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In 1492
Jean Marzollo


In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.

Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!

"Indians!  Indians!"  Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But "India" the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.

Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he'd been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.

The first American?  No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.

From In 1492 (Scholastic, 1991).
Used with permission.

Jean Marzollo (1942 - 2018) was born and raised in Connecticut. She originally planned to be a social worker but, ultimately, spent 20 years as the editor of Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out magazine. The author of multiple books and articles for teachers and parents, Jean wrote more than 150 books for children, including the iconic I Spy series. In her 50s, Jean learned to paint and ended up illustrating, as well as writing, a series of Bible story books, as well as several others. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
That first stanza is so familiar to me. Thanks for running this. Faithful rhyme schemes and rhythm.
Posted 10/12/2019 05:41 PM

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