In the past month, the girls and I have read over 75 children’s books covering everything from the solar system to Moonbear’s Shadow. We have loved quite a variety of books, but many of our favorites thus far have been our early American history read alouds. “Keep reading mom. Keep reading!” I have heard those words so many times with these books that I just had to share.
If you are looking for some books about early American history to read aloud to your early elementary student, or some books that your older elementary student might want to read on his/her own, I cannot recommend these enough. Even I learn new things in every one!
9 Books for Early American History
- Pedro’s Journal by Pam Conrad–A non-sugar coated look at the initial voyage to the Americas with Christopher Columbus. Sometimes you forget just how unkind it could have been and most likely was aboard Columbus’ ships. It is a good kid-friendly look at the opposing view of Christopher Columbus’ voyage.
- A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla–A wonderful introduction to the story of the Sea Adventurer, the ship that was shipwrecked in Bermuda and eventually brought food and supplies to Virginia to save Jamestown. It is told from the perspective of 3 children in search of their father who had already come to Jamestown.
- Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire–A wonderful introduction to the life of Christopher Columbus from a Christian perspective.
- …If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern–I learned so much by reading this book. It went into great detail about life of the early Pilgrims, but it was presented in a way that was easy to digest. For example, did you know that Pilgrim children stood at the dinner table and used their hands to eat? Or, that Someset introduced the Pilgrims to some others indians before Squanto?
- Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters–My favorite part about this book its use of actual photographs of a girl on the Plimouth Plantation Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It provides a more realistic portrayal of what it was like to live as a child during colonial times. The photographs make it so much easier for children to actually visualize early colonial civilization.
- If You Were At…The First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma–My girls and I are really enjoying these question and answer type books. You learn so much and the questions make the girls want to keep listening. My only slight concern about this one was the mention and explanation of the Pilgrim’s use of beer, but they did explain that their beer was different than our beer today and that their reason for drinking it was because there was no clear water until they came to America.
- Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas–This is the story of Squanto from a Christian perspective. It provides an amazing, enlightening, and beautiful testimony of a man who made such a difference in early colonial life. God really can use the bad and bring others together for good.
- 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neall Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac–This book, a product of the National Geographic Society, is filled with beautiful pictures from Plimouth Plantation that attempt to tell the story of the first thanksgiving from BOTH sides of the fence–the Pilgrims AND the Native Americans. It strives to correct some of the myths about the past that many have come to believe for so long.
- Pocahontas by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire–Wow. I learned so much about Pocahontas that I never knew before. Many of the D’Aulaire books are a wonderful introduction to famous people in history, but so far this one is my favorite. Do you know how Pocahontas met her future husband?