The Early America Library does not yet have a complete curriculum
associated with it. The following recommendations promote some of our
favorite selections for beginning and intermediate students. The
Early America collection does not currently contain any comprehensive
histories suitable for advanced students, but a few especially interesting
books for mature readers are suggested.
Young Readers' Core Selections
These selections are engaging and easy-to-read for elementary school students.
They stick to basic stories of American history and provide an excellent foundation
for future studies. Great Americans for Little Americans is
a short, very easy-to-read introduction to famous Americans, Pratt's American
History Stories series is the closest we have to a comprehensive
American history text for grammar school students, and America First is
an especially good choice for family read-aloud.
Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston
This book is a popular introduction to American history for very young readers. It
contains dozens of simply told stories of warriors, statesmen, explorers, scientists,
inventors, men and women of letters, and other famous Americans. Featured are Marquette in
Iowa, Penn and the Indians, Thomas Smith and the beginning of rice culture in South
Carolina, Franklin and the ants, Putnam and the wolf, and dozens of other stories. The
collection of sketches features inspirational stories as well as short histories.
America First by Lawton Evans
This delightful collection of stories from America's past recounts one
hundred interesting and romantic incidents from America's history, and
provides character sketches of dozens of early American heroes and
heroines. It makes no attempt to relate or explain complicated government
issues, and does not provide a chronological or comprehensive account,
but instead focuses on stories of great human interest, and reads like
a book of fairy tales.
American History Stories: Vol I-IV by Mara L. Pratt
This four volume series is a very simple history of the United States
from its colonial age to the end of the civil war. It was written for
grammar school children and relates American history through short stories,
character sketches, poems and songs. The first volume covers the landing
of Columbus through the French and Indian Wars. The second relates the
Revolutionary War period in detail. The third covers the time from the
end of the Revolutionary War to the middle of the 19th century, and the
fourth focuses on the years before, during, and after the civil war.
Richard of Jamestown by James Otis
Richard of Jamestown is only one in a twelve volume series. Each book in James Otis's
Colonial Children series features the story of a young American
pioneer who is among the first settlers of an American colony or
territory. About half of the books feature settlers of early coastal
colonies who migrated from Europe, but the other have tell stories about
girls and boys who settle in the American west. Each story is told in
the first person and focuses on daily life and local incidents. It is
a delightful series and is an excellent introduction to American regional history.
The Story of Abraham Lincoln by Mary A. Hamilton
This easy-to-read biography of Abraham Lincoln is accessible to grammar
school students, but detailed enough to give inspiring insights into his
character so that his heroism during the terrible years of the civil war
can be fully appreciated. It covers and many important and informative
events from his childhood and recounts the long political career that
eventually led to the White house. The final chapters deal with his
leadership during the country's greatest trial.
Intermediate Readers' Core Selections
The intermediate selections includes a two-volume comprehensive history
but most of recommended books that follow were selected because they
are likely to be of particular interest to middle school age students.
They follow no particular theme, but provide depth and interest
to the study of American history.
|| Story of the Thirteen Colonies,
Story of the Great Republic by Helene Guerber
These two books together provide an easy-to-read, comprehensive account of
American history from the native societies of pre-historical times, to
the turn of the twentieth century. Most major characters and incidents in American history
up to the first world war are covered briefly and with appropriate
interest for middle school students.
True Stories of Our Presidents by Charles Morris
Charles Morris provides fascinating sketches of the first twenty-three
presidents. The life stories of some, such as Washington and Lincoln, are
already well known, but many of our lesser known Presidents had fascinating
lives prior to becoming president, and these are told with great interest
in this volume. The book does not focus on issues or political
achievements of the presidents while they were in office, but rather,
on their character and career before being elected to the highest office in the land.
The Boys' Life of Edison by William H. Meadowcroft
This biography of Thomas Edison was written by a close associate and
contains many autobiographical anecdotes. Much attention is given to Edison's
early life and the author paints a picture of a young man whose
resourcefulness and entrepreneurial tendencies were apparent from a young age.
The range of Edison's contributions to American industry is simply astounding,
and his entire life is rich in relevance, but is also rich in anecdote and
humor since Edison's ceaseless activities led to innumerable conflicts and adventures.
The Boys' Book of Indian Warriors by Edwin Sabin
This book, written from the point of view of the American Indians who tried
to defend their land from the white men, highlights the lives and deeds of
some of the most important Indian chiefs from the earliest Iroquois and
Algonquins in 17th century New England, to the flight of the Nez Perces
under Chief Joseph. Piskaret, King Philip, Pontiac, Logan and Cornstalk,
Little Turtle, Tecumseh, Black-hawk, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull are some
of the Chiefs whose stories are told here. It is an excellent introduction
to American Indian history.
On the Trail of Grant and Lee by Frederick Trevor Hill
This middle school biography tells the story of the Civil war from the
vantage point of its two most famous antagonists, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses
S. Grant. Both characters are treated sympathetically, and the most
interesting incidents of each of their lives are touchingly retold.
By presenting the best sentiments, aims, and heroics of both sides,
the full tragedy of the Civil war is fully recounted.
Advanced Readers' Core Selections
The advanced selections are somewhat eclectic. We do not provide a
comprehensive text appropriate for older students at this time, partly
because high school American history programs are usually expected to
focus on civics and cover much of the twentieth century. Our
library is stronger on biographies and stories of particular events
and conflicts than it is on systematic history.
The following books treat special topics
of interest but assume a basic knowledge of early American history.
Historical Tales: American I,
by Charles Morris
Morris's classic series of historical tales contains two volumes of American history
that cover the colonial period through the closing of the 19th century. This is not
a comprehensive history, but rather a selection of highly interesting stories, often
emphasizing adventure or romance rather than political significance. Volume I contains
stories of some lesser known, but entertaining characters such as Sir William Phips,
Israel Putnam, Elizabeth Zane, Lydia Darrah, and Francis Marion. Volume II contains
Short accounts of some of the earliest explorers, including Ponce de Leon,
de Soto, John Smith, and Lasalle. It also includes stories about American Indian
Wars, colonization of the South, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War.
King Philip by J. S. C. Abbott
This book covers the settlement of white men in New England from the Indian point of view.
King Philip was the leader of the Wampanoag Indians. His father had been friendly
to the early American colonists in New England. After a long period of peace he saw
that as the colony thrived, his lands were ever diminished. He realized the Indians were
doomed unless they drove the white men from their soil, and so turned against the settlers
in what became the most ferocious uprising of Indians in New England history. His story
is told with great insight using original sources.
Indian History for Young Folks by Francis Drake
This book was considered the standard narrative of the history of the American
Indians from the time its first version was published in the 1880's to the mid
twentieth century. It was written for the general reader and is both thorough
and well balanced. It gives fair treatment to the point of view of the Indians
and early white settler, and dozens of anecdotes illustrate both the treachery
and misdealing as well as faithful friendships between the two civilizations.
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Autobiography of Booker T. Washington, a man who was born into slavery, but overcame
hardships through hard work and diligence. At 25, he became the first principle of
Tuskagee college, founded to teach newly freed slaves the skills to gain employment.
In this position he rose to become a nationally known figure, and advocate for
American freedmen. His story provides great insight into the condition of the former
slaves of the south in the years following the civil war.
Supplemental Reading Selections
We recommend that students who are studying Early American History read four
or more selections from our supplemental reading list in addition to their core material.
The selections should be age and interest appropriate, but student can select their
supplemental reading from any difficulty level.
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