Making History Relevant and Relatable for Students
Teaching the Hudson Valley Summer Institute 2013
The following sources are arranged by the time period they cover or represent and also by age range of reading level. All
hyperlinks go to Amazon.com.
Fiction, Ages 7-10
Our Strange New Land by Patricia Hermes. My America book. A young girl sails from Plymouth, England with
her family to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-
A Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky. Dear America book – a young girl’s voyage on the Mayflower.
Ages 8 and up, grade 3 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Journey-World-
I Walk in Dread by Lisa Rowe Fraustino. Dear America book – a young girl’s account of the Salem witch
trials. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-I-Walk-
Meet Kaya by Janet Shaw. American Girl book. A young Nez Perce girl lives in the 1764 Northwest. Ages 8
and up. http://www.amazon.com/Meet-American-Girls-Collection-
Five Smooth Stones by Kristiana Gregory. My America book. A young girl’s family has divided loyalties during
Revolutionary War era Philadelphia. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/Five-Smooth-
The Winter of the Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory. A Dear America book. A young girl living in Valley Forge,
PA experiences the arrival of George Washington and his troops to their winter encampment. Ages 8 and up,
grades 3 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Winter-Snow-
Meet Felicityby Valerie Tripp. American Girl books. A young middle class girl in 1774 Williamsburg deals with
the coming Revolution. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Felicity-American-Girls-Collection-
War of 1812
Meet Caroline by Kathleen Ernst. A young girl’s father is captured by the British in Canada for being
American. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-American-Girls-Collection-
The Journal of Wong Wing-Chung: A Chinese Minerby Laurence Yep. My Name is America book. A young
Chinese immigrant in early California. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/The-Journal-Wong-Ming-
Meet Josephina by Valerie Tripp. American Girl books. A young Mexican girl lives on a ranch near Santa Fe in
1820s New Mexico. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Josefina-American-Girls-Collection-
Meet Marie Grace by Sarah M. Buckley. American Girls book. A young girl moves to New Orleans in the
1850s and meets a free black girl named Cecile and becomes friends with her. (Meet Cecile is the next in this
series which focuses simultaneously on two girls as main characters.) Ages 8 and up.
Freedom’s Wings by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. My America book. A young slave boy and his family try to escape
Kentucky to freedom. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-America-Freedoms-
My Brother’s Keeper by Mary Pope Osborne. My America book. A young girl witnesses the Battle of
Gettysburg. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-America-Brothers-Keeper-
Meet Addyby Connie Porter. American Girl book. A young girl and her family escape slavery in 1864 and
head north. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Addy-
Amistad Rising by Veronica Chambers. A young boy is kidnapped by slave traders, sold, and finds himself
aboard the ship Amistad. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Amistad-Rising-Freedom-Veronica-
Westward to Home by Patricia Hermes. My America book. A young boy travels with his family to Oregon on
a wagon train. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-America-Westward-Joshuas-
As Far as I Can See by Kate McMullan. My America book. A young girl and her family flee a cholera epidemic
in St. Louis for the prairies of Kansas. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie by Kristiana Gregory. A Dear America book. A young girl and her
family move from Missouri to Oregon City via the Oregon Trail. Ages 8 and up.
All the Stars in the Sky by Megan McDonald. A Dear America book. A young girl and her family follow the
Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to New Mexico. Ages 7 and up. http://www.amazon.com/All-Stars-Sky-Santa-
The Journal of Jededia Barstow:An Emigrant on the Oregon Trail by Ellen Levine. My Name is America
book. A young boy loses his family trying to ford a river and joins another on their journey west. Ages 8 and
Little House in the Big Woodsby Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura and her family live in a log cabin in the woods of
Wisconsin in 1871. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Woods-Ingalls-
Little House on the Prairieby Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura and her family leave Wisconsin for Kansas in a
covered wagon. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Prairie-
Meet Kirsten by Janet Shaw. Kirsten is a Swedish immigrant who travels to frontier Minnesota with her
family. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Kirsten-Boxed-Game-American-
Hope in My Heart by Kathryn Lasky. My America book. A young Italian girl goes through Ellis Island where
she is quarantined away from her family. Ages 7-10. Book one in a series. http://www.amazon.com/My-
Beyond the Western Sea: Escape from Homeby Avi. Two Irish children encounter a runaway British lord’s
son on their way to America. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Home-Beyond-Western-
Beyond the Western Sea: Lord Kirkle’s Money by Avi. The story of Maura, Patrick, and Lawrence continues
as they make their way from the ship to Lowell, Massachusetts where Maura and Patrick’s father works in
the mills. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Kirkles-Money-Beyond-
Meet Samantha by Susan Adler. American Girl book. A young orphan living with her grandmother in 1904
when a servant girl moves in next door. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Samantha-American-Girls-
Meet Rebecca by JaquelineDembar Greene. American Girl book. A young Jewish girl grows up in 1914 New
York. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-American-Girls-Collection-
Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. A fictionalized tale of 12 year old Grace and her best friend
Arthur who leave school to go work in the textile mill with their mothers. A covert letter to the Child Labor
Board results in the appearance of a photographer named Lewis Hines, who is collecting evidence of
underaged child labor. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Counting-Grace-Elizabeth-
Great War (WWI)
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. Orphaned Hattie is tired of being shuttled between relatives and sets out on
her own to prove up her late uncle’s homestead claim in Montana during WWI. Once there she feels
pressure to be a “loyal” American because of her German heritage. Ages 8 and up.
Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky. Dear America book – A young girl’s life in the Midwest during the
Great Depression. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Christmas-After-
Meet Kit by Valerie Tripp. American Girl book. A young girl and her family face the Great Depression. Ages 8
and up. http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Kit-
World War II
The Fences Between Usby Kirby Larson. Dear America book. A Japanese American living in Seattle with a
brother in the military who was at Pearl Harbor is removed to an internment camp with her family. Ages 8
and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Fences-Between-
Meet Mollyby Valerie Tripp. American Girl book. A young girl’s father is away at war in 1944. Ages 8 and up.
With the Might of Angels by Andrea Davis Pinkney. A Dear America book. A young African American girl is
among the first to integrate an all-white school in the 1950s. Ages 8 and up.
Fiction, Ages 9 and Up
The Stowaway by Karen Hesse. Fictionalized diary of real-life stowaway Nicholas Young on Captain Cook’s
journey around the world. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Stowaway-Karen-
Standing in the Light by Mary Pope Osborne. Dear America book – A Quaker girl captured by the Lenape.
Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Mary-Pope-
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. A once-wealthy from Barbados finds herself thrust
into her Uncle’s Puritanical community where she meets a woman other people call a witch. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce, A Pilgrim Boyby Ann Rinaldi. My Name is America book. A young
orphan comes to Plymouth and encounters the Nauset tribe. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. Fictionalized account of the real-life Nathaniel Bowditch who,
despite washing out as a sailor, became a master navigator and wrote “The American Practical Navigator,”
also known as “The Sailor’s Bible,” in 18th
century America. Ages 12 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Carry-
French and Indian War
Look to the Hills by Patricia C. McKissack. A Dear America book. A young French slave girl emigrates with her
masters to upstate New York at the tail end of the French and Indian War. Ages 9 and up.
Cannons at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory. A Dear America book. Sequel to The Winter of the Red Snow. A
young girl and her family become camp followers of her father’s unit during the Revolutionary War. Ages 10
and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Cannons-Dawn-
Fever: 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. A young woman in early Philadelphia must learn to survive an
outbreak of deadly fever. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Fever-1793-Laurie-Halse-
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. Young slave girl Isabel was promised freedom when her owner died but is
instead sold to the cruel Locktons, who are Loyalists during a time of burgeoning revolution. Ages 10 and up.
Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. Sequel to Chains. Follows young escaped slave Curzon as he passes for free
enlisted in the Continental Army at Valley Forge. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Forge-Seeds-
The Journal of William Thomas Emerson, A Revolutionary War Patriot by Barry Denenberg. My Name is
America book. A young orphan becomes a rebel spy in Boston in 1774. Ages 9 and up.
Love Thy Neighbor by Ann Turner. A Dear America book. A young Tory girl’s life is torn apart by the start of
the American Revolution. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Love-Thy-Neighbor-Prudence-
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes. Apprentice silversmith Johnny Tremain finds himself as a dispatch
rider for the Committee of Public Safety after a horrible burn ruins his silversmithing career. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804by Kathryn Lasky. My Name is
America book. A half French half Omaha Indian boy accompanies the Corps of Discovery. Ages 9 and up.
