Saturday, July 04, 2009

Greetings From the 50 States: How They Got Their Names

Keenan, Sheila. 2008. Greetings From the 50 States: How They Got Their Names. Illustrated by Selina Alko. Scholastic. 112 pages.

I'll be honest. I didn't know what to expect from this one. Would it be boring? Or would it--could it--possibly be entertaining? I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It was informative no doubt about it. But it was charming and well-done. I think this is in large-part due to its straight-forwardness. It's conversational tone. What is the book about? Well, it's about how each of the fifty states came by their names (and nicknames too!). Some stories are more interesting than others. Some states have a more colorful history when it comes to what is in a name. You are probably aware of some of these stories--the states named after royals and the like. But chances are a few of these stories will be new to you. What I loved about this one was how it makes good use of primary sources.

Here's a sample entry:

There oughta be a law about Arkansas -- and there is!
In the 19th century, you'd probably say you were from ARkanSAW, but your fellow Americans would claim you hailed from ArKANSAS. Even Arkansas's two U.S. senators couldn't agree on where they came from.
Phonics and spelling saved the day! In 1881, the state legislature passed a bill that declared the state's name would be spelled Arkansas, but pronounced "Arkinsaw."
The original confusion shows what happens when French-speaking explorers tangle with tribal names. In the 17th century, the French met up with native people who lived west of the Mississippi River. They called themselves the Ugakhpa or "those going downstream;" Quapaw was also used; and Algonquian speakers called them Arkansas meaning "south wind." The explorers wrote down the Indian names as they heard them -- and of course, they were writing in French. At one time, there were around 70 variations, from Arkansea to Acansa. (17)

Overall, I liked it! It's reader-friendly and fun. What a concept--history as a fun subject!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  9:50 PM  

Sounds like a cute idea for a book. I'd always wondered why arkansas is pronounced the way it was. I'm curious to see how Wisconsin got it's name.

Rebecca 6:27 AM  

Sounds like quite a fascinating book. History is always interesting.

Becky 3:17 PM  

Ruinedbyreading, Wisconsin had an interesting little story behind its name. One of the more interesting ones in the book.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP