Helping Your Child Learn History
With activities for children in preschool through grade 5
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    Federal Sources of Information
    Web Sites
    Publications for Parents
    Books for Children
    Children's Magazines

Federal Sources of Information

Educator's Reference DeskSM

Federal Citizen Information Center, FirstGov for Kids

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)

Library of Congress, American Memory

National Archives

National Park Service

National Register of Historic Places

National Trust for Historic Preservation

No Child Left Behind

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Web Sites

The following Web sites are some of the many that contain great links for both you and your child. Most provide you and your child with information about how to search for specific information and with links to other age-appropriate sites.

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Publications for Parents

American Federation of Teachers. (2001). Helping Your Child Succeed: How Parents & Families Can Communicate Better with Teachers and School Staff. Washington, D.C. (available online at

American Library Association. (2002). Libraries, Children and the Internet. Chicago, IL. (Available online at

Cholden, Harriet, Friedman, John A. and Tiersky, Ethel. (1998). The Homework Handbook: Practical Advice You Can Use Tonight to Help Your Child Succeed Tomorrow. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Clark, Rosemary, Hawkins, Donna and Vachon, Beth. (1999). The School-Savvy Parent: 365 Insider Tips to Help You Help Your Child. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Hickey, M. Gail. (1999). Bringing History Home: Local and Family History Projects for Grades K-6. Boston: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Hirsch, E. D., Jr. (1997). What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education. New York: Doubleday.

Kay, Peggy. (2002). Games with Books: Twenty-Eight of the Best Children's Books and How to Use Them to Help Your Child Learn—From Preschool to Third Grade. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

National Council for Geographic Education. (1998). How to Help Children Become Geographically Literate. Washington, D.C. (Available online at

Rich, Dorothy. (1992). Megaskills: How Families Can Help Children Succeed in School and Beyond (rev. ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Russell, William F. (1997). Family Learning. How to Help Your Children Succeed in School by Learning at Home. St. Charles, IL: First Word Learning Systems, Inc.

Wise, Jessie and Bauer, Susan Wise. (2004). The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. New York: W. W. Norton.

Wolfman, Ira. (2002). Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy For Kids. New York: Workman Publishing.

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Books for Children

The following is only a sampling of the many excellent books about people, events, and issues in American and world history and geography that your child might enjoy. Many of the books listed here are also available in languages other than English. Your local or school librarian can help you locate books in a particular language.

For additional titles, check your library for sources such as the listing of notable children's books prepared each year by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council (available online at and at and the theme-related listing of books chosen annually by the National Endowment for the Humanities for its We the People Bookshelf (available online at

We have divided the books into two groups, those most appropriate for you to read with your younger child and those that will appeal to your older child, who reads independently. However, you're the best judge of which books are appropriate for your child, regardless of age.

Preschool-Grade 2

American History, Culture and Biography

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Sacagawea. Holiday House.

Bateman, Teresa. Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who? The Stories Behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols. Holiday House.

Catrow, David. We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Chandra, Deborah. George Washington's Teeth. Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Cheney, Lynne V. America: A Patriotic Primer. Simon & Schuster.

Cherry, Lynne. A River Ran Wild. Harcourt Brace.

Curlee, Lynn. Brooklyn Bridge. Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Grant, R. G. and Dailey, John R. Flight. Smithsonian Institution.

Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims. Aladdin Library.

Hudson, Wade. Great Black Heroes; Five Bold Freedom Fighters. Cartwheel Books.

Jakes, John. Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story. Harcourt Brace.

Jezek, Alisandra. Miloli's Orchids. Raintree/Streck Vaughn.

Johnson, Angela. Those Building Men. Blue Sky Press/Scholastic.

Monjo, F. N. The One Bad Thing about Father (biography of Theodore Roosevelt). Harper.

O'Kelley, Mattie Lou. From the Hills of Georgia: An Autobiography in Paintings. Little, Brown.

van Rynbach, Iris. Everything from a Nail to a Coffin. Orchard Books.

Waters, Kate. The Story of the White House. Scholastic.

World History, Culture and Biography

Bauer, Susan Wise. The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 1: Ancient Times. Peace Hill Press.

Berger, Melvin and Berger, Gilda. Mummies of the Pharaohs: Exploring the Valley of the Kings. National Geographic Society.

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850. Houghton Mifflin.

Fisher, Leonard E. Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon. Atheneum.

