Pocahontas Book Review

How Pocahontas saved the first English colony 400 years ago

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Pocahontas
Author George Sullivan
Publisher: Scholastic Reference  (copyright 2001, first trade printing March 2002)
128 Pages
Age range:  9-12 years old

In fifth grade, my class studied a lot about Jamestown, a 17th century English settlement in what is now Virginia. We also studied a little about Pocahontas, a Native American girl who helped the colony in many ways. It was an amazing story, so when I got George Sullivan’s book to review I was looking forward to reading more about the topic.

This book gives an amazingly detailed account of the story of Pocahontas and of Jamestown, and is likely to interest anyone hungry for knowledge.

Pocahontas, part of a series called In Their Own Words, is about a young Powhatan girl who happens to be the chief’s daughter. She lived during the time when King James sent English settlers to what is now Virginia.

The settlers built a fort very near the Powhatan villages, and Pocahontas created a special bond with the settlers’ captain, John Smith. She even saved Smith from execution by her father, the Powhatan leader.

Because of her bond with Smith, Pocahontas acted as a huge help to the colonists in Jamestown, bringing them food during the "starving time" and warning Smith that her father planned to kill him. She also married settler John Rolfe, creating peace between his people and the Powhatans until her death.

The book is filled with important and interesting information. It includes historical pictures every 3-4 pages that summarize the story and the scenes Sullivan describes.

I noticed that there was a valuable piece of information in almost every sentence. George Sullivan squeezed as much as he possibly could into his 128 pages. The book is a good balance between the life of Pocahontas and the settling of Jamestown. And the connection between the two is very well developed.

The book has big print and is perfect for ages 9 to 12. It's an amazing story and I think it was a great topic for Sullivan to write about because he was able to add so many facts, quotations, and anecdotes.

I have to admit that non-fiction has never been my favorite genre because I like to hear a story from the characters’ perspectives. I would have been interested to know how Pocahontas felt, but that’s not Sullivan’s writing style. So if you’re like me and you prefer historical fiction as opposed to historical non-fiction, then I wouldn’t recommend this book. If you want to learn about Pocahontas and Jamestown, or if you’re doing research, then this is the book for you.

For more information, check out Kid Reporter Maya Kandell’s blog post and interview with author George Sullivan!

For more book reviews and author interviews, log onto the Scholastic Kids Press Corps's Kids Read Special Report.


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