Author(s): Cheryl Harness
Illustrator/Photographer: Cheryl Harness
Publisher and Year: 2005-Simon and Schuster
Number of pages: 28
Tags/Themes: Danielle Burge, America, History, 13 Colonies, Colonial, Months, Seasons, Colorful Illustrations, Children, Family, Lifestyle, Generations, Independence, Chores, Jobs, School, Animals, Revolution
Descriptive Annotation: In the story, Our Colonial Year, the author takes a different approach when explaining what the Thirteen Colonies of British North America did during that time. The story is broken down into each month of the year and shows how life was lived at that time when our ancestors were beginning to label themselves as independent Americans. Each month represents one of the thirteen colonies and explains in four to five sentences what occurs during that time. From quilting and whittling in the winter, to building ships and gardening the earth in the spring, to newspaper making for reading and milking cows in the summer, to the school bells ringing and harvesting beginning in the fall, this book tells the story of how the colonial people built America.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: In this story the cultural diversity is the month-by-month story explaining how the people of the Thirteen Colonies hard work built America. Readers all of all ages will be able to connect with this story by comparing the differences and similarities between a nation way back then and our current one.
The language in this book is fairly simple and well suited for middle to upper elementary students. The left pages consist of the month and four to five sentences explaining what happens during that time. The right pages consist of pictures explaining the text and represents which colony is being depicted. Younger elementary students would respond positively to the visuals of this particular book but may need assistance when reading the text.
Interdisciplinary Connections: I would incorporate this story in a Social Studies unit or lesson on the Thirteen Colonies of British North America. Some students may relate more to this explanation of the people during this time period rather than reading it through a textbook. I would have the students review the months of the year and the seasons. Then I would have them create a book of their own explaining an activity or obligation they participate in during each month where weather plays a factor. Students would create illustrations explaining their writing. Thus I would bind it together and the students would have it to share and compare with other classmates.
Other Information: Overall, I really enjoyed the set-up of this particular story. I chose this book because the front cover was visually appealing and made me want to read it. The story is easy to relate to and provides a historical context as well. The illustrations are very appealing for both younger and older readers and will keep their attention through out the entire book. I see this book as an excellent social studies literature resource to have in my future classroom.