As the new year rang in, I was reading a book that hadn't graced my presence in almost a decade!
In 1999, I was in seventh grade, in Mrs. Feverston's Gifted Resource Class. It was this very strange class we had to take that was an amalgamation of rigorous academics with a splash of logic learning, and a dash of creativity.
For instance, in sixth grade, we did a 5 month research project on our family history, and is, to this day, my most comprehensive resource on my family. However, that year, I also spent an entire month organizing her 4 20ft long book shelves, so, you know. The "rigorous" part comes and goes.
Right. So in seventh grade, we started the year off with a novel about the events of Florida's settlement (pre and post civil war era,) and I loved it! About a year ago, I saw the book in a book store and my reaction was something like this:
"Egads! I love this book! I don't remember alot about it, but I love it! I MUST have it!"
Okay, so maybe I didn't say "egads," but you get the point.
So, I bought it, and have been toting it around everywhere with me since I got married. Actually, I think I brought it with my on my honeymoon (along with Robinson Crusoe,) funnily enough.
Anyways, the book is called "A Land Remembered," by Patrick Smith. The author was a professor of history, who, if I am not mistaken, worked at Brevard Community College until he retired. He is also the recipient of the award "The Order of the South," which is one of the most prestigious academic awards in the south. I know, I know, it's not like it's from Harvard or something, but still, we've got some brains down here, too!
The book follows the life of the McIvey family, as they settle down in north central Florida, then throughout the subsequent generations, in central, and south Florida. It uses real facts (did you know Miami wasn't anything special until almost 1900?!) and paints a very vivid picture of what life was like then. The language is a litle bad (especially the first chapter for some reason, so don't be shocked,) and I am kind of surprised that they let us read this as 12 year olds. But really it's clean and I don't have any hesitations recommending this as a read for anyone over 15 or so.
It's used in schools all over the state from any grade such as second all the way up through college. And you can pick it up at any chain book store (in the state of FL, of course,) or online. Also, if you DO have or know of a child who would like this type of story, (think western, FL style,) they make and sell a "Student Edition," which comes in two volumes (so it's not so big, bulky, and scary,) with all of the "questionable," parts cut out and at 8 dollars a pop. The regular one is about 14, so not bad at all!
I really recommend this book to anyone who lives in/has visited the "real" Florida, and knows it for more than just it's beaches and resorts.