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Editorial Review

A noteworthy review of Our Cultural Heritage from MultiCultural Review on September 1, 2003

This 12-volume series for students in the middle elementary grades (it is aimed at a fourth-grade reading level) describes the community and contributions of national groups of immigrants to the United States. Each volume contains four chapters: one on life in the country of origin, followed by chapters on the move to America, becoming established in a new country, and the cultural contributions the group has made. The large-type text is accompanied by numerous illustrations and drawings, most of which are fairly small and original to the period being discussed. Most chapters also include a one- or two-page sidebar on a particular American from that group or on a cultural topic. The volume on German Americans, for example, has sidebars on Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher, the history of Ellis Island, and the singing von Trapp family (a slight stretch here, as they were Austrian). Many of the page spreads include a ‘Fascinating Facts’; in the Swedish-American volume, we learn that Charles Lindbergh’s grandfather, Mans Olsson Lindbergh, was a Swedish immigrant who served in the Union Army in the American Civil War. Without going into great depth, this series does connect life in these countries of origin with the immigrant experience as well as with the place each group has in American culture. Students will probably find it interesting to learn of the sometimes unexpected ethnic backgrounds of well-known people, such as in the chapter in the Arab-American volume that includes football player Doug Flutie, disc jockey Casey Kasem, and recent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Each volume contain a time line, a glossary of the words bolded in the text, a short list of books and web sites for further reading, and an index.

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