Good Stories for Great Birthdays {Free eBook}

Good Stories for Great Birthdays: arranged for story-telling and reading aloud and for the children’s own reading by Francis Jenkins Olcott contains over 200 stories about leaders in North and South America. This free eBook is organized by the leaders’ birthday beginning with tales of Columbus in October.

These tales are not packed full of dry facts and dates, boring to children. Instead, they treat history in a manner appealing to boys and girls. For it is the strong personalities that moved in the big events of the world, it is the forceful lives of the men themselves, their preparation in boyhood for successful careers, their struggles for right, their heroism, devotion, and high adventure, as well as the why and wherefore of things, which make history an intense reality to children and young folk….

So most of the tales presented here are ones of personality, human and alive. They are full of action. Many of them relate deeds of courage, kindness, self-sacrifice, and perseverance. They are of just the right length to read aloud or tell without fatiguing the children. They deal scarcely at all with battle, murder, or sudden death. They stress the intimate, human side of our Patriots, the side not often found in textbooks.

While the book is set up by a particular leader’s birthday, the short biographies include men and women of all stripes. For example, in the George Washington section you will meet:

  • Cincinnatus.
  • Jonathan Trumbull
  • Nathanael Green.
  • Henry Lee.
  • Moll Pitcher.
  • Baron Steuben.
  • Thaddeus Kosciuszko.
  • Haym Salomon.
  • And others.

This is not historical fiction, but original stories where historical accuracy was the focus.

Also, it is helpful to think of these stories as a jumping off point for further investigation into the lives of these leaders.

Pioneers of progress inevitably arouse bitter antagonists. It would require a large volume indeed, to treat of the derogatory statements and written attacks which have been levelled at most of the men whose birthdays we are celebrating. We know that Columbus suffered severely from attacks by enemies, that Washington was one of the “most vilified of men,” and that Lincoln’s detractors were merciless. To-day we may perceive the process of vilification still going on around us. Happily, time has shown that much of the detraction of the past was public slander and clamour, and has consigned it to the rubbish heap of history. In a book of this kind, detractions have little or no place; and it is against the good sense of the best educational principles, to impress the children’s […] minds with such matters. When the children are older, they will be better able to judge of them intelligently.

Among the subjects included are:

  • Christopher Columbus.
  • William Penn.
  • Theodore Roosevelt.
  • John Adams.
  • William Pitt.
  • William Bradford.
  • Alexander Hamilton.
  • Benjamin Franklin.
  • Patrick Henry.
  • And more!

The subject index at the back of the book provides a glimpse of the actual depth of coverage. You’ll also find lesson plan outlines for covering the material in chronological order in the Appendix.

But above all else, may this book, day by day, help mothers and educators to bring to the children’s remembrance on these great birthdays, something of the devotion, the patience, the sufferings, and the personal sacrifice of the noble men, who, under the good hand of God, laid the foundations of American Liberty and Self-Government.

Good Stories for Great Birthdays is a wonderful introduction to some of the important men and women in North and South American history — and it is free!

Free eBook
  • Start a history notebook. Add one page per subject covered.
  • The beginning of each story subject provides associated important dates. Create a timeline and enter each subject as added.
  • Use one of these geography tips to broaden your study.
  • Create a map of North and South America and mark the locations covered.
  • Search out biographies to read aloud.
  • Use one of these narration tips to wrap up each subject.

Additional Resources
Good Stories for Great Birthdays {Free eBook}

Good Stories for Great Birthdays by Frances Jenkins Olcott
Paperback version published by the Library of Congress for those interested.

Interactive Timeline Maker {Free}
Another timeline option.

North America Map
For copying, tracing, or marking.

South America Map
For copying, tracing, or marking.

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