The American Dream – is it still alive in our country? This is a question that my husband and I have asked and also had discussions with our children and their friends. We are really saddened to have to report that when we talk with the next generation they have little of the enthusiasm that we possessed in being an American. Everyone still loves to hear Lee Greenwood’s “I am Proud to be An American”, but many feel that it is becoming less and less possible to achieve in their own lives. The glory days of singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful, or even feeling an inner moving when the Star Spangled Banner is sung before a ball game seem to be fading fast. The focus of our society as a whole on diversity and tolerance, which many claim to be the fulfillment of the American Dream, may actually be the watering down of America’s identity. When this is coupled by the growing number of Americans that are fearful of the things that they see embraced in our nation from those highest in authority, there are not a lot of folks that we come in contact with that still see the pursuit of the American Dream as something to be achieved. Can we turn the clocks back and recapture this essence? That is exactly what I think the publishers at Inspiring the American Dream are attempting to rekindle in the next generation with their newly released children’s book, Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream.
This 26 page book intended for children ages 7-12 shares the story of a young boy who is taken on a journey to receive the inspiration of using his gifts and talents to help his family in their pursuit of the American Dream. Young Abraham’s parents find themselves without jobs in the midst of the Great Recession. It is Christmas time and they must share with their children that the difficult times they are experiencing will mean no Christmas presents under the tree. Upon hearing this news, Abraham becomes determined to find a way to work to make the money needed for presents to be under the tree for Christmas. His search begins by texting his friends seeking ways to make money. It is in this endeavor that he encounters Abraham Lincoln in his phone. President Lincoln pulls Abraham into the phone and out into cyberspace where he meets individuals from our countries past that have achieved their dreams. Those encountered that help Abraham identify his talents and use them to earn the funds he desires are Martin Luther King Jr., Norman Rockwell, Amelia Earhart, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill and Melinda Gates.
In addition to the story of Abraham’s Journey, the book includes a glossary of some of the harder words presented in the text and short biographies about each of the people mentioned above.
When we received this book, I read it aloud to our 8 year old son and he has since read it independently. He did not have difficulty with reading the text, narrating it back, or even having discussion about the themes of the book. He felt that the illustrations were very well done and receptive to children of this age range. When I asked him what he thought about Abraham traveling through time and space through his smartphone, he was thoroughly impressed. The reality is that a child this age could literally travel around the world and through time with the use of a smartphone even without Abraham Lincoln guiding the way. This brings me to some of my parental observations.
I do feel that the heart of the book is an honorable one. It grieves me that my children do not have the same grasp and passion for the American Dream or pride in being an American as I once had as a child. However, they are also living in much different times than when I was a child. As Christians, we are commanded to be in this world, but not of it. In raising children first to be Christians and then to be Americans, we as parents are finding more and more times when our Christianity and culture clash. America’s heritage is becoming blemished from our perspective by the open acceptance of abortion, murder, divorce, same sex marriage and even the turning of our backs on our troops that are truly taking the greatest stand for our country. We would be negligent as parents in raising our children to love God’s word to not show them the inconsistencies between our culture and Biblical truth. In doing so it does create a gap in our children’s enthusiasm in standing behind all things American.
The authors used a piece of technology in this book to allow Abraham to encounter American heroes from across our nation and from different periods in our country’s history. A point of discussion that evolved in our home as a result of reading this text came back to wants and needs. It actually presented an excellent platform. The setting of the book shares that the story takes place in the middle of the Great Recession and both of Abraham’s parents are out of work. Yet, what appears to be a 10 year old boy has a smartphone and free use of all of its capabilities. Like most homeschooling families, we provide for our family on a single income. There are many times that we have to have discussions about wants versus needs and being good stewards of the resources that God provides us with. Our children, even our 16 year old, does not have a smartphone, because it is quite frankly a want at this point in her life and can not take priority over the needs of our family. We also have great concerns over the great expanse of things they can encounter on a smartphone in cyberspace that are not quite as innocuous as an interview with Norman Rockwell. Smartphones are common place in our society. The inclusion of them in a children’s storybook can either be viewed as a commonplace technology of our day or yet another basis for our culture to convince our young people that having the latest technologies are a need. I will let you be the judge.
In closing, I feel that the essence of the book is honorable in helping to reinstill the core of the American Dream back into our young people. This is needed, but only if we can also instill in them that they have the power to be change makers in returning America to its roots. An American that seeks to uphold all that is contained in its Constitution and the bibical standards it was based on. I could very easily see the use of Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream as a starting point in a study on the American Dream and the heroes of our nation. There are many great people in our country’s history that have helped form the American Dream which provides for the rich heritage our country possesses. If you wish to obtain your own copy of this book, you can obtain it at Inspiring the American Dream for a cost of $14.99 plus shipping.
These are just my insights. Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.