Ganeri, Anita. Emperors and Gladiators. Peter Bedrick Books.

Musgrove, Margaret W. Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. Dial Books for Young Readers.

Provensen, Alice and Provensen, Martin. The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot. Puffin.

Wells, Ruth. A to Zen: A Book of Japanese Culture. Simon & Schuster.

Zimlicka, Shannon. The Colors of Russia. Carolrhoda Books.

Historical Fiction, Drama, Poetry and Games

Atwell, Debby. Pearl. Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin.

Barnes, Peter. Marshall, the Courthouse Mouse: A Tail of the U. S. Supreme Court. Vacation Spot Publishing.

Bates, Katherine Lee. America the Beautiful. Putnam.

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. Harper Trophy.

Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. Harcourt.

Guthrie, Woody. This Land Is Your Land. Little, Brown & Co.

Goble, Paul. Death of the Iron Horse. Macmillan.

Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man. Puffin.

High, Linda Oatman. A Humble Life: Plain Poems. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Jimenez, Francisco. The Christmas Gift. Houghton Mifflin.

Kurtz, Jane. River Friendly, River Wild. Simon & Schuster.

Kuskin, Karla. Jerusalem, Shining Still. Harper Trophy.

Le Sueur, Meridel. Little Brother of the Wilderness: The Story of Johnny Appleseed. Holy Cow! Press.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha. (Various editions.)

Loomis, Christine. Across America, I Love You. Hyperion Press.

MacLachlan, Patricia. All the Places to Love. HarperCollins.

Panagopoulos, Janie Lynn. A Place Called Home. Sleeping Bear Press.

Paul, Ann Whitford. All By Herself. Harcourt Children's Books.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. The Flag We Love. Charlesbridge Publishing.

Swift, Hildegarde. Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. Red Wagon Books.

Turner, Ann. Abe Lincoln Remembers. HarperCollins Children's Books.

Turkle, Brinton. Thy Friend, Obadiah. Puffin.

Zolotow, Charlotte. The Sky Was Blue. HarperCollins.

Geography and Reference

Doherty, Gillian and Claybourne, Anna. The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World. Usborne Publishing.

Hartman, Gail. As The Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps. Demco Media.

Knowlton, Jack. Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary. Harper Trophy.

Leedy, Loreen. Mapping Penny's World. Holt.

National Geographic Society. Our World: A Child's First Picture Atlas. National Geographic Society.

Rumford, James. Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354. Houghton Mifflin.

Grades 3 and Up

American History, Culture and Biography

Barber, James and Pastan, Amy. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. Smithsonian Institution.

Bartoletti, S. C. Kids on Strike! Houghton Mifflin.

Bridges, Ruby with Lundell, Margo. Through My Eyes. Scholastic.

Bruchac, J. Navajo Long Walk: Tragic Story of a Proud Peoples' Forced March from Homeland. National Geographic Press.

Busby, Peter. First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane. Crown Books for Young Readers.

Catrow, David. We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Dial Books for Young Readers.

Cheney, Lynne V. A Is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women.

Clapp, J. Right Here on This Spot. Houghton Mifflin.

Coombs, K. M. Children of the Dust Days. Carolrhoda Books.

Evans, Freddi Williams. A Bus of Our Own. Albert Whitman & Company.

Farris, Christine King. My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Simon & Schuster.

Fisher, Leonard E. The Statue of Liberty. Holiday House.

Frank, Mitch. Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America. Viking's Children's Books.

Freedman, Russell. In The Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys. Clarion.

Harbison, Elizabeth M. (1998). Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. Chicago Review Press.

Hakim, Joy. The First Americans. Oxford University Press. (The first volume of the A History of US series. Other volumes include: Making Thirteen Colonies; The New Nation; Reconstructing America; An Age of Extremes; War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945; and All the People 1945-1999.)

Hoose, Phillip. We Were There, Too! Young People in U. S. History. Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Jacobs, William Jay. Ellis Island: New Hope in a New Land. Atheneum.

Loewen, Nancy. We Live Here Too! Kids Talk about Good Citizenship. Picture Window Books.

Macaulay, David. Mill. Houghton Mifflin.

Maestro, Betsy. Coming to America. Scholastic.

Maestro, Betsy and Maestro, Giulio. A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution. New York: Morrow.

Miller, Marilyn. Words That Built a Nation. Scholastic.

New York Times Staff. The New York Times: A Nation Challenged, Young Reader's Edition. Scholastic.

