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American History Reading List
America, the 1800's

Books on the 1860's:
Abraham Lincoln & the Civil War

World History Crafts

A huge selection of books are available on the American Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln, and we try to give you the ones that would best enhance your history lesson plans. Out of these, our favorites include Across Five Aprils for upper elementary, and Cecil's Story for the kindergarten child.

Turn Homeward, Hannalee is historical fiction and shows how the war affected the lives of southerners. It's sequel is one of our selections from the Civil War reconstruction . Both of these books are excellent reading choices!

AMERICAN HISTORY: 1860s—Civil War & Abraham Lincoln

Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington 1837 - 1863 by Cheryl Harness. National Geographic Society. E-UE
Short paragraphs and full-page, color illustrations covers the latter half of Abe's life. Prequel is Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days, 1809-1837.

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar D'Aulaire.
Caldecott Medal. D'Aulaire's books are richly illustrated, historically thorough, and entertaining.

Abraham Lincoln: A Man for All the People: A Ballad by Myra Cohn Livingston, illus. Samuel Byrd. Holiday House, 1993. K-E
Lincoln from childhood to death, using a short verse to accompany each picture along the way.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. JH+
Newbery Honor.
The Civil War effects every member of 9-year-old Jethro's family and every facet of his life. Based on a real family's experiences, this book is a must-read.

Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy (A Great Episodes Book) by Seymour Reit. Harcourt Brace and Co, 1988. UE-JH
This is the true story of a woman who disguised herself as a man to join the Union Army, and then played a major role as a spy. Great adventure, and well researched.

The Boys' War : Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy. UE+
Well researched and documented, describing the experiences of the many soldiers under the age of 16.

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman, woodcuts by David Frampton. UE
Not yet reviewed.

Caught in the Rebel Camp (Trailblazer Books) by Dave & Neta Jackson. E-JH
Christian historical fiction. Frederick Douglass.


Cecil's Story by George Ella Lyon, paintings by Peter Catalanotto. Orchard Books, 1991. K-E
Very touching book. A young boy waits with some apprehension until his father comes home from the war. The words "Civil War", etc., are never mentioned, but the illustrations and setting communicate the time period.

Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty. Troll Communications, 1996. UE-JH
Not yet reviewed.

Drummer Boy : Marching to the Civil War by Ann Turner, illus. Mark Hess. HarperCollins, 1998. E
A picture book, but the content matter is not good for the K child.
A young drummer boy tells of the horrors of war.
Serious subject; tactfully done.

Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor Vs. the Virginia by Patrick O'Brien. Walker & Company, 2003. E-UE
Full color pictures show how and why the Merrimack (i.e., the Virginia) and the Monitor were built and used in the Civil War. Includes several color diagrams and gives the story of both ships. Recommended.

Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition), MOVIE starring Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen. 1993. Rated PG. JH-HS
Sequel to the movie "Gods and Generals." Caution: Rated PG. See your favorite video review site for possible objectionable elements.

Glory, MOVIE starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick. 1989. Rated R. JH-HS
Story centers around the first Black Regiment, the 54th Massachusetts. Caution: Rated R. See your favorite video review site for possible objectionable elements.

Gods and Generals, MOVIE, starring Jeff Daniels, Steven Lang, and Robert Duvall. Rated PG-13 JH-HS
This movie is a prequel to the movie "Gettysburg." It spans from the early stages of the war in 1861 to the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Caution: Rated PG-13. See your favorite video review site for possible objectionable elements.

If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War by Kay Moore, illus. Anni Matsick. Scholastic, 1994. E-UE
Great book for the younger child to understand the whole picture without any tragic or unsettling details.

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address (All Aboard Reading) by Jean Fritz, illus. Charles Robinson. Grossett & Dunlap, 1993. E
Tells of the Civil War in general and Abraham Lincoln's role as president during that time, as well as Gettysburg and Lincoln's speech. Illustrations and text holds appeal for the 2nd-3rd grades.

Lincoln : A Photobiography by Russell Freedman. Clarion Books, 1987. UE-HS
Newbery Medal. Great detail on Lincoln and many photographs of both him and his times.

My Brother's Keeper: Virginia's Civil War Diary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (My America series) by Mary Pope Osbourne. Scholastic, 2000. E-UE
Sequel is After the Rain: Virginia's Civil War Diary, Book Two (My America) by the same author.

