The Big Civil War Book
When it came to my attention that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War was to be observed, I knew that teachers, librarians, museums and others would need resources for kids. Did I want to write about the Civil War? Not really! How do you explain to young readers the reasons that adults often make poor decisions, think war could be “fun,” and fail to choose cooperation and compromise over bullets and bloodshed? Nonetheless, as any teacher will tell you—if we don’t keep kids interested in history, they will never want to study it. Well, them’s fightin’ words, ma’m! I was challenged to create a series of bright, colorful, interesting, accurate, books, and this turned out to be the keystone book. It’s a really great Who, What, When, Where, How, Why look at the reasons for (and agin’) the Civil War, the four years of battles, emancipation, Reconstruction, and beyond. Heavily illustrated, the book actually includes humor, the actual poignant words of many of the war’s participants, Facebook pages for generals, “collectible” cards, and info on everything ranging from music, food, medicine, preservation of sites today, and much more. Whether you have a Civil War buff, or a student struggling to make sense of American history, this may be a book they pick up and actually read. It was a true team effort, and one we are proud of…and exhausted from!
Line art and other illustrations are by Yvonne Ford, and the remarkable paste-up and design challenge was undertaken by retired elementary school art teacher, Randolyn Friedlander. To be honest, Randi and I often found ourselves in tears over some of this history. You know what I mean.