We homeschool our 6-year-old son, S. And by “we” I mean my wife, mostly, since she’s actually at home during the day with him and his little brother. Except for American history — that’s my bag. I’ve divided up the span of American history mostly into overlapping 50-year chunks, and each month I research and bring home an armload of books for that period.

OK, so it’s not all for S’s benefit. Doing this helps me survey the publishing market, see where the gaps are, etc.

Anyway, this month, it’s 1900-1950, officially, though really it’s after Kitty Hawk and before Pearl Harbor. Here’s what I brought home yesterday:

  • Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky, by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer. Books, horses, the Great Depression. S loves two out of three of those, so…
  • Duke Ellington, by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. Piano is another of S’s loves, and he’s especially fond of listening (over and over) to Duke’s 1956 live recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Newport.
  • The Babe & I, by David Adler and Terry Widener. Come for the baseball, stay for the Great Depression!
  • Flight, by Robert Burleigh and Mike Wimmer. A returning favorite about Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. S is more into the Blue Angels now, but maybe he’ll enjoy getting back to his roots.
  • Empire State Building, by Elizabeth Mann and Alan Witschonke. I got to briefly meet Mann and (less briefly) her husband, Mikaya Press editor/publisher Stu Waldman, at the annual TLA conference this spring. Their books are fascinating, every last one of them that I’ve seen. If Mikaya did a book about hanging drywall, or flossing, or cleaning the lint screen, I’d read it. They’re that good.

I looked at Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Laban Carrick Hill, but it’s a little advanced for S. Maybe next year, or the year after.

Last year’s books for this period, by the way, included Model T by David Weitzman, Little Louis and the Jazz Band by Angela Shelf Medearis, Casey Over There by Staton Rabin, Radio Rescue by Lynne Barasch, Lindbergh by Chris L. Demarest, Children of the Dust Days by Karen Mueller Coombs, and Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People by Bonnie Christensen.

Casey Over There is the only picture book I’ve been able to find about World War I, though I’m sure there are others. Suggestions welcome…