Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Day That Changed America: The Alamo

A Day That Changed America: The Alamo

Shelley Tanaka
Illustrator:  David Craig 
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
Hyperion, 2003   ISBN: 978-0786819232

"Remember the Alamo" was a cry that stirred the hearts of many and yet we often fail to understand what caused the famous confrontation between the "Texians" and the army of the Mexican general Santa Anna. All too often the Mexicans are demonized whereas the approximately two hundred Texian rebels who took refuge in the Alamo compound are portrayed as great heroes. The true story is much more complicated and there is no doubt that the Mexicans had a legitimate cause for being as angry as they were.

It all began because Texian, (American settlers in Texas and their descendents) wanted to declare Texas a free and independent state which would no longer be governed by the Mexican government in Mexico City. The United States was eager to aid the Texians and armed volunteers flowed across the border eager to help their friends in what everyone knew was going to be a difficult fight against the Mexican government. To the Mexicans the Americans who had settled and flourished in Texas were no more than "pirates and lawless foreigners who had fired on Mexican troops on Mexican soil."

The Texian rebels were at a big disadvantage in this conflict, fighting as they were against a proper army and those in the town of San Antonio were soon forced to retreat into the fort of the Alamo. Here they remained, unbeaten and under siege for twelve days. On March 6 general Santa Anna made his move and what followed was an extraordinary battle. Famous warriors, David Bowie and David Crockett fought on the side of the rebels.

In addition to telling the story of what occurred in the famous battle, the author also includes a chapter about how the event was remembered once the dust and smoke had cleared, and what the Alamo looked like over the years. Beautifully illustrated with vibrantly painted pictures, maps, diagrams and photos this is a book which honors all of those who were involved in that extraordinary battle, Americans, Texians, and Mexicans.