Review of The Pilgrim Adventure by Susan Kilbride: The Our America Series Brings History to Life for Kids

A couple of months ago, I was glad to review a fun book filled with science unit studies from Funtastic Unit Studies. After completing the review, I was excited to learn that the book’s author- Susan Kilbride- is also the author of a fiction series about American history- the Our America series. The books feature twins Finn and Ginny. Their parents are lost back in time, and the children travel back to early American history to find them. Because I’m studying American history with my two younger girls this year, I was happy to have the opportunity to review the first book in the series- The Pilgrim Adventure.

Review of The Pilgrim Adventure, an adventure story in early America

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Susan Kilbride is a home educating mother herself. The Our America series is recommended for ages 10-13. I chose to read the book aloud because we used it in conjunction with our history reading. But Ashlyne- age 11- picked it up and read ahead with no difficulties with the reading.

The Pilgrim Adventure is the first book in the series and sets the stage. The story begins in modern times. Twins Finn and Ginny live with their aunt and uncle after their parents have disappeared. The twins become curious when they see their uncle disappear and quickly reappear several times. They finally learn of a time travel device that their uncle developed. Their parents had discovered the machine and used it, dropping the remote and leaving it behind. Finn and Ginny’s uncle has been looking for them to no avail. Despite their uncle’s warnings, the twins decide to try the machine themselves to look for their parents. Using the time travel device, they find themselves on board the Mayflower with the Pilgrims. As the twins travel with the Pilgrims, find new land, and have adventures in the new world, they learn more and more about early America.

Information about the book on the author’s site says that many of the experiences that Finn and Ginny have in The Pilgrim Adventure come from real accounts of Pilgrims on the Mayflower. The information is packaged in a fun fiction story instead of a dry textbook, making it something that the kids want to read. In fact, Ashlyne decided I wasn’t getting through enough of the book at a time and picked it up to begin reading it for herself. I don’t think she’s ever done that with a textbook. Because the story is interesting, all of us are learning without even realizing it as we enjoy the story.

One of the great things about the science unit book that we reviewed from Susan Kilbride was all of the fun, hands-on activities. Susan carries the hands-on fun into this history series as well. On the Our America series page, you can find a free PDF file of hands-on ideas to go along with each book in the series. The fun ideas include a family tree, a sewing activity, a cooking activity, a science activity, and some Pilgrim and Indian games. Hands-on activities provide concrete ways for the kids to process what we’ve been reading and learning.

The Pilgrim Adventure has definitely been a book we’ve enjoyed. I would love to get the others in the series to read as we cover each period in our American history study this year. Here are all of the books in the series.

  • The Pilgrim Adventure– life on the Mayflower and in the New World
  • The King Philip’s War Adventure-King Philip’s War and Colonial life
  • The Salem Adventure- the Salem Witch trials
  • The Revolutionary War Adventure– the events of the Revolutionary War
  • The Pioneer Adventure- adventures on a wagon train headed to Oregon
  • The Civil War Adventure- the twins flee slave catchers during the war
You can find the details and the free activities for each book here. The books can be purchased from Amazon. The Pilgrim Adventure can be found on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions here.

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