As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a children’s book from Inspiring The American Dream.
From the Inspiring the American Dream website : “Abraham’s Journey – A Children’s Book That Celebrates The American Dream. The American dream is in jeopardy. Unless we, as parents, grandparents and educators, teach our children about this unique American ideal, the American dream will be lost forever.”
Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream can be purchased from the website at the cost of $14.99, and if you order right away you can receive a personalized copy, signed by the authors, Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian.
This book is soft-cover, approximately 30 pages, with quite a bit of it taken up by very nice illustrations. It is written for children ages 7 – 12. At the back of the book is a three page section which is a glossary of terms used in the story, along with short bios of all of the historical people Abraham meets on his journey, and of the authors as well.
When we received the book, my four boys (whose ages range from 11 – 20, all with special needs and some developmental delays) gathered around and we used it as a read aloud, while discussing the events happening in the story.
This story takes place during “The Great Recession”, and is about a boy named Abraham who has just learned that both of his parents have lost their jobs. The story begins shortly before Christmas, and his parents have let Abraham and his sister know that they’ll not be able to buy them any gifts, as there is no money to spend.
In the story, Abraham wants to “save Christmas” for his family, and while texting with his friends on his smart phone, an old man, represented by Abraham Lincoln, pops up on the screen and draws modern-day Abraham into a digital world, taking him along on a journey back and forth through time.
Along the way, Abraham meets a variety of well-known people including Martin Luther King, Norman Rockwell, Amelia Earhart, Mark Zuckerberg, along with Bill and Melinda Gates. Each one of them shows Abraham their version of the American Dream, and along the way, he discovers his own special talent, something that he can use to make the money he wants in order to buy gifts for his family.
After Abraham’s magical journey, he is able to “save Christmas” for his family, and his story inspires his family to do something for others.
I personally was disappointed in the story. My very first thought was that if both parents have lost their jobs, why does their child have a smart phone with service? For me, not only would none of my children even HAVE a smart phone, I would think in a story like this that it would certainly be among the first things to be cut from the budget.
My children and I also discussed how Abraham did not learn through his adventure that presents are not what Christmas is all about. He learned from each character (except for one, who I will get to in a bit) that the American Dream is about money and/or fame. I don’t want my children to believe that.
The very first person he meets on his journey, Martin Luther King, does teach him about HIS dream, the dream of equality for all, no matter what color they are. I did like that.
My final thoughts? This is a well written story book, though as a soft-cover it is bit pricey for my budget, and it is one that espouses a world view that is the opposite of the one we choose for our family. For us, we want our children to learn that the American Dream is not about money or fame, or even home ownership, etc . . . rather, we want them to grow up believing that the American Dream is serving the Lord, being a good friend, being a good family member, and that all of that can happen even if one is poor. I would not purchase this book for MY children, but it would probably work very well for a secular homeschooling family.