It’s true: Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. But fiction is often more accessible and interesting when it comes to children’s books. These books are sure to feed your milkids’ imaginations and get them interested in history.
The Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse
Written an award-winning children’s writer author of acclaimed book Fever 1793, The Seeds of America Trilogy follows heroine, Isabel, an enslaved girl on a quest to find her epileptic sister and take back their freedom against the backdrop of the American Revolution. Starting in Rhode Island during the early days of the colonists’ insurrection and ending in Virginia days after the Battle of Yorktown, the tale is one that is unflinching in the moral dilemmas posed by the characters themselves: How does a nation fight for freedom while refusing to release an enslaved population? Is the greater good more important than individual needs? What is one’s moral obligation to a nation that does not recognize one’s rights? How does one maintain their humanity in an inhumane system of oppression? Instead of skirting the hard, uncomfortable truths of our nation’s history, this book uses them to propel the plot, feature characters often forgotten in early American history, and to tell a story that needs to be told, especially now.
The American Girl Series by Various Authors
The American Girl brand is known for their historical dolls and matching books. Each doll has a set of six novels set in a particular time period and follows a fairly simple plot line that is perfect for younger readers. Whether your child is interested in World War II, the pioneer days, immigration, Native American culture, or another aspect of American history, you’ll be able to help them explore their interests and introduce them to other interesting parts of our nation’s past. The books also emphasize friendship, family, overcoming obstacles, and different perspectives on what it means to be an American. If your kids are hooked, the American Girl brand also has a series of historical mysteries that are perfect for getting lost in on a summer day.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
This book follows the Watson family as they take a trip from their home in Michigan to the segregated south during the volatile summer of 1963. Filled with memorable characters, laugh-out-loud situations, and a plot that will keep even the most reluctant reader turning pages, this novel is one your kids will remember for a long time.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Rising
Everything was perfect for Esperanza at her home in Mexico: She had a loving family and dutiful servants and never worried about her future. And then the Great Depression happened. Suddenly, Esperanza found herself living in a migrant work camp in California. The real hook? The relationship between Esperanza and her mom. They work to protect each other when everything goes wrong– something that so many military kids can relate to.
Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit
This novel, based on the stories of real-life female spies during the Civil War, follows Emma as she first joins the Union Army and then drops behind Confederate lines. Taking on disguises, Emma uses her daring and drive to spy, even though her activities could mean certain death at the hands of her adversaries.
By J.G. Noll