A River Ran Wild :: Book Sharing Monday - Eva Varga

September 3, 2012
In the 15th century, long before English settlers first came to New England, an Algonquin tribe discovered a sparkling, clear river they called Nash-a-way, or River with the Pebbled Bottom. They fished in its waters and hunted along its shores, and the area remained a haven for wildlife for many years.  Then industry came and changed everything.
The mills of the 19th and 20th centuries devastated the water with pulp, fiber, chemicals, and dyes. By the 1960s, the fish, birds, and animals had disappeared from the area completely. Marion Stoddart was ready to do something about it, however. Through her passionate activism and the creation of the Nashua River Watershed Association, laws were passed that resulted in the restoration of this river, and the protection of all rivers.
In the hands of Lynne Cherry, this extraordinary and true story of environmental destruction and rebirth comes beautifully to life in her book, A River Ran Wild. Detailed watercolor and colored-pencil pictures celebrate the beauty of the Nashua and mourn its deterioration. On each page, intricate borders that feature labeled artifacts from each time period supplement the narrative, and a timeline and maps help students follow along. 

We read this book as a part of our history studies as it correlated perfectly with chapter 31 of The Story of the World: Early Modern Times.  We had read it before but now that it fit so well into our studies, the kids took a special interest in the illustrations that bordered the text pages.  The storyline illustrated so carefully in Cherry’s book provided the perfect opportunity to discuss cause / effect relationships. 

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