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TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY through LITERATURE: Kindergarten through Early Elementary


TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY through LITERATURE

 (Kindergarten through Early Elementary)

 

 

 

Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving  by Ann McGovern

Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters, photos by Russ Kendall - Photos of costumed interpreters at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts give a realistic look into the daily life of a pilgrim. This book is based on true stories from the original settlement.

 

Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters, photos by Russ Kendall - Photos of costumed interpreters at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts give a realistic look into the daily life of a pilgrim.

 

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas and Tommy Nelson - This beautiful picture book includes the spiritual side of Squanto's story. 

The Ring and the Window Seat by Amy Hest, illus. Deborah Haeffelle - A little girl gives her savings to help rescue a girl her own age from war-torn Europe.

 

If You Lived In Colonial Times by Ann McGovern

 
Siege!: The Story of St. Augustine in 1702 by Wilma Pitchford Hays

  
. . . If You Grew Up with George Washington by Ruth Belov Gross - Describes the childhood that George Washington (and others) may have experienced in Virginia. 

A Flag for Our Country (Stories of America) by Eve Spencer; Alex Haley - The story of Betsy Ross passed down by her family. Well Done 

The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin by James Cross Giblin - Very thorough in capturing important facts, yet including enough flair and illustrations to keep reader interest high. Additional notes in the back describe his inventions and his many quotes. Recommended 

James Madison and Dolly Madison and Their Times by Robert Quackenbush - This is an easy to read book yet a thorough biography. Each two-page spread includes a full of page of text with a full-page, four-color, cartoon-style illustration. 

 

What's The Big Idea, Ben Franklin? (Paperstar) by Jean Fritz



The Boston Coffee Party (I Can Read Book 3) by Doreen Rappaport - A group of women react when a merchant refuses to sell his coffee in order to drive up the price.

 

Daniel Boone: Frontier Adventures (Easy Biographies) by Keith Brandt - A little less detail than Daugherty's book on Boone for the younger student. 

George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz

 

Buttons for General Washington (Carolrhoda on My Own Book.) by Peter and Connie Roop - This easy reader is a favorite for many boys. It tells the story of a 14-year-old spy for General Washington. 

The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh

 
George the Drummer Boy (I Can Read Book 3) by Nathaniel Benchley - A British drummer boy experiences the battles of Concord and Lexington. Not especially exciting, but a good addition to the limited books for this age group to read on their own!

Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The unedited poem is wonderfully illustrated for even the youngest to enjoy. Although a read-aloud for the elementary age, the pictures help children grasp the full meaning of the words. 

Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Book 3) by Nathaniel Benchley - Easy to read and understand.

 
. . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy

 
Indian Summer (I Can Read Books) by F.N. Monjo - The quick thinking of two young boys help save their frontier family from a threatened Indian attack. 

Jack Jouett's Ride by Gail E. Haley – The exciting story of how a man saved Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and others by riding through the night to warn them that British soldiers were coming. 

A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

 
Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz, illus. Tomie de Paola.

 
Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin (Graphic Library, Inventions and Discovery series) by Jessica Gunderson, illus. Gerry Acerno, Rodney Ramos, & Charles Barnett III. 

JOHNNY APPLESEED A Tall Tale Retold and Illustrated Morrow Jr. Books - The history and the tall tales are artfully woven together, and illustrated beautifully. If not available – try your local library.  Recommended

The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Latham

 
Davy Crockett Saves the World by Rosalyn Schanzer - A silly and fun book that has all the exaggeration of an American tall tale. 


John Henry by Julius Lester, illus. Jerry Pinkney - Well told and well illustrated. Please note for sensitive children that John dies in the end. 


Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg - Based on the historical tall tales, Mr. Kellogg's story is highly entertaining and his illustrations are superb!

Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett by Steven Kellogg - Based on the legendary wife of Davy Crockett, Mr. Kellogg's story is highly entertaining and his illustrations are superb! 

Bold Journey: West with Lewis and Clark by Charles Bohner.

 
How We Crossed The West: The Adventures Of Lewis And Clark  by Rosalyn Schanzer – Picture book information, leading to the Pacific Ocean with full-page, color illustrations. Some details can be skimmed over for the younger child. Well done.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition (Landmark History series) by Neuberger

An American Army of Two (On My Own Books) by Janet Greeson - Based on a true story, 2 sisters trick the British army and help the American cause during the War of 1812. 

The Star-Spangled Banner (Reading Rainbow Book) by Peter Spier – A fun book with excellent visuals to help children understand the song and the history behind it. 

The Erie Canal by Peter Spier - Peter Spier's illustrations are in a class all their own.

 
If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln by Ann McGovern - Describes the typical childhood in the early 1800's in the Midwest; similar to what Abe Lincoln may have experienced. 

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, illus. Barbara Cooney - Caldecott Medal – A year in the daily life of a New England farming family. 

A Picture Book of Davy Crockett (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler; illus. John & Alexandra Wallner - Well illustrated and can be read in one sitting with references to the tall tales of Davy Crockett, so be sure to read a few others. 

Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847 (Dear America Series) by Kristiana Gregory.

 
Katie's Wish by Barbara Shook Hazen, illus. Emily Arnold McCully - Caldecott Medal - The Irish potato famine sends a girl from her native land to America. 

Clipper Ship (I Can Read) by Thomas P. Lewis, illus. - Travel east on a clipper ship from New York to San Francisco with the ship's captain and his family. 

Gold Fever (Picture Puffin) by Verla Kay, illus. S. D. Schindler - Simple text with entertaining, descriptive pictures portrays a farmer leaving his fields to travel through wilderness and desert in search of gold. The reality of the hard life in a mining camp and the lack of gold send him home again! 

