With the last of the 1700s behind us, my sons and I have moved fully into the 19th century with this month’s batch of U.S. history books, which cover 1800-1850.
As with last month, we’ve got a mix of returning favorites and titles that are new to us, as well as a mix of nonfiction, historical fiction, and tall tale. I’ll report back in a few weeks on the titles that went over best with seven-year-old S and two-year-old F. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the bounty from our local libraries:
- Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
- The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness
- Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Diana Magnuson
- Voices of the Alamo by Sherry Garland and illustrated by Ronald Himler
- Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Henry Cole
- A Place Called Freedom by Scott Russell Sanders and illustrated by Thomas B. Allen
(A note about this one: One of the first results you’ll see in a web search for this title is a New York Times review by Christopher Paul Curtis casting doubt on the historical accuracy of Sanders’ tale of an early African-American settlement. However, I did find an article about New Philadelphia — the first such town — that suggests that A Place Called Freedom may not be farfetched after all. It’s too bad there’s no author’s note from Sanders to provide context or background for his story.)
- Margaret Knight, Girl Inventor by Marlene Targ Brill and illustrated by Joanne Friar (I’ve also got my eye on Emily Arnold McCully’s brand-new Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor)
- A pair of eager-to-please biographies by Robert M. Quackenbush: Quick Annie, Give Me a Catchy Line!: A Story of Samuel F.B. Morse and Oh, What an Awful Mess!: A Funny Book About the Invention of Rubber, about Charles Goodyear
- Mr. Emerson’s Cook by Judith Byron Schachner
- Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
- By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
I had already picked all these books when I discovered a suggested reading list of American Historical Fiction in Picture Book Format from the University of Iowa. I’ll undoubtedly turn to this list for ideas next month and beyond, and as always, I’d love to hear your suggestions of great books I missed this time around.