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1850-1899: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about 1850-1899?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to 1850-1899. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about 1850-1899.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about 1850-1899, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Little House in the Big Woods to popular sellers like The Secret Garden to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

We hope this list of kids books about 1850-1899 can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About 1850-1899

Abe's Honest Words book
#1
Abe's Honest Words
Written by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved toward greater equality and prosperity. Despite the obstacles he faced as a self-educated man from the back woods, Lincoln persevered in his political career, and his compassion and honesty gradually earned him the trust of many Americans. As president, he guided the nation through a long and bitter civil war and penned the document that would lead to the end of slavery in the United States. The passion for humanity that defined Lincoln’s life shines through in this momentous follow-up to Martin’s Big Words and John’s Secret Dreams. Told in Doreen Rappaport’s accessible, absorbing prose, and brought to life in powerful illustrations by Kadir Nelson, Abe’s Honest Words is an epic portrait of a truly great American president.

The Secret Garden book
#2
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

Emmeline Pankhurst book
#3
Emmeline Pankhurst
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser & illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

New, in the My First Little People, Big Dreams series: Introduce your littlest one to the leader of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst. Told in simple sentences, this young reader edition of the best-selling series is perfect to read out loud to little dreamers. This empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world – and is now in available in a board format for little hands! These books make the lives of these role models accessible for the youngest children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Elizabeth Leads the Way book
#4
Elizabeth Leads the Way
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood up and fought for what she believed in. From an early age, she knew that women were not given rights equal to men. But rather than accept her lesser status, Elizabeth went to college and later gathered other like-minded women to challenge the right to vote. Here is the inspiring story of an extraordinary woman who changed America forever because she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Elizabeth Leads the Way is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

The Crayon Man book
#5
The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

The Long Winter book
#6
The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

These Happy Golden Years book
#7
These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

Emmeline Pankhurst book
#8
Emmeline Pankhurst
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser & illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, meet Emmeline Pankhurst, an inspiring women’s rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women.

As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was inspired by books about heroes who fought for others. She dedicated her life to fighting for women’s voting rights and, with hard work and great bravery, led a remarkable movement that changed the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray book
#9
This Bridge Will Not Be Gray
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Tucker Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In this delightfully original take on nonfiction, bestselling author Dave Eggers tackles one of the most famous architectural and natural monuments in the world: the Golden Gate Bridge. Cut-paper illustrations by Tucker Nichols ensures that this book feels like a special object, and the revised edition includes real-life letters from constituents making the case for keeping the bridge orange. The narrative’s sly humor makes the topic perfectly accessible for kids enthusiastic about nonfiction. This one-of-a-kind book transports readers to the glorious Golden Gate, no matter where they live.

The House That Jane Built book
#10
The House That Jane Built
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Kathryn Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.

Table of Contents
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Books About 1850-1899 and Homeschooling

The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

By the Shores of Silver Lake
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors’ house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses’ covered-wagon travels are finally over.

Honorable Mentions
  1. On the Banks of Plum Creek - The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles. And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  2. Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls’s story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  3. Little House on the Prairie - Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie is the third book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams. Laura Ingalls and her family are heading to Kansas! Leaving behind their home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, they travel by covered wagon until they find the perfect spot to build a little house on the prairie. Laura and her sister Mary love exploring the rolling hills around their new home, but the family must soon get to work, farming and hunting and gathering food for themselves and for their livestock. Just when the Ingalls family starts to settle into their new home, they find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict. Will they have to move again? The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

  4. On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 - A detailed diary from the author of the beloved Little House series, chronicling her journey with her family from South Dakota to Missouri. In 1894, Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, packed their belongings into their covered wagon and set out on a journey from De Smet, South Dakota, to Mansfield, Missouri. They heard that the soil there was rich and the crops were bountiful—it was even called “the Land of the Big Red Apple.” With hopes of beginning a new life, the Wilders made their way to the Ozarks of Missouri. During their journey, Laura kept a detailed diary of events: the cities they passed through, the travelers they encountered on the way, the changing countryside and the trials of an often difficult voyage. Laura’s words, preserved in this book, are a fascinating account of life and travel at the turn of the twentieth century, and reveal Laura’s inner thoughts as she traveled with her family in search of a new home in Mansfield, where Laura would write her Little House books.

Books About 1850-1899 and Female Role Models

The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

The House That Jane Built
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Kathryn Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.

