Topic | Dear America Books

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  • Angie

    I am new to the Charlotte Mason approach and am wondering about the Dear America Book series. Would that be considered a living book? They seem to be written in a journal form “written by a child during their travels”. I am interested in looking into living books and saw this one at our library. Does anyone know about these books and have an opinion on them? Thanks.


    Angie, while there are a few of these books that are “okay” in terms of being living books, in general I recommend a great deal of caution in dealing with these books, particulary in the targeted 8-11 y.o. age. I have read about 20 of these, and there were a few that I thought passable, but many had much too much adult content for this age group. A sample of things I found in these books: Description of slave rape by owners; having babies out of wedlock; abuse of slaves; suicide; adulterous thoughts; and some very violent episodes, such as a girl’s hair getting caught in mill wheels and her scalp being ripped off. I found all of this pretty objectionable stuff for the intended age group. Please, please preread!

    Michelle D

    My daughter had expressed interest in this series of books and she is 10. I had no idea some of the content that was in them. Thanks so much for the heads up. It is not a favorite series of hers so I won’t have much trouble keeping her away from them, but I really appreciate the info.


    Than you so much for the heads up on these books. I just skimmed through one at the library and thought it was a great idea for the kids to read, but would have never thought of those themes being discussed in these children’s books. I am one who has to preview before the kids see or read. I almost let my guard down on this one. I am so thankful for this group to ask questions. Thank you again for the warning.


    Sue in MN

    Wow, my dd has read many of these. She is 14 though but I had no idea what was really in these books. I wonder if these books are appropriate for her either at 14.


    Wow Michelle, I had no idea things like this were in those books. We have not read them but I did pick up 2 at the thrift store the other day. Guess I know what I will be reading. Thank you for warning about these books.


    My 11yo son has read many of these books and we have read 2 together.  The first was a Dear America one about a young girl on the Oregon Trail, I didn’t notice any thing *adult*, but honestly, I wasn’t looking for that either, I was just glad he was interested in reading.  The next one was Douglas Allen Deeds/A Donner Party Survivor, and again, I didn’t notice anything, but was looking for any unnecessary content.  After these two he was hooked and he reads quite a bit of them, as a matter of fact he’s into one right now.  This time I will read along with him or suggest another series altogether.

    When you have a reluctant reader, and all of a sudden he/she becomes interested (and I don’t think it’s just the *content* in these books, he’s read other types of books, as well), you’re pretty much just excited that they *want* to read or be read to.  I was elated when he finally caught on that reading could be entertaining/exciting/suspenseful without it always feeling like you are *suppose* to be learning something.  But, now that he has caught on I will definitely be monitoring what he’s reading, especially when the books are suppose to be for young minds, but have content that we can pass on.  Also, there are plenty of other books worth reading. 

    We are doing the 106’s days and he actually really likes the books that are suggested. He gets really irritated at his br.’s if they’re too noisy and he can’t hear.  So all is not lost, he finds The Adventures of Buster Bear just as interesting as the Dear America books, whew!!!

    What do any of you who have posted suggest for an 11 yo boy???

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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