(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Addressing a young adult audience in his preface, the author outlines lofty goals for his first book, Ten Tall Texans. One of his purposes is to remind his American readers of their democratic heritage and their responsibility to preserve that heritage. The heroic lives of these Texas patriots bear witness to the high price and value of freedom. Kubiak believes that knowing about the sacrifices of one’s predecessors will encourage the traits of loyalty and patriotism. An illustration of personal sacrifice is found in the life of Austin. After journeying alone to Mexico City to negotiate separate statehood for Texas, Austin was imprisoned in a dungeon for more than two years by Santa Anna. Following his release, despite broken health, Austin campaigned for Texas independence until his death in 1836. This man’s tireless diplomatic efforts earned for him the title “Father of Texas.”

Kubiak sees each individual’s contribution as vitally important to preserving a democratic heritage. Milam is an example of how one person can influence many: Formerly hesitant troops followed this man when he challenged, “Who will go with old Ben Milam to San Antonio?”

The stories chosen to be included in Ten Tall Texans achieve the author’s goals of reminding young Americans of past heroes and encouraging personal stands for freedom. Yet Kubiak’s selection of ten names from many possibilities leaves some questions. Houston and Austin are obvious choices, but the inclusion of the virtually unknown Candelaria is debatable for such a collection....

(The entire section is 646 words.)