Guest Author - Alissa Moy
"Addy, An American Girl 1864" by Connie Rose Porter is a wonderful story about a brave young lady. During the turbulent Civil War Era Addy and her mother are escaping slavery. The story tells of the hardships Addy faces, as well as the hope and faith she manages to hold onto. Later books in the series, also by Connie Rose Porter, follow Addy during happier times in her new life as a free young lady. The main books are as follows:
1. "Meet Addy" - Addy and her mother escape from slavery. They hope to be free and reunite their family.
2. "Addy Learns a Lesson" - Addy starts her life as a free young lady in Philadelphia. She learns alongside all free children, gleening knowledge in reading, writing, math, and everything in between!
3. "Addy's Surprise: A Christmas Story"- Addy and her mother are generous with the little money they have saved, and thrilled by an unexpected surprise.
4. "Happy Birthday, Addy!" - Addy makes a new friend, who encourages her to claim a birthday. Her new friend also helps her face prejudice.
5. "Addy Saves the Day" - The Civil War is over, but the feud between Addy and Harriet is not. Tragedy forces them to come together at last.
6. "Changes for Addy" - The long struggle to reunite Addy's family finally ends. However, there is heartache along with the happiness.
To coincide with the books the American Girl website has a fantastic page full of era based games and information about Addy. The website also features a family list for Addy with descriptions, as well as a book excerpt. The website is safe and educational, and provides wholesome fun for enrichment based on the American Girl books.
The study of Addy lends itself nicely to a unit on The Civil War. The stories about Addy and the hardships of her family during these times echo the history of this time period. When reading the first book with your child be sure to ask many comprehension questions, to ensure not only understanding, but also critical thought process. Here are some questions to ask:
What secret did Addy hear? How does Addy react to this?
What terrible thing happens to Sam and Poppa? How does Addy handle this?
Why must Addy and her mother leave Esther behind? How does Addy feel about doing this?
What does Uncle Soloman give to Addy before her journey? Why is this a treasure for Addy?
How does Miss Caroline help Addy and her mother? Does Addy feel hopeful about the future?
Maybe you are thinking about creating an Addy lapbook. If so, the website "Lapbook Lessons" has a nice selection of templates for the Addy book.
Consider creating quilt themed pages and adding them to your lapbook, in honor of this Civil War era tradition. Have your homeschooler design quilt squares they feel represents your family today, and maybe some that represent Addy's family. Compare and contrast the squares, and discuss the colors used for each. A family tree is also another good project to embark on for this unit study. Once complete, this will be nice addition to a lapbook.
Along with the curriculum you are using to teach The Civil War, there are many books and resources to add to your study. There is actually enough material to cover a Civil War unit study if you don't have a current curriculum on it! Here are a few suggestions for materials and resources for this American Girl, Addy, unit study:
-"Shadows on Society Hill: An Addy Mystery"(American Girl Mysteries) Explore the mystery genre with this Addy story. Both you and your homeschooler will be enthralled!
-"Welcome to Addy's World, 1864: Growing Up During America's Civil War" (American Girls Collection) by Susan Sinnott. Get the real history from this well written book, based on Addy's life during the Civil War.
-"Addy's Short Story Collection" (American Girl) by Susan McAliley. If your homeschooler just can't get enough Addy stories this is a wonderful add on to your reading program.
-Addy American Girl Puzzle- What is more fun then a challenging puzzle and a beloved character!
-"Addy's Cook Book: A Peek at Dining in the Past With Meals You Can Cook Today" (American Girls Pastimes Collection) by Jodi Evert and Rebecca Sample Bernstein. This is an awesome segway to cooking lessons, and every family member will enjoy the goodies you make!
-"The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities" (For Kids series)
by Janis Herbert. This is a great resource for children in grades three through seven, but the activities can be adapted for any age.