For the past several weeks, my children have been enjoying a wonderful read aloud using Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know), by Karla Akins, published by Knowledge Quest.
This is our first experience with this company, but I doubt it will be our last! Knowledge Quest is well-known for a wealth of geography and history materials, but I didn’t know they also had published e-books such as the one my children have just completed.
Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know) would be an excellent book in and of itself, but the way Knowledge Quest has published it goes beyond just giving us a book. This is an interactive book, so it has links all through the story. It is available from Amazon.com for $4.97.
Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know) is a very well written book, in which we learned a lot more than we ever knew about Sacagawea. We also gained more information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition as a result of reading this book, and plan to go back and add in a free CD unit study about that expedition which I have had for a few years, and simply had not yet gotten around to using.
This book is written for children age 10 and above. My kids are above age 10, but they (most of them, anyway) really liked it. In the case of “The Batman”, he was frequently wanting to be done with it for the day so he could go back to something that interested him more, but he’s all about his sports cards, Nintendo 3DS, and the Hardy Boys series right now . . . )
In the book, Sacagawea is telling the story to her son, Pompey, although at times, it seems as though it switches to a different perspective. For example, sometimes, instead of speaking TO her son, it’s as if she is telling the story about Pompey to someone else.
Most people likely know the basics of Sacagawea’s story, she was stolen away from her Shoshone tribe, and taken to be with the Mandan Tribe. She was given to a trader as his wife, and eventually went as a translator and guide on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We found out a lot in the story about her relationship with her son, and her relationship with her husband, as he treated her like one of his belongings. I believe, through hearing my kids reading this book, that Sacagawea got to learn what it was like to be treated with respect when she went on the expedition with Lewis and Clark. It was amazing though, how much more detail we were able to get from this e-book, and the interactive links! Although the author did have to take literary license in order to create dialog, it is still a very educational read. It is what many who teach with the Charlotte Mason method would call a “living book”.
I asked “The Artist” to read this book out loud to the other three boys, which at first, although “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were into it, “The Batman” was definitely NOT. Until, that is, they started seeing the links in the story. When there was a link, “The Artist” would click on it, taking them out of the e-book to see a picture, or a description of what was being talked about in the story, or sometimes, it would simply be more information about the person being referred to in that part of the story. THAT perked up “The Batman’s” interest, he seemed to enjoy it when they got “more to the story” that way.
My kids thought the description in chapter 15, where the men were jumping from the cold river to the hot springs, and back again over and over, was really funny, and went to look at the link. Another one that they were really excited about was when “Man With Red Hair” (Clark) did the following: “On the side of the rock he wrote his name beside other pictures drawn by the ancient ones“. They were so excited, they called me to the table to see, because we have been to the National Petroglyph Monument Park, here in New Mexico.
I myself found the following note by the author, at the end of the book, to be of great interest, as I did wonder about the different spelling of Sacagawea’s name, different from the one I grew up seeing:
“Some may wonder why I have chosen to spell her name with a “g” instead of a “j.” One reason is because that is the way it was spelled in the Corps’ journals. Another reason is because that is how it was pronounced when Captains Lewis and Clark met her. Her name in Hidatsa language means “bird woman.”
The “j” spelling occurred after the editor of the 1814 narrative of the journals, Nicholas Biddle, transcribed it as a “j” instead of a “g.” No one knows why. He had never met Sacagawea and therefore did not know that she herself pronounced her name with the hard “g” sound in the middle.
While some historians have tried to prove that the “j” in the name is a Shoshone word meaning “boat pusher,” Dr. Sven Liljeblad, professor of linguistics, emeritus, at Idaho State University in Pocatello, analyzed the word “Sacajawea” and concluded that “it is unlikely that Sacajawea is a Shoshoni word….The term for ‘boat’ in Shoshoni is saiki, but the rest of the alleged compound would be incomprehensible to a native speaker of Shoshoni.”
Here is a video of “The Artist” reading from Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know)
Overall, we really liked the interactive e-book Sacagawea (Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know), finding it to be a fun way of being educated further about Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark, and the time in which they lived. We think that Knowledge Quest is a company that is well worth exploring for our future home-school endeavors!
Many of the crew members reviewed this e-book, while others reviewed the Timeline Builder App, also from Knowledge Quest. Please, click below to find out what they all thought, too!