Have you ever wondered about your family history? Are you looking for a book to share with your students about family history, the uniqueness of different cultures, and the connection we share with people from around the world? Be sure to check out Finding Family Treasure.
I have partnered with The Children’s Book Review to bring you a special author interview with K.I. Knight and Jane R. Wood, authors of Finding Family Treasure.
Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the interview for your chance to win a signed copy of Finding Family Treasure and a 1-hour genealogy consultation with Kathryn Knight, a genetic genealogist.
What do you like most about writing middle grade books?
Kathryn:This is my first elementary/middle grade book. I’m really excited to share genealogy with our youth.
Jane: I’d like to think I’m cultivating readers. I create characters that kids can relate to and write a story that engages them. I like to add humorous situations too, making reading fun!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Kathryn: My great-grandmother. She groomed me from the time I could walk to be the keeper of the Ancestors.
Jane: When I visit or read about historic places, I get excited about what happened there and why it is important. I want to share that with young readers, and hopefully they’ll want to learn more about it and visit those places themselves. Also, I get inspired when kids tell me they liked my books, or I get an enthusiastic response from students during a school visit.
What is one thing you hope people take away from reading Finding Family Treasure?
Kathryn: I hope they look into their own family history and share the experience with the entire family.
Jane: I hope young readers will understand that family is important and learning about their relatives and ancestors will give them a new appreciation for who they are and how they are connected to America’s melting pot.
What is one historical event you would find fascinating to have experienced first-hand?
Kathryn: Because I have documented over 20,000 hours researching the first Africans who landed in Virginia in 1619, I must choose August of 1619, in Bermuda and Virginia. It wasn’t a pleasant time in our history; however, many families across America connect to this historic event — not to mention, the first Africans to arrive in Virginia who became the first FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR.
Jane: I would love to have been in Boston and the Massachusetts countryside on the evening of April 18, 1775. That was the night Paul Revere made his famous ride from Boston to Concord and Lexington and eventually led to “the shot heard round the world” and the beginning of the American Revolution.
What advice do you have for people who want to know more about their family history?
Kathryn: First, I must say, “Watch out, it can become an addiction!” Second, Be “ok” with what you may find. Third, Have fun!
Jane: Learn how to investigate your family’s roots. Talk to your parents, grandparents, and other relatives who are still alive. Ask to see photographs and learn about special objects or artifacts that have been preserved by your family.
What did you find most surprising or fascinating while researching for this book?
Kathryn: The connections and commonalities amongst the diverse group of students we chose to write about.
Jane: It’s fascinating how connected we all are. When you learn about your ancestors, it can reveal personal connections you have to other people, places, and events.
Have you studied your family history? What did you discover?
Kathryn: Yes, most definitely. As a genetic genealogist and colonial historian, my journey has been long and fascinating. It began around the age of three when I would walk with my Great-Grandmother in the family cemetery, and she would tell me stories of each of my ancestors. Stories, I still remember today. But the most amazing discoveries came much later with DNA in the form of genetic genealogy. Looking into my ancient genomes, I have DNA from every region of the world.
Jane: Yes. I discovered how brave many of my ancestors were. Some of them came to this country, not speaking any English and with very little money. Others lived through some very difficult situations and events, and that makes me proud of who they were and how lucky I am to be here today because of their actions.
ENTER HERE for a chance to win a copy of Finding Family Treasure, along with a 1-hour genealogy consultation!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
An autographed copy of Finding Family Treasure
A 1-hour genealogy consultation with Kathryn Knight, a genetic genealogist, and co-author of this book. Knight will provide guidance to establish a genealogy line for the recipient’s family, tailoring it to their needs.
Four (4) winners receive:
An autographed copy of Finding Family Treasure
Finding Family Treasure
Written by K. I. Knight and Jane R. Wood
Ages 7 and Up | 142 Pages
Publisher: Melting Pot Press LLC | ISBN-13: 9781737337102
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Who are we?” Ms. Johansson asks her class of fifth graders. Her perplexed students soon discover the lesson she wants them to learn. While studying the founding of their country, the class is challenged to understand the melting pot that makes up the American people-both past and present.
With the help of a genealogist, students learn to navigate websites that introduce them to written records that have documented their families’ histories. Because the class is comprised of students with roots to many nationalities and ethnic groups, including African American, Native American, Mexican, Cuban, Irish, Italian, Polish, Scandinavian, Lebanese, and Japanese immigrants, the diversity in their own class becomes apparent.
To assist in their research, the teacher gives the students an assignment of interviewing their parents and grandparents, to learn more about the members of their families. One by one, the young people hear family stories connecting them to America’s earliest immigrants and settlers. The students also learn about historical events their ancestors witnessed or experienced, including the early settlement of Virginia, the American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, the Trail of Tears, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, early immigration processing at Ellis Island, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Holocaust.
As the story unfolds, some personal conflicts occur among the students, long-standing family tensions surface, and intergenerational relationships evolve. Complex issues such as privacy, adoption, diversity, immigration, slavery, and antisemitism are addressed in an age-appropriate manner.
Excited by what they have discovered, the students plan a program to share their findings with their families. Working together in small groups, they create a slide presentation of vintage photographs, a fashion show demonstrating various ethnic attire, music and food from different cultures, and visual displays showcasing military medals, artifacts, musical instruments, and family heirlooms.
Their family history project further inspires the students to want to do something more to honor past generations. With the help of a cemetery preservationist, they plan a clean-up day at a local graveyard in need of attention. Parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters join the class on a Saturday to help restore the final resting place of those who came before them.
As a result of their research project, the students not only discover personal connections to the past but also, in some cases, to each other.
Kathryn Knight, who uses the pen name K I Knight, is an international award-winning Author, Genetic Genealogist, American Historian, Keynote Speaker, and Cemetery Preservationist. Over the last thirteen years, Knight has documented more than 20,000 hours researching the first recorded Africans to arrive in the English settlement of Virginia in 1619. Her passion is unrivaled and strongly evident in her published writings.
Her literary work includes Fate & Freedom, a five star – Gold medal historical trilogy detailing the lives of the 1619 Africans, as well as her nonfiction work, Unveiled – The Twenty and Odd, for which she was awarded the Phillis Wheatley Literary Award by the Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage.
Knight is a board member for several National Non-profit organizations and the member of numerous Genealogy, Historical and Literary Societies including the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, Florida State Genealogy Society, Virginia Genealogy Society, Virginia Historical Society, Florida Historical Society, American Historical Association, Genealogy Speakers Guild, Association of Professional Genealogists, the Alliance of Independent Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Director of 1619 Genealogy. The mother of three adult children, Knight, lives in North Florida with her husband, Tom.
For more information, visit firstfreedompublishing.com.
Jane R. Wood is the author of five award-winning juvenile fiction books where she weaves history and science into stories filled with mystery, adventure, and humor for young readers ages 8-14. Students like her books because they’re fun. Teachers like them for their educational value. Wood is a former teacher, newspaper reporter, and television producer. She has a BA from the University of Florida and an MEd from the University of North Florida. Wood lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and is the mother of two grown sons and five grandchildren.
To learn more about her and her books, go to her website at janewoodbooks.com.