Archives For author

House mouse, senate mouse

Author: Peter W. Barnes
Illustrator: Cheryl Barnes
Publisher: VSP Books
Year: 1996
Reading level: Grade 1 (
3.10 The student will recognize the importance of government in the community, Virginia, and the United States of America by
a) explaining the purpose of rules and laws;
b) explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken;
c) explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.

In this book, children learn about the roles of the senate and the house and the differences between each. The problem of the story is that a elementary class wants to pass a new law. Children reading the book can then learn about how this new law is passed and the process it takes.

I chose this book because of the fun rhyming words which I think will help children remember the information better. I also think it is important for kids to learn how the bills are passed. This book also does a good job of putting it down on the children’s level.


The double life of Pocahontas

Author: Jean Fritz
Illustrator: NA
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 2002
Grade level: 2-5 (


K.1The student will recognize that history describes events and people of other times and places by
a)identifying examples of past events in legends, stories, and historical accounts of Powhatan, Pocahontas, George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Abraham Lincoln;

Summary: Most everyone has seen the movie of Pocahontas, but is that what really happened? No! This book is one of the few children’s books which gives an accurate description of the life of Pocahontas. Torn between two different peoples, Pocahontas had to make the hard decision of staying with her native American family or going with John Smith. This book truly shows her struggles and the impact her relationship with John Smith had on her people and his.

I chose this book most importantly for its accurate information. There were other books about the same topic that I looked at but they had incorrect information. I also like how in this book both perspectives are given.

If you traveled west in a covered wagon

Author: Ellen Levine
Publisher: Scholastic
Illustrator: Elroy Freem
year: 1992
Lexile: 860 L (

SOL:USI.8 The student will demonstrate knowledge of westward expansion and reform in America from 1801 to 1861 by
a)describing territorial expansion and how it affected the political map of the United States, with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Florida, Texas, Oregon, and California;

Summary: If you ever wanted to learn about the Oregon Trail and Westward expansion here is the place to do this. This book covers literally anything you could ever wonder when it comes to the Oregon Trail. From learning what covered wagons were to learning how they started fires without any fire wood, this book will answer all the students questions and get them more knowledgeable about the material than they ever would have imagined.

I chose this book because of its incredible depth of information. When I was reading it, I found myself being like “Oh yeah, how did they do it? Through all the questions asked, it kept me entertained and asking even more questions. Most of us grew up playing the Oregon Trail computer game, or watching Little House on the Prairie both which depict westward expansion, now through this book we can truly understand what those in the covered wagons went through.

Amelia and Eleanor go for a ride

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrator: Bryan Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: 1999
Lexile level: 600L

SOL:1.2 The student will describe the stories of American leaders and their contributions to our country, with emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Summary: This story is about the Famous First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Pilot Amelia Earhart who defy what was “right” and instead decide to have some fun. During a dinner party these two women decided to leave the party and take a plane ride from Washington D.C. to Baltimore. This book is based off unknown to public true life events which happened in 1933.

I chose this book because it shows how not everything is told to the public, and that sometime people do both good and/or bad things which the public never hears about. Also, I think this book shows how remarkable women were doing that time, even if they didn’t have all the rights. It teaches children to have fun and be adventurous and to not always follow the beaten path.

Henry's Freedom Box: A true Story from the Underground railroad

Author: Ellen Levine
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Lexile: 380L (from amazon)
SOL: VS.7 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues that divided our nation and led to the Civil War by
c) describing the roles played by whites, enslaved African Americans, free African Americans, and American Indians.

Summary: This is a true story about a little boy named Henry who was enslaved. Growing up, Henry’s mother raised him to see the differences between African Americans and whites, and urged him to gain his freedom. Although growing up under a tolerant master, Henry is soon bought by another man. Henry continues to want freedom, and finally decides to mail himself to the North in a box.
I chose this book for its very colorful pictures and depictions of life as a slave. Also, this book will give students a deeper understanding what life is like for different races. Students will be able to understand that some people have different struggles.

Louisiana Purchase: Would you close the deal?

Author: Elaine Landau

Publisher: Enslow Elementary

Grade level: 3 and up (from

SOL: US1.8 The student will demonstrate knowledge of westward expansion and reform in America from 1801 to 1861 by

a) describing territorial expansion and how it affected the political map of the United States, with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Florida, Texas, Oregon and California

Summary: This book starts off by explaining what America looked like before the Louisiana Purchase. Most importantly, students learn why there was a push for the buying of more land with the Louisiana Purchase. Through this story, students are asked pondering questions about what they would do in the same situation. This allows for students to gain perspective and empathy for those in the situation. Finally, after students answer the question they learn what actually happened with the Louisiana purchase.

I chose this book because it asks students to reach a higher level of thinking and truly understand what happened during the Louisiana Purchase. This is not a book students mindlessly listen to, rather they are interacting with it and the information.


Author: L. Keller

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company Inc.

Year: 1998

Lexile: 510 L

SOL: USI.2  The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, or tables to

a)   locate the seven continents and five oceans;

b)   locate and describe the location of the geographic regions of North America: Coastal Plain, Appalachian Mountains, Canadian Shield, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Basin and Range, and Coastal Range;

c)   locate and identify the water features important to the early history of the United States: Great Lakes, Mississippi River, Missouri River, Ohio River, Columbia River, Colorado River, Rio Grande, St. Lawrence River, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico;

d)   recognize key geographic features on maps, diagrams, and/or photographs.

Summary: What would happen if all the states had a party? In this book, each state takes on unique personalities as they come alive. As they have conversations amongst each other, the states tell important characteristics of the state they represent. When all the states decide they are tired of being where they are on the map, they decide to scramble themselves up. Thus Missouri ends up next to Idaho and Florida ends up by Michigan. The states use to a hot climate though quickly get tired of the cold climate. Thus children learn about the United States climate and what makes each state unique.

I chose this book because of the creative way in which students learn about the qualities of the states. It would also be fun to let the children act out each state. They would have to decide what sets them apart from each state and have conversations with the other states like the book. They also could each take a state card, not knowing what it is and ask yes and no questions to their peers, guessing what their state is.