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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Historical Picture Books

This is one of my favorite times of the year in the classroom. No, I don't love inside recess or all the winter gear scattered in the coatroom. What I love is that my first graders are ready to do some really fun things with reading, comprehension and writing. Right now I am working on some close read biographies for us to use for research and writing and I started gathering a list of great read aloud picture books to go with them.  Here are some of my favorites and if you have a great historical children's picture book for any grade to add to this list, leave it in the comments. I would love to fill my shopping cart with some great picture books. (Clicking on any of the books will take you to Amazon.)

Books dealing with 1960's Civil Rights Movement

Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story by Ruby Bridges
This easy reader version is a great introduction into how a six year old girl helped change the world. Great photographs.

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
This picture book version has a lot more detail about Ruby's story.

Though My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
When looking for pictures for the previous two books, I came across this book. How have I missed this? It's in my shopping cart right now.

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
This is a fabulous book for older students, maybe grades 3-5.

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
This book is about the life of MLK and includes quotes of his "big words."

Riding to Washington by Gwenyth Swain
I love this book. This is not a true story but it is fabulous historical fiction. A young white girl rides a bus to hear MLK speak in Washington DC but while on the ride she has the chance to experience what inequality feels like. Great story.

Sports and Discrimination

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson
This story is more about Jackie's bravery on the ice than in the diamond but what a great story with amazing illustrations. 

Willie and the All Stars by Floyd Cooper
These boys are surprised to hear about some baseball stars who are not in the major league. 


Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
This book and the following book make a great compare/contrast activity.

The Secret to Freedom by Marcia Vaughan
An underground railroad tale.

Night Boat to Freedom by Margot Theis Raven
It takes a lot of bravery to help people escape slavery, especially when you are 12.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
More amazing illustrations. This book brings a spiritual element into Harriet Tubman's amazing escape from slavery and her efforts to guide others to safety.

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
This might be my all time favorite children's book. I love Kadir Nelson's illustrations and this true story is really amazing. Great discussions always follow, even in first grade.

Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport
A look at the life of Abraham Lincoln with lots of his own words interwoven into the story.

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins by Carole Boston Weatherford
I just found this book while searching for pictures of the previous books and it's also in my shopping cart.

White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman
I first found this book on Storyline Online. It is a great story about a young girl who misunderstands what a "whites only" sign means.

World War II

Boxes to Katje by Candace Fleming
This is a great story about how a young American girl finds a way to help a war torn town and receives some beautiful tulips in return.

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven
True story of a pilot that drops candy to the children of Berlin.

Other Historical Books

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
Most children won't know anything about Nelson Mandela, this book is an amazing introduction into a recent hero's struggles. Probably grades 3-5.

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan
Brave women make great stories. This is a true story about Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt and an adventure of their own.

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli
True story about the founding of the Green Belt Movement in Africa in 1977. Also in my shopping cart. I can't wait to get this.

Happy reading!

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