The Making of a Nation

On a recent trip to the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh, I stumbled across AMERICA: The Making of a Nation in the museum’s gift shop.

Readers of this rich book join author Charlie Samuels as he explores the contents of an old trunk filled with newspaper clippings, postcards, handwritten notes, plane and train tickets tracking the birth and growth of our great nation.

And although the book is geared toward 3-6th graders, its charming premise engages smaller children as well.  Each page contains fold-out notes and pop-up elements (some removable) that invite the reader to become an explorer with Lewis and Clark or walk the grounds of the White House.

The author does a wonderful job encapsulating highlights from U.S. history without overwhelming the reader with facts – partly because copy is written in bracketed form appearing on small paper remnants or journal pages. He also does a wonderful job refraining from political agenda, although I could have done without his sentiment on ‘tolerance’ in the book’s introduction. (You knew there had to be something, right?)

And while any substantial references to the robust faith of our Founding Fathers is also absent from this book, I’d buy this book for it’s artistry alone.

The water color illustrations are both lovely and inspiring.

It’s also worth its price tag for its hands-on approach to history learning. Because who wouldn’t want to learn how to make Betsy Ross’ five-pointed star with one snip of the scissors? (Probably my kids, but that’s only because I don’t let them near scissors).

Not that my kids will notice. From its sheet music of the Star Spangled Banner to its large fold-out copy of the Declaration of Independence, there’s plenty in this book to keep little hands busy…

…and inspired by the celebration of freedom and pioneering spirit of the people who comprise our great nation…

…of which, our family is thankful and honored to be included.

Happy Fourth of July!

“O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!”

America the Beautiful, Words by Katharine Lee Bates

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.