As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I recently had the opportunity to receive and read a new children's book called Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream. This short time-travel story was written by Kathleen Basmadjian, PhD and Robert K. Basmadjian Jr. They have built a very informational website called Inspiring the American Dream.
Can you judge a book by it's cover? Apparently so! The girls were very intrigued by the cover of this book, and begged to read it immediately!
When I received this book, I read it first before handing it over to the girls. This is my typical procedure for materials that I am unfamiliar with.
This book is short, and easily read in one sitting. I must be honest here, and admit that as I first read through the book, my initial reaction was that I didn't care much for the feel of it. It is set in modern times, and features time travel back through American history to meet great Americans. The plot is centered around a young man, Abraham, and the lessons he learns about American greatness through the people he meets. The purpose is to inspire young Americans with the vision that in this great country of ours, anything is possible, as long as you apply the virtues that are extolled in this book. While it's a great plot - one that I wholeheartedly agree with, I guess I was just taken aback with some of the "modernness" of the story, including a young boy who owns his own smart phone, despite his family's financial hardship. That might seem picky, but it stood out to me right away.
On the other hand, it might be a theme that young people today can more easily relate to? Time travel through their smart phone? hmmm.....
So I decided to hand it over to my 6th grader and see what she thought! There is nothing controversial in the book, and there are no questionable themes or elements. I had no qualms about giving it to the 2nd grader either.
I didn't share any of my thoughts, just let them read it for themselves, and then asked what they thought. My 6th grader decided to write a book review for me, so I will just include here what she wrote, in her own words:
Abraham's Journey is a fictional book. The main character, Abraham, lives during the Great Recession when many people lost their jobs. His parents said there would be no Christmas presents. He was determined to find a way to save Christmas. Abraham traveled into the cyber world and met Martin Luther King Jr., Amelia Earhart, and others. They showed him his talent, and taught him perseverance and other important lessons.
My favorite part of the book was that even though Abraham found he had a natural talent for painting, it took hard work, perseverance, and an innovative idea for him to succeed.
I would recommend this book to those who want to know a way to achieve their dreams!
Ok then! Perhaps I am 'showing my age' just a bit? After one read through, my 11 year old definitely got the message that the authors were trying to promote, without any prompting from me! I was surprised and impressed that she was able to draw those conclusions after reading through the book, and I think it shows the signs of well planned material on the part of the authors.
The only comment that was made by the children regarded the time travel and the fact that it had people from different eras meeting up on the same page. In real life, people like Mark Zuckerberg and Amelia Earhart lived in different eras, but in the book, they visited together with young Abraham. For a fictional book, it's fine, because it added to the mystique of the time travel. But it's worth mentioning, only because two of my children independently pointed it out to me. One found it annoying, and the other found it funny.
One thing I really appreciated in the book was the emphasis on charitable giving at the end, once Abraham realizes his goal of providing for his family.
Abraham's Journey is currently available for purchase through the Inspiring the American Dream website for $14.95. If purchased soon, the website is offering a personalized copy signed by the authors. There also is a Kindle edition that sells for $9.95.
Although the age recommendation for this book is 7-12, I will say that I think the book is good for all ages of children. I think the 9-12 year old group will find it most intriguing, but the message it contains is an important one for young children on up through high school students. Reading it through with your children opens up a lot of discussion opportunities, and a chance to teach your economic values to your children.
Would you like to read some other book reviews? Click on the box below to see what the rest of the Crew thinks!