Two hundred years ago today, the War of 1812 began. I was curious to find out what we’ve published about this war, since I don’t seem to recall spending much time on it in my high school U.S. history class. I first came upon two books in our On My Own History series, and illustrated history series for grades 2-4.
An American Army of Two offers an introduction to the war through the story of sisters Rebecca and Abigail Bates in Scituate, Massachusetts. From the lighthouse where their father works, they see a British ship coming. The American troops are nowhere near, so the sisters take matters into their own hands.
Washington Is Burning is the dramatic story of how Paul Jennings, a 15-year-old slave, helped Dolley Madison save the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington when the British attacked the White House during the War of 1812.
For a middle school reader who wants a nice overview of the War of 1812, we have The War of 1812. On June 18, 1812, President James Madison declared war on Great Britain in response to British attacks on American naval and trade ships. During these attacks, thousands of U.S. sailors were kidnapped and forced to join the British Navy. For two and a half years, fierce battles were fought along the Canadian border, up and down America’s eastern coast, and at sea. Despite successfully burning down the White House, in the end Britain—and the rest of the world—had to accept that the Revolutionary War was not just a fluke. Having won independence, not once, but twice, America gained international respect as a nation, and secured its place in the world as a developing world power.
Want to find out more about the events of two hundred years ago? Check out the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website!