Books, Lists, Reviews

4 Wonderful Reads About Events from American History

Rewriting a point from a previous post, I want to note that children’s books help in so many ways; they inspire and inform, they incite curiosity and ignite imagination; they prompt discussions and enhance learning; and then there is the etc. This post includes 4 such wonderful books about events from American history. Note that these were among the Cybils Awards nonfiction nominees.

Based on the recent past, I am sure years from now, there might be books written that could be included in a similar events from American history post. And that does pose an interesting question for me, and one I would like pose to you as well? What are some of the events from the past decade that you think deserve a telling, a narrative of some sort?

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The Books: Part Three: The etc.

Events from American History

This is part three, as stated above, of the short series of books I plan to feature this week. Part One is here, and Part Two is here. And this is part three – including wonderful books about events from American history

The Mayflower (History Smashers)

Book Info

Title: The Mayflower (History Smashers)
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Dylan Meconis
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/US History (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 7th 2020)

What It Is (Excerpted From Goodreads)

Acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.

My Thoughts

Kate Messner effortlessly takes a part of history and translates it into an easy, fun learning experience. At the same time, I totally appreciate that she does not attempt to hide the unsavory parts nor does she dumb down the writing in any way. Using straightforward, speaking-to-the-reader narrative with humor and wit, Messner tells the tale of one of the most famous ships ever.

Fun illustrations, photographs, primary sources (artwork/sketches/excerpts) and even whole comic strips, as well as sidebars that include related facts and more, make the learning even more engaging. I loved how Messner compares the myths to the truth throughout, while staying unbiased.

Back matter includes an author’s note, lists of books and websites, and an extensive bibliography.

Perfect Pairing

While I can’t think of a specific book currently (and welcome suggestions), read this around Thanksgiving, with other books around that.

Side Note

This belongs in all classroom and home libraries. And will work very well for lessons on separating fact from false news; on how narratives, artwork, or other sources (including Messner’s included primary sources) can lend to myth building.

In Summary

An engaging, myth-busting must-read for all ages!!

Get It Here

Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound


Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Built America

Book Info
Events from American History: Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Built America

Title: Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Built America
Author: Anna Crowley Redding
Illustrator: Edwin Fotheringham
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/US History (4 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: HarperCollins;(April 14, 2020)

What It Is (Excerpted From Goodreads)

Emmy Award–winning journalist Anna Crowley Redding and Sibert Honor illustrator Edwin Fotheringham bring to life the riveting true story about the lowly clerk who saved the Declaration of Independence from being destroyed by the British army in the War of 1812. 

My Thoughts

This is a story that I seem to have read somewhere, sometime. After reading this book, I am so glad that this overlooked foot-note in history of a little known hero is available for all to read.

It shows readers that each of us (however ordinary we think we are) can do extraordinary things in times of need and turmoil. The book uses art and narrative in a brilliant combination to take readers on an action-packed, high-tension adventure.

Readers will stay enthralled as they turn the pages and watch Stephen Pleasonton do his best to save a new and young nation’s most important documents.

Anne Crowley Redding’s narrative is lively, lyrical, and fast-paced. And Edwin Fotheringham’s artwork that remind us of old political cartoons perfectly complements the narrative with the right balance of history and humor.

Backmatter includes an Author’s Note, information on those rescued documents(including where you can see them today), a Timeline, and a Selected Bibliography.

Perfect Pairing

Pair it with other books about these documents, or with those around the War of 1812 (including Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem)

Side Note

This book can be used not only in context with discussions on the importance of preserving physical documents in today’s digital world, but also with writing lessons.

Fun fact: The Declaration of Independence is considered the world’s first ebook

In Summary

A small but important and thrilling piece of history that needs to be read.

Get It Here

Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound


Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem

Book Info

Title: Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem
Author: Tim Grove 
Length: 176 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/US History(10 – 14 years, and up)
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 26, 2020)

What It Is (Excerpted From Goodreads)

Star-Spangled tells the little-known and inspiring story behind the National Anthem and the Stars and Stripes, as well as the battle which inspired the anthem; and it does so from the perspectives of different real players—both American and British—of this obscure but important battle from American history. 

My Thoughts

Star-Spangled uses a combination of a crisp, well-paced narrative and rich variety of illustrations(that include maps, early photographs, portraits, historic documents, etc) to relate the events that lead up to the writing of our nation’s national anthem.

Tim Grove includes everything from how the conflict began, details about Baltimore and its importance in the War of 1812, important figures on both the British and American sides of this war, to the principal players for this tale – Mary Pickersgill (business owner who sewed the flags that were flying and inspired the anthem) and Francis Scott Key(lawyer and poet who was inspired).

Additional matter includes a list of characters and an introduction at the start, an epilogue that shows what happened to the main characters mentioned after the war, a timeline, places to visit, a glossary, a bibliography, a list of image credits, and an index.

Perfect Pairing

Read about the inspiration for America the Beautiful here.

In Summary

A well-researched book with tons of information, lots of interesting facts, and a wonderful addition to home and classroom libraries.

Get It Here

Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound


Women’s Right to Vote (History Smashers)

Book Info

Title: Women’s Right to Vote (History Smashers)
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Dylan Meconis
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/US History, Government Books (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 7, 2020)

What It Is (Excerpted From Goodreads)

Author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the fight for women’s suffrage

My Thoughts

Once again, Messner proves her ability to make history a fun learning experience. I love her narrative style in this ‘History Smashers’ series of books.

In this book, Messner throws light upon the true history of American women’s suffrage. She includes all the highlights but does not shy away from the harsh truths too (including the racism of many of its leaders). Both well known and little known participants of the movement are included in the book.

The illustrations add to the appeal and they, along with the various textboxes, side panels, footnotes, and more provide additional information, and make the book even more appealing and engaging for all audiences. The book ends with information on the current battle for civil rights, and includes a timeline of the suffrage movement.

Perfect Pairing

Books mentioned in this post or The Voice that Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History

Side Note

Like with the other book in the series, using Messner’s examples of how the myths she busted came about in the first place, readers can explore other false news (abundant in today’s clime) and try to see the hows and whys of them.

In Summary

A book that will appeal to everyone, from middle-grade readers to adults. Read.It.Now!

Get It Here

Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound

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4 Wonderful Reads About Events from American History

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of these featured books about events from American history!? If yes, your thoughts on those are welcome.. If not, which of these books would you pick first? And as always, your recommendations please..

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