Monday, May 2, 2011

10 Civil War Books for Kids

With the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War at hand, we'd like to share some books for young readers interested in historical fiction.

K-Grade 2
Dadblamed Union Army Cow by Susan Fletcher, with illustrations Kimberly Root, is based on the true story of a persistent cow who followed her Union owner into the army and right into battle.

Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by E.B.Lewis, is set just after the war ends. The story, based on the author's family history, tells of a little girl who wants to attend school with her brothers to learn all the things denied them while they were slaves.

Billy and the Rebel: Based on a True Civil War Story by Deborah Hopkinson with illustrations by Brian Floca is an early reader based on the true account of a real boy who defended his family farm near Gettysburg against Rebel soldiers seeking a deserter, and an unlikely friendship that unfolds.
From Slavery to Soldier: Based on a True Civil War Story, also by Hopkinson and Floca, is another early reader inspired by real events and tells of a young slave who joins the Union Army.

Grades 2-4
Seeing the Elephant: A Story of the Civil War by Pat Hughes. Izzy's brothers are off in the war and he wants to "see the elephant", too--that's soldier speak for seeing action in battle for the first time. Things don't work out exactly like Izzy thought, but he ends up learning a lot about war.
Alec's Primer by Mildred Pitts Walter is based on the true story of a young Virginia slave who grows up to fight for the Union and ultimately becomes a landowner in Vermont. His journey begins when a young girl starts teaching him to read.

Grades 4-7
Freedom Stone by Jeffrey Kluger is the story of a young slave girl named Lillie whose father tries to earn the family's freedom by joining the Confederate army. After he is killed in battle and unfairly accused of stealing to deny his family's promised freedom, Lillie must clear his name.
All Their Names Were Courage by Sharon Phillips Denslow. This is a great story for kids who love animals. William Burd, while fighting in the war, is exchanging letters with his young sister Sallie who is also busy writing to Union and Confederate generals asking all about their horses for a book she wants to write.
The Mostly True Story of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick is filled with the rollicking adventures of one Homer P. Figg, a 12-year-old boy searching for his brother who has been illegally sold into the Union Army. By turns uproariously funny and deeply poignant, this book brings the era alive for young readers. The audiobook is wonderful, too.
Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimac, A Civil War Novel by Avi. Illustrated with maps, drawings, and period photos, Avi brings to life the battle of the two "ironclads" from the perspective of Tom Carroll, a 13-year-old boy who lost his father in the war and has taken a job at the ironworks in Brooklyn where an amazing ship of iron is being built.

Take a look at What'sNext for more suggestions - it also includes a great Historical Fiction reading list, broken down by time periods for kids from Grade 1-6.

Then check them out!

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