Don’t Miss Stories that the History Books Leave Out

Posted on: 05/13/2020 Back to all blog posts

When children read about history, they often do so using history textbooks, which are frequently little more than listings of events and the dates on which they happened. Sometimes, if a child is truly interested in a topic, he or she might read a biography or a book about a specific person or event, but even those often exist in isolation, disconnected from the broader historical picture. Royal Fireworks Press is offering a better option: books that contain a series of biographies, all chronicling how one aspect of history came about and some of the people who shaped it along the way.

Our Adventures on the American Frontier series of books is perfect for children who want to learn without feeling like they’re being schooled with tedious lists of facts. That’s not an optimal way to learn anyway. The books we offer instead provide a kind of storytelling, giving kids an inside look into how something came about and how it evolved to be what it is today. They are a biographical approach to economic history.

Kids may forget the date of the invention of the first steam engine, but they won’t forget how it changed river travel in America fundamentally, and how that changed and shaped the expansion of western settlement and growth across the country. But that’s what they’ll learn in the book Pioneers on the Early Waterways (along with plenty of other important information about water travel in early America). They’ll discover who Nick Roosevelt was, and Henry Shreve, and Frances Trollope. They’ll read about Davy Crockett’s time on a river (yes, he did that too), and Sam Clemens (of course; who could leave out Mark Twain?), and even Jim Garfield, who worked as a canalboatman before becoming President of the United States. And those are just some of the stories; there are others. What other history book can provide such rich content about a single topic and do so in such an enjoyable way? (Have you ever heard of Henry Shreve? Did you know that he revolutionized the design of steamboats? This is the stuff the history books leave out.)

We’ve also just published Gold Rush Adventures, a book about how the California Gold Rush opened up the country in an incredibly rapid way (it was, after all, a gold rush). The discovery of gold changed the face of the country, but getting from the East to the West was dangerous, and there were different ways to attempt it. Children will learn about those ways and the people who tried them. They’ll read about the hardships and victories, as well as the different mining methods the Forty-Niners used. The stories are told through the perspectives of people who went west for various reasons and who discovered truths about themselves along the way. They are fascinating accounts of what it means to find true personal wealth.

The Adventures on the American Frontier series continues to grow. Don’t miss the books we already have published (about pirates and cowboys and the railroad and mail riders and more), and we’ll let you know when new additions appear (Pioneer Traders is in the works, which includes a little-known story about Abe Lincoln, among others). Each of these books is also published as a set of stories for struggling readers, including those with dyslexia or other reading disorders. Those collections, called Adventures on the American Frontier: Dyslexia Versions, contain several modifications to the text, as well as an audio feature. That way all children can have a chance to learn about history in a way that will enable them to enjoy it—and to remember it.

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