Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Freebie

Back to School Freebie:
Books I am reading with my kids to teach Early and Revolutionary America

My idea of curriculum is pulling together great stories, preferably primary accounts when they can be found, to read to or with my kids to help them have a closer connection and visual of a particular time period.  We have no time for boring textbooks assembled by a committee of unknown adults who think they know better.  I like to mix literature and non-fiction.  So this is what I have narrowed my list down to:

Homes in the Wilderness A Pilgrim's Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 
by William Bradford

The Story of Hiawatha by Allen Chafee

Or Give Me Death by Ann Rinaldi

A Namesake for Nathan by F.N. Monjo

Braving the New World by Don Nardo

Poems by Phyllis Wheatley

Amos Fortune Feeman by Elizabeth Yates

The Founding of a Nation The Story of the 13 Colonies by Elizabeth Richards

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds

Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit

Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes

Some other books we are using for resources include:

The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Bulla
The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson
George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster
Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes by Carl Waldman
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock by Jean Fritz
We the People The Story of Our Constitution by Lynne Cheney

Have you read any of these?  Tell me, what did you think?
Or do you know of something I missed?


  1. It's not a children's book, but 'Big Chief Elizabeth' has amazing tales of the first settlers, which would be of interest to children as well as adults.

  2. Fabulous choices! We used many of these with our own children.

  3. Hi Ruth, I'm interested in your opinion about Or Give Me Death.

    It looked interesting so I looked it up. It's strikes me as revisionist history where the author seems to be trying to denigrate the heroism of Patrick Henry and turn him into a wife abuser who was only mimicking her cries for death because she hated being locked in the basement.

    It also seems to portray fortune telling in a positive light. What do you think?

    1. I'm so glad you brought that up. I don't remember where I found this book as a source - maybe by chance - but now I better preview it before I actually read it with my kids. I was really attracted to the "possible" historical background story, and I once read that Henry's wife was very ill (and that did not seem strange to me). So I will review it myself, but if nothing else, we'll just read his "Give me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech in its place. Thanks.

  4. Hey Ruth! <3 This is Jillian. I thought you might be interested in a new book that's being released in a couple weeks: Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller. It's a novel about the trip to Kansas in Little House on the Prairie, told through the eyes of Caroline. I've just read it & have an opinion! I know you love the Little House books, & I thought you might be interested. FYI: it contains love scenes between Charles & Caroline. They are tastefully written, but so you know. {I know you like reading with your kids.} :)

    Here's a FAQs page with the author: http://www.sarahmillerbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Caroline-FAQ.pdf

    I'm mostly sharing because I'd be curious for your review, ha ha! But also, I know you'd love to hear about this novel, if you haven't already...

    1. Fascinating !!! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I'm totally interested, and will be on the lookout for it. The author is quite as engrossing as the release of this book. I think I would like to give life in 1870 a try for one week -- but I would grumble the entire time. That would be the HARDEST thing in the world: to live like Caroline did WITHOUT grumbling.

      For one, I agree with her about Cherry Jones. (If you have not listened to her narration of LH books, I hope you find a copy at your library. It is wonderful.)

      Miller mentions that Caroline was NOT funny, and I just read last night in The Long Winter where Ma made a subtle joke, and Laura said everyone laughed b/c it was RARE that she ever did. I also love, too, how Ma put her foot down when Pa considered going out in the blizzard. She snapped at him a few times in TLW, but she still apologized to Pa for speaking to him so. Of course, he was always gentle and understanding, and he did not take offense to it.

      A friend of mine and I talked about how Laura was completely DISCREET in leaving out all of those uncomfortable natural moments from her stories, which is both a blessing and a curse. I still cannot read these books without thinking about those moments, like in the middle of a blizzard, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a stomach ache, in the middle of diaper washing messes ??? what the heck was that like?

      But then I rather not know.

      This is really exciting, and I am looking forward to it. Thanks for letting me know.

    2. P.S. That same friend I mentioned above says that when she would find herself in a conundrum, she would ask herself, "What would Ma do?" It's all about Caroline. : )

    3. I've never listened to the audio books! Thanks for the tip. YES! It is ALL about Caroline. I can't wait to know what you think of the book. When I look at a picture of Caroline, I always think, "My, she looks like a tough, resilient spirit." :)