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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Celebrate the American dream with Abraham's Journey book review


On President’s Day, my children sat and listened while I read a new paperback book to them.  The book is from Inspiring the American Dream and is called Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian.


I found the book to be three-fold:

  1. A fun read-aloud, or read-alone story to enjoy
  2. An exciting launching pad for further biographical and character learning
  3. A story of hope in times of despair 

Not long into the story, I was struck with a bit of excitement as it reminded me somewhat of the Night at the Museum movies that we love because it brings otherwise dry and boring historical characters to life. Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream didn’t stop in the past, however, the authors also included some modern-day and well-known influencers.

The book is a thin glossy covered paperback book with about 14 pages of story-related text and nicely illustrated colorful pictures throughout. I believe it is intended for approximately a 7 to 12 year old child, if read on their own, and looks to me to be at about a third to fifth grade reading level.

The book is available on the Inspiring the American Dream site for $14.99.

While my recently turned 11-year-old and my 12-year-old could have easily read the book by themselves, I chose to read it aloud with both my older children and my newly turned six-year-old on hand to listen.

The story is about a little boy named Abraham, who after hearing that both parents have lost their jobs during the Great Recession, tries to look for a way to make money to buy gifts and save his family’s Christmas. To his surprise, he ends up going an a magical time-machine style journey through his Smartphone and back into history and then back into present day time where he meets:
  • Abraham Lincoln 
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Norman Rockwell 
  • Amelia Earhart 
  • Mark Zuckerberg 
  • Bill and Melinda Gates 
It is through these encounters that he not only discovers his true talent, but also develops a heart to help orphans and others along the way.

The book serves as a fun launching pad to further discussions and learning:

It didn’t take long to read the story to my children. We probably spent almost as much time discussing it, as it seemed to ignite questions and discussion from the most basic observations to more thought-provoking insights.

For instance, my 11-year-old noticed that the boy, Abraham, was wearing the same clothes at the end of his journey that he was wearing when he “left” through his Smartphone. From this, we talked about whether or not the entire story was told as if it really happened or could it have been a dream.

We also got very deep in our discussion. We wondered if perhaps, the story was expressing how we now have all of the resources we need at our fingertips if we only tap into these resources enough to learn from those who have gone before us to pave the way for our entrepreneurial successes.

The back of the book also provides short biographies of each of the main influential figures spotlighted in the story along with a list of terms to discuss, such as:
  • Charity 
  • Courage 
  • Imagination 
  • Innovation 
  • Self-Reliance 
And more character-related terms that could open up even more conversation and opportunities to learn life lessons.

Read what other Schoolhouse review crew members thought of the book here or click on the picture below:

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