Monday, February 12, 2018

Father of Our Country: George Washington The First President by Sarah Albee

In 1776, the colonists in America declared independence from Britain. The two sides called it the American Revolution.

Of course, to King George and his subjects in Great Britain, it was a rebellion, and he sent warships, cannons, and more troops to put down the uprising in his largest colony.

The Americans needed an army, and for that they needed a general.

George Washington was the general who led the American army. He was brave and fair. 

After a long and difficult war, with some battles lost and some won, the British Army surrendered, and the Revolutionary leaders asked Washington to continue to lead the country. But Washington declined. He chose to return to Mt. Vernon, the farm in Virginia he had inherited from his brother Lawrence. He had married a widow, Martha Custis, with two children and even more land, and Washington wanted to become a successful planter.

He said, "I retire," he announced.

But the new country needed help, and Washington returned to public life to help write the Constitution and became the first president of the new United States, guiding the nation through two terms. Sarah Albee's George Washington: The First President (I Can Read Level 2) (Harper-Collins, 2017). This Level 2 beginning reader is a fine introduction to historical biography for early independent readers. It provides a full summary of Washington's life, including his family story, his early work for the British Crown and service with the British army in the French and Indians' War and his leadership in the formative days of the new American republic.

Illustrator Chin Ko supports Albee's narrative well with active and realistic illustrations with much visual information for young readers, and the book offers a substantial supportive appendix with a timeline of Washington's life, a special photo essay on slave life at Mt. Vernon, with a fascinating section on the black double agent spy who was part of Washington's critical spy network that helped win the war. This is a great book for classroom libraries and an informative and rather absorbing read for early primary students suitable for a biography or history report in that period leading up the Presidents Day.

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