Back-to-school books

By: Kristen Joseph and Kylie Widseth

We know that no one wants to hear this, but back-to-school time is quickly approaching. Some people love it because they get to see all of their friends. Others dread the first day back because school makes them feel isolated, they hate the tests and assignments, or they just completely detest waking up early. If you’re apprehensive about school for the first reason, never fear! You don’t have to go back to school alone because there are so many fictional characters that go to school, too. If you’re like us, you probably like being able to relate to the characters in all your favorite books. So we’ve compiled a list of 6 books that take place in a high school setting to make this back-to-school season a little less bleak.

TwilightbookTwilight – For some reason this is the first book that came to mind for me. I guess it’s just because the scene in the movie when the Cullens enter the lunchroom at Bella’s high school is just permanently engrained in my mind. Now I’m sure you probably, and hopefully, don’t have vampires that attend your school. Besides the supernatural element, Forks High School isn’t too far from the average American high school. –Kylie

710888Yo8kLThe DUFF – The DUFF takes place in a stereotypical high school filled with mean girls, not-so-mean girls, athletes, and the whole nine yards. I hope that your high school isn’t as cliquey as this suburban Atlanta high school. But as the movie and book goes to show, there is nothing wrong with being a little bit like a DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) because we should all stay true to our identities and embrace who we are. –Kylie

I_Am_Number_Four_CoverI Am Number Four – A significant portion of this book takes place in high school. The main character is fifteen years old and goes through typical high school struggles with friends, relationships, jocks, and bullies. The twist? Our main character is one of the last survivors from a planet called Lorien. Yup, he’s an alien. And he’s got powers like you wouldn’t believe. –Kristen

5287473Hex Hall – This novel starts off in a normal high school, but when a love spell at prom goes horribly awry we’re taken to Hecate (Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent magical teenage beings. You still have your mean girls and awkward outcasts, they just happen to be witches and vampires. At least your school doesn’t have to deal with their supernatural drama (I hope). –Kristen

51qdJATw4-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Thirteen Reasons Why – I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Netflix series by now. It takes most of the major points from the book, but of course, the two formats still aren’t the same. Either way, the story is heartbreaking, and many of the things that take place actually happen to teenagers today. If you don’t read the book or watch the show, it’s still important for you to understand the issues it talks about. –Kristen

static1.squarespaceAnna and the French Kiss – This is one of my personal favorites. I love it so much that I’ve read it five times (don’t judge me)! It’s set in Paris, at an American boarding school. The main character, Anna, is sent there for her final year of high school by her Nicholas-Sparks-esque father. She’s less than thrilled about spending her senior year in a foreign country away from her friends, and experiences her fair share of first day jitters. But Anna manages to make some great new friends and fantastic memories in spite of it all. (Believe me, my description does not do the book the justice it deserves. I highly suggest reading it. 10/10 recommend.) –Kristen

If you’re ever feeling a little down this year, feel free to grab one of these books (or any other) to remind yourself that you’re not alone. We hope that everyone has a good and safe school year!

Best Reading Spots

By: Kristen Joseph

Have you ever been anywhere and you just suddenly have the urge to curl up and read? That’s me, at least 80 percent of every day. I’ve read while standing at bus stops, during family lunches (I promise, I wasn’t ignoring them, I was just reading because no one was speaking to me at the moment), and while sitting under the dryer when I’m at the hairdresser. But sometimes when that feeling strikes, the atmosphere is just off, and not very conducive to reading. Most of the time, I feel comfortable reading wherever I’m at. As soon as I open up my book, the world is immediately tuned out, and I’m completely absorbed in the story. But, like any reader, I do have favorite reading spots. Hopefully you do too, but if you don’t, here are a couple suggestions to make that special time with your book even more enjoyable:

Public Transit – I cannot even imagine taking public transit without a good book in hand. As long as you don’t suffer frospots4m motion sickness, a bus, train, (or a car, or a plane) is a fantastic place to get some reading done. You could also indulge in an audio book while taking public transportation. You still get to enjoy the feeling of reading, without the added weight of a book in your bag. Bonus: listening to an audio book won’t give you motion sickness!

