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Author: Lisa Zamosky
Publisher: Teacher Created Materials

3.7 The student will explain how producers in ancient Greece, Rome, and the West African empire of Mali used natural resources, human resources, and capital resources in the production of goods and services.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 4.9; Lexile Level – 610L; Guided Reading Level: Q

Description: This story describes the kingdom of Mali at the height of its power under King Mansa Musa. It discusses how Musa helped his empire grow in both size and culture by encouraging the arts, literature, and architecture.

Why I chose it: I chose this book because I knew that the SOL on Mali would be a difficult one to cover in elementary school, it’s hard for kids to relate to a kingdom so far away in both time and location. I thought this book did a good job making Mali relatable to young kids while going through the various characteristics that are necessary in any society in order to have a functioning nation.

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Author: Barbara Timberlake Russell
Illustrator: Jim Burke
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

3.12 The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 3.9

Description: This book is written from the viewpoint of a young immigrant girl who traveled to New Orleans, America with her family in the early 19th Century. It celebrates the mixing of one’s own traditions and culture with the American society of the time – especially the pastime of music.

Why I chose it: This book appeals to me as an educator because it uses specific vocabulary and cultural practices from the period. The students are given the opportunity to hear the language of the Irish family and see the bustling city of New Orleans during this time period.

Author: Ann Grifalconi
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Puffin

USI.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the factors that shaped colonial America by
c) describing colonial life in America from the perspectives of large landowners, farmers, artisans, women, free African Americans, indentured servants, and enslaved African Americans;

VS.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of life in the Virginia colony by
a) explaining the importance of agriculture and its influence on the institution of slavery;

3.4 The student will develop map skills by
a) locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
b) describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
c) explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.

Reading Level: 1.3

Description: This tale is told in the style of an African folk teller to reflect how knowledge is passed on in African culture. It documents how an old woman and young girl courageously saved their tribe from passing slave traders.

Why I chose it: This looks at a very real historical event that is often sheltered in the classroom – the slave trade. It tackles the subject while staying true to African culture. I like this story because it’s organization and style reflects the period and culture it is depicting.

Author: Kay Winters
Illustrator: Denise Brunkus
Publisher: Puffin

K.9 The student will recognize the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance and know that the president is the leader of the United States.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 1.8

Description: This book is told by a young student listing reasons for why his teacher would make a good President. The boy makes presidential characteristics relevant and relatable to a very young cohort of students by comparing them to teacher qualities.

Why I chose it: While this book wouldn’t fall under historical fiction as there is no past event to relate it to, it is still teaching students about a historically relevant process in a fictional depiction. I chose it because it reveals a very important concept, US Presidency, while appealing to a very young audience. The text is simple, easy to read, and relatable to the youth while simultaneously getting key points of the Presidency across.

Author: Louise Borden
Illustrator: Robert Andrew Parker
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

USII.7 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by
a) identifying the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including the attack on Pearl Harbor;
b) locating and describing the major events and turning points of the war in Europe and the Pacific;
c) describing the impact of the war on the home front.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 4.5

Description: This story is told from the perspective of a young girl whose neighbor is a naval officer in WWII. Through both written and verbal communication with him she learns a lot about the war going on, and always comes back to the principle of how far it seems from her safe and routine life.

Why I chose it: This book deals with the actual fighting during World War II and gives key vocabulary as well as strategy that occurred. I chose it because the young girl is being taught through communication with her neighbor, showing the kids how far America was from the war geographically but how it still affected life in the U.S.

Author: Yoshiko Uchido
Illustrator: Joanna Yardley
Publisher: Puffin

3.12 The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms.

USII.7 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by
c) describing the impact of the war on the home front.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 4.3

Description: This book is set in San Francisco and is written from the perspective of a young girl forced into a Japanese internment camp with her family. She struggles to hold on to literal representations of her past life – but in the end realizes her memories will all remain in her heart.

Why I chose it: This book addresses the internment camps the U.S. Government set up following World War II, a historically relevant topic. I chose it because it gives a personal look at the system, one that young kids will be able to imagine and grip at on a very basic level. The girls’ fears in the book are appropriate for their age level and will make the system more real to them.

“My Senator and Me: A Dog’s-eye view of Washington, D.C.”

Author: Edward Kennedy
Illustrator: David Small
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

VS.10 The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics by
a) identifying the three branches of Virginia government and the function of each;

Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 4.2
Lexile Measure®: 750L
Guided Reading: P

Description: This book is written to give young kids a look at Washington D.C. and the career of a Senator from the perspective of a dog.

Why I chose it: This book helps kids relate to people, like Senators, who work in our Government. By being written in ‘doggie’ language kids realize that Senators have pets and do things with their pets just like regular people do. The language also helps to keep the information ‘kid-friendly,’ without the use of big, hard-to-understand terms. I also like the fact that it is written by an actual Senator so the information is factual and relevant.