A Picture Book of Sam Houston
Written by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler
Illustrated by Matt Collins
While Texans know and love Sam Houston and learn about him in school, this American hero may not be as well known to readers in the other 49 states.David and Michael Adler rectify this situation with an informative and exciting picture book that is sure to capture the imagination of third-grade readers, no matter where they live.
Sam Houston was a war hero who went on to become the president of the Republic of Texas and later the state’s governor. The Adlers start their story with one of the most dramatic and dangerous moments of Houston’s life: his surprise victory over the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. From there, the book goes back to follow Houston’s life, which was never boring! During his life, Houston lived with Native Americans, became a teacher, a lawyer, a senator, a soldier, and the governor of two states, among other accomplishments. Houston is portrayed as a stubborn man who stood his ground and did what he thought was right, even when others disagreed with him. A key moment in the story describes Houston’s refusal to allow Texas to join the Confederacy. Foreseeing the Civil War that was to come, Houston said, “I love Texas too much to bring strife and bloodshed upon her.” His action cost him the governorship and ended his political career.
Young readers are sure to enjoy this book. The dramatic and informative text is suitable for third-grade comprehension and the book fits well into a unit on American history or American heroes. Matt Collins’s vivid illustrations will capture and hold readers’ attention as they bring to life the dramatic moments in the story. The back matter includes a list of important dates, source notes, a bibliography, and recommended websites, all of which make this book an important classroom or library resource as well as a great choice for writing reports or creating reading and writing activities. I highly recommend A Picture Book of Sam Houston for any third-grade classroom, in Texas or elsewhere.