Saturday, September 2, 2017

Exploring the Pennsylvania Colony by John Micklos, Jr.: Book Review

Exploring the Pennsylvania Colony
Author: John Micklos, Jr.
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher: Capstone Press,  2017
Ages:  8 to 11, Chapter Book, MG
Pages: 48

Pennsylvania was the ninth colony established as a permanent European settlement in North America. First contact with the Native Americans occurred in 1608 with Englishman John Smith, but settlers didn’t arrive until much later. Swedish settlers arrived in 1638, the Dutch in 1655, and finally, the British in 1664 under the leadership of a Quaker named William Penn. 

Penn had been granted 45,000 acres by the king for settlement. He established peaceful relations with the Delaware, Shawnee, Nanticoke and Mingo tribes, but after his death, conflicts over land began. Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe was among those who led a brave resistance, but eventually most of the Native Americans were either killed or weakened by disease. 

Despite the conflicts Pennsylvania thrived as a colony. The soil was fertile and its central location had made the export of goods convenient, including for political gatherings. After the Revolutionary War ended, Philadelphia became the nation’s new capital and a meeting place for the nations's new Congress. The Declaration of Independence was signed there, and later the U.S. Constitution in 1790, at which time Pennsylvania entered the union. 

Business prospered in the growing economy. One famous businessman, a printer named Benjamin Franklin, ran a newspaper and wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack, but he was also well known as a scientist, inventor, politician, and diplomat. Micklos describes more pioneers during the period, for example, Daniel Boone, Betsy Ross, and Thomas Paine. 

As typical in this series, the “did you know” side notes, mini bios, illustrations, quotes and “Critical Thinking with Primary Sources” are useful in sparking classroom discussion. 

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