This Week's Story

A student discovers American history in a fascinating textbook with intriguing stories.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

History with a Wonder Textbook! part one

I had a surprising discovery in the fourth grade. I was sitting at my desk with an American history textbook when these words suddenly streamed into my mind, “I love reading this!”

The writers of that textbook were fascinated with the story of how the United States came into being. Like puzzle-players they fit ideas and people into stories with intriguing details.

Chapter one began with: “When the map of the world looked like the picture of a pancake.” World maps looked ridiculous before the 1500’s. They were based on little exploration. People believed that one ocean surrounded all the earth’s land. The size of continents was not known. Christopher Columbus never knew he had opened a new continent.

On page 68 I met Marco Polo, probably the most famous early traveler. He recorded his adventures and discoveries into a book, which lighted imaginations and stimulated travel. Marco was born over 750 years ago. I read astonishing quotes from his book about his travels in the Far East for Emperor Kublai Khan.

The emperor’s mail system resembled the American Pony Express. There were men on horseback and fast runners who each wore a belt with bells for signals.

My book took me to Indians coming across a narrow strip of water which separates Asia and Alaska. They settled from Alaska to the tip of South America. Their stories were passed by mouth. Artifacts remained. Later white settlers came and wrote about tribes. I was introduced to Indian homes, tribal education, foods, games, and much more.

White people from European countries began coming to live in the New World in the 1500’s and 1600’s. Many came for religious freedom, like the Quakers, Pilgrims, and the Puritans. Some came to plunder. Newcomers needed help. Squanto came like a gift from God and taught the Pilgrims after their first winter of suffering. As I read, people moved off pages and into my head.

There was Colonel Oglethorpe who started the Colony of Georgia especially for people who had been in wretched prisons for not paying debts. Many were to be released to settle in Georgia. Few came, but the colony became a home for many people who had been persecuted for their religion.

France, England, and Spain scrambled to get territory in the new world. They sent settlers, which led to disagreement and war between the countries and with American Indians.

By the 1760’s there were settlers who wanted independence from Britain for the 13 American Colonies. The British king foolishly ignored American requests for representation in the British Parliament, especially regarding taxes they were forced to pay.

In 1775 the American Revolutionary War began. One year later the American Declaration of Independence passed. In 1783 the United States of America officially won freedom from Britain.

Amidst those events were people and their stories. In our next episode we will meet a man who left France to fight in the Revolutionary War.

This is Barbara Steiner realizing that the history of my country is a mixing pot of stories.


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