The Very First Americans (All Aboard Books)

by Cara Ashrose

Other authorsBryna Waldman (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1993



Local notes

E Ash


Grosset & Dunlap (1993), 32 pages


Briefly describes some of the hundreds of Indian tribes that lived across America before the arrival of Europeans.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 8.06 inches


0448401681 / 9780448401683



User reviews

LibraryThing member ShakelaWilliams
The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose is an informational book about Native Americans and how they lived. I enjoyed this picture book mainly for the intricate illustrations. The pen-like drawings help add detail to the complicated aspects of Native American culture. For instance on one page the pillars were carved into various animals and the use of pen really enhances the details of each animal. Also, on each page there is a strip of various objects that represent the Makah tribe, which helps the reader understand their culture. The language is also very simple and straightforward to appeal to a younger audience. It states “the Makah were very good whale hunters. They carved great canoes from the trunks of huge trees.” The audience can clearly understand how the Makah people lived through the transparent language. Overall, I think that this informational book helps the reader understand the history of America, as well as how different the Native American culture is to our own culture now.… (more)
LibraryThing member ChristaSparks
Summary of Book: In this book called The Very First Americans it describes and discusses how the Americans first lived. This book has amazing watercolor pictures. This book describes some specifics such as their clothing, art, and the tools they made and used to survive. Through the pictures it helps put a visual picture in the children’s mind to understand how Americans back in the day actually lived.
Personal Reaction to Book: This book stood out to me by the water color paintings. I loved that this book serves as an important tool for children to see and compare how Americans lived back then to how we live today. Great book and illustrations.
Extension Ideas:
1. The students will paint with water colors a picture of how they think Americans back then looked like.
2. The students will do a comparison and contrast of how we live the same now as back then and how there are differences.
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LibraryThing member TIffanylindsay
A great book about native american's and their culture.
Ages 4-6 and up.
LibraryThing member bethjones
a very informative book about the first Americans, It would be a great addition to any library to show culture and the rich history of america
ages 5-7
source amazon
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
From the Makah who set out in canoes to hunt whales to the Comanche who chased buffalo on horseback . . . here is a fascinating look at how the first Americans lived. Beautiful watercolor paintings accurately depict clothing, dwellings, art, tools, and other Native American artifacts.
LibraryThing member aspirit
My child loves this book. She studies the pictures, memorizes the text, and asks for more information.

Although I'm happy she loves books, this favorite of hers is causing me frustration. I was happy to give her a picture book that focuses beyond the Old Wild West "Indians" that so often show up in children's media. Yet I consider The Very First Americans an unsatisfactory introduction to early native tribes within the current borders of the United States of America.

The illustrations are lovely and have inspired searches through US Library of Congress records for photographs and videos to see more of the historical crafts, hairstyles, and dances of featured tribes, such as the Chinook, Hopi, and Seminole. My problem is with the details that conflict with what I try to teach my child.

Fact Checks:

The first humans on the continents probably did not all come from a frozen North.

"But when Columbus landed in America in 1492," says the author, "he thought he was in the Indies. So he called the people he met 'Indians.' The name stuck." What that description implies is that Columbus arrived in North America, made a reasonable mistake, then as a new American himself (what the book is about) introduced the native Americans to the rest of the world by a name that must have been reasonable enough to use forever. The truth is that a willfully ignorant Italian and his supporters in Europe helped stick a confusing term to a large number of people for 600 years.

Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, not in the "America" as it's referred to today. Where he had been is further south than what's pictured on the page, the same showing the first humans here, which focuses on a migration that happened tens of thousands of years prior. Columbus also didn't so much as meet the people in Central America as force himself (and his men) on them, which makes for a misleading explanation for the use of "Indians" with no ties to India.

The page about Chief Massasoit is from the perspective of the Pilgrims and how he helped them "get settled in their new land". While it's factually correct from that perspective, I expect a book about native tribes to share the perspective of the Wampanoag when the people from England negotiated for their land.

These details are especially important with this year marking the 400 anniversary of the Plymouth landing. Next month, Americans will also be celebrating Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples' Day. I will be looking for other books to present to my child to recognize these events.
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LibraryThing member SarahNicole91
showing culture and history of america and how we first started. ages 3-5






(20 ratings; 4.2)
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