Window Seat/Comfy Chair – These structures were specifically built for reading. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

The Great Outdoors – A nice park bench. Soft grass. A hammock. A rocking chair on a porch. A++ places to zip through a few chapters (or twenty). Just listing those off felt relaxing; imagine how tranquil you’ll feel while reading there.

spots1At “social gatherings – Now, I’m not saying that you should go out with your friends, fully intending to ignore them in favor of the new novel in your bag. But if you happen to be out with friends or family, you’re not talking to anyone, and you’re starting to get bored, it’s perfectly okay to pull out your book and start reading. It’s a better option than sitting around staring at a wall until your friends or family are ready to leave.

Libraries or Bookstores – That one’s a given. If you’re surrounded by books, of course you’ll have an incredible urge to read. Luckily, most libraries and bookstores have chairs so you can do just that!

During “Designated Waiting Periods” – Reading is the perfect solution to boredom when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or waiting for class to start. You know you’ll probably be waiting anyway, so you might as well enjoy a novel adventure during that time.

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Bed – The best place to read, in my opinion. My fondest reading memories always include lying in bed, lamp on, under a blanket, and leaning on pillows (if I have a bowl of leftover Chinese food too, it’s definitely one of my best nights ever).

Of course, there are many more places that you can turn into your own personal book nook. Go exploring and find a few more to add to this list!

My Favorite Quotes

By: Kristen Joseph

One of my favorite things about being a reader is finding quotes throughout the text. Not just something memorable that a character says, or the mantra for a revolution, but a string of words that seem as if they are speaking directly to you, burrowing themselves so deeply into your heart and mind that you could never possibly forget them. Those are my favorite types of quotes.

Whenever I find one that speaks to me like that — whether it’s in a book, text post, or just something that I randomly happen upon — I write it down in a journal specifically designated for quotes. Today, I’ve decided to share five of my favorites with you:

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  1. I am built to weather the storm, to come out on the other side and survive, more confident and equipped than I ever would have thought possible. – Kristen Joseph

This was the last line of my college application essay. I know it’s a tad ridiculous to quote myself, but I just have so much love for this sentence. I wrote the essay about a difficult time in my life that I overcame, and the quote is a nice little reminder that I’ve lived through hard times before, and I can do it again.

  1. Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. – Langston Hughes

A lovely inspirational quote that I found in a fortune cookie, from the Langston Hughes poem Dreams. It’s a great reminder that having dreams, and goals that you’re working towards, is never a bad thing.

  1. q2A word is the only thing in the world made more powerful by absence than existence.The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The existence of a word is concrete; a definition is given for a situation when the word is present. But if a word is missing, the situation is undefined and uncertain. It’s like when you’re in that gray area of a relationship between just “going out” and being someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend. You need clarity about whether you’re in a serious relationship or just seriously friendzoned before you start planning for your future with the other person. 

  1. When reading, we don’t fall in love with the characters’ appearance. We fall in love with their words, their thoughts, and their hearts. We fall in love with their souls. Anonymous ( amongstwoodedpaths post)

            My reaction to this text post: “YES! Someone finally put it into words!”

  1. That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Reaction: “Finally. Someone who shares my exact opinion on literature.” This is why I love to reread books — the experience is so different every time, no matter how many times I’ve read the same words.

qjournal1

The Secret to Writing Poetry — There Isn’t One!

By: Kristen Joseph

 

Hey, diddle, diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon;

The little dog laughed

To see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

There seems to be a widely held misconception that poetry is boring. All poems are either cheesy nursery rhymes (like the Mother Goose classic above) or stuffy intellectual pieces that take an eternity to fully analyze and decode. I mean, who even writes poetry anymore?

poetA lot of people, actually. Especially teens. After StageofLife.com conducted a poetry writing contest, data showed that 60% of the thousands of 14 to 19 year olds who participated found writing poetry to be a “freeing” activity.

