New Review Tuesday: The Civil War
Two recent books that stand out among the rest are Anita Silvey's I'll Pass for Your Comrade and Elka Weber's The Yankee at the Seder.
I'll Pass for Your Comrade introduces upper-elementary and middle school readers to the brave women who disguised themselves as men to fight on the battlefields of the Civil War. Kids will be fascinated by the accounts of these ladies, who took on new names, hid their hair and other feminine features, and rose through the ranks of the military. Silvey includes photographs and other historical documents that show the transformation and courage of these soldiers. Pair with Lynda Durrant's My Last Skirt, a longer look at Jennie Hodgers, one of the women Silvey discusses. You might also encourage kids to research what it's like for women in the military today.
The Yankee at the Seder, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, is a picture book rich with possibilities for discussion. It's the story of a Yankee Jewish soldier who finds a place at the Passover table of a Confederate Jewish family. The son of the Confederate family, Jacob, is resistant to hosting the enemy, but gradually changes his mind through the course of the celebration. This book is a great choice for talking about Reconstruction with upper-elementary kids, but students in the younger grades will appreciate the themes of friendship and understanding, too.
What are your must-read Civil War books? Any that you are ready to retire?