Thursday, January 27, 2011
Courage of Sarah Noble :: Read Aloud Thursday
By Stephanie Kay
A couple of my bookish blogger friends often participate in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. I love the idea of sharing with you the books that we are reading aloud together. And we read aloud A LOT! So I hope to participate is this meme regularly.
This week I have one book to share with you:
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh. Published by Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2000 (originally published 1954).
In 1707, eight year old Sarah travels with her father from their home in Massachusetts to a new homestead in Connecticut. Once there Sarah learns to be friends with the Indians (the term used in the book) who live across the stream below their home. After their house is built, Sarah's father leaves her with an Indian family, returns to Massachusetts and brings the rest of the family to live in their new home.
We picked up this chapter book as a part of our home school American history curriculum. If you do the same, I recommend a websearch for the title and you can find lots of activities to go along with this popular book.
My children really connected with Sarah. My oldest son will soon be eight, so the thought of a girl his age cooking meals and taking care of their home really impressed him. Also, we live in Rhode Island and frequently drive to Massachusetts and Connecticut. Their familiarity with the locations helps the story feel real.
I only have one caution regarding this tale. The historical negative attitude of the white settlers toward the local Native American tribes is very obvious. No "bad" words are used but the prejudiced sentiment is clear. Sarah's family is friendly with the Indians but even they have their limits. This prejudice is especially prominent when Sarah's father leaves her with their Indian neighbors. Sarah wonders if the Indian mother could possibly take good care of her children (she soon learns that the mother is an excellent caregiver).
I addressed this with my children by saying that their cultures were different so they didn't understand the Indians. Not understanding different cultures makes some people afraid so they say and do unkind things.
Other than this one caution, I whole heartedly recommend The Courage of Sarah Noble.
Have you read this book? What children's books about colonial American History do you recommend?