Archives for category: Social Studies

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.


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.

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.

Ms. Frizzle's Adventure's: Ancient Egypt

Author: Joanna Cole
Illustrator: Bruce Deegan
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Level: Lexile 340L

SOL: 2.1 The student will explain how the contributions of ancient China and Egypt have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, inventions, the calendar, and written language.

Description: The ever so popular school teacher Ms. Frizzle is back at it in this series and is taking the kids on an adventure to Egypt. In the story she is their tour guide helping them to discover the ancient wonders of Egypt in a fun and informational way.

I chose to add this book to the blog because I have always found Magic School Bus books to do an excellent job of being fun, humorous and educational for kids. Many important and true facts are included but the author and illustrator both express this information in fun and creative ways for the readers.

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.

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Abraham Lincoln

Title: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Abraham Lincoln

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Publisher: Random House

Related SOLs:
History VS.7- The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues that divided our nation and led to the Civil War by
a) identifying the events and differences between northern and southern states that divided
Virginians and led to secession, war, and the creation of West Virginia;
b) describing Virginia’s role in the war, including identifying major battles that took place in Virginia;
c) describing the roles played by whites, enslaved African Americans, free African Americans, and American Indians.

History USI.9-The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes, major events, and effects of the Civil War by
a) describing the cultural, economic, and constitutional issues that divided the nation;
b) explaining how the issues of states’ rights and slavery increased sectional tensions;
c) identifying on a map the states that seceded from the Union and those that remained in the Union;
d) describing the roles of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Frederick Douglass in events leading to and during the war;
e) using maps to explain critical developments in the war, including major battles;
f) describing the effects of war from the perspectives of Union and Confederate soldiers
(including African American soldiers), women, and enslaved African Americans.

Amazon Grade Level: 3rd- 5th

Summary: This non-fiction chapter book is about the life of Abraham Lincoln. Readers will learn about Lincoln as a child and follow is his story to his unfortunate death.

I chose this book because it serves as a good resource for students learning about Abraham Lincoln. Although it is a non-fiction book it is written in a way that still keeps readers excited and interested to find out what happens next. Another great aspect of this story is that is provides readers with tips on how to conduct research and provides actual resources the reader can use to learn more about Lincoln.

All About America: Colonist and Independence

Title: All About America: Colonists and Independence

Author: Sally Senzell Isaacs

Publisher: Kingfisher

Related SOLs:
History VS.3- The student will demonstrate knowledge of the first permanent English settlement in America by
a) explaining the reasons for English colonization;
b) describing how geography influenced the decision to settle at Jamestown;
e) identifying the importance of the arrival of Africans and English women to the Jamestown settlement;
f) describing the hardships faced by settlers at Jamestown and the changes that took place to ensure survival;
g) describing the interactions between the English settlers and the native peoples, including the contributions of Powhatan to the survival of the settlers.

History VS.5- The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the American Revolution by
a) identifying the reasons why the colonies went to war with Great Britain, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence;
b) identifying the various roles played by whites, enslaved African Americans, free African Americans, and American Indians in the Revolutionary War era, including George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Lafayette;

History USI.6- The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution by
a) identifying the issues of dissatisfaction that led to the American Revolution;
b) identifying how political ideas shaped the revolutionary movement in America and led to the Declaration of Independence;
c) describing key events and the roles of key individuals in the American Revolution, with
emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry;
d) explaining reasons why the colonies were able to defeat Great Britain

Amazon Grade Level: 4th- Up

Summary: Colonist and Independence gives an overview of the major events leading up to America’s independence from the 1600s. The book begins with the establishment of Jamestown, tells of the Salem Witch Trials, explains the use of slaves, the events leading up to the Revolutionary War, and the events after the Revolutionary War.

I chose this book because I believe it provides readers with an age appropriate understanding of the events that began and formed our nation. Because of the amount of side notes and small sections of information, I believe this book would be more suitable for individual exploration versus a read aloud. I also like this book because it really allows the reader to dive into and explore our country’s history.