Find great books for preschool, elementary, and middle school children and teens along with ideas of ways to teach with them in the classroom across the curriculum.
This is a section of a sample chapter from In Times Past: An Encyclopedia for Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8 by Carol Otis Hurst and Rebecca Otis (Order from Amazon.com. SRA/McGraw-Hill, 1993. ISBN 0-7829-0155-7)
Fritz, Jean. Early Thunder. Putnam, 1967. ISBN 0-698-20036-5.
Least Sophisticated to Most Sophisticated (short bar=least and long bar=most).
This is a Focus Book; see page 264 of the print version of In Times Past for summary, background information, activities and related books.
O'Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop. Houghton, 1980. ISBN 0-395-29185-2.
Sarah has good reason to hate war. Her father, a Loyalist, died after being tarred and feathered by the rebels. Her brother died on a British prison ship. Sarah is arrested as part of the harassment and escapes to the Connecticut wilderness where her struggle is with the elements rather than with the war. This is a Focus Book; see page 266 of the print version of In Times Past.
Avi. The Fighting Ground. Lippincott, 1984. ISBN 0-397-32074-4.
This is an account of two days of a boy's life during the American Revolution. After he is captured in battle by three Hessian soldiers, Jonathan realizes that fighting is a complex activity and that informed choices are extremely important. In a farmhouse where a little boy is the only survivor of his family, Jonathan finds it impossible to kill the sleeping Hessians. He escapes with the little boy and finds the remnants of his troop. Realizing that they must have killed the boy's parents, Jonathan smashes his rifle and returns to the farm, less certain about the rights and wrongs of war.
Collier, James Lincoln and Collier, Christopher. My Brother Sam Is Dead. Four Winds, 1974. ISBN 0-02-722980-7.
Sam, the only member of his family who is not a Tory, joins the Rebel army. When he is falsely accused of stealing cattle, his family's sympathies work against him, and he is tried and executed as an example of General Putnam's discipline. His death is a matter of political expediency, not a matter of right or wrong. This is a more cynical look at the war than one finds in most children's literature.
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Houghton, 1943. ISBN 0-395-06766-9
Johnny Tremain is a silversmith's apprentice in Boston. Another apprentice, jealous of Johnny's skill, causes him to be terribly burned by molten silver. Because of his shriveled hand, Johnny must find other work. As a rider for the Boston Observer, Johnny becomes interested in the Revolution and participates in the Boston Tea Party and other revolutionary acts. He also learns to accept himself, wounds and all. The book is an idealistic look at the Revolution.
Reit, Seymour. Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution. Harcourt, 1990. ISBN 0-15-200466-1
This is a fictionalized account of Henry Knox's trip from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston to break the siege of Boston. The story sticks closely to the facts with some dialogue added. We see the hazardous journey through the eyes of Will Knox, Henry's younger brother. The action goes back and forth between Knox and his men on the trail and the armies and civilians in Boston under siege. Other characters in the story include George Washington, Paul Revere, and General Howe.
Woodruff, Elvira. George Washington's Socks. Scholastic, 1992. ISBN 0-590-44035-7.
See page 38 of the print version of In Times Past.
Edwards, Sally. George Midgett's War. Macmillan, 1985. ISBN 0-684-18315-3.
The people of Ocracoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, want no part of the war. Then British Raiders kill the deaf-mute woman who tends their pigs and carry off the pigs. The Islanders' revenge entails taking precious salt to the American army at Valley Forge. The plot focuses on the fact that some choices in war are based on personal feelings rather than on political convictions.
Hoobler, Dorothy and Hoobler, Thomas. The Sign Painter's Secret: The Story of a Revolutionary Girl. Illustrated by Donna Ayers. Silver Burdett, 1991. ISBN 0-382-24143-6
This short and easy-to-read story is about a young girl who spies for the Rebels during the Revolutionary War. Although the absolute certainty of every character in the plot is unrealistic, there is a believable and informative sense of family life in occupied Philadelphia in 1777.
Jensen, Dorothea. The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. Harcourt, 1989. ISBN 0-15-200574-9.
After Lars moves from his home in present-day Minnesota to Pennsylvania, he is contacted by the ghost of one of his ancestors who gives him the inside story on the Revolution, especially the days at Valley Forge.
McKean, Thomas. The Secret of the Seven Willows. Simon, 1991. ISBN 0-671-72997-7.
See page 38 of the print version of In Times Past.
Monjo, F. N. Poor Richard in France. Dell, 1973. ISBN 0-440-46110-3.
This story covers the years from 1776 to 1778. It was supposedly written by Benjamin Franklin's grandson as he accompanied his grandfather in France while Franklin attempt to convince France to sign a treaty with the Colonists. This is a very friendly approach to an understanding of diplomacy and war.
Seabrooke, Brenda. The Chester Town Tea Party. Illustrated by Nancy Coates Smith. Tidewater, 1990. ISBN 0-87033-422-0.
This is a fictionalized account of an event in 1774 Maryland that supported the Boston Tea Party. Many details of life in Colonial America are imbedded in the story.
Wibberly, Leonard. John Treegate's Musket. Farrar, 1959. ISBN 0-374-43788-2.
John Treegate is a Loyalist who fought for the king at the Battle of Quebec. Changing sides is easier for his son, Peter, who quickly joins the Revolutionary forces. John defects just in time for the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Go to another section of the Revolutionary War sample chapter
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In Times Past
by Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis
Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8.
Enliven your US History curriculum!
Teach US History using great kids books.
By Carol Otis Hurst!!