Title: I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
Author(s): Lauren Tarshis
Cover Art by: Steve Stone and Tim Hall
Publisher and Year: Scholastic (2013)
Number of pages: 106
Genre: Historical Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 is about a young black boy named Thomas and his younger sister, Birdie. At the beginning of the book Thomas and Birdie are on a farm in Virginia, they are playing outside when Thomas sees some men coming to the farm who bought his good friend, Clem. Thomas is scared that the men will take him away from his sister so he and his sister run away from the farm. Thomas and Birdie don’t get far before some Confederate troops catch up with them. However, the Confederate troops are only concerned with some Union soldiers who are also in the forest. When the Confederate troops have a Union soldier cornered in the woods, Thomas saves him. The soldier, Henry, decides to take Thomas and Birdie with him to look after them. Thomas and Birdie travel with Henry’s unit to the Battle of Gettysburg. Thomas gets injured at the battle and wakes up in a hospital bed several days later. Henry and Birdie are both safe. At the end of the book Henry takes Birdie and Thomas with his to his home in Vermont where they live and learn to read.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Linguistically, this book is a fairly simple read. The words in the book are fairly common words and there is relatively little text per page for a chapter book. There is a content area reading at the end of the book about the Civil War- this portion has more technical language but is written in a conversational tone. The book is written from the perspective of a black newly freed slave during the Civil War. There is tension between black people and white people throughout the book. Other than Thomas, Birdie, Clem, and a platoon of black soldiers seen from afar everyone else in the book is white.
Interdisciplinary Connections: This book would be a great fit in a unit about the Civil War. This book could lead to discussions about the different perspectives in the war. Additionally, students could use this book to identify technology differences between the Civil War and war today. Overall, this book would relate well to any unit about war because it is an engaging narrative about what it is like to be in a battle from a young person’s perspective.
Other Information: I enjoyed this book. I think it would be a book that many students would enjoy. This book is exciting, engaging, and offers a perspective of the Civil War that students would be able to relate to.