Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Story of Jamestown

The Story of Jamestown

Eric Braun
Illustrator:  Keith Williams , Steve Erwin 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Capstone Press, 2006   ISBN: 0736862102

In the 1500s Spain and Portugal acquired large tracts of land and great wealth in South America. England was jealous of their successes so the king of England sent out expeditions to North America to see if colonies could be founded in that land. In 1606 King James gave the London Company permission to settle a new colony in an area which would later be called Virginia.

Three ships set off in December and when they arrived in America the travelers explored the area around the Chesapeake until they found an area which they felt was suitable. They named their settlement Jamestown. At first the colony’s council member’s refused to build a fort despite the suggestions of one its members, John Smith. It took an attack by local Indians to get them to change their minds. Indeed Smith disagreed with the council on many issues. He thought they should be finding food and build houses instead of looking for gold but his words were ignored. He also thought that everyone, including the gentlemen, should have to work. Unfortunately many of the gentlemen who had come on the journey had no skills and were unwilling to do anything for the good of the colony.

Hard times lay ahead for the colony at Jamestown. There were Indian attacks, illnesses, and starvation, and many of the settlers died. And yet Jamestown did not disappear and die out the way Roanoke had done. It survived. The settlers did not find gold but they discovered that the land around the growing town was good for growing tobacco and this crop sold well back in England. Jamestown’s story was just the beginning of an even bigger story.

This is a very well written account of the story of Jamestown. Not only does the author describe how the colony was founded and what happened to the people there, but he also helps readers see how Jamestown was the stepping off point for the colonization of Virginia and what lay beyond. Presented in a graphic novel format, this is the perfect book for young readers who prefer a book which has lots of illustrative material to look at.