How We Crossed the West

Lewis and Clark reached Kansas on June 26, 1804, and departed only two weeks later.  However, their brief stay had a significant impact on the future state:

  • They named some of the geographical features of interest.
  • They imparted new knowledge of the area to the rest of America.
  • They wrote a favorable account of the northeastern corner of the state, inducing the first settlers to view it as distinct from the “Great American Desert” further west.

How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer does an excellent job of presenting the story of the two explorers to children—while relying on the firsthand accounts of those involved.

The narrative is supplied almost entirely by carefully chosen excerpts from the diaries of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and other members of the expedition.  Through their words we learn of the highs and lows of exploration, the animals of the West, and the habits of the Indians.

The book is supplemented with lavish illustrations, adding to its appeal.

Excellent introduction to Lewis and Clark, relying almost exclusively on primary sources!