Google+

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Alexander Hamilton and a Look at USA History

Disclosure: I was sent these books to review free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Alexander Hamilton seems to be making rounds everywhere lately. With Hamilton on Broadway, everyone seems to be learning about this Founding Father. What do you know about him? I will admit I did not know too much. I am happy to say that after reading the two books I am going to share with you I feel like I know a bit more about Alexander Hamilton and his life. Hazel was also learning about Massachusetts history this year so there has been quite a bit of focus on the Revolutionary War. One of our homeschooling field trips has been to do a bit of the Freedom Trail after visiting the New England Aquarium. Today I am going to share these books for different ages to learn a bit more about Alexander Hamilton as well as some of the fun we had exploring our country's history. We are going to explore all of the states and one of our ways of doing it is the US State Postcard Exchange. Want to join us?



Now Hazel's class watched Liberty's Kids or at least watched the parts that take place in Massachusetts. She begged me to get her a copy of the DVD so she could see all the parts. She literally has watched this at least ten times!! I found it half price at Christian Books, so it was a good buy and there is so much US history in it.

With that fresh in our minds we headed over to Faneuil Hall which is close to the New England Aquarium. We had lunch in Quincy Market which completely amazed Hazel. I got to share with her my childhood memory of walking part of the Freedom Trail with my mom and having lunch in Quincy Market when I was around her age. After lunch we went to check out Faneuil Hall.

Faneuil Hall has a historical room that is not open very often to the public. I have had the pleasure of being at a convention that had a part of it in the historic meeting room. The lower level has been transformed into a shopping mall with an area for the National Park Service. There is a museum upstairs, but we did not check it out. Hazel is hoping to get as many junior ranger badges as she can this summer, so we picked up the paper work to do this for the Freedom Trail. Downstairs in the basement are the restrooms and a presentation area. Nothing was going on, but there was an interesting display explaining how Boston was built. Dirt was literally put into the harbor to make the land. 

The restroom has a sign that shares information about Paul Revere's position as the first president of the Board of Health in Boston (the first board of health in the country). After Faneuil Hall we walked by the Old State House, but we did not go in this time. Next we went to the Old South Meeting House. We did go into this one. Inside besides seeing the place many people gathered for meetings, church and planning, there are displays explaining some of the history. 

They also had some various scavenger hunts for kids to do. There were two age groups. Unfortunately a class field trip came in while we were there so we did not get to really check out all the historical parts of the building. We did however get to see this statue of Phyllis Wheatley who Hazel learned about in her class this year.

Downstairs there is another display with some of the historical figures from the time period. Hazel posed with George Washington. There is also a gift shop, but it was closed due to a bit of flooding. 
We continued on the trail and went by the site of Boston Public Latin School, the first public school in America. There are plaques to mark the area.

Its successor is now Boston Latin School. You can see a bit of its history here. Around the corner we checked out the King's Chapel and its burial ground.  After that we were tired from our big day in the city and headed home. We plan to go back and do the rest of the Freedom Trail this summer. Now for a bit on Alexander Hamilton. 


The first book is Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America by Teri Hanefield. This is a non-fiction book suggested for grades 5 through 9. I learned quite a bit reading this book. I knew Alexander Hamilton played a role in setting up our financial structure as a country, but did not know much else. Alexander Hamilton had an amazing vision for our country. He saw that the real future was not an agricultural country with the states governing separately. He saw the idea of a diverse culture and capitalistic country. Alexander Hamilton came from the Caribbean having had his unwed mother die when he was young and his father out of the picture. He witnessed the cruelty of slavery and knew it was wrong. His intelligence and talent for speaking made him the man he became and helped really form our country. However he also had many adversaries which also brought about his death. 

What I love about this book is that it contains quotes from Alexander Hamilton, facts of his life and then also takes the time to define and explain some of the various vocabulary that students may not know or understand yet. This book is easy to read and shares so much of the history of our country and especially in the view of Alexander Hamilton.

Our second book is Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz. This is historical fiction. It is what Melissa de la Cruz imagined Alexander Hamilton's and Eliza's love story to have been. It is set in the historical time and place but does not contain the facts and contradicts some of the things I have found on-line. De la Cruz does mention that it is her version of a story that most facts are not known in the author's note. Even with the fiction, the story is such a fun one to read. The banter between Alex and Eliza and the courtship are entertaining and easy to read. One of the things I love is how strong Eliza is in this book. At a time when women were not always portrayed as dominant and intelligent, Eliza is both in this story. 

This book makes me want to learn more about both Alexander and Eliza Hamilton and their lives. The personalities and adventures de la Cruz gives them made me want to keep reading and to want to check to see if some of the things really happened (thus why I looked on-line for more details). I really enjoyed reading this one. 

I hope you will check out these wonderful books and discover a piece of our country's history. Don't forget to sign up to participate in our US State Postcard Exchange!!