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A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus

por David A. Adler

Otros autores: Alexandra Wallner (Ilustrador), John Wallner (Ilustrador)

Series: Picture Book Biographies

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A brief account of the life and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus.



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Part of David A. Adler's Picture Book Biographies series, telling the stories of famous people throughout history for younger children, this title explores the life and achievements of Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who, on October 12, 1492, made land on the island of San Salvador, ushering in a new era of contact between Europe and the Americas. The narrative here is quite simple, and covers the basic outline of Columbus' life, from his birth in Genoa in 1451 to his life as a sailor and his efforts to interest the monarchs of Europe in funding his westward voyages. His historic voyage in 1492, in which he 'discovered' (or rediscovered, if one prefers) the Americas, as well as his subsequent voyages, are covered. A brief timeline is included at the rear...

Today, as I write this review of A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus, it is Columbus Day, marking the 528th year since modern contact was made between the peoples of Europe and those of the Americas. It is a holiday that has become controversial of late, dividing opinion between those who feel we should not celebrate the day, given the disastrous consequences that first contact had for the native peoples of this hemisphere, and those who believe that, however flawed the man, he did achieve something unprecedented in human history, and laid the groundwork for the modern world we know today. Some cities have replaced Columbus Day with an 'Indigenous Peoples' Day,' while other communities continue to honor the great explorer. Complicating the matter is the fact that Columbus Day has become intertwined with Italian-American identity in many quarters, and is one of the few moments in the national calendar when this community is honored and remembered. For my part, I have little sympathy with the cultural and historical vandalism currently consuming the (so-called) left, but also have no interest in whitewashing history. I tend to believe that historical achievements should be remembered and honored, even when those who achieved them were far from perfect, recalling that old phrase that "we see further than our ancestors because we stand on their shoulders." With that in mind, and given my all-consuming interest in children's literature, I decided to read and review a number of different picture-book biographies of Christopher Columbus, as a means of marking the day. The titles I chose include David A. Adler's A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus (1991), Peter Sís' Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus (1991) and Demi's Columbus (2012).

I began with this title from Adler because I think it is the youngest of the three, in terms of intended audience. I am familiar with Adler largely through his Cam Jansen Mysteries series for beginning chapter-book readers, and was curious to see what he would do with the story of Columbus. It is worth noting that this is also the first of his Picture Book Biographies series that I have read. For the most part, I found it a serviceable book, one which could be used to introduce the topic of Columbus and his voyages of discovery to younger audiences, six years old and under, I would say. The basic outline of the story is there, and is told in an engaging enough way, accompanied by fairly sweet illustrations from John and Alexandra Wallner, who have also worked on other titles in Adler's series. There is very little here about the consequences of Columbus' voyage for the native peoples of the Caribbean, something other reviewers have noted. The sole mention of this reality is the statement that "Christopher found that the men who stayed behind after the first voyage had been cruel to the Indians. The Indians had killed them all." On the whole, I think this approach is suitable for very young children, acknowledging that bad things happened, but not describing them or dwelling upon them in a way that would be inappropriate and traumatic, given their age. That said, I also feel that this approach would be inadequate for older children, who are better able to handle the fuller picture. In sum: recommended to readers looking for picture-book biographies for the younger range of children, ages four to six. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Oct 12, 2020 |
I remembering learning a great deal about the great Christopher Columbus that sailed the seas and found America in social studies class. Adler children's version gave me a refresher. Christopher columns grew up wanting to go to the sea. Once he was older he set voyage as a sailor but the boat was attacked by pirates which led to him making a home Portugal. Christophers brother lived there and together they opened a shop that sold maps to sailors. After marrying, Christopher talked about going east to the Indies. Christopher asked many Kings for money, ships and men to set sail but all refused except one. The king and queen of Spain agreed to help him and gave Christopher three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and Santa Maria along with 90 men. They set sail in a direction they had no knowledge of and discovered new people and islands they did not know before.This book can be used to teach students about how America was discovered and Christopher Columbus's part in doing so. ( )
  Larmand | Apr 17, 2019 |
This biography of Christopher Columbus’s life is in story form with illustrations on each page. I think this book would be an excellent attention grabber for elementary students at the beginning of lessons on Christopher Columbus. With this book being is story form, the students are more likely to be engaged with the information at the elementary level. What I found problematic about this book is that it perpetuates a rosy picture of Christopher Columbus as a “good guy.” However, it does not idolize him either. I believe it would be a useful paired text in a series of texts about Columbus where the students analyze the information and form their own claim about Columbus’s character. ( )
  kljohnson.21 | Nov 3, 2018 |
This book would be really great for a discussion starter! We cover the concept of what travel was like in the 1400s, european monarchies, dealing with cultural relations, what it is like to persevere towards a goal, and lastly, what it is like to be wrong about ones beliefs. All of these things covered in a short book that could be really simplistic in its goal--usually Columbus is over glorified in Western Culture. It is well written and the illustrations do a nice job. ( )
  signecbaum | Feb 1, 2018 |
The book talked about how Christopher Columbus asking people if he could be given three ships to sail the opposite way of the sea and claim land. After years of wealthy people denying him the tools he needed, his wife's parents from his second marriage gave him what he needed. Instead of making it to the Indies like he sat out to do, he found America. If it were read a certain way by an adult, it could catch the attention of young readers.This book was an easy read and at the end of the book it had important dates of Columbus' life. ( )
  AdaezeaU | Jan 26, 2018 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
David A. Adlerautor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Wallner, AlexandraIlustradorautor secundariotodas las edicionesconfirmado
Wallner, JohnIlustradorautor secundariotodas las edicionesconfirmado

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A brief account of the life and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus.

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