Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Liberty and Justice for All



Our family loves to read, so it's no surprise that our favorite reviews often are of books. The kids enjoy reading for a while each day on their own, but they especially love when my husband or I read aloud to them. We read all sorts of books, but the older kids have grown to love biographies. They like reading about the lives of people, knowing that that events actually took place. They're fascinated to study the actions, vocabulary, foods, dress, and thinking of past periods and seeing they ways in which our lives differ.

The books from YWAM Publishing are our favorites for biographies, and I often recommend them to others. We like them so much, in fact, that we've purchased over 30 of them throughout the past few years. I knew my kids would enjoy adding William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All to our collection and incorporating the accompanying Digital Unit Study guide. This book is part of the Heroes of History series written by Janet and Geoff Benge, which contains exciting biographies of men and women who shaped the course of history through their remarkable stories.


The book begins with William Penn as a young boy in London. King Charles had just been killed, Oliver Cromwell claimed leadership, and the country was in a refashioning era. William's father, Sir William Penn, admiral of the navy, was at sea most of the time. William's childhood was a life of luxury and favor. He had the nicest clothes, attended the best schools, and was welcomed in the highest class of society.

Penn loved to discuss politics and religion and was intrigued to learn different viewpoints. It was a friendship with Puritan believers at Oxford University that changed the course of his life. As the country turned against those who did not hold to the beliefs of the Church of England, Penn began to side with the dissenters. He was kicked out of school, spent time in prison, and was disowned by his father. 

Over the years, he wrote many publications for the Quaker beliefs; became a leader of religious tolerance; helped to free thousands of people from prison; preached his ideals throughout England, the Netherlands, and Germany; and founded Pennsylvania his "Holy Experiment" as a place of religious and political freedom. He experience much loss, betrayal, multiple unjust trips to prison, and disappointments, but he paved the way for religious liberty, established a place of tolerance, and touched countless lives. William Penn never stopped fighting for the dream he so earnestly believed in.    


Along with the book, we received the digital unit study guide. The guide helps to further your study including geography, social studies, and history, to name a few. It designed to benefit all learning styles, group and individual study, and a wide range of ages. 

The guide includes the following:
  • Key Quotes - six well-known quotes that can be used for memorization, understanding meaning, and displays
  • Display Corner - a list of objects and maps from the time period that could be gathered and displayed to bring life to learning
  • Chapter Questions - six questions for each chapter: vocabulary, factual, comprehension, and interpretation
  • Student Explorations - essay writing, creative writing, hands-on projects, audio/visual projects, arts/crafts 
  • Community Links - meaningful field trips, guest speakers, service projects
  • Social Studies - reproducible maps, geography, terms/vocabulary, conceptual questions, critical thinking
  • Related Themes to Explore - politics & law, math, history, science & medicine, geography
  • Culminating Event - project displays, cultural food, music, activities, oral presentations
  • Books and Resources - books, movies, documentaries, magazine articles, websites


The kids and I always enjoy the deeper study that comes from using the Unit Study guide. There are many different activities that reflect a wide range of learning styles, so there's something that appeals to everyone. Because there are so many options, it would be difficult to use the entire study. One thing that we always do with these studies is discuss the comprehension questions at the end of each chapter. It helps to review the story and understand it more fully.

To further our study, we looked at pictures of the Tower of London, drew pictures of William Penn, discussed eulogies and the importance of living a life of character, read about the fire of London, and studied maps of Philadelphia. Some of the other activities that we would also like to do include making a replica of the Liberty Bell, creating Indian beadwork, recording a one-act play of Penn's life, drawing Penn's family tree, and touring a Quaker meetinghouse. The study guide is filled with activities, projects, and ideas to supplement your learning. There are multiple links and suggestions for additional reading material, like other biographies about William Penn, his own writings, articles and websites about the Quakers and Pennsylvania, National Geographic stories, movies, and more. There is also a timeline, maps, and facts sheet.
It is no surprise that our family loved reading William Penn's biography. This, like the others from YWAM Publishing, is a must-have book for anyone who longs to read about influential people. Along with the Heroes of History series, they have Christian Heroes and Heroes for Young Readers, as well. Not only does a purchase give you quality books at a great cost, it also helps support missions around the world.


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You can read more reviews of this title and many of the others offered by YWAM Publishing by visiting the Homeschool Review Crew blog.


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