Posts tagged ‘Great Britain’

PROUD AND FREE

America’s Star Spangled Story Celebrating 200 Hundred Years of the National Anthem

Written by Jane Hampton Cook

starspangledbanner

An interesting book that uses each line of The Star Spangled Banner to trace the history of the events of the War of 1812 when the British attempted to control Washington, DC, the key players in the events, background events, and photos from the past and present. The author narrates the history of the battle for control of Fort McHenry relating to the lines of the song as it was penned in the midst of the battle. Occasionally the author dips back in time to muse about the thoughts of the Pilgrims as they landed on the shores of America, and the Patriots as they fought for freedom from Great Britain during the American Revolution. They believed that The War of 1812 and the destruction of the Capitol by the British added insult to injury.

Readers are encouraged to think about the images that each line of this now famous song evoke in their minds and hearts. Perhaps few Americans are aware that the song did not gain widespread notoriety until the end of the nineteenth century and was not made the official national anthem until the administration of Herbert Hoover.

Anyone with an interest in American history and this beautiful song will find the short book entertaining and informative. Appropriate for readers age ten and older.

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LEARNING TO LEAD

Winston Churchill: The Inspiring Story and Lessons of Winston Churchill

Written by Anthony Taylor

Churchill,pic

This book is an interesting reflection on the life of Winston Churchill. Make no mistake; this book is not a comprehensive biography or a carefully researched historical document, but it does provide insight into a passionate leader who was able to lead Great Britain to victory over the Nazi threat. The focus of the book is to use Churchill as an example in studying the steps and strategies necessary to become a successful leader.

Taylor reveals the challenges faced by Churchill’s lack of support from his wealthy parents who viewed him as a failure as well as his disastrous stint as Lord of the Admiralty and removal from office due to his failed naval strategy during World War I. Over the years, Churchill faced political ups and downs; he did not hesitate to switch political parties when they supported causes to which he was morally opposed. He gained first hand battle experience as a war correspondent and was taken as prisoner. He became a prolific writer, securing the Nobel Prize for Literature after the war in 1953. Churchill realized that knowing oneself was the key to inspiring people. He succeeded in this even though he had to overcome a speech impediment to do so. Winston did not know how to admit defeat; he preferred bloodshed and living with the consequences.

The crux of this book comes in chapter six in which Taylor outlines the ten life lessons to be learned from Winston Churchill. He lists them and provides examples of how Churchill used these attributes to maximum potential. These include: courage, learning from one’s mistakes, faith and persistence, good leadership skills, patience, experience, positive attitude, inspiration, knowing oneself, and patriotism. Taylor urges every reader who sees himself as a potential leader in his field to use Churchill’s life as an inspiration to follow.

I would recommend this book in particular for tweens and teens who are interested in learning more about the period between World War I through World War II. Critics who say that the book is not a carefully researched historical document or a biography in the technical sense are correct, but I believe that this short piece is an excellent supplement for teachers who want children to go beyond studying the facts to understand better the motivations and actions of Churchill during the period.

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A GIFT TO ONESELF

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I would like to wish my subscribers and their families all over the world peace, joy, health, and happiness however and wherever you celebrate during this holiday season.

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The Prayer: A Haunting Children’s Christmas Tale that Captures the True Spirit of Christmas

Written by Stephan J Myers

Illustrated by Kerry Fisher and Stephan J Myers

The Prayer,pic

These verses were first written in 2009 and recently published in Great Britain in kindle format. The author makes one request: before reading the story promise that you will never forget the meaning in these words. I don’t think that you will…

The title is a bit misleading because this book is not a prayer in the religious sense. At the beginning the scene is set for children round the world dreaming of the images and gifts that Christmas will bring; then suddenly shifts to the image of children who have no family, friends, and are struggling to survive the night. “For sometimes the children who need things the most, are lost to the night and a pale winter’s ghost.”

A starving child dressed in rags hears a voice in the darkness that urges him to follow his lantern so that he may discover a home with a hearth and a warm fire. This spirit instructs the boy to hold up his lantern and peer through the windows he passes along the way. The boy obeys and observes a young boy reading in a room with presents piled under the tree. At the next house he views this same boy who is now a father with a child on his knee; the kitchen tables piled high with food. As his lantern grows dimmer, the boy gazes through another window viewing that boy as an old man. No one in these houses is able to see his plight. The lamp is beginning to fade, and so is the life left in that little boy. When New Year dawns, those lucky children are still reveling in the holiday oblivious to his plight, while that little needy little boy has become a ghost.

This is a powerful and well written short story done in verse that will remain in memory long after you read it. The illustrations are colorful, fluid, warm and penetrating; they reinforce the words and draw on compelling images that do not allow the words to recede from memory. Myers represents the story through the eyes of the starving child though the execution does not always work. I would strongly recommend this book as a family read or a book for classroom discussion reminding all of the deeper meaning of the Christmas season.

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