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Arlington: The Story of Our Nation's Cemetery Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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In the format of a picture book, but with a longer text, this handsome volume presents the history of Arlington National Cemetery. Telling and illustrating the story with quiet dignity, Demarest begins by noting that the rolling, wooded landscape overlooking the Potomac looks calm today, but it was not always so. Robert E. Lee lived at Arlington House with his family before the Civil War, but after his decision to side with his native Virginia during the Civil War, his home became a target for Union forces, and the land around it a cemetery for Northern troops. Since then it has become a national cemetery for soldiers who died in every American war since the Revolution. Demarest writes clearly, organizes the information well, and illustrates the story in nicely composed, sometimes luminous paintings. Back matter includes a time line, an author’s note, recommended books and Internet sites, and lists of significant individuals buried at Arlington and some of the memorials there. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan
“Young historians and D.C. travelers will embrace this detailed, loving tribute to a very sacred place.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Demarest writes clearly, organizes the information well, and illustrates the story in nicely composed, sometimes luminous paintings.” ―Booklist
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The story of the Maine Monument, the Tomb of the Unknowns, Kennedy's visit and his subsequent burial is covered and is a good history lesson for children, especially if they will visit Arlington and even perhaps if they have a relative buried at any National Cemetery.
There are two recommendations, one for age level 4-8 and one for grades 3-5. Personally I would recommend the older level especially if you want them to be able to read it themselves. Younger children would probably grow restless at the amount of text on the pages. There is a timeline at the end of the book which aides in learning about this hallowed ground.
This is a great addition to any child's library, but would even be of interest to adults.
The story was just the right length for my students (I think that it would be too long for kids under 4th grade or so) and the paintings were beautiful. I do feel that the content was more appropriate for older students simply because of the deeper meaning that Arlington has in American History.