Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Exploring the Virgina Colony by Christin Ditchfield: Book Review

Exploring the Virginia Colony
Author: Christin Ditchfield

Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher:  Capstone Press,  2017
Ages:  8 to 11, Middle Grade
Pages: 48 

Virginia was the first of thirteen colonies in North America to survive. Other attempts at colonization had failed miserably due to lack of survival skills. However, in 1607, the Virginia Company successfully built a new English settlement, Jamestown. 
Under the strict leadership of Captain John Smith set forth in newly established rules, the colonists learned to work together as a team. Smith also befriended area Native Americans, a peace further forged by a marriage between one of the colonists and Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan. Although conflicts did arise, the colonists and the Native Americans learned much from each other, sharing their knowledge and way of life. Ditchfield details the challenges, hardships, and daily life of both groups. 

Meanwhile, the colonists discovered a cash crop in farming tobacco (among other crops), and built huge plantations. Of the thirteen colonies, Virginia would rely the most heavily on slave labor. Kidnapped African slaves began arriving in 1619. By the early 1700s, Virginia had become a thriving colony, no longer dependent on supplies or food from Europe. 

Religion was important to the colonists, as many had fled Europe to worship more freely. The “Great Awakening,” a huge religious revival in the British colonies, brought a resurgence of Protestant faith and inspired the colonists greatly from 1734 to 1750.

During the American Revolutionary War, few battles took place on Virginia soil, but Virginian leaders, among them Thomas Jefferson, helped bring the country to independence. In 1788, Virginia became the tenth state to join the newly formed nation. 

More interesting information can be found in the book's "Did You Know" side notes, mini bios, illustrations, quotes, and "Critical Thinking with Primary Sources" section. A good introduction on Virginia's important role in early American history. 


  1. How accurate did you find this book? Did it mention many of the problems faced by colonists in the early years? I suppose you can't fit much into 48 pages!

    The Laws Of Magic - Steampunk Rules!

    1. Hi Sue. Yes, it does describe some of the hardships the colonists and Indians faced, but you have to consider that these are introductory books designed to get (mostly young) kids interested in early American history. Lots of illustrations and teaser descriptions. Pretty fast paced in that regard for low attention spans but enough there to spark discussions in a classroom setting.

  2. You wrote a good post about this book , made it sound very interesting and gave way to many thoughtds.


  3. Thanks, Yvonne. These books aren't for everyone. Childrenslit.com sends to me and I enjoy reading and sharing.


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.