Always on the lookout for stories that might interest my boys, I enthusiastically chose Davy Crockett from the list of YWAM’s Heroes of History series. YWAM Publishing produces a variety of books that are perfect for read-alouds or personal study. I chose Heroes of History – Davy Crockett to read-aloud to my boys because he died at the Alamo and I have an ancestor who also died there. I thought that personal connection to history would really be of interest to them.
This biography of Crockett is written in a narrative format, it tells a story. It’s my favorite way to read about history and this book did a fantastic job of bringing the early days of westward expansion to life. We learned about David’s painful childhood, how he became such an amazing marksman, how he honored his father, why he signed up for militia duty, and how he got into politics. The formation of his own family and his struggles to keep afloat financially are all told in an engaging way.
David Crockett seemed to have a wanderlust that kept urging him to scout out and settle new territories, moving further west in Tennessee. His political career took him to a seat in Congress in Washington, D.C., while his wife and children tended to their land back home. David liked campaigning in a way that suited him. He told stories of his life. He made connections to the people and they loved him. David, however, did not love politics. He found himself on the wrong side of President Jackson and that pretty much ended his political career.
So, David went back home. But not for long. The call of the west beckoned to him and at the age of 49 he saddled his horse and set out to explore the newly formed Coahuila y Tejas. Immediately, he fell in love with the land, dreaming of a day when his family would join him in that beautiful, wild land. But trouble was brewing. Santa Anna, leader of Mexico, wasn’t about to allow the Texians to leave his control and was beginning to send troops to take the land back. In exchange for six months of service in the Texas army, soldiers were promised forty-six hundred acres of land, assuming that Texas would be an independent republic. David couldn’t resist the chance and he signed up along with his nephew to help the Texians.
We know, of course, the outcome of the battle at the Alamo in San Antonio. All the men who bravely held on were eventually killed. Their bodies were piled up and burned. A few years later, their ashes were buried together in a peach grove. David’s widow, Bessie, eventually did move to Texas and claim the land that was owed to David for his service.
The boys and I really enjoyed reading this book together, getting a glimpse of the life of a man who wasn’t afraid of taking chances and who kept moving forward no matter what.
A great addition to this book that helped take the study deeper is the downloadable study guide. It includes a selection of quotes and ideas on how to use them, suggestions for a display corner in a classroom, and questions for each chapter. The Student Explorations section could be used in many different ways. The student could pick a project to do, a co-op could do a whole semester doing several of the projects, or each family member could pick a project and have a presentation day. The projects in this section include topics for essay and research, creative writing prompts, hands-on projects, audio and visual projects, and ideas for arts and crafts that would go along with the book. The next section guides the teacher through using local places like museums. The Social Studies section is especially helpful in putting together a timeline, learning about the geography mentioned in the book, and vocabulary words that may be new to the student. A small section on related themes enables the teacher to pull in more learning opportunities to explore. The final section lists some great ideas for making a culminating event to bring it all together. A few appendices at the end have lists of additional resources, answers to the chapter questions, and reproducibles. I am really impressed with the scope of the study guide.
In addition to the Heroes of History series, YWAM also has a series called Christian Heroes: Then & Now. To check out reviews of some of the other books offered, click the button below!