Book Reviews: The Uncivil War - Battle in the Classroom by Nick K. Adamscategories: Book, Civil War, Juvenile Fiction, American Civil War, Fourth Grade, Family History, Historical Fiction
Nick K. Adamsabout this book: The next four years are filled with historical markers, for we have begun the 150th anniversary remembrances of the American Civil War, fought from April, 1861 to April, 1865. It's a great time for parents and teachers to engage young readers regarding the people, issues, and events of that pivotal period. And I have written a novel that is already enabling that to happen with 3rd through 6th graders!
All the years I taught social studies to my fourth grade classes,I used the 104 letters my g-g-grandfather wrote back from the war to his young family at their Minnesota prairie homestead. It is that primary source material - personal reflections on the conflict from a common soldier's perspective - that is the heart of the award winning "The Uncivil War: Battle in the Classroom."
My setting is a modern day classroom, which makes it easy for young readers to connect with the two central students searching for their histories. The historically realistic flashbacks to the distant grandfathers they discover, also draws today's readers willingly into the period. The revelation that both grandfathers fought at the same battle - only on opposite sides - creates real tension in the classroom, and personalizes the war for the students.
I wrote the novel, not only to use again the unique material at hand, but also out of the experiences of personal discovery my students through the years had, learning of their own family connections to the war.
Many students who read "The Uncivil War" become interested in the period and discover the same kinds of connections through family discussions and follow-up. I always say: "Each of you has a family story. You may or may not want to know what that story is. And even if you want to know, the resources may not be there to find out. But it's also possible that history can become meaningfully real to you if you can discover some member of your family who was personally involved!"
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Wonderful blend of fiction and truthThe Uncivil War is a book that will encourage students to get into history. Students find the characters and the conflict in the story interesting and intriguing. I read this book as a read-aloud to my 4th and 5th grade students. It opened many discussions about the Civil War as well as inspired some to go and find out their own family history. Great historical fiction! [by Irma Gross]
The Uncivil War - A Review by Dodge County Historical Society, Mantorville MinnesotaAs president of the Dodge County Hisstorical Society in Minnesota, it was an honor and delight to meet the author of this great kids book. Although written at an elementary level, I couldn't put the book down. It had me hooked from the first page, with history, and the intrigue in the classrooom. It pulled me right back into that 5th grade mentality of who was best in the class. Nick Adams' insight from his great great grandfather's actual letters told a vivid tale of the irony of war and how things that happened over 150 years ago can still affect life today. I highly recommmend this book to any 4th through 6th grade teacher for use in the classroom, as well as a great half hour read for adult historians. [by Faye Ricter]
War and RedemptionThis story offers a small chance for redemption in an otherwise grim episode of American History. Mr. Adams takes war reality and softens its edge for younger readers. As a school Librarian, I appreciate that some good can come out of a tragically true story. [by Louise Steuben]
Makes History RealNick Adams has created a tool for classroom teachers and parents to use in helping young readers understand the life and people of the civil war. While this book is fictional, the events really happened as Nick actually used his great great grandfather's letters in his 4th grade classroom, just as the teacher in the book did. The children were spellbound and didn't even want to go out to recess, so eager were they for the next instalment of letters. His style of writing captivates young readers as well as adults. We bought several copies of the book for our adult friends who love history. I highly recommend this book for all ages. [by Carolyn Curles]
Fiction and FactA wonderful blend of fiction and fact. I highly recommend it for all school children studying the Civil War. I have purchased copies for all my grandchildren.
Great Book, Amazing TeacherNick is a great story teller and was an incredible teacher when I had him. Reading this book brings the war to life in a way that few can. It's amazing. I highly recommend it for families, teachers, and anyone who is interested in a bit of easily applicable history.
Not All That FictionalAn interesting approach that draws children into "real" history. My children read it and enjoyed it very much. By utilizing material from letters written by the author's g-g-grandfather, the reader is provided insight into the thoughts, emotions, dramatic events and the mundane life of a soldier woven around a compelling plot. While the story is fictional, its plot actually could occur within a classroom! I highly recommend this book for elementary school children. It makes a great supplement for teaching the War between the States for home schools as well as in traditional class room settings; plus it's enjoyable as light reading for adults as well. It's not too often we are provided with insight into events occurring 150 years ago. As an avid Civil War historian, lecturer and reenactor, I appreciate an historically accurate book. [by Cap Caputo]
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