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Chapter 31 - If You Lived In Williamsburg in Colonial Days

We had the pleasure of spending time with our youngest grandchild, Max, in Williamsburg, Virginia a few weeks ago. Max is on the high side of 6 which makes him like a small sponge, soaking up everything and having wonderful enthusiasm for all that he does. Being big time history buffs, we subjected him to a week of history in Williamsburg.

Any adventure always has me thinking about books, you know. So here are some that take place in Williamsburg or are about the American Revolution. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - This story takes place in the early 1700's and is about an Irish girl who ends up coming to a plantation outside of Williamsburg after her parents die onboard ship. She is not a slave but is put in the kitchen house and treated as a servant. The story follows her from her humble origins to the wife of a vicious plantation owner and beyond.

A Place Called Freedom by Jeffrey Archer - An interesting book by Archer as he is a British author. The book ranges from English coal mines to freedom in the United States.

The Bastard by John Jakes - This is the first of the Kent Family Chronicles by Jakes. Philip Charboneau is born on the "wrong side of the blanket" in 1700's England. He learns the printing trade as a young boy in London. After traveling to the United States he falls under the influence of a man named Benjamin Franklin. The rest is, as they say, history.

Rise to Rebellion: A Novel of the American Revolution by Jeff Shaara - I don't think anyone novelizes American History better than Jeff Shaara. Shaara incorporates history and information from diaries and logs with exquisite skill to give us novelized accounts of important historical events.

For children:

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes - This book, the winner of the 1944 Newberry Medal, has lost nothing over the years. Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith, injures his hand in an accident and ends up a courier for the The Boston Observer where he comes in contact with a lot of historical figures. A great book to teach children about events leading up to the American Revolution.

April Morning by Howard Fast - A good young adult book, this story tracks Adam Cooper's journey through the war as a continental soldier who is "dressed down" by his father, misunderstood by his mother, and plagued by his little brother. Not originally a young adult book, it has been frequently assigned to students in middle school.

If You Lived in Colonial Days by Barbara Brenner - Word of warning on this one, don't get the e-reader version. I bought this very easy and informative book and sent a paper copy to Max so he had a basic understanding of Williamsburg. I purchased the e-reader version for myself and it is small print, you can't change text size or make the book horizontal instead of vertical on your e-reader. So while a good book, stick to the printed paper version!


1776 by David McCullough - As the title suggests this book is about seminal events which took place in 1776 on both sides of the Atlantic. It particularly answers questions about why King George went to war against the colonies and how George Washington's leadership motivated a band of farmers, merchants, and professionals to success.

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis - Taking place in 1790, this historic account examines how a group of gifted but very disparate people like Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison put aside differences to create a nation.

George Washington's Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade - If you've never read Kilmeade's books you are in for a treat. He writes history is a way that seems like fiction. At the end of 1776, it appeared that Britain would win out over the colonies after a series of colonial battle defeats. Washington changed tactics, in part, due to his top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. Instead of military might he instituted a spy ring which gave him information about the British.

Are there any American Revolution books either fiction or non-fiction that you recommend?

You can order these or other books from


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