Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Long Way to a New Land

I don't use Sonlight as our primary curriculum any longer, but I continue to value and respect their reading choices. This one is a repeat for Zach and me, new to Noah and Lily. The Long Way to a New Land is of the series, "An I Can Read Book." On the back, suggested age is to 4 to 8, and I believe that is quite accurate, on the upper ages the child reading independently and on the lower ages as a read-aloud by the parent. The family in the book leaves a bleak existence in Sweden for new hope in America, based on a letter of encouragement from relatives who already had made the treacherous journey across the ocean. We follow the family through the journey, ending the book at arrival in the new land. For those interested, this family's saga continues in "The Long Way Westward." The pictures in Long Way to a New Land are dark blacks and grays, very little color, obviously suggesting the gray existence of the family. Unfortunately, it also means they are not easily seen, nor interesting, to the child reading the book or being read to. This is unfortunate, as it seemingly takes away some of the enjoyment of the book for the child, at least my children. I have used this twice now with 1st graders. The story itself is somber without being depressing, and interesting without being too long or detailed for a young child. I continue to think this is a good resource for the younger ones studying immigration to America during the early 19th century.

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