most dramatic moments-Olaudah Equiano, kidnapped from his village in western Africa and forced into slavery, Anyokah, who helped her father create a written Cherokee language, Johnny Clem, the nine-year-old drummer boy who became a Civil War hero, and Jessica Govea, a teenager who risked joining Cesar Chavez's fight for a better life for farmworkers. Throughout, Philip Hoose's own lively, knowledgeable voice provides a rich historical context-making this not only a great reference-but a great read. The first U.S. history book of this scope to focus on the role young people have played in the making of our country, its compelling stories combine to tell our larger national story, one that prompts Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, to comment, "This is an extraordinary book-wonderfully readable, inspiring to young and old alike, and unique."
We Were There, Too! is a 2001 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.
Hoose's (It's Our World, Too!) impressive survey places young people at the center of every event that shaped America, from 12-year-old Diego Berm dez who sailed with Christopher Columbus in 1492 to high school junior Claudette Colvin's refusal to give up her seat in 1955 Montgomery, Ala., nine months before Rosa Parks. The diverse contributions of these gutsy children and teens include 16-year-old Deborah Sampson, who masqueraded as Private Robert Shirtliffe and fought in the Revolutionary War, and 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall who, in the absence of many major league players-turned-soldiers, pitched for the Cincinnati Reds during WWII. Readers will appreciate the brief epilogues that explain what happened to each person in adulthood. For instance, Chuka, a nine-year-old Hopi Indian subjected to assimilation in white schools in 1899, "struggled to live in two worlds" throughout his life, and high school junior Peggy Eaton, who rode the rails in 1938, continued to live a life of adventure as a missionary and mountain climber. Informative sidebars provide additional, and sometimes humorous, historical asides to the biographical profiles (e.g., a story problem in a Confederate math book during the Civil War calculates the death toll of Yankees). Pictures, maps and prints help bring these stories to life, but it is the actions of these young people that will inspire readers to realize that they, too, can play a part in making America's history. Ages 10-up.