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Columbus Day (On My Own Holidays) by Vicki…
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Columbus Day (On My Own Holidays)

by Vicki Liestman

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I enjoyed reading this book to my classes on Columbus Day. It would make a great additional read to young students learning about European exploration of America. Rather than the simplified story of Columbus as a hero, it presents the twin side of exploration by also depicting the suffering and loss experienced by native people. It ends on a note of questioning, asking students how they will treat other people if they should discover new lands or new worlds. My students enjoyed listening to the story, and I appreciated that it gave more than a one sided version of history to such a young audience. ( )
  carolineW | Oct 13, 2012 |
Columbus Day is one in an apparent series of 'On My Own' books. While the author's note opening the book poses some relevant questions, the remainder of the book seems a bit dubious.
In the author's note, important questions are put forth: Was it really Columbus who discovered America, or was it Leif Erickson? Or, defining discover as 'find out something unknown,' can you discover a land that was already inhabited? The note goes on to say that regardless of whether or not he discovered anything, his voyaged changed the world.
While the opening of the book challenges the reader to question, the remainder is didactic and preachy. The content of the book consists of the tale of pillaging Spaniards conquering the islands and natives. While it can be beneficiary to present a variety of perspectives on a topic, the author depends heavily on incendiary language as opposed to presenting relevant and persuasive facts. The author selects manipulative, emotionally charged statements and words. He creates a series of repetitive sentence designed to drive home inflammatory words such as 'killed' and phrases like 'took them away.' The end of the book veers from the past and the celebration of Columbus Day in the United States, linked directly with the title, and into the future of space exploration. It is unfortunate that the author used the last three pages to talk about outer space as opposed to spending them on further developing the history surrounding Columbus, including a bibliography or suggested readings about Columbus and his voyage. ( )
  jamiesque | Mar 6, 2012 |
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Relates the story of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and gives the history of Columbus Day.

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