John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid is yet another Focus Readers 2020 Junior Library Guild Selection. This book walks through the planning, carrying out, and conclusion of the raid, which attempted to spur a slave uprising and is considered a key precursor to the Civil War. It’s part of an 8-book series called The Civil War, which uses critical thinking questions and primary sources to help readers consider the implications of past views and actions.
Each book in the series features a free lesson plan developed by Focus Readers editors. The lesson plan for Black Soldiers in the Civil War has students look at an abolitionist newspaper called the North Star. Created by Frederick Douglass, this newspaper criticized slavery and advocated for rights for oppressed groups. Discussion questions guide readers to explore issues of discrimination and inequality in the world today. They use inspiration from the North Star to create their own modern advocacy newspaper.
Knowing about history is important. But more than that, students who think critically about people and events from the past are equipped to be better informed citizens.