Sunday, September 21, 2008
This illustration is a cover wrap for "Hard Face Moon", by Nancy Oswald and published by Filter Press in Colorado. It's one of the best manuscripts I've read in ages! It really stays with you, like seeing a movie you can't get out of head.
Hides Inside is thirteen winters—old enough to yearn to be a warrior. His brother, Standing Tall, has given him the first lesson, “A Cheyenne does not fight his own people.” Not even when other boys taunt him because he cannot speak.
On a dim night during the season of the hard face moon, Hides Inside witnesses the unprovoked attack on the Cheyenne that came to be known as the Sand Creek Massacre. His determination to join a warrior society is hardened, but will he follow Standing Tall in the ways of peace?
In her second work of historical fiction, Nancy Oswald again turns to the clash of cultures that was an inevitable part of the settling of the American frontier. Her previous novel, Nothing Here But Stones, received a WILLA Award in 2005.
In “Alexander Hamilton: Young Statesman,” children are introduced to the childhood that led to such an interesting man, and in the process are offered valuable lessons for their own lives. The Fourteenth Volume in the series, this composition draws children into a world long gone via exquisite illustrations and three sections of bonus information beyond the story itself.
The Sixth publication from the late Helen Boyd Higgins and edited by Harold Underdown whose work has earned him acclaim from publishing houses such as Macmillan, the book breathes life into the childhood of an American hero. Complimented by the illustrative talents of Cathy Morrison, the book provides a visit to a land of the past for children from the ages of eight to eleven.
Focused on the early life of the Founding Father, this book highlights his adventures on the tropical island of St. Croix in the West Indies as a child. Attempting to satisfy the curiosity of children while teaching them history, the book follows young Alec in his youthful adventures.
Accompanied by his parrot Hurry-Up and his companion Poleon, Alec desires to become educated through his love of books and dreams of a day when he will attend school in the American Colonies across the ocean. In order to achieve his goal, he must submit to his uncle’s demand that he learn to ride horses and he must use his wits to keep his dangerous temper under control. In this way, children are taught the need of overcoming fears and managing emotions in search of their dreams.
Furthermore, the story highlights Alec’s desire for education, which reinforces the need for a strong education in today’s world. In this regard, the young man seeks books in much the same way the suffocated seek air, and in so doing, reminds the children of today of the power of knowledge in the world then and now.
Within the confines of the pages, Alec learns precious lessons that will serve him as an adult. He learns not to give in to fears by using his desire for school as a stepping-stone in his attempt to ride the frightening horses. He learns to control his temper by finding out how outbursts of uncontrolled emotion can lead to punishment in the schoolyard. Finally, he learns the necessity of calm and control when faced with the desire to survive during the powerful hurricane that hits his island. In all these ways, children are led to follow their dreams through the corridors of education, and reminded to control their emotions and face their fears in order to reach their dreams.
A wonderful companion for parents attempting to instill strong values into the lives of their children, this book will serve as a template for life in a time when televisions and expensive gadgets consistently attempt to distract the youth from the fruits of hard work, dedication to goals, and education in a constantly changing environment.
Available for purchase at the major online sites of booksellers, “Alexander Hamilton: Young Statesman” is a wonderfully crafted lesson for today’s youth wrapped in a fun adventure sure to capture the attention of young readers.
Higgins, Helen Boyd. “Alexander Hamilton: Young Statesman.” Illustrated by Cathy Morrison. Edited by Harold Underdown. Carmel, Indiana: Patria Press Incorporated (The Young Patriots Series Volume 14). 2008. 116pp. $15.95 Cloth, $9.95 Paper. Cloth ISBN: 9781882859610. Paper ISBN: 9781882859627.