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Link Across America: A Story of the Historic Lincoln Highway Review by Krystin Corneilson

Mary Elizabeth Anderson
Rayve Productions
Box 726
Windsor, CA 95492

Link Across America is a different kind of history book. This narrative starts at Seedling Mile School with a teacher and her excited students awaiting a visit from road rally participants. The students learn that there will be photographers and reporters attending who will cover the event for the newspaper. Why? Because the school is located near and named for one of the "seedling miles" of the historic Lincoln Highway.

Antique cars arrive, and their drivers talk to the children, answering questions and sharing experiences. Mr. Boomer, a member of the Lincoln Highway Association, recounts the history of transportation in general, the importance of President Lincoln, and the highway's history in particular.

Describing how the highway was constructed covered a broad range of topics, including how they figured out how wide to make the road, what materials were used and how they were purchased, the actual process and the role of horse-powered equipment, and how concrete was made. Other interesting trivia included Burma-Shave signs and the still-standing mile markers, brick road sections, and original bridges.

The back of the hard-covered book includes more information on the Burma-Shave jingles; lots of photographs, both modern-day and from the days of the original construction in the early 1900s; a U.S. map detailing the original route of the highway; a listing of the cities, towns, and other points of interest along the route; and contact information for the Lincoln Highway Association.

This book, aimed at elementary students, ties in a lot of different subjects in a convenient story form, making it a good jumping-off point for class discussions, assignments and projects. Besides history, there are tie-ins to science, technology, geography, economics, civics, and government. It can be read aloud (by teacher or pupil) or enjoyed by the student alone. The way it is divided up into sections would make reading homework easy to assign.

Pros: The well-illustrated story form of the book will keep students of all ages interested. It is not a dry textbook, but rather it invites the children to become part of the story, almost part of the class! The sections are short, which makes them easily digestible and memorable. The additional information in the back makes it a more substantial resource for a greater range of ages, allowing for a continued discussion and/or projects to make the material really come alive.

Cons: Link Across America is definitely aimed at elementary students. While that is not a criticism, it's good to know the limits and usefulness of this resource.

I was excited to receive and then read Link Across America. It's the kind of thing that keeps history fun and relevant. I am sure it will be read many times in our home--as part of "formal" school and just for pleasure.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2010