“I’m passionate about kids learning American history and our founding principles, and they simply aren’t learning it in schools.”
Meet Amelia Hamilton — dearest friend, gifted children’s authoress, and education advocate.
Amelia Hamilton is a blogger and author of the Growing Patriots children’s books. A lifelong writer and patriot, she also loves hockey, old cars, old movies and apple juice. Amelia has a master’s degree in both English and 18th-century history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Sunday, while binge watching Hallmark Christmas movies, I sat down Hamilton to discuss her latest endeavor, The Growing Patriots Podcast.
The Growing Patriots podcast highlights bits of American history — each episode covering a different topic. Far from didactic, the podcasts move quickly and are enjoyable for kids and adults alike.
First, a little about you:
LI: Show us on your hand what part of Michigan you’re from.
LI: On a scale of 1 to “die in a fire,” how much do you hate mayonnaise?
AH: Mayonnaise is like slimy, tangible evil. Mayonnaise is as though the lies of a thousand politicians turned into a condiment and the world believed it was delicious. I hate mayonnaise like I hate socialism, which is probably at the root of mayonnaise. Wake up, sheeple!!1!
LI: What inspired you to write your first children’s book?
AH: I wrote the first children’s book for a friend’s son when he was learning to count, because I wanted him to have something that would also provide a patriotic foundation. I think it’s important for kids to grow up knowing American history and the values on which our country was founded.
LI: Cake or pie?
AH: Pie, for the obvious reason that it is better.
LI: The best part of being a children’s author is _________.
AH: Doing my small part to keep this republic going a generation at a time.
Let’s chat about your latest project:
LI: Before starting the Growing Patriots Podcast, you authored two children’s books. Tell us a little bit about those.
AH: I fell in love with history at an early age and went on to get my masters in 18th-century social history, then studied objects and interiors from that time period. I’m a total nerd for the revolutionary period.
I wrote the first book as a gift for a little boy and kept hearing from parents that kids weren’t really getting American history in schools, so decided to publish and then write as second introducing early American history to little ones. The podcast is the next step!
LI: Tell us about your new podcast.
AH: It’s a weekly podcast of about 20 minutes or so for kids about 7-10 years old but. Like the books, parents can use it as a tool to introduce concepts and launch further age-appropriate discussion with kids depending on their age. Every week, a kid joins me to ask a few questions, and then an expert comes on the show to answer them.
The first few episodes take kids through the founding of the original 13 colonies and what made them unique (some were plantation colonies, some were built on religious tolerance, etc). Now, I’m in the second session, in which we’re going through colonial times thematically. There was an episode on colonial kids, one on food and mealtimes- getting into what everyday life was like for American colonists. After the new year, the American Revolution will be on!
LI: So far, what’s your favorite episode?
AH: My favorite episode so far was episode 10, “Colonial Clothing.” Kids today might not recognize the way colonists ate dinner out of a common dish or could only listen to music when it was being played live, but we all get dressed in the morning! That’s something we can all relate to. I’ll admit that part of why I loved the episode is simply that I loved studying clothing myself, how we can get clues about a person’s life and circumstances based on what they wore, but I also had great guests.
The little girl who joined is the daughter of a clothing designer, so she’s a budding fashionista with excellent questions about everything from laundry to glitter, and the expert was a clothing and textiles curator from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I grew up going to Colonial Williamsburg regularly (and I credit my aforementioned nerdery for this time period with those visits), so I was so excited to have him on, and he did a great job of answering the questions in a way that’s accessible to kids. Between my love of the subject and the great guests, it just came together really well…in my humble opinion.
LI: What prompted you to start a podcast?
AH: There are just so many stories to tell, more than I could possibly write books about in a lifetime. However, I can do a weekly podcast and let their interest lead them to learn more as they’d like to. For every episode, there are resources on my website where kids can learn more about that subject. When parents are driving or busy at home, it’s easy turn on a quick podcast that is entertaining and educational rather than turn to screentime or content that isn’t doing much for their minds.
LI: Why do you think this type of content is so important?
AH: I’m passionate about kids learning American history and our founding principles, and they simply aren’t learning it in schools. Parents need tools like this to supplement school curriculum or to use in homeschooling to spark an interest while kids are still young. Since kids are consuming more content digitally, this is a way to deliver content to kids without adding to screentime. On my website, I have things like coloring pages for kids to do while they listen.
LI: What are listeners saying about your podcast?
AH: I’ve found that families are excited to have a resource like this. Something to listen to in the car that’s at an appropriate age level for kids (but the adults don’t mind), that the kids enjoy listening to and the adults actually want them to listen to. I’ve heard from quite a few homeschool families who use it as part of their curriculum, because they can listen together and then do different activities based on the content depending on the age level of different kids. People also seem to enjoy that it’s driven by the kids asking the questions rather than an adult assuming what a kid might want to know.
LI: Where can we find your podcast?
AH: You can subscribe on iTunes, listen on SoundCloud, or go to the Growing Patriots website and click “podcast” to find every episode plus the resources to go along with them. I also share every episode on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.DONATE
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