With our Anglo-Saxon theme I feel like we have stuck to the migration of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, the fighting and the different Kings but for whatever the reason the kids have not been that interested in the lifestyle part of the Anglo-Saxons as much. Until we discovered our latest Historical Fiction book – Freedom for Bron: The Boy Who Saved a Kingdom (History Adventures).
The Story is about a Slave Boy, Bron who manages to buy his freedom and then joins a famous Saxon leader as he tries to secure peace between the local Saxon tribe and the Jutes.
I really liked this story for the simple reason that while we read it the kids were constantly learning about what life would have been like in the Anglo-Saxons time. They read about the typical life on a Anglo-saxon farm, how important the harvest was and how vulnerable the farmers were to raiders. They learnt how the everyone was always suspicious of strangers. They learnt about slaves, how they would have been treated and how they could buy their freedom (in this story the slave boy, Bron is treated badly by his master and the local kids but there are other local farmers and a famous warlord who are kind to him so I liked that balance, showing the kids that even a famous and powerful warlord could still be kind to a slave – very good life lesson there). They learnt about what a basic house would have been like, how they ate and drank ale and not lots of water. They learnt about the powerful rulers who decided everyone’s fate and that the framers were expected the follow them into a battle without question. The fact the Roman infrastructure was not maintained and I could go on and on. I really felt by reading this story about Bron the kids learnt an incredible amount about the general life during the Anglo-Saxon times.
I also really liked the fact that after the story the author included a number of pages (+20 pages) called Fact vs Fiction. In these pages they break down the story and explain what is fact and what has been included to create a story. This was brilliant because it reinforced a lot of what we had already been talking about – not only does it speak about the characters and places mentioned but it talks about things like Anglo-Saxon medicine, differences between Jutes and Saxons, did women fight, the religion of the time. These pages are really informative and I would urge anyone who reads the story to also read these Fact verse Fiction pages with the kids.
And that is not all, they have also put together some Teacher’s Notes to go with this book which are free to download from the publishers site here – Freedom for Bron Teachers Notes.
I found this set very useful. It includes a background, some activity pages which you can do with the kids and a great breakdown of the different themes included in the book. I found reading the key Theme pages very handy. In all honestly I would have picked out these key themes by just reading the story with the kids but the notes gave some extra background on the themes and extra detail that I did not know. Oh and at the end of the Teacher’s notes there is a page on how to pronounce the names – I suggest you print that out and leave it with the book – my daughter found it really useful when she was trying to pronounce some of the names.
As a home educator I loved the fact that not only was there a Fact vs Fiction section at the back of the book but they also created a useful set of notes to go with the book. We found this book a really useful resource to read as part of our Anglo-Saxon theme.
All the Admin bits – I was given our copy of Freedom for Bron.
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