You see, everyone seems to think that poems have to adhere to strict rules of rhyme and rhythm — the three lines of a tranquil haiku follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule and silly limericks have to follow a syllabic structure and rhyme scheme — but that is simply not true. Some types of poetry, like a sonnet or a villanelle, have a structure that must be followed in order for the poem to be qualified as a sonnet or a villanelle. But if you’re just beginning (or if you just enjoy the freedom of writing without having to follow specific rules), free verse is where it’s at.

Free verse poetry is exactly what it sounds like: free. No guidelines or gimmicks, vintage poetryjust you and your written thoughts. You don’t need complete sentences or any type of rhyme scheme, and you can even make up words.

The best thing about free verse writing is that you can write about anything that you want. School, something you’re passionate about, or even a completely random object can be the subject of a poem. It’s a great way to get rid of thoughts rolling around in your head, and you can literally create poetry anywhere, making it a fantastic way to eliminate boredom. If you want to read someone else’s work to see how it’s done, there are tons of bestselling poetry books out there, like Milk and Honey and the princess saves herself in this one, that are written from a young adult perspective and have earned 4 out of 5 stars, according to the customer reviews.

boypoet.jpgMost schools have some kind of writing or literary club, so if you want support on your new poetic adventures, I’m sure you can find some. If you can’t discover any in person, though, there are a significant amount of online forums, just for teens to post their poetry. Some websites, like PowerPoetry.org, even offer college scholarships just for entering original poems into their “Scholarship Slams!”

So if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at writing your own poem, now is the perfect time to start.

Here, I’ll start writing with you. Remember, the poem doesn’t have to be amazing; it’s just an introductory piece. You may love it, you may hate it, but if you keep writing, I guarantee that you’ll get better and ideas will come to you more easily. Now, think of a word. Just one word. Write it down…and keep writing, until you run out of things to say. Here’s what I came up with for the word “intent”:

Intent yet furnished on

gilded desires

focused singularly on

achievement.

Triumphant sounds resounding

on wavelengths of

praise,

cheers enveloping all

atmosphere surrounding

screaming

“Yes, you have

accomplished.

You are worthy.”

 

sunsetptry

Your turn.

Book Sniffin’

By: Kristen Joseph

Okay, I think it’s about time for someone to ask these questions…. What’s up with book sniffing? What on earth even makes books smell like that? And why isn’t there an official term for this particular action? As a fellow book-lover (who enjoys the smell of a good tome on occasion), I decided to research this topic to satisfy my curiosity, and yours.

jpegAroma-Chemistry-The-Smell-of-New-Old-Books-v2-724x1024Old books and new books seem to have completely different scents. The reason? Chemistry. According to an article on CompoundChem.com—where I found the handy-dandy infographic on the left— older books contain a bunch of compounds that make them smell sweeter, particularly chemicals that produce vanilla- and almond-like aromas. This is why the sections of the library with the older books smell so amazing…. Now I really want to go sit around in a library. Queue the nostalgic sigh.

Some people say that they only like the scent of older books, but honestly, the new ones smell amazing too! They may not contain the delightful odor of almond or vanilla, but they still smell like relaxation and happy times (at least in my opinion). Newer books generally smell light and fresh too, as opposed to their older and sweeter counterparts. Nevertheless, these literary aromas are all fantastic.

bookloverNow for the fun fact that I discovered today: there’s actually a term for this. In both noun and verb form, bibliosmia is described as the smell of/act of smelling books. This wonderful word isn’t dictionary-official yet, but many book-lovers are pushing to get the term recognized. So there you have it. Some of the most important literary questions ever posed, answered. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a whiff of the novel I’m currently reading.

Happy Sniffing!

