Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holidays and History: Passover, Easter, Patriot's Day

April is more than pea-planting time. There's a handful of holidays that need celebrating, starting with Passover, on April 3rd.

Passover celebrates the freeing of the Jews from Egyptian enslavement about 3,000 years ago. In The Passover Lamb, by Linda Marshall, Miriam and her family are looking forward to the seder at her grandparent's house. This is an especially important year for Miriam, because it will be her first year to ask the traditional four questions. But there are complications... one of the sheep gives birth to triplets. Papa says they'll have to stay home to take care of the third baby that needs to be bottle fed every four hours... but Miriam has a plan.

Easter comes early this year... April 5th - that's the first Sunday after the full moon following Spring equinox. Given the weather, you might want to dye your eggs brilliant hues if you plan to hide them behind the snowdrifts.

If you're looking for a traditional tale for the little ones, check out the board book, Peter Cottontail. Or read Winnie the Pooh's Easter, by Bruce Talkington. Pooh discovers a huge egg decorated with polka-dots, and Rabbit thinks it can talk. But none of Pooh's friends can make it talk. Finally it's cracked open for an Easter surprise.

 On April 19th, people in Boston celebrate Patriot's Day to commemorate the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Patriot's Day also honors Paul Revere's midnight ride. There are some great books for young history buffs.  

George, the Drummer Boy, by Nathanial Benchley, tells the story of the battle at Lexington and Concord as seen through the eyes of George, a British drummer boy. The text is simple enough for young readers to enjoy.

Older readers might enjoy Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, by Francis Russell. This is an account of the early events of the American Revolution through the evacuation of Boston in 1776.

You could probably recite "Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere...." from memory. But Christopher Bing adds so much more to this book with his artwork, maps, documents, letters. This is a treasure trove for kids who love to dive into history.