The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

30 Dec

18401951Every time I read an informational text, I am always surprised at how interesting and accessible they have become in the past few years.  Informational texts used to be dry books filled with pages of text that was uninteresting and not enjoyable to read, but now, all that has changed with a focus on primary sources, photographs when available, maps, sidebars filled with more information and a format that is much less daunting to kids today.  Over Christmas break, I finally was able to read James L. Swanson’s The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.  This was a very fast-paced, yet informative look at a day in history that people will remember forever.  I became a fan of Swanson’s after reading Chasing Lincoln’s Killer because of his writing style and way of creating accessible history for kids.

With talk of the Common Core and standardized testing, I think students would be much more interested in hearing about history in a format that is engaging, interesting, and set at a break-neck pace.  History books, although educational, are boring and teachers are constantly looking for ways to engage students in the classroom.  Using a variety of informational texts about a specific topic may be a way to engage students more with the content while helping them learn facts and figures they need to know.

Swanson’s book is a quick read – only 336 pages, many of which include appendices, an index, and more.  Over the holiday, my dad noticed I was reading this book and mentioned that he had read Stephen King’s book, 11/22/63, and them proceeded to grab it from his only shelf and offer it to me.  Now, I’ve got an 880 page book staring down at me from my TBR shelf.  Here’s hoping 2014 offers me some down time to read that one!

Title: The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Author: James L. Swanson
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 336 pgs.

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