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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Early American Reading for Kids

by Roseanna M. White

I'm a homeschooling mom. That means that, while we're still basking in the joys of summer, I'm also planning out the next school year (less than a month until it begins!). While my family is planning vacations purely for fun, I'm trying to figure out how to turn them into field trips. And I admit it--I'm excited about next year. Why? Because we're starting 2 years of American History. =D

With the curriculum program I use, we've been going chronologically through world history for those first four years (my older is 8, entering 4th grade, my younger 6, entering 1st). I've enjoyed all we've been studying together, from the Ancient Egyptians up through the Renaissance, but I got a wee bit giddy when my box of books for next year arrived. These are books I know. Books I've read. Books I love. These are the stories that make America what it is--and I'm so, so excited to be sharing this with my kids.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the early American books we'll be reading this year, and also some of the field trips we'll be taking. I know not everyone homeschools, but I've gotten a number of questions over the years about great reading material for the younger crowd, and you just can't beat most of these!

I know I'm going to be bursting with stories to share on the CQ this coming year--stories of natives and immigrants, of founding fathers and the courageous citizens who fought for freedom. And I'm also hoping to get the family to Philadelphia to see Ben Franklin's house, to Virginia to visit Mt. Vernon and Monticello, and to some of the battlefields and historic landmarks littering the east coast, where I'm lucky enough to live.

I'd love to know east coast sites you recommend, 
or supplementary reading for kids!

This is my shelf of readers--some my daughter (the 8-yr-old) will read on her own, and others we'll read aloud, together, with my son.


I know it's a little hard to see all the titles. But here's the list--these are all recommended for 8-11, but I'm confident my 6/7 yr-old will be able to follow along too, so long as we have conversations about all we study (which we always do). It's a long list, but they all look great! (All the links are to Sonlight, from whom I got them; they're also all available elsewhere.)

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
The background and story of Paul Revere's famous ride, told by a master story-teller.

If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
A detailed study of the United States Constitution.

Winter at Valley Forge
A first-person journal account of what it was like at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78.

Incans, Aztecs & Mayans
Fascinating account of three major civilizations that existed in the "New World" before Europeans arrived.

Pedro's Journal
A fictional account of Christopher Columbus' first voyage.

The Landmark History of the American People: From Plymouth to the West, Volume I
A fascinating introduction to American culture as it has shaped and been shaped by events from the Pilgrims to the mid-1800s. Written by the former Librarian of Congress.

North American Indians
Profusely illustrated introduction to a broad range of North American Indian peoples.

The Light and the Glory for Young Readers
A history of how God worked through the founders of America to establish this nation. From European explorers' first sighting of land to the devout Pilgrims and Puritans to the Revolutionary War, it would seem God had a plan. Meet the evangelists of the First Great Awakening, founding fathers who desired to obey God, and other men and women who risked much to follow what they believed God had for them.

The Very First Americans
Long before Columbus landed in America, hundreds of groups of people had already made their homes here. But where did they live? What did they eat? How did they have fun? And where are they today? From coast to coast, learn about these first Americans!


Tells America's story during its first fifty years as a nation. These were the days of Benjamin Franklin and Daniel Boone, Francis Asbury and Charles Finney, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. During these years Conestoga wagons and circuit riders became famous, the Second Great Awakening sparked revival across the nation, Indian wars and slavery were major concerns, and the Louisiana Purchase and the Oregon Trail expanded American boundaries from sea to shining sea. God was also at work in the young nation, giving its settlers opportunities to shape its history and to be His people.
A groundbreaking guide to American history, this reference book explains events, moments, trends, patterns and people in concise articles designed to appeal to children ages 8 and up.


The Sign of the Beaver
A white boy in the Maine wilderness is rescued by an Indian chief.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
A girl raised in luxury in the Caribbean struggles to adjust to Puritan New England.

Johnny Tremain
A young apprentice silversmith is caught up in the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Fascinating true story of the poor apprentice who, shortly after the American Revolution, transformed navigation from an art to a precise science.

Walk the World's Rim
A 14-year old Indian joins Cabeza de Vaca's 16th-century expedition through the Southwest.

Justin Morgan Had a Horse
The true story of a young boy who trained the first all-American (but now world-famous) Morgan horse.

Calico Bush
Left an orphan shortly after her family arrives in the New World, young Marguerite is "Bound-out" for six years to serve the Sargent family in exchange for food, shelter and clothing.

The Journeyman
Touching story about a boy, despised by his father because of his artistic bent, who leaves home to find his place in the world.

Swift Rivers
Eighteen-year-old Chris spends a winter with his grandfather in a cabin in Minnesota.


Tree in the Trail
See the history of the Sante Fe trail through the eyes of a great Cottonwood tree. Starting with the first Spaniards in the 1500s, follow three centuries of Indian tribes, wagon trains, buffalo herds, New Mexican settlements and changing times.

The Secret of the Sealed Room
Young Patience Martin works as an indentured servant in 1721 Boston. When her mistress dies of a mysterious poisoning, Patience runs away and meets an inventive, adventurous young printer's apprentice named Ben Franklin. Can the new friends crack the case and save Patience's life?

Toliver's Secret
Ten-year old Ellen Toliver must conquer her timidity to take a secret message through enemy lines during the Revolutionary War.

