An Interview with Lynn Glaze: Samuel Sails Round the Horn

Oct 30, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Lynn, first of all, tell us about what you do and what led up to this book?

I used to be an elementary school teacher. My book can be used to supplement American history as usually studied in the fifth grade. My great-great-grandfather sailed around the horn in 1850. He wanted to be in California so he could look for gold.

2) Obviously, not all students appreciate, enjoy, relish or savor history—but what can the average teacher do?

I have found that books like mine that have real people doing real things makes history more interesting to young people.

3) In a sense, history is one great big adventure – Columbus sailing the ocean, the colonists landing at Plymouth Rock.  How do you make history into one great big adventure?

Find books that relate to adventures that are not textbooks. Encourage reading to them for extra credit. Children need to be exposed to other times and places.

4) How do you integrate curiosity into the teaching of say, the Renaissance?

There are many fascinating people who lived during the Renaissance: Galileo, the Borgias, Catherine the Great. I would have the children research their stories to find out about them and their times. Then have a class discussion.

5) For gifted kids, how do you do “enrichment“ and foster their creativity?

Research projects do not have to be written. When I was teaching third grade in New Mexico, we studied the local Native Americans. I invited Native American speakers. We made a small Native American village, drew the clothes and made some of their food.

6) Are we missing a lot of geography in the schools? Or world history? Or do we leave that for colleges?

No, we can’t wait until college. Both geography and history are certainly neglected. At Stanford when I was there, students could major in geography. When I was in fifth grade, each of us had to chose a country in Africa, research its history, geography, climate, crops and people and then give an oral report to the whole class.  I have been interested in Eritrea ever since. I did this with both my third and fourth grade classes. The children loved it. It is important for boys and girls to learn about the world from an early age. I have traveled on every continent because I had these experiences.

7 ) Now, your book- Samuel Sails Round the Horn- Are We talking about the Cape of Good Hope or some other place?

Samuel travels from New Hampshire to San Francisco around Cape Horn. The ship sails down the east coast of South America and up the west coast.

8) Who is this Samuel- and what is he interested in?

Sam is a teenage boy who runs away from home because he doesn’t want to be a farmer all his life. He wants to see new places and find gold in California. He finds that the trip on the Callao is more difficult and longer than he expected.

9) America and the westward expansion, and the Lewis And Clark expeditions- what backdrop can students be provided?

I published my first book, Seasons of the Trail, in 2000.  It is based on my great-grandmother’s journey to California by covered wagon with her parents. It gives a lot of information about the westward expansion.

10) What have I neglected to ask?

Both of my books are available on Amazon. They’re both good stories with details of history and geography.

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