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Finding Providence: The Story of Roger Williams (I Can Read Level 4) Paperback – August 2, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
To be sure, my early elementary kids enjoyed it. It is a great story, and it fits in very well with the other I Can Read Books on early American history. It is also one of the only ones that address the 1600s. At face value, it deserves at least four stars, so that's what I gave it.
But as an adult, I felt there was some co-opting going on. I am very sensitive to revisionism, and the book came across as very judgmental against the Puritans. There were Puritan elements that warrant criticism, but the court scene with Roger Williams in the beginning and the dialogue that likened them to the British was too harsh. It came across as though the Puritans were the bad guys, very similar to Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" or even the Pharisees in the Bible. I could almost hear the crowd calling out, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Perhaps this is exactly what the author intended.
I don't think that is appropriate for a first reader. A more balanced approach would have presented the case more matter of factly. And given due respect to the Puritan heritage of the country in contrast to the religious oppression in Europe. Some of the I Can Reads do this very well when talking about the British during the American Revolution, for example (even though we of course still side with the Americans in the end). But there was not even one sentence in this book that explained why the Puritans thought Roger Williams was wrong. There was just a nameless faceless crowd that came across as emotional and irrational.Read more ›
It tells the true story of the banning of Roger Williams, a well-respected minister, from Massachusetts Colony because he preached that government had no right to tell people how they are to worship God. Williams spent one of the coldest winters in New England history living in the wilderness, surviving only with the help of the Native Americans. He then went south and eventually founded Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, established a successful trading relationship with the Narragansetts and other tribes, and founded the American Baptist Church. his writings influenced Thomas Jefferson and were used in formulating the Bill of Rights that includes the First Amendment.
There are several other good books about Roger Williams for adults. I would recommend reading them all to understand this complex man and this complex issue of separation of church and state.
"Finding Providence" tells a compelling story about personal struggle and overcoming obstacles set up by well-meaning fellow human beings when defending a moral principle. This book should be in every child's library, to be read and re-read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love having good stories for my kids to read that instill values.Published 8 months ago by Patricia Ann Wooten
I used this book as a read-aloud while teaching RI History with a homeschool co-op. My students were grades 3-6. Read morePublished 10 months ago by mama rhody
I felt this book was well written for the Young Readers. Again it gave them knowledge of history they wouldn't find in their Social Studies Class.Published 19 months ago by jimmie Claudine Pope
Thank you for finding this out of print book- my grandson was looking for an historical figure for school and this sounded perfect, plus it is an important story of our country's... Read morePublished on October 11, 2014 by Lorrine Zinter
This is a good book. However, the content was just a little "over the students' heads." Also the students found many missing basic facts about the Founder of Providence,... Read morePublished on November 9, 2013 by L. Gordon
Roger Williams was a preacher in the 1600s. He went to trial for preaching about freedomn. He was going to be arrested but one of his friends told him to go away so he wouldn't be... Read morePublished on October 23, 2012
I am very impressed with the detail of this book. 2nd - 4th graders are introduced to the Puritans' struggle for religious freedom and their tendency to fall back to old patterns... Read morePublished on July 12, 2007 by Maureen Miller