Speaking of explorers, readers will recognize the ones mentioned in the story. Most children study them in middle school; my daughter did, so she knew who Ponce de Leon was and about the Fountain of Youth.
Through lessons, we know that when explorers traveled to new lands, they brought with them diseases. Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth by Jim Halverson did note this and how the Natives got revenge on foreigners by giving them an STD, which they brought back to their homelands. (If you haven’t spoken to your child about STDs yet, then this might be a good time to explain it.)
There were no graphic scenes or questionable topics (besides the STD passages), so middle school children could read this on their own. At less than 160 pages, it shouldn’t take them too long to read it. If your family homeschools, maybe have your child write a review on the story or complete a book report. I’m sure they’ll have plenty to talk about: snake bites, runaway rooster, greed-filled men, “magic water,” and much more.
While Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth did lag for me a bit, I did find it amusing how the white men underestimated the Natives, and how Ponce was on the constant verge of having an absolute hissy fit.
The ending was superb too!
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Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.