Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thinking About George




              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, those who link up share fabulous non-fiction picture books. I am grateful for all that I've learned through reading non-fiction picture books. 






        I looked for this at my library because I saw reviews a long while ago, but I never read it. And it seems to be a good time to see what a picture book can tell us about being President of the United States. George Washington set the bar high!
Big George: How A Shy Boy Became President Washington - Anne Rockwell and Matt Phelan

Here's what I learned about President Washington's traits that feel right for being President:

He was a learner: When George was eleven his father died, and he went to live at his half-brother Lawrence's place, Mount Vernon. There he spent time reading in Mt. Vernon's large library and was especially drawn to a Roman farmer who put down his plow because he was needed as a leader. George thought it was admirable that this man, Cinncinnatus, gave up what he loved in order to serve his country. George would remember this later.

         He also was a learner in sports, was an avid horseman, swordsman and fencer. He was taught all the things a Virginia gentleman was supposed to know by Lawrence. He learned a bit from traveling with Lawrence, too.

He followed his loyalties when he thought it was right: 
        First he fought for the King, but argued with the general about the silly way that the British fought, as you know, in lines, with music, announcing their arrival. They were crushed by the French and Native Americans at Fort Duquesne, and Washington fought well, but was not wounded. He would remember the harshness of battle.

        He was again called, this time to lead the rebel army against his king. It was a hard decision, but he fought on the side he believed was right.

He fought with his army
        No matter the sacrifice, Washington did all that his soldiers did, fought and starved and ached from cold with them. When people saw that, his armies grew. He was inspiring them by his actions, not his words.

He loved his home:
        No matter how much he was away, he always returned home to what he loved, Mount Vernon and his family. 

He again went to serve, this time as the first President. Although there were huge conflicts among the different colonies, Washington worked tirelessly to make the country strengthen, to make it ONE! According to the story: "He proved to be as good a leader in peace as in war."

Matt Phelan's illustrations are lovely, filling the pages with action and history too. The double-page spread of Washington in his first battle is marvelous. The page from the Valley Forge winter is heart-breaking. 



          This short biography may begin an interest in young people of our first President. Or it may be a beginning study of many people in history who inspire. I know I and others have written about many wonderful biographies, and this is another I'm glad to have read.


12 comments:

  1. I'm surprised I don't know this book. Off to order it for the library--as you said, just what I need before this election.

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    1. It is an older book from last year, and I enjoyed it very much. Glad to share one new to you!

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  2. I've never seen or heard of this one, either. Thanks for the tip, Linda

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    1. It was a nice story to read, Jane, and not one hint of that cherry tree! Hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I'll have to find this one. Anything that is some way related to Hamilton has found its way into my TBR :)

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Michele. I thought it was a good beginning to knowing an overview of George Washington's life.

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  4. I love the illustrations! Thanks for introducing this book. I'm sharing a non-fiction PB for poetry friday, tomorrow. I stopped by to get the link to add so that I'll be ready. I think I'll stop by mid-week again!

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    1. Thanks, Linda, I'm glad you found a new book for you! See you on PF!

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  5. Good timing, Linda. He was a real leader. I love visiting Mount Vernon. I wish I could go more often!

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  6. Thanks, Tabatha. I've only visited a couple of times, and with students. I'd love to return.

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  7. As a Canadian, I find the aura and mythos around American presidents quite fascinating. Sir John A. MacDonald definitely doesn't get the same treatment here in Canada! ;) Our Prime Ministers definitely become a part of our history, but they don't become historical figures in the same way as Presidents, that's for sure!

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    1. After reading this, I wish we could return to Washington, Jane. I'm glad to hear Canada's point of view. Perhaps we should take a look. It's been the craziest election cycle ever!

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