Author's Note

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s in Hyderabad, India. My favorite books as a child, The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls and a companion called Our National Parks, were from a U.S. publisher. I remember my parents paying the equivalent of about two dollars every month for the books, out of their modest monthly earnings, one book at a time. They firmly believed in the transforming power of education and reading. What I initially didn't realize, as I devoured those books, was that they were written for American children.

William Penn, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Johnny Appleseed, Thomas Edison, Hiawatha and Rip Van Winkle; Mammoth Cave, Mount Rainier and Acadia were all as familiar to me as Gandhi, Nehru, and ...

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