> Bless Their Hearts Mom: History Corner / Book Review- The Story we Carry in Our Bones by Juliene Osborne-Knight, Illus by Mara McKnight
Thursday, November 19, 2015

History Corner / Book Review- The Story we Carry in Our Bones by Juliene Osborne-Knight, Illus by Mara McKnight

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book,, free of charge,from Pelican Publishing, for  review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

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“We will know them in the deep genetic river of our ancestry, Irish at the marrow, carrying the story in our bones, in our very bones.”
The Story we Carry in Our Bones cover


More than forty million people consider themselves Irish-American, and yet most of them do not truly understand the rich cultural history of their ancestors. From 3800 B.C. to the emigration of the Irish to Amerikay, this broad, yet comprehensive, history gives a general overview of the deep history of Irish-Americans. Intricate Celtic illustrations accent each section, weaving a visual and stimulating picture of Irish history. The book includes such interesting topics as:
• the four cycles of Irish storytelling
• ancient Celtic legends of shapeshifting and Fair Folk
• the six Gaelic languages and their relation to one another
• the Gallic Wars with Julius Caesar
• the Anglo-Norman invasion
• the sacred ceremonies and religious beliefs of the Druids
• the real story of St. Patrick
• the Great Famine brought on by British involvement
• the mass exodus of Irish to America
• the struggle for Irish-Americans to rebuild their lives upon new soil, in an unwelcome land.


This book is divided into 4 sections (Knock Wood and Light the Pumpkin,, Keeping Faith at the Cross Road, No One Leaves Your Table Hungry, and Irish Roots and Rising Irish) that break down the history of pre-Ireland, Ireland and then the vast migration to America. It is an interesting look at the 'old country' and how Ireland evolved from the legendary Celts and Vikings, into a land taken by the English, before seeking independence.  

There are thinks you might not know, like the episode above, how the Choctaw Indians in America send money to Ireland to help out during the Famine. It helps you to understand how the Irish spirit is so integrated into the American frontier and traditions, and just how many influential Irish Americans there were.  If you have Irish ancestors, you will definitely want to check out this book, for its great background, and even geneaological info (like the ports of entry above). This is a great reference book that your kids will go back to over and over. It would also make a great gift idea for the history lover! 

About the Author:

Juilene Osborne-McKnight is the chair of humanities, chair of communication, and director of creative writing at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. She also teaches as an associate professor of journalism, literature, and creative writing at the school. She is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Historical Novel Society, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is the author of four books of historical fantasy set in Ireland. Osborne-McKnight lives with her husband, Thomas, in Warrington, Pennsylvania. 

About the Illustrator:

Designer and illustrator Mara McKnight received her bachelor of arts in communication from DeSales University. She went on to study fine art and graphic design at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She works as a freelance artist and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

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