So Far From Home by Barry Denenberg. A Dear America Book. Follows a young Irish girl as she works in the
mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/So-Far-From-Home-
A Line in the Sand by Sherry Garland. Dear America book. Follows a young girl in the “Texas colonies” during
the Alamo. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Line-Sand-Lucinda-Lawrence-
Valley of the Moon by Sherry Garland. Dear America book. An orphaned girl is a servant at a rancho in
Mexican California. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Valley-Moon-Diary-Rosalia-
The Journal of Jesse Smoke, A Cherokee Boy by Joseph Bruchac. My Name Is America book. A young
Cherokee boy records his experiences on the Trail of Tears. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-
A Picture of Freedom by Patricia C. McKissack. Dear America Book. A young house slave learns to read and
write, meets an abolitionist, and must decide if she will try for her freedom. Ages 9 and up.
When Will This Cruel War Be Over?By Barry Denenberg. A Dear America Book. A Confederate girl records
the hardships of live in the South during the Civil War. Ages 9 and up.http://www.amazon.com/Dear-
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Flyby Joyce Hansen. A Dear America book. A recently freed slave girl
struggles on a Southern plantation. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Thought-
A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse. Dear America book. A Union girl lives with her family in a lighthouse as
Delaware becomes divided over the war. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Light-Storm-Fenwick-
The Journal of James Edmond Pease: A Civil War Union Soldier, Virginia 1863 by Jim Murphy. A My Name Is
America book. A young soldier is ordered by his commanding officer to keep a written record of his unit.
Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/The-Journal-James-Edmond-
The Journal of Rufus Rowe, Witness to the Battle of Fredricksburgby Sid Hite. My Name is America book. A
young Southern boy runs away from home and befriends Confederate officers just before the Battle of
Fredricksburg. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Name-America-Journal-
My Face to the Wind by Jim Murphy. A Dear America book. Diary of a young teacher in Nebraska, 1881.
Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Face-Wind-Prairie-Nebraska/dp/0590438107/ref=pd_sim_b_6
Land of the Buffalo Bones by Marion Dane Bauer. A Dear America book. With her Baptist minister father
and their religious community, a young English girl moves to the prairies of Minnesota. Ages 9 and up.
West to a Land of Plenty by Jim Murphy. A Dear America book. Diary of a young Italian immigrant who
moves with her family from New York to Idaho Territory. Out of Print. http://www.amazon.com/West-Land-
The Great Railroad Race by Kristiana Gregory. Dear America book. A young girl moves from Colorado to
Cheyenne as her journalist father reports on the transcontinental railroad. Ages 9 and up. Grades 4 and up.
The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds, Donner Party Expedition by Rodman Philbrick. My Name is America
book. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Name-Is-America-
The Journal of Sean Sullivan, A Transcontinental Railroad Worker by William Durbin. My Name Is America
book. A young man goes with his father to work on the Union Pacific railroad during the “great race” to
finish the transcontinental railroad. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Name-Is-America-
The Journal of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy by Walter Dean Myers. My Name is America book. A young
African-American struggles with racism and hard work on a post-Civil War cattle drive. Ages 9 and up.
The Coal Miner’s Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. A Dear America book. Diary of a young Polish mail
order bride who moves to a coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Ages 9 and up.
Dreams in the Golden Country by Kathryn Lasky. Dear America book. Diary of a young Russian Jewish
immigrant girl living on the Lower East Side of New York City. Ages 9 and up.
Hear My Sorrow by Deborah Hopkinson. A Dear America book. Diary of a shirtwaist worker in NYC during
the burgeoning labor movement. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Hear-My-Sorrow-Shirtwaist-
A Time For Courage by Kathryn Lasky. A Dear America book. Follows a young suffragette in 1917
Washington DC. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Time-For-Courage-Suffragette-
The Journal of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrantby William Durbin. A My Name is America book. A young
Finn emigrates to the Iron Range of northern Minnesota and gets caught up in labor disputes. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Finn Reardon, ANewsie, New York City, 1899 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. My Name Is
America book. After the death of his father, a young boy supports his family by selling newspapers, only to
find himself in the middle of 1899 Newsie Strike. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Name-America-
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Follows three young girls and how their lives intertwine with the
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Uprising-Margaret-Peterson-
Great War (WWI)
When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Seidel Levine. A Dear America book. A young American who is half
French, she leaves for the Western Front to operate switchboards as a “Hello Girl.” Ages 9 and up.
