The Tree That Owns Itself

The Tree That Owns Itself
Gail Langer Karwoski & Loretta Johnson Hammer
Peachtree Publishers,1996

This is a collection of short stories for late elementary and middle grades, focusing on Georgia's history. Instead of trying to present a comprehensive overview of the history of Georgia as a state, the authors picked 12 interesting stories from different eras in Georgian history to use as representative examples. The stories range from the present to colonial days, with the most 'recent' stories first - so the tales get older as you keep reading. I have always been fascinated by Georgia, but have never really learned a lot of it's history aside from St. Simon's Island/Savannah (which I've learned through compulsive historical fiction reading, begun by Eugenia Price's books). So this was a doubly-fun endeavor for me: not only was I getting to read some fun stories, but I was learning a little about Georgia. Definitely a win.

The stories are easy to read, without feeling dummied down or "babyish" - perfect for upper-elementary grades on up through middle school (though even high schoolers could find this useful, I think). At the end of each story, there's a quick note explaining what's true or not, and why that particular story has a special place in Georgian lore. My favorite story is "Max, the Paratrooping Dog," but they're all entertaining and enjoyable. I can already think of ways to implement this in a classroom or school library setting, as well as see it being a good book for "storytime" in a home.

Book provided by publisher for review.

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