Tag Archives: Henry Hudson

Painting the Light, Making Connections to Other Subjects

Art works can spark stories to write, suggest books to read, historical events to explore, and science to discover!

So read on to see ways Jasper Cropsey’s painting, Autumn on the Hudson can help you and your children make connections with other subjects such as language arts, social studies, and science.

Connections to other subjects

Social Studies


  • Use maps and photos to look at this region’s sections of the Appalachian Mountain chain called the Catskills and Adirondacks and important rivers such as the Hudson and the Mohawk, which helped transport goods to bring prosperity in the 1800s. The Hudson Highlands figures prominently in the Revolutionary War.

History: this region is rich in history with so many topics to pursue, that I’ll just mention a few:

  • The Iroquois League or Five Nations (their culture and history before and after the coming of Europeans)
  • The Oneida, an Iroquois League tribe that trekked hundreds of miles to bring corn to Washington’s troops at Valley Forge.
  • The discovery and exploration of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson who was sailing for the Dutch and therefore why the Dutch claimed and were the first European settlers of the region. Reflected in many place names such as Catskills, Schenectady, Tappan Zee, etc.
  • The importance of this region of the Hudson during the Revolutionary War. What did the American troops do to keep the British from traveling up the river and cutting New England off from the other colonies?
  • The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, which connected Lake Erie with the Hudson River at Albany, enabling the easier transportation of goods and people between western New York and New York City.
  • Albert Bierstadt, 1830-1902, who traveled the American West with various expeditions. His paintings helped encourage people to go west to settle.

Language Arts

Writing: Story prompts:

For Younger Children:

  • Write a story about the children on the bridge. What are they doing there? Do they live in the cabin? Are they taking a break from their chores?  What are their chores? Do you think their parents allowed them to take a break or not? Is that their dog? What other sorts of things do they like to do?

For Older Children:

  • Pretend you’re traveling on the paddlewheel steamer. Are you going downriver to visit New York City? What will you see in the city? If you’re traveling upriver to Albany and then taking the Erie Canal west to your home, tell about your trip, describing things you’d see you’ll be traveling the Erie Canal, describe what it’s like to go through a lock. What gives power to boats on the canal?
  • If you like horses, you might imagine and write about where the rider has been and what the roads were like. Was the rider on a trip? If so, where would the rider have stayed, eaten? Was the rider a doctor, returning from treating a patient? Or a traveling preacher?

Books to read that are related to the region or times:

For Younger Readers 1st -3rd:

  • The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh, a true story of a young girl in 1700s, a Newbery Honor book
  • The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmunds, Dutch settlers in Hudson Valley,  a young boy’s courage, Newbery Medal

For Middle Grade Readers:

  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingolls Wilder, story of Almonzo Wilder growing up on a western New York farm in the 1860s
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol R. Brink, growing up on Wisconsin frontier in mid 1800s
  • The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz, a family moves to the Pennsylvania frontier in late 1700s
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry, true story of a frontier school teacher in Vermont and his amazing horse, late 1700s
  • Rip van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, legends of the Dutch settlers, set in the Catskills

Classics for Older Readers:

  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, classic adventure and romance
  • Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds, the struggle of pioneers in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolution
  • The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter, a young settler boy captured and raised by Native Americans must return to his true family as a teenager.


  • Sunbeams or Crepuscular (Latin for twilight) rays. Discover how sunbeams are created as they shine through gaps in clouds, mountains, or tall buildings.  Your research will also help you find out why the sky is blue for much of the day, but reddish at sunrise and sunset. You can go to this link to Britannica to begin  .https://www.britannica.com/science/crepuscular-ray
  • Look up why and how leaves turn colors in the fall. It has to do with the green chlorophyll not being replaced as days shorten and grow colder. But this link to the University of Vermont will tell you lots more!    https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/fallleaves.html

Wow, can you believe what a lot of interesting paths this painting could lead you on? Molly and I hope you’ll choose a few to follow!

I’ve discovered that these interconnections, deserve their very own post, so these new series will now probably have 5 posts instead of 4!

 Come on back for a kid-friendly devotion next time on post 3 of this series!!