What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Breezy biography by award-winning author gives insights into Franklin's intriguing life and personality.

The Lewis & Clark Expedition
A highly readable account of the quintessentially American adventure of discovery and hardship as Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led their men on an exploration of "the interior parts of North America."

Pocahontas and the Strangers
Familiar story of a young Indian girl who saved the life of John Smith, an early American frontiersman.

The Matchlock Gun
A ten-year-old boy saves his family from raiding Indians during the French and Indian war.

Meet Thomas Jefferson
An easy-reading introduction to the third president of the United States from boyhood on.

Phoebe the Spy
Dramatic true story of a little black girl who foiled a plan to kill George Washington.

Meet George Washington
George Washington's life from boyhood to presidency in a large, boldface type.

Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman
The true story of the famous steamboat builder by an award-winning author.

Sarah, Plain and Tall
Award-winning story of a frontier American widower who advertises for a wife . . . and gets Sarah.

The Courage of Sarah Noble
Eight-year old Sarah journeys into the wilderness with her father--and ends up alone!

The Cabin Faced West
Anne is lonely when her family moves to the Pennsylvania frontier . . . until a special evening when a stranger comes to dinner.

Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims
The story of the meeting of two cultures--and the young man who helped bridge the gap between them.

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Jonathan goes to get "the biggest pot you ever laid eyes on" — on the other side of Hemlock Mountain.

Sarah Whitcher's Story
The true story of a little girl who is lost in New Hampshire woods back in pioneer days.

A Lion to Guard Us
Award-winning author tells a true story about three children left alone in London in 1609 who make their way to the Virginia colony.

The Skippack School
Simple but insightful story about a German boy who immigrated to America about the year 1750.

The Thanksgiving Story
Caldecott Honor Book recounts the story of the Pilgrims from the time they left England on the Mayflower through the first Thanksgiving celebration.

Om-kas-toe
Om-kas-toe is a member of the Blackfeet Indian tribe in the early 1700s--before
horses.

~*~

Roseanna M. White pens her novels under the Betsy Ross flag hanging above her desk, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When she isn’t homeschooling her small kids and writing fiction, she’s editing it for WhiteFire Publishing or reviewing it for the Christian Review of Books, both of which she co-founded with her husband.

21 comments:

  1. Hey, I recognize that curriculum!! Our family loves all the reading. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Isn't it awesome? =) I have some friends who say they don't have the attention span do to 2 years of the histories and combine the cores, but I love the in-depth study! Shocking from a history writer, I know, LOL.

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  2. Thank you, Roseanna!! I just had my first baby, but I saved this list to look back on in a few years! I didn't like to read as a kid, (and now I'm a published author!!!) but that was because I couldn't find books I liked!! I would have LOVED these!

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    1. Congrats on the little one!! I didn't like reading when I was a kid either, until I hit 4th grade and realized I could borrow my older sister's books, LOL. Then the world opened up. All about what you're given to read, I think!

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  3. Thanks for sharing all those books with us, Roseanna. I also home-schooled and found a wealth of material to use with my sons even when they were in private schools. Now, I hope to share the love of reading about history with my grandchildren.

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    1. I love being able to base our education on literature. =) Here's to instilling that love of history in our future generations!

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  4. I was homeschooled and I recognized sooooooo many of these books, they're amazing! I'm actually in the middle of reading Marshall and Manuel's "Sounding Forth the Trumpet" right now. Thanks for the walk down memory lane :)

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    1. I got especially giddy at The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I *loved* that book when we read it in 6th grade!

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  5. This is a great list of books! Thanks for sharing Roseanna.
    My sons are grown now, would have liked to have had these books to share with them when they were in school (public school).
    blessings, Tina

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    1. I went to public school too, Tina, and didn't read most of these there. I feel so privileged to get to educate my children as I see fit--which is to base it all on literature. =)

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  6. Looks like Sonlight's curriculum list. They always had the best books to read. My daughter kept many of them because she enjoyed them so much, and she is now 23! Happy homeschooling!

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    1. Yep, it sure is! =) I've always loved their reading lists, but I'm especially excited about this year to come!

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  7. I love reading history on a children's level! And I have a pretty extensive Children's Books board on Pinterest, so I added most of these. Thank!!!

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    1. Sure! And that sound like a fun board. Would you share the link so I can follow it? =)

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  8. Thanks much...I have a ten year old daughter that reads through books like I do! I'm always looking for great books. I like ABEKA curriculum, but I'm not fond of their reading material so I seek out my own.

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    1. I love the Sonlight reading...but am supplementing grammar and spelling, LOL.

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  9. Oh, I highly recommend Gettysburg...I went there as a child. Don't know if I'll be able to take my daughter. I would if I could, tho. That and Plymoth Rock were very memorable.

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    1. Gettysburg's pretty close to us! I'd like to go there for sure. Just need to figure out what we should do keep the kiddos interested there.

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    2. I had a friend that took their daughter there...she loved it. They have a lot more there than most people realize. After that, I think they went to the Hersey chocolate place! Lol

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    3. Hershey Park! Haven't been there in ages. Looks like it's about an hour away from Gettysburg. Hmm. =)

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  10. I love your post. I caught your enthusiasm. It reminds me of summers years ago, when I would be excited about the school year starting soon.

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