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September 16, 2008

Turn the pages of history this holiday season

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of books sure to bring a love for reading and history to children of every age this holiday season. The books feature an assortment of beautiful illustrations and vivid depictions of the colonial period. Whether your child is just learning ABCs or is ready to be thrilled with adventure stories, Colonial Williamsburg has the perfect book for your family.

The following books are for young children:

  • Colonial Colors. Eight colorful colonial objects—a black three-cornered hat, a red drum, a yellow lady’s hat, a green cart, a white wig, a blue shoe, a brown saddle and orange yarn—are depicted. The illustrations help introduce very young children to the concept of color and older children to the differences between modern and 18th-century life. The eight-page book is full of bright color illustrations with a sturdy construction, rounded corners and simple, easy-to-read type. A Colonial Williamsburg Board Book intended for children from six to 24 months old. Illustrated by Barbara Leonard Gibson, $6.95.
  • Animals at Colonial Williamsburg. Animals from horses to geese were an important part of Williamsburg’s history. Enjoy eight pages of illustrations of baby and adult animals depicted in realistic Historic Area settings. The book is a part of the Colonial Williamsburg Board Book series and is intended for children from six to 24 months old. Illustrated by Barbara Leonard Gibson, $6.95.
  • A Colonial Williamsburg ABC. The 28-page hardbound book teaches children both the uppercase and lowercase alphabet through associations with 18th-century Williamsburg. From A to Z, each delightful color illustration depicts colonial objects and activities that may be seen in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic area. Intended age is three to six years old. Written by Amy Zakrzewski Watson and illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman, $9.95.
  • D is for Drums: A Colonial Williamsburg ABC. Thirty-one pages of full-color illustrations help young children learn more than just the alphabet, as they delve into the 18th-century world of Colonial Williamsburg. A is for Apothecary, B is for Blacksmith and C is for Capitol. Colonial Hotch Potch men guide readers through the alphabet as they twist and bend themselves into each letter shape and peek out of each colorful scene. Highly praised illustrator Kay Chorao’s presents detailed and authentic pictures that bring both the alphabet and colonial time to life for the youngest history lovers. The book also includes a detailed glossary for readers to learn even more about the significance of the colonial objects depicted in the alphabet. Intended age is three to six years old, $16.95.
  • A Horse’s Tale: A Colonial Williamsburg Adventure. This delightful new book for children brings to life Colonial Williamsburg’s popular line of plush animals, Margaret the Milliner, Garrick the Gardner, Ben the Blacksmith and the horses Lancer and Mary. When Garrick’s horse, Lancer, starts acting sad, the town of Williamsburg tries to lift his spirits. But nothing comforts Lancer until they realize that friendship is always the best cure. Best-selling author Susan Lubner’s simple verse is easy for young readers to follow, and a glossary of colonial terms helps children learn about life in 18th-century Williamsburg. Margie Moore’s beautiful pen and watercolor illustrations for A Horse’s Tale vividly capture the detail of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, making it a perfect memento for young sightseers. The hardcover book has 32 pages and recommended for children ages four to eight, $16.95.
  • The Mouse and the Mill and The Bottle Babies. Two charmingly illustrated read-aloud Colonial Williamsburg tales for young children are bound together in an upside down and backwards book. The Mouse and the Mill is a story about a little mouse living near Robertson’s Windmill, while The Bottle Babies tells what happens to a sparrow family that nests in a colonial birdhouse. Written by Alma S. Coon and illustrated by Kathryn E. Shoemaker, $6.95.
  • Amy, Ben, and Catalpa the Cat: A Fanciful Story of This and That. Amy, Ben and Catalpa the Cat take children on a fun-filled adventure exploring the Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area in this colorful alphabet storybook in verse. Learning the alphabet is cleverly weaved into an entertaining rhyme about young colonials baking an apple pie, enjoying Market Square’s marmalade and wearing George Washington’s tricornered hat. Recommended for school-age readers. Written by Alma S. Coon and illustrations by Gail Owens, $9.25.

    For older reader ready to engage in history, Colonial Williamsburg offers the following page-turners and adventures:

