A love letter to Dear America
By Morgan on September 14th, 2010
I have a long-held obsession with diaries, early American history, and anything that examines life from the female perspective, so it will come as no surprise that Dear America, the acclaimed, bestselling historical fiction series presented in diary format, tops my list of “books I like to gush over.” And last week, Scholastic announced that the series was being relaunched — including all-new publishing and re-issuing of titles, and an exciting interactive site with content from the Library of Congress!
The series was originally launched in the mid-90s with a different author penning each title, such as Kristiana Gregory’s Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild and Lisa Rowe Fraustino’s I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembly, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials. Because the books are rooted in history, teachers became some of their biggest advocates, leading to an impressive 14 million copies in print.
And those advocates? They campaigned pretty hard to keep Dear America alive. Fans, booksellers, teachers, and parents all requested that the series be brought back to print, and they’ve succeeded! The relaunch of the series means all-new stories, kicking off with Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson’s The Fences Between Us, a story set in the Pacific Northwest during World War II. Meanwhile, reissues of two classic titles – A Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky and The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory – will also hit stores.
The support from the Library of Congress means that we’re further expanding the series with two new Dear America websites: one for fans, and one for educators! While fans can find interactive scrapbooks, galleries, crafts, quizzes, excerpts, and more, teachers can look to their dedicated site for lesson plans, historical documents, archival photos, discussion guides, author timelines and videos, and a wealth of information that brings each book to life.
Are you a Dear America fan? We’d love to hear how teachers incorporate it into their classrooms! Leave a comment and let us know!