Swan
Written by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Julie Morstad
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit - “An exceptionally accurate portrait of Beatrix Potter told with humor and surprise. Beautifully done.” Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature Through she’s universally known as the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter did so much more. This is the true story about how she helped save the English countryside! Growing up in London, Beatrix Potter felt the restraints of Victorian times. Girls didn’t go to school and weren’t expected to work. But she longed to do something important, something that truly mattered. As Beatrix spent her summers in the country and found inspiration in nature, it was through this passion that her creativity flourished. There, she crafted The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She would eventually move to the countryside full-time, but developers sought to change the land. To save it, Beatrix used the money from the success of her books and bought acres and acres of land and farms to prevent the development of the countryside that both she and Peter Rabbit so cherished. Because of her efforts, it’s been preserved just as she left it. This beautiful picture book shines a light on Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known history and her desire to do something for the greater good.

  2. Nurse, Soldier, Spy - This is the incredible true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War. When she was 19, Sarah cut her hair, donned her brother’s clothes, and fled from Canada, where her father wanted her to marry an elderly gentleman. In the U.S., she went by the name Frank Thompson and joined the Army to fight the Confederates. She was a nurse working on the battlefield when, because of her heroism, she was asked to serve as a spy. At her death, Edmonds was buried in a military cemetery, in a plot reserved for Civil War veterans—the only woman to have this honor.

  3. Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter - Learn about the inspiring life of Harriet Tubman in this early reader biography. Harriet Tubman was a brave woman who was born enslaved in Maryland in the 1800s. After risking everything to escape from her slave master and be free, Harriet went on to lead many people to freedom on a journey known today as the Underground Railroad. This book covers some of the amazing aspects of Tubman’s life: She led 13 escapes—all successful and at great personal risk—between 1850 and 1860. This book also covers some of the lesser-known amazing aspects of her life: During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman enlisted African American men to be soldiers. She served as a spy. AND she led a battle under the command of a Union Army colonel! Beginning readers will learn about the milestones in Harriet Tubman’s life in this Level Two I Can Read biography. This biography includes a timeline and historical illustrations all about the life of this inspiring figure, as well as a rare historical photograph of her. Much mythology and conflicting lore exists about Harriet Tubman. This book was carefully vetted by noted Harriet Tubman expert Dr. Kate Larson. Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter is a Level Two I Can Read, geared for kids who read on their own but still need a little help.

  4. Along Came Coco - In a time when children were meant to be seen and not heard, along came Coco, a small French orphan with an eye for style, a talent for sewing, and a big imagination. Coco grew up in an orphanage run by very strict nuns, but she wasn’t very good at following rules. At a time when girls were told to brush their hair 100 times until their arms were sore, Coco promised herself that one day she would snip away her locks so that she wouldn’t have to be so fussy—girls needed time for other things, and they needed some of the comforts that boys enjoyed. Why shouldn’t girls have pockets? And why did they have to wear corsets all the time? An exploration of Coco’s early life and a celebration of her creativity, Along Came Coco ​shows the ways in which Coco Chanel’s imaginative spirit led her to grow into one of the world’s most beloved fashion icons.

Books About 1850-1899 and Slavery

Abe's Honest Words
Written by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved toward greater equality and prosperity. Despite the obstacles he faced as a self-educated man from the back woods, Lincoln persevered in his political career, and his compassion and honesty gradually earned him the trust of many Americans. As president, he guided the nation through a long and bitter civil war and penned the document that would lead to the end of slavery in the United States. The passion for humanity that defined Lincoln’s life shines through in this momentous follow-up to Martin’s Big Words and John’s Secret Dreams. Told in Doreen Rappaport’s accessible, absorbing prose, and brought to life in powerful illustrations by Kadir Nelson, Abe’s Honest Words is an epic portrait of a truly great American president.

Freedom Bird: A Tale of Hope and Courage
Written by Jerdine Nolen & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

In this inspiring story in the tradition of American black folktales, an enslaved brother and sister are inspired by a majestic and mysterious bird to escape to freedom in this dramatic and unforgettable picture book.

There was nothing civil about that war. They should have called it what it was: a big, bad war.

Brother and sister Millicent and John are slaves on Simon Plenty’s plantation and have suffered one hurt and heartbreak after another. Their parents had told them old tales of how their ancestors had flown away to freedom just as free and easy as a bird. Millicent and John hold these stories in their hearts long after their parents are gone. “Maybe such a time will come for you,” their parents said. Then one day a mysterious bird appears in their lives. The bird transforms them and gives them the courage to set their plan into motion and escape to freedom.