The Perilous Road by William O. Steele. Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1958. UE+
A young boy struggles with conflicting loyalties & learns of the senselessness of war when the conflict hits close to his home.

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler, illus. John & Alexandra Wallner. E
Mr. Adler writes biographies for the younger student, including plenty of detail and important information in a picture book format. Important Dates are included in the back.

A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler, illus. John & Alexandra Wallner. Holiday House, 1994. E
Mr. Adler writes biographies for the younger student, including plenty of detail and important information in a picture book format. Important Dates are included in the back.

The Promise Quilt by Candice F. Ranson, illus. by Ellen Beier. Walker & Co., 1999. K-E
A Virginia girl's sacrifice helps to reopen their school after the Civil War. Touching story with a hint of sadness (her father never returns from the War), but ends in hope.

The Rebel Spy (The American Adventure #23) by Norma Jean Lutz, illus. Adam Wallenta. UE-JH
Christian historical fiction.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. HS

Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith. JH +
The Civil War in the West.

The Silent Witness: A True Story of the Civil War by Robin Friedman, illus. Claire A. Nivola. Houghton-Mifflin, 2005. K-E
Lula and her favorite rag doll lived at Bull Run when the Civil War began in her front yard. Her family then moved to a tiny village called Appomattox Court House to be away from the fighting. But in 1865, two visitors in tall boots arrived at Lula's house, and she fled from the room, leaving her doll as a "silent witness" to the end of the war. Watercolor illustrations.

Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln by Judith St. George, illus. Matt Faulkner. Philomel Books, 2008. E-UE
This book has both the beautiful illustrations of a good picture book, along with enough written copy for an UE student, telling the story of Lincoln's growing up years in an entertaining, yet informative, way!

Stonewall by Jean Fritz, illus. Stephen Gammell. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979. UE-HS
Discover one of the most famous of Southern generals in this fascinating biography. Find out why his name became a household word in the Civil War and what he was truly like. It may not be what you were expecting! Jean Fritz does a fabulous job writing about historical figures and events, and this book is another treasure. Recommended.

Spy in the Sky by Kathleen Karr, illus. Thomas F. Yezerski. Hyperion, 1997. E-UE
Based on the balloonist who used his talents to help the Northern troops. 3rd Grade Level Chapter Book.

The Tamarack Tree: A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg by Patricia Clapp. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1986. JH+
This novel shows the seige of Vicksburg, slavery, and the Civil War through the eyes of an "outsider," an (adult) girl & her brother from England. Good storytelling with a hint of romance, although the only intimacy portrayed is a single kiss.

Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty. William Morrow & Co., 1984. UE+
Story centers around the Georgia mill workers who were sent north against their will. Briefly alludes to General Sherman's scourge in the south. The sequel is Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee (see post Civil War).


Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment by Clinton Cox. UE+
The story of the only black regiment to fight in the Union army.
See also the video Glory.

War's End (The American Adventure 24) by Norma Jean Lutz, illus. Adam Wallenta. UE-JH Christian historical fiction.

Welcome to Addy's World, 1864: Growing Up During America's Civil War (American Girls Collection). Pleasant Co. UE-JH
Expanding on the Addy series, this book illustrates and explains many facets of the typical way of life of her time period and location.

When Abraham Talked to the Trees by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illus. Bill Farnsworth. Eerdmans, 2000. K-E
The story of Abe's gowing up, his love of books, and his effort to become a scholar and a speaker in his rustic environment. Nice. Does not discuss the Civil War, and only briefly alludes to his presidency.

Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days: 1809-1837 by Cheryl Harness, illus. Cheryl Harness. National Geographic Society, 1996. E-UE
Learn about Abe's boyhood with beautiful illustrations and lots of detail. Takes you from his birth until age 28 when he is a member of the government of the state of Illinois and practicing law.


AMERICAN HISTORY: 1860s—post Civil War & Reconstruction

Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty. Morrow Junior Books, 1988. UE+
Sequel to Turn Homeward, Hannalee (see Civil War). The family must face the challenge of rebuilding their lives in the post-Civil War South as the demolished city of Atlanta rebuilds around them. Good story!

Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reader. Macmillan, 1989. UE+
Jefferson Cup Award. Living with relatives after being orphaned by the war, Will is forced to consider perspectives of the conflict other than his own. Good story, with a sensitive view of the people on all sides and the hardships suffered by all.


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