Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear America - American History Resource for Tween Girls

Younger female readers and parents may be familiar with Scholastic's Dear America series, a collection of fictional diaries set during pivotal times in American history. Now there is a Dear America website with activities for children and teachers that allows students to experience American history through the eyes of someone their own age.

The Teach Dear America site, geared at educators and created in collaboration with the Library of Congress, includes discussion guides for the books, links to the Our America student journals and more. You can click on a specific era in history (Civil War, Great Depression, etc.) and access white-board ready slides, student activities (including arts and crafts, recipes) and teaching resources.

The Dear America Kids site allows students to explore virtual scrapbooks of specific Dear America characters that contain samples of the fashions of the time period, a recipe of the food she would have eaten and links to arts and crafts projects popular during the character's lifetime. There is also a discussion area (message boards) where the hope is that kids will discuss the books, themes, characters, etc. However, when I poked around, I saw lots of postings that had nothing to do with the Dear America series. The board is moderated, so you should be safe from having to view anything offensive, but be warned that you'll end up reading the random musings of bored tweens with screen names like "gigglygrl."

Because it's a Scholastic site (part of "The Stacks"), be aware that you will see lots of promotions (i.e., ads) touting other completely unrelated book series, games and websites.

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