Unschooling Resources: U.S. History


1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine Grace O’Neill and Margaret M. Bruchac
This photo essay is filled with pictures of actors from Plimoth Plantation. The School Library Journal says, "While debunking the Thanksgiving story as it is most frequently told, this recounting in no way detracts from the historical importance of the holiday."

 The Cartoon History of the United States by Larry Gonick
Larry Gonick's Cartoon History books never miss. Written like comics (though this book is almost 400 pages), they can keep any reader's interest, young or old. Also, they don't try to make anyone look good (or bad) - a must for any history book. Very highly recommended.

Children of the Wild West by Russell Freedman
What were children's lives like during the time of westward expansion? This book looks at the lives of pioneer children and of Native American children and chronicles their experiences. Filled with stunning photographs, it's a great addition to any kid's US history collection. One weakness of the book, however, is the abbreviated section on Native American boarding schools such as Carlisle. Adding another book to the mix, such as Children of the Indian Boarding Schools, would be a good idea.

Eyewitness Books: American Revolution
True to the Eyewitness Books spirit, American Revolution is filled with pictures of Colonial money, a tea kettle painted with "No Stamp Act," Franklin's press, uniforms, weaponry, flags, and much more. A great series.

Front Page: A Collection of Historical Headlines from the Los Angeles Times
There are many books like this from major newspapers. This wonderful oversized book simply shows the front pages on thick newsprint without any commentary. Not only does it show headlines and stories like "McKinley and Hobart Win," "The President Shot Twice, But Lives," "Germany Throws Up Her Hands," "Roosevelt Dead!" "Truman Fires MacArthur," "Rosenbergs Die," and so many more, it also illustrates the evolution of the newspaper, features editorial cartoons, and introduces readers to the $4.30 Men's suit! Wonderful, wonderful resource!

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp
"The words in this book are based on the Thanksgiving Address, an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants." A beautiful, simple picture book.

Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson
An amazing book for anyone - adult or child - interested in life during the Civil War. Make your own lean-to shelter, a replica of a paddlewheeled boat, or a periscope. Learn to cook Johnny cakes, Union hardtack and molasses taffy. Make a telegraph. Learn flag signals. Build a banjo. Sew your own Union or Confederate jacket. Handmake paper, patchwork quilts and rag dolls. It's all in this book, plus many more projects and lots of history and trivia. Truly "hands-on history," this unique book is a superb way to learn about the Civil War.

If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War by Kay Moore
What was it like for children during the Civil War? This book is filled with information on what it was like in both the South and the North, and how children's daily lives were affected by the war. Perhaps overly-simplified (i.e., South = bad guys, North = good guys), but an interesting read, if the focus is on what life was like. Written with younger kids in mind.

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
A Newbery award winner, this bio is wonderful for those interested in Lincoln's life. It includes chapters on his boyhood, his law practice, his beliefs about slavery, his war-time presidency, and his death. Each section features multiple photos of Lincoln and others (including a few graphic photos of the aftermath of battles). Well-written and engaging, this is a very interesting read.

Time for Learning: U.S. Presidents by Melissa Blackwell Burke
A few pages for each president, lots of color drawings and photos, and many pull-out and flip-up items. For a book about the presidents, it's pretty fun.

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