  • Colonial Williamsburg Activities Book: Fun Activities for Young Visitors. Twenty-six clever word searches, crossword puzzles, mazes, coloring pages and other fun activities are an interactive way to introduce youngsters to Virginia’s colonial capital. There is even a puzzle whose solution provides the recipe for “Hurry-Up Gingerbread!” Written by Pat Fortunato and illustrated by John Wallner, $4.25.
  • Archaeology for Young Explorers: Uncovering History at Colonial Williamsburg. Young explorers use lots of interactive activities and enthralling descriptions and illustrations of real-life archeologists to dig into the world of historical excavations. The 68-page book is complete with 71 color photographs and 11 black-and-white photographs. Kids discover why artifacts end up in the ground, how archaeologists know where to dig, what they find when they excavate and what they learn from those findings. Recommended for readers grades four to eight. Written by Patricia Samford and David Ribblett, $9.95.
  • Mystery of the Blue-Gowned Ghost. Teenager Kelly Brennan, a young photographer, is spending the summer in Williamsburg with Aunt Alma. Odd occurrences — rustling noises in the night, a portrait that moves around, the scent of lilacs in the air — make Kelly think something strange is going on. Kelly also uncovers another mystery: What happened to her ancestor Elizabeth Harris, whose family was helping the patriots during the American Revolution? Intended for young readers ages eight-12. Written by award-winning author Linda Wirkner, $4.50.
  • Red Thunder. Inspired by the true story of James Lafayette, a slave-turned-spy, the novel follows the adventures of the young Nate Chandler, James and Nate’s huge dog. Using their wits and courage, the three help the Americans win the battle of Yorktown against the British to secure the nation’s independence. Their world of whispered conspiracies, secret missions alone in the dead of night, and narrow escapes was every bit as dangerous as the thrust of a bayonet. Written by John P. Hunter, $6.95.
  • Duel in the Wilderness. Based on George Washington’s own journal, the novel depicts his treacherous journey into the Ohio wilderness in 1753. Young Major Washington must deliver a message from the King of England to the French commanders in the cold winter. The mission will be dangerous. Washington has to travel through frontier lands where hostile Indians and French soldiers lurk. If he fails, England and France may go to war. Written by Karin Clafford Farley, $6.95.
  • Witches and Ghosts, Pirates and Thieves, Murder and Mayhem. The book contains scary tales from Colonial Williamsburg based upon the Foundation’s popular evening programs, “Cry Witch” and “Legends, Myths, Mysteries, and Ghosts.” These are the same stories that amused and frightened Virginians 200 years ago. Not recommended for very young children. Compiled by John P. Hunter, $9.95.

    The “Young American” series of novels presents Colonial Williamsburg through the perspectives of real 18th-century children. Award-winning author Joan Lowery Nixon accurately depicts the well-researched lives of six colonial girls and boys, who are growing up in the colonial capital during the tumultuous time before the American Revolution. All six novels in the series are hardbound and contain recipes and photographs from Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. Recommended for young readers in grades four to six, $9.95.

  • Ann’s Story: 1747. Nine-year-old Ann McKenzie is learning how to knit, cook, manage a household and behave like a proper young woman in 18th-century Williamsburg. She would rather assist her father, Dr. Kenneth McKenzie, with his patients and work in his apothecary. Ann knows it’s unheard of for a woman to be a doctor, but there must be some way for her to care for people as her father does.
  • Caesar’s Story: 1759. Caesar’s life as a slave consists of long, hard hours of backbreaking work in the fields. Having his family around him makes everything bearable. Then the new master, Caesar’s childhood playmate, chooses Caesar to be his personal servant and live in the big house, away from his family. Why do things have to change?
  • Nancy’s Story: 1765. Twelve-year-old Nancy Geddy is concerned that the regulations of the Stamp Act will cause her friend Tom to lose his job as an apprentice at her family’s foundry. Meanwhile, the illness of Nancy’s critical and complaining stepmother, Elizabeth, may prevent the young girl from attending her grandmother’s Christmas ball. Will Nancy be able to accept Elizabeth as her new mother?
  • Will’s Story: 1771. Twelve-year-old Will Pelham’s father is the Williamsburg gaoler. Will is afraid of some of the prisoners in the cells beneath his family’s living quarters, but he sympathizes with Emmanuel, a runaway slave. Then Will begins to suspect that Emmanuel is planning to escape. Will wants to help his friend, but he has a responsibility to his father, too. What is he to do?
  • Maria’s Story: 1773. When Maria’s father dies, her mother carries on his work—writing and publishing the Virginia Gazette newspaper. Instead of working at the press as she would like, nine-year-old Maria has to look after her three little brothers. Then the newspaper is criticized for its political reporting and the Rinds may lose the printing press. Can Maria find a way to help her family?
  • John’s Story: 1775. Eleven-year-old John Nicholas is living in 1775 Colonial Williamsburg and tensions between England and the American colonies are high. Virginians disagree on whether to declare independence. John’s father hopes to find a peaceful solution while his older brother George thinks that Virginians need to fight for their rights. John is torn between the two people he admires most. Can they both be right?

    Colonial Williamsburg children’s books may be purchased at Colonial Williamsburg retail locations, by phone at 1-800-446-9240, and on the Internet at

    The WILLIAMSBURG brand offers fresh, spirited designs in all categories of home and gift. With products inspired by the 18th century and designed for today’s lifestyle, WILLIAMSBURG is the preeminent leader of American style. The Colonial Williamsburg Products Program includes 60 licensees producing more than 7,000 products under the WILLIAMSBURG and WILLIAMSBURG Reserve brands. It operates 24 retail stores, a mail-order catalog and Web site. Sales of WILLIAMSBURG products support the preservation, research and educational programs of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the restored colonial capital in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information, call 1-800-414-6291 or visit

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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