Childhood Memories: The Velveteen Rabbit

By Lisa McGinnes

Not long ago, I made a comment to my significant other about being real – with a capital “R”. He didn’t seem to know what I meant.

“You know, like the Velveteen Rabbit . . .” I prompted. Still nothing.

“Remember how the Velveteen Rabbit was loved until he was real, and that makes you Real?” Nope.

He had never read The Velveteen Rabbit. I was shocked. I mean, yes the book was already several decades old by the time I read it as a child, but I guess I thought the 1922 classic was so classic that everyone had read it. Maybe it’s not for everyone. The language is a bit old fashioned, and it is quite sentimental (both of which are germane to its charm for me.)

The best thing about my S.O. not having read the book was that I got to read it to him; and the only thing I like more than reading is reading out loud. So I had the double pleasure of re-reading a favorite book from my childhood, and reading it to someone who had never heard it before.

From the first paragraph, I was hooked – again. They just don’t write like that anymore!

“There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. “

How can you not love that first sentence?

Maybe the reason this book speaks to me is because, as an often-lonely only child, I spent a lot of time with my stuffed animals as a little girl. I don’t remember having a rabbit, but reading about his pink sateen ears and beautiful, velvety fur still gives me that cozy feeling of being curled up under the covers with a soft, snuggly stuffed animal and a good book.

The quintessential passage is the Skin Horse explaining to the Velveteen Rabbit what “Real” means in their toy world:used toys.jpg

“Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

 Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 

This is a love story in its purest form – the love of a child for his stuffed animal. If you think that sounds silly, don’t bother with it. But if your mind is open to nursery magic and fairies and Real stuffed animals, and you like feeling all the feels, do yourself a favor and read or re-read this short children’s classic.

 

 

 

Where the Wild Things Are, and Where They Are Now

By Yvonne Bertovich

If you’re hoping I start this off by saying, “They’re in my heart, where they’ve always been. Just like Max,” then, sorry, I won’t, and this won’t be a total cheese-ball fest (if that sort of thing exists).

For those of you who have never read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, it was my book when I was youngin’ and I highly recommend it, just for the illustrations alone. The next time you’re in the children’s book section, pick it up. In short, the book is about a young boy named Max who gets sent to his room without supper for sassing his mom. His imagination takes hold and he is transported on an eye-opening adventure. He befriends some beasts, yet also gains an appreciation for his mom (*sheds single tear*) before returning home.

Revisiting the work made me temporarily question why I used to love this book, besides the lively illustrations, of course. In all honesty, I have always been incredibly self-aware, even in my younger years. I can’t tell you how old I was when this book posed a challenge for me.

Upon rereading the book, I was immediately reminded of my distaste toward Max. I remember thinking he was a punk back then, and I still feel this way. Granted, I got sent to my room on a few occasions when I was younger, too, one of which was because I was in a fit after visiting my mom on her lunch break at the Gap (I know, could I be any more 90s?). shutterstock_457498756For some reason, I thought I would never see her again. I remember thinking my crying was illogical back then, but it was just one of those weird things I couldn’t control. Feelings, man. My dad and Memé sent me to my room to sort myself out, and I did. I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old.

It was in situations like this one that makes Where the Wild Things Are so applicable. Instead of sorting through his feelings methodically (because not many young children can), Max instead dreams up a him-centered world where he has to exert bravery and cunning, yet have fun and cause mischief, too. He injects himself into an alternate realm wherein he learns that dealing with unruly creatures (like how he was acting toward his mom) is difficult and taxing.

As kiddos, and even as adults, I feel I’m correct in assuming that we’d all love to escape reality to the extent that Max did. Imagine the headlines: “Corporate tax evader escapes to exotic private island.” Well, OK, maybe that’s not that far-fetched.