Who Was Harriet Tubman?
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman knew first-hand what it meant to be someone’s property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. Throughout her long life (she died at the age of ninety-two) and long after the Civil War brought an end to slavery, this amazing woman was proof of what just one person can do.

Honorable Mentions
  1. All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom - Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis. Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.

  2. Priscilla and the Hollyhocks - Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom. Includes an author’s note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.

  3. Never Caught, The Story Of Ona Judge - A National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction, Never Caught is the eye-opening narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave, who risked everything for a better life—now available as a young reader’s edition! In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers. Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar (along with Kathleen Van Cleve), shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.

Books About 1850-1899 and Inventions

The Crayon Man
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

Just Like Rube Goldberg
Written by Sarah Aronson & illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book.

Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

Samuel Morse, That's Who!
Written by Tracy Nelson Maurer & illustrated by El Primo Ramón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions—only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who!

This dynamic and subtsantive biography celebrates an early technology pioneer. Perfect for fans of Gene Barretta’s popular inventor series.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? - One day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped a switch that lit up lower Manhattan with incandescent light and changed the way people live ever after. The electric light bulb was only one of thousands of Edison’s inventions, which include the phonograph and the kinetoscope, an early precursor to the movie camera. As a boy, observing a robin catch a worm and then take flight, he fed a playmate a mixture of worms and water to see if she could fly! Here’s an accessible, appealing biography with 100 black-and-white illustrations.

  2. Marie Curie - Celebrated author and artist Demi beautifully portrays the life and story of Marie Curie, the revolutionary scientist and winner of two Nobel Prizes. Maria Salomea Sklodowaska was born on November 7, 1867. Her family called her Manya, but the world would remember her by another name: Marie Curie, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. In a time when few women attended college, Marie earned degrees in physics and mathematics and went on to discover two elements: radium and polonium. She also invented a new word along the way: radioactive. This book celebrates her momentous achievements while also educating its readers about her scientific accomplishments and their implications.

  3. The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History - A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.

  4. When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of US Rocketry - Robert Goddard may be known as the father of US rocketry, but back in the 1880s, he was just a kid in Worcester, Massachusetts. Even as a youngster, his eyes glimmered with scientific interest and the thrill of discovery. With BAMS! POPS! BANGS! he experimented time and time again with one mission: make his rockets fly! Join Kristen Fulton and Diego Funck as they take you on one explosive journey about a young kid who shot for the moon, never gave up, and let his creative sparks of curiosity burn bright.

Want to see books about inventions?

Books About 1850-1899 and Politics And Government

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Tucker Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In this delightfully original take on nonfiction, bestselling author Dave Eggers tackles one of the most famous architectural and natural monuments in the world: the Golden Gate Bridge. Cut-paper illustrations by Tucker Nichols ensures that this book feels like a special object, and the revised edition includes real-life letters from constituents making the case for keeping the bridge orange. The narrative’s sly humor makes the topic perfectly accessible for kids enthusiastic about nonfiction. This one-of-a-kind book transports readers to the glorious Golden Gate, no matter where they live.

Her Right Foot
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you’d mention the Statue of Liberty. Have you seen her? She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s taking one step forward. But why? In this fascinating, fun take on nonfiction, uniquely American in its frank tone and honest look at the literal foundation of our country, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential to an entire country’s creation. Can you believe that?

A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton
Written by David A. Adler & illustrated by Matt Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

How the extraordinary patriot made soaring accomplishments but then met his devastating end, the life of Alexander Hamilton for picture book readers. From his youth in the Caribbean to his immigration to New York City, this picture book covers the highlights of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy, including his part in the American revolution, his influence on the monetary system we still use today, and his tragic death. Matt Collin’s hyperrealistic art style will transport readers right alongside Hamilton, while David A. Adler deftly chronicles pivotal moments in the Founding Father’s short but hugely influential life. A time line is included.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Abraham Lincoln - Follows Abraham Lincoln from his childhood to the presidency, showing how he spoke up about fairness and eventually led the country to abolish slavery.

