Friday, April 19, 2013

Knowledge Quest - Sacagawea - A Book Review


Knowledge Quest began in 2001 by a homeschooling family, The Johnsons.  They have 6 children and wanted to fill the holes that they saw in their homeschool curriculum choices.  The main one being maps that their children could label and color in as they studied American and World Geography.  Since then, they have had the privilege of working with numerous authors to bring other exciting resources to homeschooling families.  You can read more about Knowledge Quest here.

My family and I had the pleasure of reading one of their newest books (on our Kindle), Sacagawea by Karla Akins.  We had some familiarity with the character of Sacagawea from a few books we had read and also seeing the Night at the Museum movies.  But those don't really tell her story. 

Not much is known about Sacagawea and so Karla has taken some literary license when writing this book.  However, I really felt connected as we read the book.

It starts of with Sacagawea and her son Pompey.  Her son seemed to be around 5 years old or so and he wants her to tell him stories of the past.  Mainly the Man with Red Hair.  You can tell that Sacagawea loves her son immensely and even though he has heard the story many times she tells it again.  Thus begins the journey of Sacagawea.

The book talks about how she and her sister were kidnapped from their family and wound up being slaves.  They stay slaves for several years.  Then they are both won as bets of a game and become the brides of a Frenchman.  It is here that she meets Lewis & Clark.  Clark is the Man with Red Hair. 

Sacagawea goes along as their guide to be able to talk to her people, who haven't seen her since she was kidnapped, so that they can buy horses.  She is THRILLED to be able to go home to see her family and to show them her son, Pompey. 

Imagine, just having a baby and going on a long journey.  But it's not like today.  They walked, boated, canoed, camped out without all the amenities we have today.  They got blisters, infections, attacked by bears and so much more!  Snow, rain, hail were all in this trip.  It was not an easy thing for a new mom (and baby) to endure.  But she did.  She did it for the love of her family.  The thought of seeing them again kept her going.

I will admit that at points I was crying.  I know what it's like to be away from family.  But I at least had some say in that.  Sacagawea did not. 

I don't want to give much more away, but I will say that we really enjoyed the book.  Jonathan (11) was definitely able to understand what was going on and enjoyed hearing some of the journal entries from Lewis & Clark.  Jordan (5) seemed to like Pompey quite a bit.  He would keep asking about the little boy in the book. 

The book is very well written and not hard to read.  I even had Jonathan read a chapter a day so I could see what all he would remember about it. 

I felt so emotional as Sacagawea grows up through this book.  From a young girl to a teenager and then a wife and mother.  She works hard and never gives up.  Even when life threw everything at her, she keeps going.  It was only during extreme illness that she stops for a moment (or so it seems).  The emotional tugs as a mother got to me as well.  She would do anything to protect her child.  She also wanted the best for her child. 

She struggles for her identity, especially since she is not like the "white-man".  She learns to stand up for herself and her son and ultimately wants to be known as an equal.  Especially since she works so hard for everything. 

I think that Sacagawea is a definite book to have in your library.  You will definitely be able to connect to her character.  It is something that the whole family can enjoy.  I know mine did.

Sacagawea is available here for $3.99


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