The American Girls series Samantha is about a 9 year old girl living at the turn of the 20th century. Samantha learns about progress in America and the price often paid for that progress. She is a privileged young lady who learns that not everyone has the life that she does. I also love that at the end of each book there is a feature called "A Peek into the Past," in which there are real pictures from the time period and some factual information about life in America in 1904. In looking at the world through Samantha's eyes the girls and I have been able to discuss some hard topics, such as segregation, women's rights, poverty and wealth, death of parents, and adoption. I know that sounds like a lot for two little girls to take, but I strive to be open with my children and pray for God's grace as they learn that this is a fallen world. I am thankful for books such as these that present these issues in a way that is accessible to their young minds and hearts.
I loved Samantha so much when I was a little girl; I had the doll and the books, and I learned so much about American history from this wonderful series (and all of the other American Girl books; I devoured them all as a young girl!) I couldn't wait for the opportunity to introduce Grace and Evangeline to these books as well! The opportunity arose when we discovered the Samantha American Girl movie. I don't usually prefer to watch movie renditions of my favorite books (Harry Potter excluded, those movie are so well done!) but with kids I have seen that the introduction to the characters and plots through film helps them to be ready to sit and listen to a more complex story. Evie fell in love with the movie first, and encouraged Grace to "play Samantha" with her; both girls took turns pretending to be Samantha and Nellie, as well as other characters in the books.
To date we have read the first and second books in the series, and Grace is really looking forward to the third, Samantha's Surprise, A Christmas Story. I am so glad to have the opportunity to share my favorite books with my burgeoning young readers!
Do you have a favorite book from childhood that you look forward to sharing with your children?