Colorful Journey
by Jennifer Tirtilli Ranu, Giuliana Ranu and Karolina Ranu

"These Founding Fathers had the foresight to predict that huge factories and mills built here would manufacture many products... previously purchased from and taxed by England."

Young fictional characters who live in Paterson, NJ, during the 1950s narrate stories about the founding of this corner of America based on historical facts. Sweety is one of the multicultural, local children living on a dead-end street in New Jersey. Sweety's father works in construction. Fathers of her friends work in factories and mills called sweatshops located downhill from their neighborhood. Stay-at-home mothers' work is clearly evident on every block, as laundry washed using ringer machines hangs out on clotheslines to catch the wind and dry. The children meet a groundhog who offers to take them on tour of Garret Mountain if they can guess his name.

Much earlier, the Founding Fathers met in Preakness Valley to share a vision for this area near where George Washington had camped during the Revolutionary War. Meeting with General Washington at the great falls in 1778 were Alexander Hamilton, future Secretary of the Treasury, and Marquis de Lafayette, notable French supporter of the Colonists in their war to be free of Great Britain. They predicted America's prosperous future based on amazing natural resources and tireless waterwheels that would deliver power to serve Americans with strong work ethics.

Historical fiction populates this delightful children's tale with colorful characters, human and otherwise, whose names and skin colors are straight out of boxes of crayons and cookies. The children also travel by book to the once pastoral foot of Garret Mountain. While pages pop with highly informative yet simple illustrations, the narrative teaches history through changing environments and buildings, home to generations past, present, and future. It is clear that the older Ranu of the three authors loves and misses the area where she grew up in the 1950s. She shares that love by instilling a respect for history within her grandchildren (the co-authors) and young readers everywhere.

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