Recently, I was considering what book to review next and as I looked through the list of several books I came across The American Patriot's Almanac. It wasn't usually the kind of book that I review, but I wondered if it might be a great resource to supplement our learning of American History when it comes time. It was published by Thomas Nelson, which is very interesting to me. Thomas Nelson publishes a surprisingly wide variety of books.
I found a pleasant surprise in this book! It's simply great! The beginning explains why we need to be proud to be patriots. It isn't an antiquated thing. There are several stories that let the reader know that the authors acknowledge that our country is not perfect! Yet, our country is a great country to live in! I was also very curious about what they would say about our country being a God centered country. I disagreed with what they said far, far less than I expected to.
The book essentially has one entry for each day of the year and then at the end of each month there is a special addition. For one month, the Declaration of Independence is included and the story of its beginning. For another, there is a list of 50 great American quotes--and then also quotes by people outside America about America (some of these were awesome!). But, my favorite monthly addition was actually the list of 50 All American films. I was quite surprised, and honestly pleased by the films they chose. The Disney film chosen will completely surprise you! With all of this great information in this book, I can foresee us using this a couple of ways in our homeschooling. In middle school, I will read the entries with my kids and discuss the information. The additional information will find many uses. Late in middle school and into high school, I would love to watch each of these films with our kids and talk about them. I have great hopes for good discussions about them!
One interesting thing to note about this book is that although it is published by a Christian publisher and is a "Christian" book, it is not purely an evangelical Christian book. One entry in January is about Elizabeth Ann Seton--the first American-born Catholic saint. People in the book who are written about are identified for their heroism, patriotism, and loyalty--and sometimes but not always for their faith. This book is about our country and why it is a great country! I was good to be reminded of why I need to discard all the negatives in our media that constantly lambast our own country. It's a very dire and horrible picture that they paint--because after all that's what sells! But, there are reasons why soldiers enlist and fight for our country.
I love these two quotes that really reminded me that I need to think more highly of where I live. For all of the U.S.'s faults, there are great strengths too...
"Without the U.S., this day would not have been possible. Tell your people that." West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to President George H.W. Bush (discussing the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989) quoted on p.156
"The United States has long shown itself to be the most magnanimous, the most generous country in the world. Wherever there is a flood, an earthquake, a fire, a natural disaster, an epidemic, who is the first to help? The United States. Who helps the most and unselfishly? The United States." Aleksanr Solzenitsyn June 30, 1975 quoted on p.156
I think those two quotes say a lot. If you are looking for a supplemental resource for your U.S. History curriciulum for middle school or high school students, I think this would be a great choice!
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Thomas Nelson Publishing