Book Review: How We Crossed the West

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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Lewis and Clark

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This great little book gives you a new slant on the Lewis and Clark story. It takes the actual words written by Meriwether Lewis and Williams Clark in their journals and illustrates them with fun pictures. In doing so, it solves one of the common problems associated with studying primary sources for this topic: The journals are full of big words and difficult concepts.

Written and illustrated by Rosalyn Schanzer (who also wrote Gold Rush and The Old Chisholm Trail), this book gives you the usual facts of the Voyage of Discovery--how Lewis and Clark started out, how they hooked up with Sacagawea, how they crossed the Continental Divide, how they reached the Pacific Ocean, how they made it back to the East--while also giving you words from the explorers' journals to illustrate those facts.

This is a book that tries to be both a picture book and a history book, and it succeeds at both. The text is compelling, and so are the illustrations (which Schanzer said she produced by taking great pains to present them as true representations of what Lewis and Clark drew in their journals and what other historians and artists have produced to illustrate that period in history).

I recommend it highly to student and adult alike. No study of Lewis and Clark is complete without it.

(For more on Lewis and Clark, click here.)

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Social Studies for Kids
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