The Josefina Story Quilt (I Can Read!, Level 3) by Eleanor Coerr, illus. Bruce Degen - Delightful story of a young girl's trip West on a wagon train centers around her pet and her quilt. 

Old Crump: The True Story of a Trip West by Laurie Lawlor, illus. John Winch – This is  the true story of four children traveling west with a party of forty-niners who survive the hard journey only because of the family's faithful ox. Well Done 

The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad (I Can Read Book 3) by F.N. Monjo - A young boy finds runaway slaves hiding in his barn, and helps them on their way. 

Escape from Slavery: A Family's Fight for Freedom (The American Adventure Series #16) by Norma Jean Lutz - Christian historical fiction.

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter, illus. J. Winter - The story of the song that showed escaping slaves the way to freedom and the Underground Railroad. Recommended

Abraham Lincoln (Dell Picture Yearling Special) by Ingri & Edgar D'Aulaire - Caldecott Medal - D'Aulaire's books are richly illustrated, historically thorough, and entertaining.

 
Abraham Lincoln: A Man for All the People: A Ballad by Myra Cohn Livingston, illus. Samuel Byrd - Lincoln from childhood to death, uses a short verse to accompany each picture along the way. 

Cecil's Story (Orchard Paperbacks) by George Ella Lyon, paintings by Peter Catalanotto - Very touching book about a young boy waiting with some apprehension until his father comes home from the war. The "Civil War", is never mentioned, but the illustrations and setting communicate the time period. 

Drummer Boy: Marching to the Civil War by Ann Turner, illus. Mark Hess - A picture book, but the content matter is not good for the K child. A young drummer boy tells of the horrors of war. This serious subject is tactfully done. 

Just a few words, Mr. Lincoln: The story of the Gettysburg Address (All aboard reading) by Jean Fritz, illus. Charles Robinson - Tells of the Civil War in general and Abraham Lincoln's role as president during that time, as well as Gettysburg and Lincoln's speech. Illustrations and text holds appeal for the 2nd-3rd grades.

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography), 
by David A. Adler, illus. John & Alexandra Wallner - Mr. Adler writes biographies for the younger student, including plenty of detail and important information in a picture book format. Important Dates are included in the back.

A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler, illus. John & Alexandra Wallner - Mr. Adler writes biographies for the younger student, including plenty of detail and important information in a picture book format. Important Dates are included in the back. 


The Promise Quilt by Candice F. Ranson, illus. by Ellen Beier - A Virginia girl's sacrifice helps to open their school after the Civil War. Touching story with a hint of sadness (her father never returns from the War), but ends in hope.

When Abraham Talked to the Trees by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illus. Bill Farnsworth. The story of Abe growing up, his love of books, and his effort to become a scholar and a speaker in his rustic environment. Nice. Does not discuss the Civil War, and only briefly alludes to his presidency. 

A Boy Called Slow: The True Story of Sitting Bull [BOY CALLED SLOW] [Paperback] by Joseph Bruchac, illus. Rocco Baviera - A picture book of Sitting Bull's childhood in the context of Indian culture. This book includes religious beliefs and ability to communicate with animals. Sitting Bull can be read next for greater depth for the advanced reader. 


Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express (I Can Read Book 3) by Eleanor Coerr, illus. Don Bolognese – This book tells the exciting life stories of the brave Pony Express riders such as Buffalo Bill. 


The Long Way to a New Land (I Can Read Book 3) by Joan Sandin - A Swedish family journeys to America in search of a better life. 

Riding the Pony Express by Clyde Robert Bulla


A Little House Birthday (My First Little House)

Winter on the Farm (My First Little House)

Dance at Grandpa's (My First Little House)

Going West (My First Little House)
Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books)

County Fair (My First Little House)

Sugar Snow (My First Little House)

The Deer in the Wood (Little House) illus. by R. Graef, H. Jones & J. Wheeler - Selected stories from the Little House series written and illustrated for the younger child. 

Wagon Wheels (I Can Read Book 3) by Barbara Brenner, illus. Don Bolognese - An African-American pioneer story. Three young brothers courageously travel alone in the frontier west to find their father; based on a true account. 

Beautiful Land: A Story of the Oklahoma Land Rush (Once Upon America) by Nancy Antle 

The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush (Once Upon America) by Barthe DeClements, illus. Dan Andreasen - A short chapter book. Story illustrates what it was really like for men (and in this story, a boy) to leave home to pan for gold in Alaska. 

Streets of Gold by Rosemary Wells, illus. by Dan Andreasen - A Jewish family suffers under the Russian Czar and must leave friends and family for a better life. The story includes tales of their experiences in Russia, their journey, and their settling in
America.

Eat My Dust!: Henry Ford's First Race (Step Into Reading, Step 3) by Monica Kulling, illus. Richard Walz - This amusing tale of Henry Ford also introduces the reader to "the car everyone could own," the Model T. Fun illustrations.

 
Earthquake!: A Story of the San Francisco Earthquake (Once Upon America) by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Heroine of the Titanic: The Real Unsinkable Molly Brown by Elaine Landau

 
The Story of the Titanic by Deborah Heiligman, illus. James Watling

 

Potato: A Tale From The Great Depression by Kate Lied, illus. Lisa Campbell Ernst - Charming pictures & a simple story tell how difficult the Depression years were for a young family, complete with a happy ending! 


 

 

 

 (Reading List compiled by Leigh-Ann Bellew, social conservative, political activist, homeschooler, and American history scholar)

 

 

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