Grateful American Kids

Best History Books for Kids

  • “Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story” by Mary Helen Fein

    Reviewed by Ed Lengel Immigration is a quintessentially American story; and it’s a personal one for Mary Helen Fein. Her grandmother, Helen Breakstone Fein, left the Russian Empire in 1900 to make the long journey to the United States. Her family was Jewish and originated in what is now Lithuania. As such, they faced not […]

  • “Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963” by Sharon Robinson

    In January 1963, Sharon Robinson turns thirteen the night before George Wallace declares on national television “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in his inauguration speech as governor of Alabama. It is the beginning of a year that will change the course of American history. As the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, Sharon has […]

  • “Accused!: The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys” by Larry Dane Brimner

    Larry Dane Brimner’s “Accused!: The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys: Lies, Prejudice and the Fourteenth Amendment” (Calkins Press) This chilling and harrowing account tells the story of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American teenagers who, when riding the rails during the Great Depression, found their lives destroyed after two white women falsely accused them of rape. […]

  • “Allies” by Alan Gratz

    D-Day, June 6, 1944: the most expansive military endeavor in history. No less than world cooperation would bring down Hitler and the Axis powers. And so people — and kids — across the globe lent their part. From the young US soldiers in the boats to spies in the French countryside, the coordination of thousands […]

  • “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok

    It’s the spring of 1944 and fifteen-year-olds Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders have lived five blocks apart all their lives. But they’ve never met, not until the day an accident during a softball game sparks an unlikely friendship. Soon these two boys—one expected to become a Hasidic rebbe, the other at ease with secular America—are […]

  • “Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes

    Reviewed by Ed Lengel After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the United States was propelled into World War II. The following day, Esther Forbes started writing Johnny Tremain. Published in 1943, this timeless historical novel for young adults is imbued with the spirit of the times: balancing a sense of […]

  • “Outrun the Moon” by Stacey Lee

    Reviewed by Ed Lengel As Outrun the Moon opens, fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong has unintentionally hitched a solo, out-of-control ride on the air balloon of her friend, Tom. Mercy, it seems, has a penchant for getting herself into trouble, and only after a breakneck journey over the countryside outside of San Francisco does she return safely […]

  • The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor (Young Readers’ Edition)
    by Sonia Sotomayor

    Sonia Sotomayor was just a girl when she dared to dream big. Her dream? To become a lawyer and a judge even though she’d never met one of either, and none lived in her neighborhood. Sonia did not let the hardships of her background—which included growing up in the rough housing projects of New York […]

  • Everything Else in the Universe by Tracy Holczer

    Reviewed by Ed Lengel Scientists describe “homeostasis” as the process by which a living being maintains equilibrium within a changing environment. Greek in origin, it is another word for “steady,” or “same,” but for twelve-year-old Lucy Rossi, it defines the struggle to hold her balance in a turbulent world decimated by war. Survival, she eventually […]

  • Abigail & John By David Bruce Smith

    The inaugural book of The Grateful American Book Series. Available wherever books are sold. By David Bruce Smith Illustrated by Clarice Smith Abigail & John offers readers the opportunity to view prominent scenes in American history through the remarkable lives of one of the country’s most beloved couples—the Adams’s. Exploring the historical significance of a partnership […]

  • “My Name is Asher Lev” by Chaim Potok

    Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels, even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often […]

  • “Maiden Voyage: A Titanic Story”
    by Sarah Jane

    Reviewed by Ed Lengel Three remarkable young lives intersect in this thrilling tale, set in April 1912 during the last days of the doomed luxury liner, Titanic. Isabella James is an unwilling passenger. Her poor but loving parents purchase for her a third-class berth from London to New York—it’s all they can afford. But they […]

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