American History Reading List
America, the 1800's
Books on the1860's:
not the Civil War
The 1860's were years of struggle for Native Americans. Several good story books are available on the life of a significant American Indian leader, Sitting Bull. Along the same line, consider adding Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee to your reading lists!
The other books here have a variety of historical themes. All kids would enjoy books on the Pony Express and its riders (one of which was Buffalo Bill!), and life on the American frontier. Girls will especially like the story of the mail-order bride in Sarah, Plain & Tall, which also is featured in a Hallmark movie.
Addy: An American Girl/Boxed Set (American Girls Collection). The individual books are: Meet Addy: An American Girl,
Addy Learns a Lesson: A School Story,
Addy's Surprise: A Christmas Story,
Happy Birthday, Addy!: A Springtime Story,
Addy Saves the Day: A Summer Story, and
Changes for Addy: A Winter Story by Connie Rose Porter. The Pleasant Co. 1993. E-JH
Six books based on the life of a fictional American girl in 1864, written especially for girls.
A Boy Called Slow: The True Story of Sitting Bull by Joseph Bruchac, illus. Rocco Baviera. Philomel Books, 1994. K-E
A picture book of Sitting Bull's childhood in the context of Indian culture. Includes religious beliefs and ability to communicate with animals. Sitting Bull can be read next for greater depth for the advanced E.
Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr, illus. Don Bolognese. Harper Collins, 1995. E
Tells of the exciting life of the brave Pony Express riders such as Buffalo Bill.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, illus. Trina Schart Hyman. Scholastic, 1935, 1963, 1973. UE
Newbery Medal. Caddie's adventures growing up on the frontier in Wisconsin. Sequel is Caddie Woodlawn's Family.
The Caroline Years series: The series includes
Little House in Brookfield,
Little Town at the Crossroads,
Little Clearing in the Woods, and
On Top of Concord Hill
by Maria D. Wilkes. E-UE
Stories based on the girl who grew up to become Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother (Little House series).
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. UE
The boyhood of Alonzo, who later became Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband, on a farm in early New York. Written in the same style as the Little House series by the same author.
The Long Way to a New Land (I Can Read Book) by Joan Sandin. HarperCollins, 1989. E
A Swedish family journeys to America in search of a better life. The sequel is The Long Way Westward (I Can Read Book).
Riding the Pony Express by Clyde Robert Bulla.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. UE
Newbery Medal. A father and his two children are visited by a mail-order bride, but will she choose to stay and become a part of their family? The sequel is Skylark.
Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell. UE+
Bright Morning escaped from slavery in Mexico only to encounter greater challenges at home. This story illustrates the struggles of the Navajo people in the late 1800's, specifically the tragic event known as "The Long Walk."
Sitting Bull, Warrior of the Sioux by Jane Fleischer, illus. Bert Dodson. Troll Associates, 1979. E-UE+
The story of Sitting Bull, from childhood to death, with black-and-white illustrations on every page. Simple enough for the young, but can also give a clear picture of this historical figure for the older student. Can be read after A Boy Called Slow for the advanced E.
Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee by Patricia Beatty, illus. Daniel Mark Duffy. UE-JH
With their father away at war, a 13-year-old boy and his sister are the only survivors of a Comanche attack. He later escapes, but then returns to rescue her. Great story of adventure and courage. Recommended.
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.