We’re Reading Through History

This summer, I plan to share my favorite children’s books about U.S. history with you. I hope that these booklists will be valuable for teachers planning lessons for the coming school year and for families visiting historic sites this summer.

Read Through History Booklists

The kids and I began our Read Through History project by drawing a timeline with major events in U.S. history. We left spaces on the timeline to record the kids’ favorite books.

Many historical children’s books are worth reading simply because they entertain. My kids were the ones who initially suggested we “Read Through History.” They had enjoyed reading biographies about historical figures ranging from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Satchel Paige to Margaret Knight, and they wanted to read more. My son was especially interested in reading more about “famous presidents” and native americans who lived here long ago. My daughter was interested in reading more about early settlers. I look forward to helping my kids put these subjects that interest them in context.

Read Through History

I plan to share one booklist for each of the following time periods / themes. I invite your feedback on the books I recommend and topics I cover.

I. Early American Civilization

II. Early Explorers & Colonial Times

III. The Revolutionary War & The Founding of the United States

IV. Westward Expansion (1800-1850)

V. Slavery & The Civil War

VI. Frontier Life & Native Americans (1850-1900)

VII. Immigrants

VIII. Women’s Suffrage Movement (early 1900s)

IX. The Great Depression & The Dust Bowl (1920s-1930s)

X. Two World Wars

XI. The Civil Rights Movement (1960s)

XII. Post World War II (1945-today)

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17 Responses to We’re Reading Through History

  1. Alicia says:

    I have been looking for a list of history books for kids to do a living books study of u.s. history. I’m thrilled with your selection and timeline ideas. Thank you for taking the time to help those of us who don’t know what they don’t know about history. :)

  2. T says:

    Any chance you’ll be posting the rest of the topics? Very much enjoying this list so far!

    • Amy says:

      There is a chance. It is the next thing on my to do list with respect to this blog. I’m busy with grad school through May, so I probably won’t get to it until then.

      I love responding to book recommendation requests. So, ask away if you’re looking for a book on a particular topic!

    • Amy says:

      Also, here’s the next list of recommended books…

      VIII. Women’s Suffrage Movement (early 1900s)
      -You Forgot Your Skirt Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
      -Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone
      -Elizabeth Leads the Way by Tanya Lee Stone
      -Heart on Fire by Ann Malaspina
      -Brave Girl by Michelle Markel
      -Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnole McCully
      -I Could Do That! by Linda White
      -Tillie the Terrible Swede by Sue Stauffacher
      -You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz

  3. Denise says:

    Wonderful resource for those of us who want to share our love of history with our children. Thank you so much!

  4. Wow, what a treasure this is. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

  5. Zoe says:

    Love this idea and might just have to borrow it for British history :-)

  6. connie says:

    Jean fritz books are awesome… fairlyshort and abotu moments in history
    Look Who’ s stepping on Plymouth Rock!
    Can’t you Make Them behave King George
    Also years ago I ready The First Year (forgot author) chapter book about the pilgrims….my 4 year old curled up and listened as i read to my son who was 7. We were new to New England and planned a Thanksgiving visit to Plymouth.
    Lovely summer idea

    • Amy says:

      Jean Fritz books are awesome! You will definitely see a few on these lists. Some of her books are aimed at older kids / middle grade and will not make the cut for that reason.

  7. Karishma says:

    Oh, please do include the ones for younger kids too! I’m not very well-versed in American history, having grown up elsewhere, and this seems like such a good way for me to get caught up while getting my kids off to a good start as well. (But they’re quite young still, and I’d like some things that were at their level, even if most things you recommend are a little advanced).

  8. Shelley says:

    Thank you! History is my downfall. I have everything else planned, but history eludes me and was always a boring subject for me. I have been desperately looking for some books that spark OUR interest!

  9. Teresa says:

    I have been eyeing up the Howard Zinn books for kids but they are still a bit advanced for my just finished 3rd graders. I recommend the crash course series hosted by John Green on youtube. They are short videos going over parts of american and world history. John Green is the author of many acclaimed teen/ya books. One of my twins is really into presidential history. We have read many of the “Who was ….” series and found them interesting and well-written. Looking forward to your suggestions!

  10. This is a great idea!! For the past two years at school, I have “read through history” with our 5th graders. The 5th grade curriculum for social stirs is U. S. history through 1877.
    Liz Burns Glenn
    Madison, Alabama

    • Amy says:

      Please, feel free to share any favorite books! I will be recommending books for 2nd through 5th grade students. Three years ago, when we first attempted to Read Through History as a family, we selected books for younger kids, but found that that really limited our selection of books.

  11. cynthia calabrese says:

    Fantastic idea!

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