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Looking for literature based American History


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Good morning! I am looking for a literature based history specifically to go with Classical Conversations Cycle 3 next year. =)


You might check out Brandy's Half A Hundred Acre's Blog post on resources and schedules to go with Classical Conversations cycle 3 -- specifically the History, Reading Plan, and Booklist with an American History focus.  :) Her lists are for elementary/middle school ages.



From mentioning Classical Conversations (CC), I assume Christian material is okay, and from your signature, it looks like you have a high schooler and a 1st grader? Assuming you want something for both...? Here are a few ideas:


high school:

- Beautiful Feet: Modern US and World -- lit.-based, but only covers Civil War into 20th Century

Notgrass Exploring America -- not lit-based, but it does have an American Lit package to go along with the primary document based American History

Sonlight 100 -- more of a gr. 7-9 level, but since you'd be using it along with CC, you might not want something at a full-on high school level

- Winter Promise: American History for High School - History uses Hakim's History of US; no Lit, but you could use American Lit. from Excellence in Literature, Lightning Lit, or other


early elementary:

A Child's First History of America (gr. 2-7) -- history written as a series of stories

Little Pilgrims History (gr. K-2) -- Bible-based U.S. history; you would need to add in your own lit.

Veritas Press (grade 1) -- the History is U.S.; you would need to add in Amer. Lit to match

Beautiful Feet: Early American (gr. K-3) -- lit.-based

Heart of Dakota: Little Hearts (ages 5-7, Beyond Little Hearts (ages 6-8)

Winter Promise: American Story (gr. K-7) -- complete curriculum, but can purchase History separately

Sonlight's American History years are for grades 3-4

Guest Hollow:

American History - year 1 (gr. 2-6) (Colonial through 1870s)

American History year 2 (gr. 2-8) (1870s-present)




For early elementary grades, it would be super easy to go with one of the History spines and add in your literature -- there is a TON of great books out there in the grade K-4 age range that are set in American History. Below are some stepped readers and other early elementary works and how they fit into American History. Have fun! Warmest regards, Lori D.



General / Patriotic

The Star-Spangled Banner (Welch) 

Red, White and Blue: Story of the American Flag (Herman)

Saving the Liberty Bell (Figley)

The Statue of Liberty (Penner)

I Pledge Allegiance (Swanson)

First Kids (Davis) -- children of Presidents, lived in White House



1607 - Sam Collier and the Founding of Jamestown Ransom)

Pocahontas: An American Princess (Milton)

The True Story of Pocahontas (Penner)

The First Thanksgiving (Hayward)

The First Thanksgiving (Jackson)

Small Wolf (Benchley)

Finding Providence (Avi) -- founding of Rhode Island capital


1700-1775 - Colonial U.S.

Johnny Appleseed (Demuth)

Johnny Appleseed: My Story (Harrison)

George Washington's Mother (Fritz)

George Washington and the General's Dog (Murphy)

Thomas Jefferson's Feast (Frank Murphy)

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares (Murphy/Walz)


Revolutionary War

1777 - Paul Revere's Ride Corey)

1777 - Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride (Amstel)

1777 - Buttons for General Washington (Roop)

The 18 Penny Goose (Walker)

Sam the Minuteman (Benchley)

George the Drummer Boy (Benchley)

The Boston Coffee Party (Rappaport)

Saving the Liberty Bell Figley)

Many Ways to Be a Soldier (Pfeffer)



1781 - Prisoner for Liberty (Figley)



1804 -  Sacajawea (Milton)

1804 - Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Redmond)


War of 1812

Washington Is Burning Figley)

The Battle for St. Michaels (McCully)

An American Army of Two (Greeson)

The Star-Spangled Banner (Welch)



1838 - Trail of Tears (Bruchac)

1838 - Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship (McKissack)



1847 - Flight of the Union (White) -- Niagra Falls bridge built with help of a kite

1849 - Chang's Paper Pony (ICR3)--Eleanor Coerr -- Gold Rush/Chinese immigrant

1849 - The Secret Valley (Bulla) -- Gold Rush/pioneers


Underground Railroad

1842 - Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad (Brill)

1848 - The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft (Moore)

The Drinking Gourd (Monjo)

Harriet Tubman (Nichols)

Escape North! Story of Harriet Tubman (Kulling)

Almost to Freedom (Nelson)



1856 - Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie (Roop)

1861 - Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express (Coerr)

1861 - Bronco Charlie and the Pony Express (Brill)

Abe Lincoln's Hat (Brenner)

Riding the Pony Express (Bulla)


Civil War

1865 - Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender (Ransom)

Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom (Brown)

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: Story of Gettysburg (Fritz)

Civil War Sub: Mystery of the Hunley (Jerome)

USS Monitor: Iron Warship That Changed the World (Thompson)



The Long Way to a New Land (Sandin)

The Long Way Westward (Sandin)

Wagon Train (Kramer)

Wagon Wheels (Brenner)

The Josefina Story Quilt (Coerr)

Snowshoe Thompson (Levinson)

Daniel's Duck (Bulla)

Clouds of Terror (Welch) -- 1870s US prairie grasshopper plagues

The Golly Sisters Go West (Byars)

The Golly Sisters Ride Again (Byars)



1885 - The Copper Lady (Ross) --building of the Statue of Liberty

1888 - I Pledge Allegiance (Swanson) 

Prairie School (Avi)



1890 - Sitting Bull (Penner)

Jumbo (Worth) -- famous PT Barnum circus elephant

The Great Houdini: World Famous Magician (Kulling)

Helen Keller (Davidson)

Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark (Hurwitz)

Little Sure Shot: Annie Oakley (Spinner)



1903 - Will and Orv (Schulz) 

1903 - First Flight: The Wright Brothers (Jenner)

1903 - First Flight: Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers (Shea)

1905- "Clara and the Bookwagon" (Levinson_

Eat My Dust! Henry Ford's First Race (Kulling)



1919 - Babe Ruth Saves Baseball (Murphy)

Thomas Edison: The Great Inventor (Jenner)

The Wizard of Menlo Park (Davidson)

1920 - Man O'War (Mckerly)

1925 - The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Standiford)

1927 - Night Flight: Charles Lindbergh's... (Kramer)



1931 - The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth (Patrick)

1937 - Flying Ace: Story of Amelia Earhart (Bull)

1937 - Vanished! Mysterious Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (Kulling)

Dust for Dinner (Turner)

Horse Named Seabiscuit (uvowski)



Jackie Robinson and the Story of All Black Baseball (O'Connor)

The Story of Muhammad Ali (Garrett)

Martin Luther King, Jr.: MAn of Peace (Jackson/Ford)

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington (Ruffin)

Race Into Space (Arnold)

Moonwalk (Donnelly)



1996 - The Bravest Cat: The True Story of Scarlett (Driscoll)

Civil War Sub: Mystery of the Hunley (Jerome)

USS Monitor: Iron Warship That Changed the World (Thompson)

Finding the Titanic (Ballard)

Edited by Lori D.
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Amazing list! Thanks so much for taking the time!


Hope something helped!


Forgot to mention that if you're pulling together your own reading/literature for an early elementary aged student, you can use a lot of the great readers from Sonlight grade 3 and grade 4 (American History years) as read-alouds. :)

Edited by Lori D.
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