Where the Wild Things Are is a prime example of one of those self-realization stories where the subject just seems to figure things out on his or her own. There’s great beauty in teaching yourself something, especially when it results in a heightened appreciation for someone or something else of value — or just life in general. I’ve spent 21 exhilarating years doing this (but had plenty of long talks with Mom, too). Thanks, Maurice, (because I feel like we’re on that level). And thank you, Max.

 

 

Childhood Memories: Little House in the Big Woods

By Danielle Lieneman  

A well-written novel can transport you back in time and leave you confused about what year it is. Rereading a childhood favorite can have almost the same effect by bringing you back to childhood. We’ve decided to do a series where all of us here at the office reread an influential book from our childhood and see if the magic is still there.

The very first “chapter book” I read on my own was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura laura ingalls wilder
Ingalls Wilder, and boy was I obsessed. I read the entire series, the spin-offs about her daughter, mother, and grandmother, only to turn around and reread all of them immediately. I asked for every Little House companion I could find, from cookbooks to compilations of Wilder’s letters. I even tried to watch the show, but it just wasn’t the same. Luckily for me, and maybe unluckily for my parents, we lived an hour away from her long-term home in Springfield, Missouri, and I asked to go more often than I can remember. I even had a bonnet, guys…like a real honest-to-god bonnet. Thankfully I don’t think any pictures exist of me in said bonnet, but I digress.

Rereading the book as an adult was a different experience for sure, but that’s to be expected. I never could quite understand as a 5-year-old why my 15-year-old sister didn’t get a kick out of Little House like I did; what do you mean you don’t want to read about a small child whose biggest plot twist was the fact that she got a rag-doll and mittens for Christmas when everyone else only got mittens??

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy rereading the book or don’t think that it has literary significance, just that it was written for a child. Rereading the book actually had its own kind of special magic. While I didn’t necessarily identify with Laura anymore, I was able to see what it was that had drawn me to the book in the first place. While writing in a way meant to engage with children, Wilder is still able to create a world that the reader wants to learn more about. The characters were loving and realistic; I didn’t want anything to happen to Pa when he went hunting, and I wanted to know more about Ma’s struggles to create a home without any of the conveniences of today. I was happy when they were happy, sad when they were sad, and scared when they were scared. I even laughed at some of the more ridiculous stories, like Ma hitting a bear in the dark thinking it was their cow!

inside cabin.jpg

A reconstruction of Wilder’s home in Wisconsin.

I was able to clearly see the lessons that Wilder was trying to impart on her readers. Everything from table manners to being grateful, and that’s what you want in a book for children. There should be lessons embedded within the story, and Wilder knew just how to do that. I was actually surprised at just how much sometimes. This book seemed to critique some of the more problematic aspects of the 1800s to make those issues teachable moments. One particular line comes to mind about gender roles: “It was harder for little girls. Because they had to behave like little ladies all the time, not only on Sundays. Little girls could never slide downhill, like boys. Little girls had to sit in the house and stitch on samplers.” Initially, this line made me cringe for obvious reasons, but as I sat down to write about it I was left with a different impression. Rather than forcing gender roles on her readers, Wilder seems to be telling them to appreciate how far we have come since her grandmother’s day. I think she would be proud of how far we have come since 1932 when Little House in the Big Woods was initially published.bonnet
All in all, Little House in the Big Woods is a story I hope future generations will appreciate as
much as I did. Except for the bonnet wearing thing. I don’t wish that particularly embarrassing photo opportunity on anyone. In case you weren’t as weird as I was and aren’t sure what a bonnet is, I’ve provided an example.

If writing children’s books sounds like your thing, be sure to get our book: So You Want to Write a Children’s Book, available on Amazon.

 

BookTube All Day, Every Day: BookTube Recommendations

shutterstock_337052687Guilty as charged. I’m that person who spends all my free time watching YouTube. While I do watch a lot of the stereotypical people that you think of when I say the word “YouTuber,” I spend a good amount of my time watching BookTubers also. Ah, just saying the word makes me so happy.

