What a delight to have the opportunity to review the book “Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream” by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. I sat snuggled on the couch on a rainy Monday with my 16, 9 and 7 year old children. I love it when the older ones join us for a read aloud and I really wanted my sophomore’s opinion, as she is finishing up a year long Economics course. What better ideal to share with them than “Inspiring the American Dream.” Of course we all hope that is something our children do not take for granted, because we live in a free country and are blessed to even have the freedom to pursue our dreams.
So with warm drinks in hand, cozy blankets around us and the sound of rain hitting the windows I read to them the story of a young boy who is dealing with the “Great Recession.” His parents have lost their jobs, as so many American families have experienced, and Abraham has decided to take it upon himself to make their Christmas as special as possible, though his parents have warned he and his sister not to expect the regular stack of presents they usually receive. Abraham begins his search immediately, inquiring on his smart phone if any of his friends know of any jobs out there. Suddenly a “wise old man” reaches through the phone and Abraham is pulled into cyber space where he is standing face to face with none other than Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln takes the young Abraham on a journey back in time to meet several inspirational men and women (you will have to read the book to find out who he meets) who have worked diligently and battled the odds to make their American Dreams reality. Abraham finds a talent he never knew he had and is inspired to pursue his talent through hard work and the proper channels in order to help his family and in the mean time begin the journey of his very own American Dream. His success allows him to surprise his family, once he is back at home, with presents under the Christmas Tree from his own earnings. Abraham’s American Dream is brought full circle later Christmas morning as he and his family take the rest of his earnings to bless a homeless shelter with much needed supplies.
After the story is over, the book has a list of definitions at the back, which were very helpful to the understanding of my younger two. Following the definitions, there were short biographies of the inspirational characters Abraham encountered on his journey, which added to the overall depth of this book.
My 16 year old daughter said, “finally, a book that addresses the ‘Great Recession’ for younger children, who have actually (and still are) living through it.” I asked them each what their American Dreams might be and if they thought they would be able to achieve them. Of my younger two sons, one said he wanted to build robots and the other said he either wanted to be a pastor or a missionary and both exuberantly felt certain they would achieve those dreams. My 16 year old daughter, on the other hand, who has experienced first hand the Great Recession and it’s devastating effects on our family and so many others around her in our Recession wracked community, thought that the American Dream was no longer an option with the turns our government has taken. She has been studying the American economic situation all year and fears we have veered so far off course from the original plan that unless something incredibly major happens, there is not nearly as much of an opportunity for her generation as in generations past.
After our discussion, the boys drew pictures and illustrated their thoughts based on our reading and discussion of the book “Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream” by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian. You can purchase this refreshing book that weaves our current era with historical men and women at www.inspiringtheamericandream.com for $14.99. I think this works for students of all ages (especially when read in a multi-age setting), though it is written for children 7 through 12. My daughter (who is very artistic), especially enjoyed the artistic renditions throughout the story.
~Living my American Dream as a Home Educating Mama to my 4 Blessings~
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