And now, back to our regularly scheduled program...Nonfiction Mondays!!!
Shelf-employed reviewed Russell Freedman's Who Was First? Discovering the Americas (audio version) last week on the Round-Up at Whispers at Dawn and I picked this up as well. I thought I would have time to read another one but grades are due in a week!
This is a great look at who discovered the Americas and is also perfect for middle schools. Freedman starts by mentioning old legends and tales about the Americas before Columbus, the one we all know about. He then writes about Christopher Columbus and works backward exploring China's history with exploration and their famous seafarer Sin-Bao (Admiral Zheng He). He delves into the Vikings discovery of parts of Canada with a chapter devoted to Leif the Lucky. Then moves to those who were already in the Americas. This book is filled with amazing map reproductions, like the Waldseemuller map of 1507, images from archeological digs, and archival images. He also mentions important historians and archeologists, like Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad, who discovered the Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows in Canada and Gavin Menzies, who studies Chinese explorers and was also viewed as a somewhat questionable source at times. This is such a fascinating book and is filled with so much information! It made me want to visit all these different sites he mentions to see gigantic statues in Guatemala or the L'Anse aux Meadows. Freedman also writes a little bit on the new technological tools being used to determine the age of pieces discovered. I highly recommend this book - it's got everything - history, drama, adventure, new technology - if you don't have this in your library, you should certainly order it.