I’ve been watching BookTube for about two years now, so I have found some of my favorite content creators. These are the people that the second I see they posted a video, I’m watching it no matter what I’m doing.

Maybe you’ll find that you love these five I mention, but maybe you won’t love them. Regardless, I think they are a good mix of people, and I highly recommend watching at least one of their videos.

Now, this list is in no particular order because I arguably love all of them equally. Even while scrolling through my subscriptions to find my select five, my heart broke because there are so many BookTubers that I absolutely love. But these are the five that I watch the most often and could rave about for the longest time. I tried not to choose the BookTubers that everyone knows about like abookutopia, jessethereader, polandbananasBOOKS, Katytastic readbyzoe, etc. While I do love them, too, I wanted to pick the not-so-obvious choices.

aVxKnfFe5. BooksandLala – First of all, I just want to say how utterly jealous I am of how many books she has in her book hauls each month. She just knows how to find a good deal,. which I really respect because I personally never buy a book full price. Lala, can I come book shopping with you sometime?

I love that Lala reads a wide range of books. She reads such long books, and I wish I could do the same. The way she rates her books in her wrap-ups each month is so unique and something I really enjoy. When she rates the books, she gives them a one to five star rating, but each star that she gives relates to a specific thing about the book and each star she takes off relates to a specific thing she didn’t like. For example, she might give a star for the character development, plotline, or pacing of a story. She might take off a star because she couldn’t relate to the characters, the story was
n’t believable, or the ending of the book didn’t tie up all the loose ends.

DZ-cClsV4. Bookables – There is a good chance that I like Heather because she reads the same type of genre of books that I do: chick lit. The style of her videos is just so fun. I also really like that she replies to each and every comment that people leave on her videos. There are other BookTubers that do this, too, but she is one that I really notice. It’s such a simple thing to do, but it really goes a long way because it really helps you build a connection with your audience. Our tastes in books are so similar that if there is a new-released book that I think looks amazing, and Heather says it’s bad, I won’t read the book.

D4B2pI5R3. HaileyinBookland – Maybe I just notice it more than the others, but she posts videos on such a consistent basis: Three times a week, which I just find incredible. I have a BookTube channel of my own (shameless self-plug), and I can barely manage to post a video a week! Hailey goes to school, has a job, and still finds time to film, edit, and post a video. Is she Superwoman because I am honestly questioning it? She also has some of the most original video ideas, which I think is quite hard to do. It’s already hard to post three videos a week, but it’s also hard to continuously come up with new ideas for videos.

Whitty2. WhittyNovels –One of the reasons I really like Whitney is hands down because of her humor. She’s roughly the same age as me and going to college as well, so a lot of the things she talks about in her videos are really relatable. I still vividly remember watching her vlog about when she moved into college, and I had just started college the year before so I had all the feels for her. I will say that I don’t always agree with her views on books, (sorry, but I love Colleen Hoover), but I think that’s part of the fun with BookTube. It allows the opportunity to really get exposed to other’s views on things, and it genuinely expands your horizon. If you don’t follow her on Snapchat, I highly recommend that you do. Not only is she hilarious, but when she is home there are numerous videos and photos of dogs, and dogs are probably tied with books on my list of favorite things on this planet. (I haven’t read Shatter Me yet, but I promise I will soon!)

Laura1. LovelyLikeLaura – Again, Laura is someone that I can relate to because we are around the same age. Sometimes I genuinely wonder if we are the same person because we have a lot of the same interests and most definitely the same taste in books. I finally started reading Colleen Hoover after hearing her talk about how much she loves her, and I found out that I really like her books. The second I hear her talk about a book that I haven’t heard of, I add it to my TBR list. So thank you to Laura for making my TBR pile 10 times longer.

While I may spend far too much time on YouTube, it’s a great way for me to stay up-to-date on the book world, which I think is incredibly important since I want to continue my career in publishing for as long as I can (and hopefully the rest of my life). So if you ever find yourself with some spare time on your hands, I highly recommend watching one of these individuals!

