I am thrilled to once again be participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22), which I have done since its inception 9 years ago! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
Title: FINISH THE STORY! Harriet Tubman’s Secret Raid. 20+ interactive challenges. 3 possible endings
Author & Illustrator: Jeffrey Benson
Publisher: Storyopolis, 2021
Format/Genre: alternative history/speculative fiction/historical fiction
Themes: civil war, racism, Harriet Tubman, adventure, interactive challenges, secret mission, union army, American heroine
Pop! Bang! Phisst! The lightening cracked, and the windows rattled. Danny and Kenna stared at the blackened TV screen. Sudden coolness and the smell of summer rain rushed into the living room.
Danny and Kenna are watching TV at Danny’s grandma’s house when a storm knocks out the power. They’re left with nothing to do but listen to another one of his grandma’s “when-I-was-a-kid” stories. But this doesn’t turn out to be an ordinary story for the two kids-or for you!
Danny and Kenna thought that they had learned all about Harriet Tubman in school. But readers and the two kids quickly learn that there is a lot more to this amazing American heroine’s story. Students will travel with Harriet Tubman on a secret mission for the Union Army. They’ll need to help Danny and Kenna steer their way through mazes, find hidden clues, and solve puzzles. Kids can take the additional challenge of managing Danny and Kenna’s mission budget with its “Beat the Budget” decisions. Finally, they’ll need to help Danny and Kenna decide which of three paths they should take to finish this story.
Finish the Story! Harriet Tubman’s Secret Raid blends a fast-moving, colorfully-illustrated adventure with a carefully researched, true historical backstory. The book’s 20+ interactive challenges are hard to put down and great to share with friends. (publisher)
Why I like this book:
Appropriately, I am writing this review on MLK day, and continually thinking of ways we can bring this history (and its present-day importance) alive to our children. And these types of interactive stories offer just that. I think this book has a far-reaching appeal, especially maybe for readers who don’t always connect so easily to a more traditional format. A gripping historical account with appealing illustrations, coupled with reading prompts at the end of each chapter, make it really engaging reading.
I love how they can look at decisions Harriet truly had to make, see what they choose, and then look at what really happened. They learn history in a really fun way, and even other skills, like the budgeting challenge.
This is a short, super accessible, fun read/activity that I will encourage teachers in my school to use for group and individual assignments. Great for Black History month coming up, of course, as kids immerse themselves into the scenes/time period. I shall be looking out for others in this series.
The book also included a QR code to scan for additional copies of the challenges, puzzles, and budget sheets so that they can replay the story or make it a group or class adventure.
Scavenger Hunt Download: https://storyopolis.co/downloads/htsr-scavenger-hunt/
Discussion Question Download: https://storyopolis.co/downloads/htsr-discussion-questions/
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