(Today Kristina gives us good info about the last two books in the four-book compilation, American Dream: The New World, The Colonial Times, and Hints of Revolution, Barbour Publishing, Reprint edition, 2011. Info about the first two books can be found at American Dream.)

Maggie’s Dare by Norma Jean Lutz is set in Boston, 1744, during the time of the Great Awakening. Twelve-year-old Maggie is the daughter of a doctor and a typical girl interested in friends and having fun. A member of the popular crowd, she is close friends with the governor’s daughter, Adelaide Chilton. Maggie is invited to attend dance lessons at the Chilton house in preparation for the upcoming Christmas Ball.

A conflict is developing in the community over the teachings of two rival ministers. Maggie and her family follow the teachings of Joshua Gee of the Old North Church. However, other townspeople find Jonathan Edwards’ sermons compelling. Maggie begins to learn more about the teachings of Jonathan Edwards. Some family members and friends begin to follow his teachings, and she notices the positive changes in their lives. Edwards’ teachings prompt Maggie to think about helping those who can’t take care of themselves.

One day at high tea at the Chilton’s, Adelaide introduces Maggie and her friends to her new personal slave, Melee. Maggie does not like the idea of slavery. She also suspects, because she’s a doctor’s daughter, that the slave is ill. As time passes Maggie discovers the truth about the servant Melee and her problem. Maggie must figure out a plan to get her some help, but what Maggie does causes problems for both of them. Will Melee be healed physically and spiritually? Will Maggie come to understand more about the teachings of Jonathan Edwards?

The Great Awakening opened the doors for many religious ideas and reforms, thus allowing people to deepen their relationship with the Lord. This book teaches about looking beyond the surface to find the truth. It is a great read for 9 to 12-year-old girls who like history.

The fourth book in the American Dream compilation is Lizzie and the Redcoat. It was written by Susan Martins Miller.

Lizzie is a young girl living in Boston during the pre-American Revolution. Lizzie and other Bostonians learn through the bulletins that the Seven Year’s War has depleted the English treasury. King George wants the colonists to pay additional taxes to help restore England’s finances. The colonists are already struggling financially.

New taxes are not their only dispute with the King. The British government has also decided there should be a standing army in the colonies. Some colonists are being forced to quarter soldiers in their homes. British agents are also carefully watching merchants to insure they are not smuggling goods.

On Christmas Day Lizzie’s family comes together to celebrate, however the family is divided on the new taxes, the presence of British troops, and the future of the colonies. As spring starts to emerge some colonists protest and boycott the British. Lizzie throws a snowball at a British soldier.

Everything comes to a head when the Stamp Act is passed. A government stamp must be paid for and placed on all printed documents. Lizzie’s father is a printer and this new tax will impact his business. He is pressured by some to not post the stamp. Boston, as a result of the Stamp Act, becomes polarized between the loyalists and the revolutionaries. Civic leaders such as Samuel Adams start the Sons of Liberty movement and organize meetings where he and others give anti-British speeches. The speeches spark a small riot between the colonists and British troops. A British soldier is wounded and others are hurt in the riot.

Lizzie and her uncle, who is a doctor, rescue the wounded Redcoat. She and her uncle treat him while the protest continues outside the window. Will he survive? What will Lizzie learn from this incident? During the crisis, Lizzie’s father is torn between speaking the truth about the Boston Massacre–the colonists fired first–and what some colonists want to hear. Finally, a victory for the colonists comes; the Stamp Act is repealed. But it is too late, the tide is turning toward a revolution.

Lizzie’s story is about a young girl who learns during a crisis that looking out for others is more important than following the crowd. She learns that the truth is more important than following others. This is an excellent book for young girls who are interested in history.

Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader and a credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.

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