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History and Children's Literature
Primary Reading 
(Grade Levels K-2)

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* Book is located in the Education Resource Center (ERC) 

History in Children's Literature Grades: K-2 | 3-4 | 5-6 | Literature Index
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Title Author Subject Summary
An Ellis Island Christmas Maxinne Rhea Leighton Immigration Krysia and her family leave Poland to meet her father in America. She experiences a variety of emotions on their voyage across the ocean, and makes friends with other passengers on the ship.
Cornstalks and Cannonballs* Barbara Mitchell War with England, 1812 The legendary story of when the citizens of Lewes, Delaware pulled together and scared away a British ship that was blocking their harbor.
Escaping to America: A True Story* Rosalyn Schanzer Immigration This book is based on the true story of the authors relatives who fled Poland after WWI due to anti-Semitic violence. The family's relatives had already established themselves in America and would vouch for them. However, they still had to escape from the war zone in Poland and survive the voyage to the U.S.
Faithful Elephants Translated by Tomoko Tsuchiya Dykes World War II This is a true story about zoo animals in Tokyo that had to be killed during the bombing of the city during WWII for fear they would run through the town if the zoo was bombed directly. The main focus of the story in on three trained elephants.
Freedom School, Yes!* Amy Littlesugar Civil Rights during the Summer of 1964 This story is based on the 1964 Mississippi Freedom School Summer Project.  Despite the church where the Freedom school was to be taught being burnt down and other hardships, the freedom  school is established, and Jolie, he main character learns about her Black-American heritage. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
Freedom Summer* Deborah Wiles   Cilvil Rights during the Summer of 1964 This book takes place during the Summer when the Civil Rights act of 1964 was passed. Segregation, southern white retaliation to the law, and the willingness to stand up for what you believe are exposed through the friendship of two young boys, one white and one black.
Grandfather's Journey** Allen Say Immigration After traveling around the U.S., the author's grandfather returns to Japan and his family. He tells his grandson Allen tales of California, and eventually the young man moves there. He finds he loves both places, and he misses them whenever he is away.
In America Marissa Moss Immigration Walter's grandpa explains why he chose to come to America when other members of his family stayed in Lithuania. Walter wonders if he would have done the same if he had been in his grandpa's shoes.
Katie's Trunk Ann Turner The American Revolution Katie's parents are known as loyalists on the eve of the American Revolution. When the Patriots come to their house in search of supplies, Katie hides in a trunk. Although one man finds her, he keeps her secret and leaves her in peace. His actions teach Katie that good people can have different beliefs.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Deborah Hopkinson

The Underground Railroad Clara is a young slave girl living on a plantation. She devises a secret code for the underground railroad that is quilted onto blankets.
The Bracelet** Yoshiko Uchida Japanese internment camps. Emi's friend gives her a bracelet the day before she is sent to an internment camp. She loses the bracelet, but with her mother's help she realizes she can remember her loved ones without tangible objects.
The Lily Cupboard Shulamith Levey Oppenheim World War II in Europe During WWII, a young Jewish girl named Miriam is sent to stay with a farm family. When soldiers come to search the farm, she is forced to hide in a secret cupboard to remain safe.
Thunder at Gettysburg Patricia Gauch Battle of Gettysburg Tilly watches the Battle of Gettysburg from her attic window as though it were a circus. However, soon she finds herself drawn into the terrible and seemingly unending fray.
When Jessie Came Across the Sea* Amy Hest Immigration Thirteen year old Jessie travels from a tiny village in Eastern Europe to NYC and, with patience and determination, finds success and happiness in her new country.  Earns sufficient money to bring her beloved grandmother to America.  Exquisite illustrations by P.J. Lynch.

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