*Photos used with permission from the BookTuber.

Thank you, Heather for the featured image!

 

Happy Birthday Mr. President…Jackson

NEW Andrew Jackson battleMarch 15th. A seemingly uneventful day for most of us, but on this day in 1767 our 7th president was born. Andrew Jackson was an America statesman, soldier, and politician who is most well known as being a president for the common man. Before becoming president, Jackson led quite the interesting life: he was kidnapped by British soldiers at the age of 13; he was educated as a lawyer and served on the Tennessee Supreme Court; he served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1912 and became a national war hero after a decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans; and was (briefly) Florida’s governor.

In honor of his birthday, we have decided to give a sneak peek of our biography: People That Changed the Course of History: The Story of Andrew Jackson. This excerpt focuses on one of the most controversial and well-known actions that Jackson took while in office, The Trail of Tears.

Although Jackson had defeated the Creeks and Seminoles, it didn’t put an end to battles between settlers and Native Americans. One of the most controversial acts of the Presidency was the decision to deal with the constant clashes between Indians and Americans in the South. To make matters worse, gold was discovered in Cherokee territory in the state of Georgia. Governor George Gilmer complained to Washington that he had no authority to give rights or protection to the either the Cherokee or the trespassing minors. Something had to be done.

The people demanded action, and in May, Congress passed The Indian Removal Act. This law gave the federal government the right to meet with tribal chiefs for negotiations to move the tribes further west into territory that is a part of Oklahoma today. In reality, it demanded the Indians give up their homes and lands to the United States and pushed them out of the way.

 A Virginia newspaper defended the law. It claimed that the Indians would not be forced to go and that they would be given money for expenses and their first year of life in the new land. In Washington, the President stated it would “separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; [and] enable them to pursue happiness in their own way, and under their own crude institutions” (Globe, 1830).

Those who spoke out against The Indian Removal Act included Davy Crockett and Abraham Lincoln. It made no difference. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830. It gave him the right to grant the Indians lands in the West as a trade for the Union taking over the lands of their ancestors.

Although the Indians had the right to meet for negotiations, there would be little choice in the matter in the long run. They would have to move. The pressure to submit to the will of the Republic fell on the Indians. Many of the tribes hesitated. They saw no reason or right for them to be kicked off their lands. When the Indian fighter, Andrew Jackson, won the White House election again two years later, most of the leaders finally agreed to go.

The majority of the tribes went peacefully, but not all of them. They sent delegations and petitions to Washington. They even took their case to the Supreme Court. Loss after loss doing things the white man’s way left many frustrated and depressed.

As a treaty was drawn up that gave the United States the right to take Indian lands in exchange for western territory, supplies, and money, a small group of Cherokee Indians received permission to meet with President Jackson in person. They called him the “Great Father.” He had already met with some of their greatest lawyers and defenders but turned them away. The Indians must have felt this would be their last hope.

The president continued, telling the representatives they were now subject to the same laws and consequences of white settlers. He scolded them for their violence as well as growing problems with alcohol. They didn’t do much to farm or modernize their lands the way whites thought it should be done. He warned them they would eventually disappear like the Indian nations before them if they didn’t learn the white man’s ways.

He eventually closed with what he considered wise counsel. “You have but one remedy within your reach. And that is to remove to the West and join your countrymen, who are already established there. The choice is yours.May the great spirit teach you how to choose.”

Eventually, the Cherokees submitted to a Senate-approved final treaty when it was sent to their own National Council in New Echota, Georgia. They were forced to surrender all of their lands east of the Mississippi for $5 million. Along with the new territory granted to them in the West, they would receive regular shipments of supplies like blankets, kettles, and rifles.

In the winter of 1838, the last of some stubborn Cherokee tribes were lined up and walked out by force. Thousands of them died along the way, earning the march the name The Trail of Tears.

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