Survival in the Storm by KatelanJanke. A Dear America Book. A young girl and her family survive the Dust
Bowl in the Texas panhandle. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Survival-Storm-Edwards-Dalhart-
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Barry Denenberg. A Dear America Book. Follows a girl blinded in an accident
as she navigates the Perkins School for the Blind in Depression-Era Massachusetts. Ages 9 and up.
World War II
One Eye Laughing, the Other Eye Weeping by Barry Denenberg. A Dear America book. A young Jewish
Austrian girl escapes the Nazis to New York City. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/One-Eye-
Early Sunday Morning by Barry Denenberg. A Dear America book. A young American girl living in Hawaii
experiences Pearl Harbor first hand. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Early-Sunday-Morning-
My Secret War by Mary Pope Osborne. Dear America book. The diary of a young girl whose father is a naval
officer in the Pacific while she and her family live on Long Island. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Scott Pendalton Collins:A World War II Soldier by Walter Dean Myers. A My Name is America
book. A young American takes part in the D-Day Invasion of France. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Ben Uchida:Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp by Barry Denenberg. My Name Is
America book. A young boy and his family are imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. Ages
10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/The-Journal-Ben-Uchida-
Color me Dark by Patricia C. McKissack. Dear America book. A young African American girl moves from the
South north to Chicago in search of a better life during the Great Migration. Ages 9 and up.
The Journal of Biddy Owens, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948 by Walter Dean Myers. My Name is America
book. A young batboy accompanies the Birmingham Black Barons, one of the best teams in the Negro
League, as they travel through the South. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Name-America-
Roll Thunder, Hear My Cryby Mildred D. Taylor. An African American family endures racism in the Deep
South of the 1930s. Ages 11 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Roll-Thunder-Hear-My-
Where Have all the Flowers Gone?By Ellen Emerson White. A Dear America book. A young anti-war activist
struggles with the fact that her brother is a Marine fighting in Vietnam. Companion to My Name is America:
The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, US Marine Corps. Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Where-
My Name is America: The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, US Marine Corpsby Ellen Emerson White. A
young marine in Vietnam struggles with the beliefs of his anti-war sister back home. Companion to Where
Have all the Flowers Gone? Ages 9 and up. http://www.amazon.com/My-Name-Is-America-
Published Primary Sources, Memoirs, and First-Hand Accounts
A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy by Jim Murphy. About the real-life
experiences of a 15 year-old Connecticut boy from 1776 until the end of the war in 1783. Uses quotations
from real-life Joseph Plumb Martin’s self-published memoir, “A Narrative of Some of the Adventures,
Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier.” Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Young-Patriot-
The Boys’ War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy. Uses text from
primary sources of boys who served in the war (from soldiers to telegraphers) to tell the story of the Civil
War from a child’s POV. Ages 8 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Boys-War-Confederate-Union-
Reluctant Witnesses:Children’s Voices From The Civil War by Emmy E. Werner. First-hand accounts from
over 120 children who participated in or were affected by the Civil War. Young adult.
Journey to Topaz:A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation by Yoshiko Uchida. A first-hand account of
her childhood memories of Japanese internment during WWII, written by the author. Ages 9 and up. Author
also wrote a sequel account called “Journey Home” about what happened to her family after they were
released from internment. http://www.amazon.com/Journey-To-Topaz-Japanese-American-
A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison by James E. Seaver. Original 1824 account of Mary Jemison’s
teenaged capture by the Shawnee and later sale to the Seneca, where she remained willingly, marrying and
having children within the tribe. As told by herself, but recorded by James E. Seaver.
Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman. Using primary sources from children of the period,
this book tells the stories of children from all social classes and ethnicities, urban and rural, during the
hardships of the Great Depression. Ages 10 and up. http://www.amazon.com/Children-Great-Depression-
Kids on Strike! By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Using first-hand accounts, this book outlines the role of
children and child labor in US industries and the efforts they made toward more just treatment. Ages 9 and
The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier by Scott Zesch. The Author
investigates why his captured great-great-great-uncle thrived in a Comanche tribe in the 1870s and how he
fared after he was forcibly returned to his parents. http://www.amazon.com/The-Captured-Abduction-
Home Front Girl:A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America by Joan Wehlen
Morrison. The author’s diary, kept from age 14 to 20, recounts her everyday life as well as reflects national
events. Published posthumously by the author’s daughter. http://www.amazon.com/Home-Front-Girl-