Title: Daniel at the Siege of Boston 1776 (Boys of Wartime)
Author: Laurie Calkhoven
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Concepts: taxes, scarcity, goods and services, economics of conflict
Review: Daniel Prescott, a twelve-year old child in a family that owned and operated a successful tavern in Boston, believed strongly in the Patriot cause. Although he could understand the growing anger over the Crown’s taxation without representation, Daniel was careful to avoid showing his support for the Patriots in public. After all, British soldiers and their officers frequented his parents’ tavern, and Daniel did not want them to suspect that his parents also supported the Patriots.
Even after the siege on Boston started in April 1775 and Daniel’s father left town to join the militia, Daniel was still careful to hide his true loyalties from the British soldiers. Not only did the family tavern depend on their business and the supplies they brought in, but Daniel had an important secret he could not afford to expose. He was serving as a young spy for General Washington, and the information he carried could play a pivotal role in the success of the Patriots’ attempt to defeat the British.
With its focus on the eleven-month siege of Boston, this book constitutes a useful resource for teaching children about the economics of conflict and the shortages that result during war. With the American militia surrounding Boston by land, the British soldiers and remaining residents were trapped inside Boston with only the occasional ship from Britain to bring in food and basic supplies. Told from a child’s vantage point, the story is sure to resonate with young readers who otherwise may have little concept of what life could be like when virtually all movement to and from a city is blocked.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children