Written by K. I. Knight and Jane R. Wood
Ages 7 and Up | 142 Pages
Publisher: Melting Pot Press LLC | ISBN-13: 9781737337102
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Who are we?” Ms. Johansson asks her class of fifth graders. Her perplexed students soon discover the lesson she wants them to learn. While studying the founding of their country, the class is challenged to understand the melting pot that makes up the American people-both past and present.
With the help of a genealogist, students learn to navigate websites that introduce them to written records that have documented their families’ histories. Because the class is comprised of students with roots to many nationalities and ethnic groups, including African American, Native American, Mexican, Cuban, Irish, Italian, Polish, Scandinavian, Lebanese, and Japanese immigrants, the diversity in their own class becomes apparent.
To assist in their research, the teacher gives the students an assignment of interviewing their parents and grandparents, to learn more about the members of their families. One by one, the young people hear family stories connecting them to America’s earliest immigrants and settlers. The students also learn about historical events their ancestors witnessed or experienced, including the early settlement of Virginia, the American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, the Trail of Tears, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, early immigration processing at Ellis Island, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Holocaust.
As the story unfolds, some personal conflicts occur among the students, long-standing family tensions surface, and intergenerational relationships evolve. Complex issues such as privacy, adoption, diversity, immigration, slavery, and antisemitism are addressed in an age-appropriate manner.
Excited by what they have discovered, the students plan a program to share their findings with their families. Working together in small groups, they create a slide presentation of vintage photographs, a fashion show demonstrating various ethnic attire, music and food from different cultures, and visual displays showcasing military medals, artifacts, musical instruments, and family heirlooms.
Their family history project further inspires the students to want to do something more to honor past generations. With the help of a cemetery preservationist, they plan a clean-up day at a local graveyard in need of attention. Parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters join the class on a Saturday to help restore the final resting place of those who came before them.
As a result of their research project, the students not only discover personal connections to the past but also, in some cases, to each other.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Kathryn Knight, who uses the pen name K I Knight, is an international award-winning Author, Genetic Genealogist, American Historian, Keynote Speaker, and Cemetery Preservationist. Over the last thirteen years, Knight has documented more than 20,000 hours researching the first recorded Africans to arrive in the English settlement of Virginia in 1619. Her passion is unrivaled and strongly evident in her published writings.
Her literary work includes Fate & Freedom, a five star – Gold medal historical trilogy detailing the lives of the 1619 Africans, as well as her nonfiction work, Unveiled – The Twenty and Odd, for which she was awarded the Phillis Wheatley Literary Award by the Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage.
Knight is a board member for several National Non-profit organizations and the member of numerous Genealogy, Historical and Literary Societies including the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, Florida State Genealogy Society, Virginia Genealogy Society, Virginia Historical Society, Florida Historical Society, American Historical Association, Genealogy Speakers Guild, Association of Professional Genealogists, the Alliance of Independent Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Director of 1619 Genealogy. The mother of three adult children, Knight, lives in North Florida with her husband, Tom.
For more information, visit firstfreedompublishing.com.
Jane R. Wood is the author of five award-winning juvenile fiction books where she weaves history and science into stories filled with mystery, adventure, and humor for young readers ages 8-14. Students like her books because they’re fun. Teachers like them for their educational value. Wood is a former teacher, newspaper reporter, and television producer. She has a BA from the University of Florida and an MEd from the University of North Florida. Wood lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and is the mother of two grown sons and five grandchildren.
To learn more about her and her books, go to her website at janewoodbooks.com.MY THOUGHTS