Park Bench Books (Columbus Day/Native American Day Edition)

Did you know that Columbus Day is called "Native American Day" in South Dakota, "Discovery Day" in Hawaii and the Bahamas, "National Day" in Spain, and "Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity" in Argentina?

For good and for bad, the meeting of the Americas and Eurasia (and later, Africa) changed the world. Learn more about the pre- and post-Columbian worlds with one of these fascinating reads:

For the Adults:

  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann - New research is turning up more and more incredible information about the people who lived in the Americas before Columbus, and this book takes you there! Mummies parading through the streets, highways in the rainforest, the invention of maize - this isn't your grandfather's history!
  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann - Not only did the aftermath of Columbus change the Americas forever, it changed the entire world. This book entertainingly explains these changes with tales of towns abandoned to fire ants, the silver mountain of Potos√≠, and how the earthworm came to New England.

For the Kids:

  • Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas by Russell Freedman - An excellent guide to the exploration of the Americas and the Native Americans who didn't view the "discovery" in such a good light.
  • Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann - A companion to the book for adults, this book is an excellent read and has great photos and maps.
  • Who Discovered America? by Valerie Wyatt - A fun introduction to a wide range of potential discoverers, ranging from the known (Columbus) to the improbable (Saint Brendan).