Inspiring the American Dream wants to inspire the next generation to understand and seek after the American Dream. They have published a book to help with their goal. Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian is about a boy named Abraham. Both his parents lose their jobs and he wants to provide some sort of Christmas for his family. While texting his friends on his smart phone, a character named Abraham, who looks like Abraham Lincoln, pops out of the phone and takes him on a journey to meet famous and currently living Americans as well as historical characters. Through these people Abraham learns about creating his own success. The book’s mission is to teach children about the American Dream and to encourage them to work for it. It is available for $14.99 from and is geared for children ages 7-12.
I believe that anyone can accomplish anything they set their minds to and I also believe fully in the American Dream. I believe that even those who are born into less than ideal circumstances can rise up and do great things if they believe in themselves.
I felt like this book had a noble goal but fell short. First, the parts I liked were the beginning and end. Abraham starts on his journey because he loves his family and wants to do something kind for them. He seeks to find a solution to his problem rather than being a victim. The end shows that after success he continues to do good for others. Ultimately anyone who lives the American Dream will be most successful if he reaches beyond himself and makes the world a better place. Beyond this, the character development was very weak as was the story line. Abraham’s journey to achieving his dream consisted of him choosing to paint a nativity scene for an orphanage Christmas play. His painting is so good that Norman Rockwell tells him he has a talent for painting. Then he meets a few more characters culminating in meeting Mark Zuckerberg who tells him to advertise the painting with social media. His painting captures the attention of Bill Gates who sees the painting on “Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site.” Bill Gates then buys the painting. Throughout the story, I didn’t really see Abraham learning or growing through meeting the various characters. The story made it seem like his first attempt at painting was a masterpiece and success comes from knowing the right people. Masterpieces are not created on the first attempt. To become truly great, a person must work hard. In addition to the rather convenient and miraculous masterpiece of Abraham, the historical characters seemed shallow. Most of the historical and famous characters mentioned something he or she was passionate about but there was little exploration on who they were or how they applied the American Dream.
Tiger read the book right after I did. I didn’t say anything to him about my opinions, as I wanted his unbiased opinions. I asked him what he thought about the book and he said he liked it, but then he said, “Everything just happened to Abraham and he didn’t really do anything to make himself successful.” I think Tiger hit the nail on the head. Abraham didn’t work for his dream. He happened to meet certain people who told him what he should do next and basically orchestrated his life for him. He did not work hard to achieve his goal. The American Dream is not easy. It requires hard work, perseverance, and faith. It requires effort. I don’t think this came across in the story very well.
Each of the characters in the story had a dream in real life, whether monetary or not, and worked for it. While there were very short biographies of each character at the end of the book, I would really have liked to see more information on the historical characters woven through the story. Who were these people? How did they achieve the American Dream? What circumstances did they rise up from? What made them great? What lessons could be learned from studying their lives? Rather than being told what to do next, it would have been more inspiring to see how Abraham applied the lessons learned from the lives of the various characters.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.