Thursday, January 27, 2011

Courage of Sarah Noble :: Read Aloud Thursday

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?


Carrie said...

I haven't read this one. But it's sounding like something that should absolutely go on the list. I'm glad you shared about it. I had no idea about the book or what it was about.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

It's really cute and probably on a 2nd to 4th grade reading level, depending on your young reader's abilities. My 2nd grader could easily read it but I chose to use it as a read aloud. It was really short - took us about 3 to 4 hours to read together. And that was with plenty of interruptions and me doing each voice differently.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I saw your incoming link on my blog and hopped on over! Just come over when you get a chance and leave a link in the comments.

We haven't read this one yet, but my oldest dd read Bears on Hemlock Mountain aloud to me and her sister back in the fall. Here's a link to my post about it-->

We enjoyed that one quite a bit!

Thanks so much for posting to Read Aloud Thursday!

Linda @ Country Road Faith said...

What a good book.
By the way, did you share with your children "their Indian" heritage? Your great-great-grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee, adopted by a doctor and his wife.

I remember when my children were young,we traveled on a college bus with some preacher boys, one of which was an Indian. My young son became afraid of him, so I had some explaining to do.

As a child, often times there were Indian children in my school and classroom. We lived only 5 miles from the Oklahoma border. By the way, that is a state with a lot of Indian heritage, museums, etc.

Just thought I'd load ya down with all that information:)

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