American Girl Books: Caroline & Molly

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This post is late in coming, but I wanted to share about the last two American Girl series we read – Caroline and Molly. The girls are really interested in reading about these historical characters. They ask to read a chapter (or two) each night and will legit get mad at me if we aren’t able to read. We usually take turns reading them as we all take turns brushing and doing each other’s hair…except for Norm since he doesn’t have much hair to brush or do. :p These books really present opportunities to discuss so many topics pertaining to history, differences between cultures and past/present, and relationships, and so I included a list of things we have discussed and can be discussed during and after reading these books.

Caroline
Caroline’s story takes place in Sackets Harbor, New York on the shores of Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. Some topics of discussion we had were about the following: Lake Ontario, ships and sails, prison (when Caroline’s dad was arrested), enemies, bravery, friendships, ice skating, and embroidery. There are 6 books in the main series. We also read 2 of the 3 mysteries, and 1 of the 3 Beforever books.

Other possible topics for further discussion are:

  • War of 1812 – how and why war was declared, opposition of war by many people,
  • Geography – Sackets Harbor, Philadelphia, New York, big cities in 1800 compared to present day, the Great Lakes
  • Transportation – ship use for economic reasons as well as poor travel by land
  • Relationship between America and Upper Canada
  • Relationship between Britain and America
  • Relationship between families and soldiers (being housed in towns where battles were taking place)
  • Relationship among family members – disagreements about the war, soldiers who were sent off
  • American Revolution – how America has grown and changed as a nation since Felicity’s time
  • Navy
  • Communication – many sailors were not even aware war was declared because news traveled slowly, many military forces were not even aware war had ended with the signing of a treaty
  • Women and children – increased responsibilities when men were absent, informal education/homeschooling
  • Holidays
  • Native Americans
  • Weather
  • Star-Spangled Banner flag
  • Spies
  • Slaves

Molly
Molly’s story takes place in Jefferson, Illinois during World War II. Some topics of discussion we had were about the following: World War II, rationing, volunteer/war effort, Christmas, and patriotism. There are 6 books in the main series. We also read 2 of the 3 mysteries.

Other possible topics for further discussion are:

  • Radio shows
  • Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings
  • American serving in the armed forces overseas and in the United States, different roles
  • Companies producing war equipment and supplies vs. consumer goods
  • School culture – more strict than today
  • Rationing (changing recipes because certain items were not available), scrap drive and other ways Americans supported the war effort (victory gardens, etc.)
  • Junior Red Cross
  • Ally countries were sending their kids to America (A girl from Britain (Emily) comes to live with Molly’s family for awhile.)
  • Summer camp
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder of the soldiers and other emotions felt by those returning from war

We are currently reading the Kaya series, and learning lots about the Nez Perce tribe.

Have you or your kids read any of the American Girl books? Which ones? Any favorites? What AG series should we read next?

Are you or your kids interested in other historical fiction books? Any recommendations?

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