The Internet has opened the floodgates of knowledge and history to the world. Prior to its introduction into modern day households, textbooks, biographies, and VHS tapes were the ticket to knowledge. Now, a couple of clicks and you can be roving around Mars or gazing at the Mona Lisa. In Abraham’s Journey, by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian, the economy is in a recession and a boy (Abraham) learns his parents can’t afford Christmas presents. When he uses his smartphone to look for ways to earn money, a wise old man pops out of the screen and tells Abraham he can help. The elder uses a little Internet magic to whisk Abraham away on a cyber-journey with the intent to help the kid discover his talents and experience first hand the American Dream.
The duo make several stops along the 20th century timeline and meet up with Martin Luther King Jr and Norman Rockwell and then zip on to present day Icons Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Abraham learns on his travels he has a special talent and gets to hear first hand the wisdom for success these great Americans have to share.
Abraham’s Journey is a unique way of introducing primary grades to how social media can be used to network and promote a business. With the “wise old man” as a guide, Abraham was able to discover he had a talent, and through social media he was able to connect with someone he would never had reached otherwise.
The book geared toward the 7-12 age group is a quick read – at forty pages it can be read in one sitting. It only took me ten minutes to finish, but a student who is reading easy chapter books might need a half hour. It is colorfully and plentifully illustrated, and my twelve year old thought the art was inviting and the best part of the book. I do agree, without the page wide illustrations the story would fall short. The narrative is simple, and though an index of definitions is included in the back, there was no challenging vocabulary. A short biography of each historical (past and modern day) accompanies the definitions.
The principles the book conveys: hard work and innovation combined with digital platforms can result in a modern fulfillment of the American dream are true; but I thought the book lacked a “wow” factor. Kids who are young and haven’t had much exposure to the Internet will likely be intrigued. Kids (like mine) who are digitally engaged and plugged into networks may not be as excited, but will still enjoy learning a few things about these fascinating people. It sells for $14.99 at the Inspiring the American Dream website.
Read what other members of the TOS crew review have to say about Abraham’s Journey.