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I Am George Washington

de Grace Norwich

Sèrie: I Am (#5)

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1441145,558 (5)No n'hi ha cap
Provides an introduction to the life of the Revolutionary War general and first U.S. president.
No n'hi ha cap
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In the biography, I Am George Washington written by Grace Norwich, the author chronicles the life of Washington from his birth in 1732 to his death in 1799. The book’s six chapters are organized chronologically and include a glossary, an index, a brief introduction, and a timeline beginning with Washington’s birth and continuing through the major events of his personal life including his military and political experiences. In addition, Norwich includes a “People You Will Meet” section at the beginning of the book, which provides a brief description of members of Washington’s family as well as other famous figures such as Thomas Jefferson and King George III. Also included in this book are informational inserts. These jewels of information are inserted masterfully throughout the text and provide additional information on everything from Washington’s love for mathematics (p.17) to a brief story of how Martha Washington— “Lady Washington”—camped with her husband and his troops during the winter of 1777–1778 (p.84).

The cover of the book depicts a picture of George Washington. His facial expression shows a strong and confident man; his left hand effortlessly holding the reigns of a horse, although the horse is not shown on the cover of the book. This picture shows the George Washington I know from school, the fearless leader of the Continental army who took the reins to lead the United States as the country’s first president. However, after reading the introduction, the reader is left asking the questions: “Is there another side of Washington?” “Was he truly as fearless and proud as the cover depicts him?” I would argue that the focus of I Am George Washington is the portrayal of the man as a humble hero. According to Norwich’s introduction, Washington valued his humility as one of “his most important and often overlooked qualities” (p. 6). Also, in Chapter 5, Norwich writes, when “the Continental Congress asked him to take command of the newly formed Continental Army, George didn’t know if he was up to the task.” Norwich portrays Washington not as a typical overzealous warmonger, but as a man who did not want a fight, but one who would never back down from one either. The scope of the book includes the lived experiences of George Washington from birth to death, and the depth of the book highlights how those experiences prepared him to be a gentleman, a humble military leader, and the first President of the United States.

Norwich presents the introduction of her book in the first person; however, the rest of the book is written as a narrative. The content of the book is carefully organized and the progression of events is placed in a logical order. For example, Chapter 1 describes Washington’s life as a child and his relationship with his family. The chapter ends with the deaths of his father, mother, brother, and sister-in-law and with him inheriting Mount Vernon. Chapter 2 entitled “Soldiering On” starts with George beginning his military career right after his brother’s death by taking over his position as an officer in the Virginia militia. The language Norwich uses is assessable for the target audience of this book (third to fifth graders). There are no metaphors in the book, however, there are some examples of figurative language, for example, “it took two long years to hammer out the details,” and “his voice choked back the tears.”

I would argue that the tone of the book is neutral. Norwich gives the facts about Washington’s life and leaves readers to draw their own conclusions. I enjoyed reading I Am George Washington as the book is easy to read and engaging. Also, the book is six chapters long and is not intimidating to younger readers; instead it is lighthearted and personable. For example, throughout the book Norwich refers to George Washington simply as “George.” Norwich’s “10 Things You Should Know about George Washington” is packed with insightful information about Washington; and, as if this was not enough, Norwich follows this section with another entitled: “10 More Things You Should Know about George Washington.” These two sections alone make this book worth reading. I highly recommend I Am George Washington; it is an excellent example of informational text for young readers done right.

III: As a teacher, I would use I Am George Washington as required reading for a social studies unit on the American Revolution. Although the book was written for grades 3-6, I also recommend it for 7th and 8th grade students as a supplemental reading for an American history or President’s Day lesson.
IV: On Destiny, I discovered a number of books about George Washington, in particular, George Washington by Kenneth C. Davis and George Washington: leader of a new nation by Mary P. Osborne. These books are recommended for grades 3-6 and both books are considered biographies of Washington. Considering these books, I Am George Washington would make a great addition to the collection on Destiny. In addition, because the Davis book examines the childhood, youth, education, early surveying career as well as the life in the military, and presidency of Washington just like my book, it would be great for students to read both books and compare and contrast the details.
V: I read a number of reviews on Amazon and found all of them, although short, highlighted the key elements of my review. For example, the reviewers on Amazon noted, “the added details (insert, added information like the 10 Things To know about George Washington section) were interesting and that the book is engaging and “is great for a 3rd grade reader.” After reading these reviews, I am confident about my review and my recommendation to add I Am George Washington to Destiny. ( )
  penny.johnsonward | Mar 17, 2013 |
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Provides an introduction to the life of the Revolutionary War general and first U.S. president.

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