This is my third post about U.S. History books and will include the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, the War of 1812, and the Missouri Compromise. Every time I start looking at books for next year, I want to just dive in and start reading them. Our family really enjoys history books.
I broke my U.S. history lists down by time period or topic since really long book lists can overwhelm me. Books I list might be from my own shelves or from the library. I tried to mark if a book is a picture book, chapter book, or possible read-aloud. I plan on referencing these lists throughout next year as I put library books on hold and give out weekly reading assignments. I also just like to fill our library crate with history books since my children will often read them during our quiet reading time.
Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark (week 6)
- The Value of Foresight: The Story of Thomas Jefferson is a great book. It has lots of pictures, but I wouldn’t call it a “picture book” per se since it’s a little longer than a typical picture book. If you aren’t familiar with Valuetales, there are a number of books in the series about people throughout history. I remember reading them as a child and was able to buy a large used set a few years ago. This book on Thomas Jefferson will actually serve as a great reminder (or recap) of the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, as well as talks about Jefferson making the Louisiana Purchase. My daughter actually found the map of the Louisiana Purchase the other day and was excited to show it to me. This book gets into Lewis and Clark’s exploration as well so I think I’ll read this out loud to my younger children (or have the older ones read it out loud).
- The Lewis and Clark Expedition (True Books) is a small informational book. With only 48 pages, plenty of pictures, and a decent size font, this is much less intimidating than some informational books. My children always love these books published by Scholastic, and our library has tons of them. This book includes some facts about the Louisiana Purchase as well.
- Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map is a chapter book by the same authors as Christian Heroes Then and Now. I think this will be a fun read-aloud as a family. I just love the title of “Off the Edge of the Map” and would love to read this with the children since it is a journey I know very little about. This series also has Davy Crockett: Ever Westward. I’m not sure if we will get to it during this part of our history studies, but if my children really get into this time period, we will add it in.
- Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President is an early reader book. I hope my young reader is up to this book since it looks like fun. When Seth and I visited Monticello last summer, the most striking thing to Seth was the real artifacts that Lewis and Clark had sent to Jefferson that you could see there. Thomas Jefferson’s Feast is also a fun easy reader about Jefferson if your child enjoys this.
- You Wouldn’t Want to Explore with Lewis and Clark is of course going to be my children’s favorite of the list. I really can’t say enough good things about the You Wouldn’t Want to Be books.
War of 1812 (week 7)
- Ruthie has read all of the American Girl Caroline books so I hope she will share with us some of the “peak into the past” sections with the rest of us.
- Mr. Madison’s War: Causes and Effects of the War of 1812 looks like a nice, short book from the library, possibly a picture book. I just put it on hold and will add more of a description after I get my hands on it. UPDATE: We enjoyed previewing this book and will read it more as we hit this week. There was information in this book that I hadn’t read before. In fact, I’m going to look for other books in this series.
- I thought I’d use the War of 1812 as a great time to learn the Star-Spangled Banner (again for some of the kids) and read about when our national Anthem was written. Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner is an easy reader. I will also actually read the real text of the 4 verses of the Star Spangled Banner with them. I remember reading through it at my first CC Practicum and think it would be enjoyable for the kids.
The Missouri Compromise (week 8)
- To Preserve the Union: Causes and Effects of the Missouri Compromise is similar to the other book listed above, but I haven’t actually been able to look at it. As soon as the hold comes in, I’ll write more of a description.
- There is another book called The Missouri Compromise (We the People: Civil War Era) that our library doesn’t have, but we have read other books in the series. You might want to look for it in your library.
Other books about Westward Expansion including books about the Oregon Trail will be in a later post.
Please keep in mind that these book lists are meant as an encouragement and a place to start. We will not always get to read everything. Sometimes we will enjoy a topic so much that we’ll go looking for more information and more books. I hope this list can be an encouragement and a help for your family.