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This is a beautiful book that tells one of the most inspirational stories of all time in an essentialized manner appreciable by young children---and young readers: the font is large, and every other page sports a beautiful illustration or color photograph of the narrative on each facing page.

It is ideal for parents and teachers also: the story is followed by suggested activities and two appendices, one listing a detailed timeline, the other a question and answer game---challenging even this adult's recall.

Most of all, as the proud uncle of a vivacious toddler, I look forward to reading this to her, only I can never get through the "field of surrender" without bursting into tears.

Perhaps that's partly because I can hear the voice of John Ridpath who, in his original Independence Day talk in Williamsburg, Virginia (on which this book is based), got choked up as well.


Dr. Ridpaths glowing Introduction endorses and confirms the value of Ms. Cushman's superlative adaptation, my deepest, heartfelt appreciation goes out to them both.

                                                               J. Alexander

The simplicity of the title says it all. Charlotte Cushman's book eloquently states the principle in terms that even a 5-year old can understand. This book is for children, but adults should treasure it as well. This is probably a missing piece of their own education.

We have been taught that American exceptionalism is due to our religious freedom, our entrepreneurial system, our democracy, our welcoming attitude, our fearlessness in facing the future, our unwillingness to settle for the ordinary, our generosity, and many other reasons to numerous to list. One idea unites and explains all of these characteristics of our country, and is more fundamental.

Nothing is more exceptional in human history than the idea that your life belongs to you: not God, not the state, not your parents, ancestors, community, not the country nor the world. The United States of America was the first and still the only country founded on the principle that your life belongs to you.

Unfortunately, the US did not always live up to that principle, and is still paying the price -- but ultimately, there is no more fundamental truth that each life belongs to the individual and each individual can only claim ownership of the life they are living.


A great way to introduce children to American History. This book is a rare find. Its an easy book for adults to read to young children. Charlotte has written it in a way that draws you into the story and makes you want to go deeper!


                                                      Amazon Customer

I love this book for young children. It's sourced, which is great for kids to become used to and I think the Q and A game is a great idea to help children retain the information in a fun way.


YOUR LIFE BELONGS TO YOU by Charlotte Cushman...what a read! Though written for children, this book is for all of us, young and old and in between. How long had it been since I last reviewed the facts of my nation's history?! This beautiful book with the awesome cover made me weep while witnessing the story of our Founding Fathers and the magnificent nation that emerged from their dedication and belief in freedom.

This wonderful book is appealing in all respects. Color, beautiful pictures and well developed narrative combine to make it easily understood by most children and enriching to children and adults alike. I have ordered 10 copies already (lots of kids in our family!) and plan to order more. I have many friends who are grandparents and who are anxious to share our historical truth with their much-loved grandchildren.
                                                                                                                                 Carol A Landkamer

 Highly recommend this book!

Charlotte Cushman did an amazing job writing this book about our American history. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It's a book for both young & old. I highly recommend this book to everyone that is interested in learning about our history. Well written & factual.

I lent this book to my teacher friend & she ordered a few copies that she is going to keep in her classroom.

Thank you for taking the time to write this book, Charlotte. You are a true patriot!

                                                                                                                                                             Toni Walsh

The title of the book is a simple and profound statement of the theme of America. How wonderful that a book primarily for young children tells the story of the birth of America in a way that expresses that theme.

                                                                                                                                                       Ronald Pisaturo

Solid American history for young children (and for the young at heart) from educator Charlotte Cushman. It's chock full of classic American historical art that will take you back to when you learned American history as a kid. This book restores the wonder, dignity, and the uniqueness of America's founding to its proper place for young minds. I highly recommend it!


                                                     Marcus Diamantus

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