When Strong Learning, Inc. sent us a copy of Bessie’s Pillow to review I knew it was a perfect fit for my oldest. We have spoken a lot about immigration. It is a HOT topic around here living in a community with many immigrants. Many of our neighbors live in fear and it falls on my shoulders to explain why to my children. Bessie’s Pillow was a great fit for diving into this difficult lesson where history melds into the present.
Warning. If using with a young child read ahead because some hard topics are mentioned and questions may come up. Some tough topics are mentioned in this book.
I loved that the author signed our copy. That little extra bit made it exciting for the children. The story itself is based on the life of the author’s grandmother. As you dive into the story you fall into the shoes of Bessie as she takes off on her voyage across the ocean to come to America. The vivid storytelling makes it easy for children to put themselves into her shoes.
This story is not only the story of one young woman but the story of the very foundation of our Nation. We are a Nation of immigrants and knowing where we have come from is key to taking a stand and pushing our nation in the right direction. So many have forgotten our roots and as a homeschooling parent, I want to install and understanding of the very foundation of the United States of America.
Build your own Immigration unit study with Bessie’s Pillow
To go along with the book there is a host of great resources online that allow you to dive deeper into history with your child. Combining everything together allows you to create a complete unit study on United States Immigration in the 1900’s. The children got a kick out of seeing what life was like at the time our house was built. Their favorite part was taking the time to explore photographs from the time. Something about a visual aid that makes learning so much easier for young children.
When I was young I always loved diary style historical fictions. The mix is what gave me my love of history that has carried into my adult life. I seen that same spark in my monkey’s eyes as she dove into this story. The ups and downs tugging at her little heart strings as she imagined herself as Bessie.
When we finished the story I gave Monkey her own diary and explained to her that one day the life she is living now will be history and her grandchildren will love diving into her life story. The things she is witnessing now add to the story of immigration in our nation. As our nation fights over the fate of immigrants, as children go to bed at night wondering if they will be allowed to stay they tell their stories, their fears, and Monkey hears much of it. Documenting these stories now will be an amazing tool for her children and grandchildren to see how things happened from a view the typical coverage of our time. The untold stories overlooked and forgotten.