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Christopher Columbus (My First Biography) by Marion Dane Bauer



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I liked this book for several reasons. I think it is an extremely accessible biography for young readers. I liked that the book focused on key aspects of Columbus’ life, like his dream of reaching the Indies and how many different people rejected his dream (like the king and queen of Spain). It didn’t include unimportant details which make it easier for the reader to focus on the “big picture” and key events that took place in Columbus’ life. I also enjoyed the layout of the book. The illustrations take up the whole page, and the story is made up of simple sentences. The language used in the book is appropriate for young children and is clear and concise This makes it easy for children to follow and allows them to focus on the illustrations. The illustrations are detailed and do a good job of portraying the events leading up to Columbus’ journey. The illustrator also did a great job of showing different emotions of Columbus during his journey, where the reader can clearly see the difference between his sadness when the King and Queen disapproved his voyage compared to his excitement once he reached America. Lastly I enjoyed that the book contained a theme of Columbus’ dream – and at every stage of Columbus’ life the author discusses how close Columbus was to achieving his dream. The book ends with “Columbus dreamed the dream. He showed the way. Many others followed” and I really enjoy this ending because even though it is a biographical picture book it also gives some form of hope to readers that they should follow their own dreams as well! The main idea of the book is to describe key aspects of Christopher Columbus’ life but it also has the message of following your dreams (just like Columbus)! ( )
  ygurova | Feb 17, 2016 |
Summary: This book is about how Christopher Columbus wanted adventure and went out to find it. He sailed across the ocean to discover land.

Personal Reaction: I liked this book because I think it was a good way to introduce young readers who this important figure was and how he began his journey.

Classroom extension: I would have my students draw up a map that they think Christopher Columbus could use on his adventure.
  meaganamadon | Nov 18, 2015 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography about Christopher Columbus because it creates a simple, yet entertaining and motivating historical lesson for young children. I enjoyed the book for the following two reasons: the illustrations and the way it motivates the readers. The reason that I enjoy the illustrations in this book is because they are very detailed and colorful. After the author discusses a certain time and place in Christopher's life, he provides the reader with many different illustrations. For example, when he states that, "When he grew into a man, Christopher Columbus was still a dreamer," he provides multiple illustrations for the reader. The illustrator drew all of the materials that Christopher used when he planned to go exploring. The illustrator also drew Christopher observing a map and dreaming about traveling. This is great to provide for students because it offers multiple different visual aids to help young children understand the text. Secondly, I enjoyed the motivation in the writing because by describing Christopher as such an adventurous and bold man, this provides the readers with the motivation to shoot for their dreams as well. Overall, the main idea of the book is to explain to children how Christopher Columbus loved and where his traveling led him to. ( )
  aholli3 | Mar 11, 2015 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the illustrations but I didn’t like the story itself. The illustrations were detailed and expressive which was helpful because the writings were not detailed at all. I liked the picture where they showed him as a scholar with all of his academic things which made the reader infer that he was a great thinker. They also showed him with a thought bubble more than once which was helpful because you knew what he was thinking and dreaming about. Although it is supposed to be “My First Biography” I would have thought they would have added more detail. They never said when he sailed to America and didn’t add much information besides the names of the ships. The focused seemed to be that he was a persistent dreamer. I didn’t actually learn anything about him from this book. The big idea was to inform the reader about Christopher Columbus, which they did not do. ( )
  torilynae | Nov 1, 2014 |
Book Summary:
This book is a children’s biography about the famous and legendary explorer, Christopher Columbus. The book begins with Columbus as a young boy dreaming about exploration and discovery. As he grows older he decides to follow his dreams; he persuades the king and queen of Spain to supply him with materials to travel to and explore the East Indies. The book also describes the famed ships that Columbus and his crew traveled in, The Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. As Christopher Columbus and his crew travel they arrive at the Island of San Salvador, Columbus mistakes his endpoint for the East Indies; in reality they had arrived in a new land, the Americas – this mix up is the result of the native people of this land being referred to by Columbus as “Indians”.

Personal Reaction:
I think that this is an excellent children’s biography. It is written very age-appropriately with realistic illustrations that help to give readers an idea about the culture and style of this time period. I also especially like that the book features maps drawn into the illustrations; these help readers to envision and process the length and magnitude of Columbus’ journey as well as understand the geography.

Classroom Extensions:
1. Have students look at the pictures of Columbus’s ships sailing across the ocean. Ask students to draw their own ship and make a design for the sails, like the ones on Columbus’s ships. At the bottom of the drawing, have them write the name of their ship.
2. Explain that when explorers visit an area they have never visited before, they make a map and record their observations. Together with your students, visit a new and unfamiliar place, such as a park or a different part of the school. Map the area as you go exploring. What landmarks do you see? What path did you take? Were there people and cultures established in the places you visited- how did you respect them? Create a map and add things you see together. Your students may want to keep a log or record of things they see along the way, such as plants and animals.
  cortneynmcclure | Nov 20, 2013 |
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Simple text and illustrations introduce early readers to the life and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus.

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