Parkes, B. School Then and Now. Newbridge Emergent Readers Series.

Ravitch, Diane. The American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation. Perennial.

Reichhardt, Tony. Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years—The Astronauts' Experiences in Their Own Words. Smithsonian Institution.

Schanzer, Rosalyn. How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning. HarperCollins.

Sobel, Syl and Tanzey, Pam. How the U. S. Government Works. Barrons Juvenile.

Tanaka, Shelly. Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II. Hyperion Books for Children.

Wallner, Alexandra. Since 1920. Doubleday.

Wells, Rosemary. The House in the Mail. Puffin Books.

West, Delno C. and West, Jean M. Uncle Sam and Old Glory: Symbols of America. Atheneum.

Wilson, Jon. The Declaration of Independence: Foundation of America. Child's World.

Wong, J. S. Apple Pie Fourth of July. Harcourt.

World History, Culture and Biography

Chrisp, Peter. Alexander the Great: The Legend of a Warrior King. DK Publishing.

Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Puffin.

Deedy, Carmen Agra. The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark. Peachtree.

Fiedler, Joseph Daniel. Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself. Atheneum.

Hoose, Phillip. It's Our World, Too! Sunburst.

Macaulay, David. Pyramid. (See also City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction; Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction; and Castle). Houghton Mifflin.

Major, John S. The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History. Harper Trophy.

Mead, Alice. Girl of Kosovo. Yearling Books.

Nickles, Greg. Russia: The Cultures. Crabtree.

Historical Fiction, Drama, Poetry and Games

Baker, Charles F., III. The Struggle for Freedom: Plays on the American Revolution, 1762-1788. Cobblestone.

Brink, Carol R. Caddie Woodlawn. Macmillan.

Fisher, Leonard E. The Oregon Trail. (See also Tracks Across America: The Story of the American Railroad, 1825-1900.) Holiday House.

Fleischman, Paul. Seedfolks. Harper Trophy.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. (Various editions.)

Freedman, Russell. Cowboys of the Wild West. Clarion.

Hoobler, Dorothy and Hoobler, Tom. The First Decade: Curtain Going Up. Millbrook. (See also other books in the series about life in the twentieth century, including The Second Decade: Voyages; The 1920s: Luck; and The 1930s: Directions.)

Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils. Berkley.

Kennedy, Caroline. A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. Hyperion Press.

Minor, Wendell. Star in the Storm. McElderry.

Mistry, Nilesh. The Story of Divaali. Barefoot Books.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East. Greenwillow.

Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. Philomel Books.

Ryan, Pam M. The Flag We Love. Charlesbridge Publishing.

Sewall, Marcia. The Pilgrims of Plimoth. New York: Aladdin Library.

Waters, Kate. Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast. Scholastic.

Wilder, Laura I. Little House in the Big Woods. (See also others in the Little House series.) (Various editions.)

Zeman, Ludmila. Gilgamesh the King. Tundra Books.


Ancona, George. Cuban Kids. Cavendish.

Bang, M. Common Ground. The Blue Sky Press.

Cooper, Margaret. Exploring the Ice Age. Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Haskins, James and Benson, Kathleen. Building a New Land: African Americans in Colonial America. Amistad/HarperCollins Children's Books.

Laufer, Peter. Made in Mexico. National Geographic Society.

Leacock, Elspeth and Buckley, Susan. Places in Time: A New Atlas of American History. Houghton Mifflin.

National Geographic Society. Historical Atlas of the United States. National Geographic Society.

Leedy, Loreen. Blast Off to Earth! A Look at Geography. Holiday House.

Le Rochais, Marie-Ange. Desert Trek: An Eye-Opening Journey Through the World's Driest Places. Walker & Company.

Smith, David J. If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People. Kids Can Press.

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Children's Magazines

Contains articles, activities and games that develop skills and interest in various content areas, including geography and U.S. history. (Ages 7 and up)

Focuses on world history. (Ages 8 and up)

Contains articles and stories that focus on American history. (Ages 8 and up)

Focuses on archeology and on the historical and cultural aspects of various societies. (Ages 8 and up)

Kids Discover
Contains theme-related articles, many of which focus on events and people in U.S. and world history. (Ages 5 and up)

National Geographic for Kids
Offers articles, games, and other geography-related activities. (Ages 7 and up)

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Last Modified: 02/11/2009