  2. Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Built America - He saved the words that built America! Emmy Award–winning journalist Anna Crowley Redding and Sibert Honor illustrator Edwin Fotheringham bring to life the riveting true story about the lowly clerk who saved the Declaration of Independence from being destroyed by the British army in the War of 1812. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are the words that helped found our nation. Today the Declaration of Independence is one of the United States’ most heavily guarded treasures, but during the War of 1812 it would have been destroyed if not for one man whose story has nearly been forgotten by time. Come along on this historic adventure and learn how one ordinary clerk did a truly extraordinary thing. As a clerk for the State Department, Stephen Pleasonton spent his days quietly immersed in paperwork. He never expected to receive an urgent message telling him that the British army was on its way to the capital. And that the documents that Stephen was entrusted with—such as the original Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution—were all in danger! It fell on Stephen to get our nation’s most cherished and priceless artifacts safely out of Washington!

  3. Ballots for Belva - A timely true tale for the 2008 presidential election In 1884, when men were the only people allowed to vote in national elections, Belva Lockwood took a bold but legal step: She ran for president! Women did not have the same rights as men, but Belva went on undeterred—and she got votes! Her run for office was based on experience and merit: Unlike many women of the time, she went to college, then to law school, and even argued cases before the Supreme Court. Though her campaign was difficult, Belva never wavered in her commitment to equality, earning the respect of many fellow citizens. A little-known but richly deserving American historical figure, Belva is an inspiration for modern-day readers. Despite all the changes in society since Belva’s time, there is still a lot to fight for, and Belva shows the way. The book also includes a glossary and a timeline of women’s suffrage events. F&P level: Q

  4. Marching With Aunt Susan - An inspiring story of the fight for women’s suffrage, based on the experiences of a real girl All Bessie wants is to go hiking with her father and brothers. But it’s 1896, and girls don’t get to hike. They can’t vote either, which Bessie discovers when Susan B. Anthony comes to town to help lead the campaign for women’s suffrage. Stirred to action, Bessie joins the movement and discovers that small efforts can result in small changes—and maybe even big ones. Inspired by the diary of the real Bessie Keith Pond, a ten-year-old girl who lived in California during the suffrage campaign, author Claire Rudolf Murphy and illustrator Stacey Schuett offer a thought-provoking introduction to the fight for women’s rights. A story of hope and determination, Marching with Aunt Susan reminds readers that society cannot evolve unless people—even young people—dare to take a stand

Books About 1850-1899 and Scientists

Marie Curie
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Frau Isa
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Meet Marie, the Nobel Prize winning scientist! New in board book format in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Marie Curie, from her childhood in Poland to conducting pioneering research on radioactivity and going on to become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

On a Beam of Light
Written by Jennifer Berne & illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follows the life of the famous physicist, from his early ideas to his groundbreaking theories.

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
Written by Gene Barretta & illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspirational story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography by the author-illustrator team behind Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born.

When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own.

Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future.

Gene Barretta’s moving words and Frank Morrison’s beautiful paintings tell the inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship—a tale that begins in a secret garden.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Look Up! - Henrietta Levitt was the first person to discover the scientific importance of a star’s brightness—so why has no one heard of her? Learn all about a female pioneer of astronomy in this picture book biography. Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born on July 4, 1868, and she changed the course of astronomy when she was just twenty-five years old. Henrietta spent years measuring star positions and sizes from photographs taken by the telescope at the Harvard College Observatory, where she worked. After Henrietta observed that certain stars had a fixed pattern to their changes, her discovery made it possible for astronomers to measure greater and greater distances—leading to our present understanding of the vast size of the universe. An astronomer of her time called Henrietta Leavitt “one of the most important women ever to touch astronomy,” and another close associate said she had the “best mind at the Harvard Observatory.” Henrietta Leaveitt’s story will inspire young women and aspiring scientists of all kinds and includes additional information about the solar system and astronomy.

  2. Little Guides to Great Lives: Marie Curie - Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who coined the term ‘radioactivity’, discovered polonium and radium, and helped develop treatments for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but her dedication to physics ultimately caused her death from radiation. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with full-color illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.

  3. I Am Albert Einstein - Presents the life of the world-renowned German scientist, describing how his life-long curiosity and ability to question accepted theories led him to develop his famous theory of relatvitiy and win the Noble Prize for Physics.

  4. Who Was Albert Einstein? - Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein-but what exactly did he do? How much do kids really know about Albert Einstein besides the funny hair and genius label? For instance, do they know that he was expelled from school as a kid? Finally, here’s the story of Albert Einstein’s life, told in a fun, engaging way that clearly explores the world he lived in and changed.

Want to see books about scientists?

Books About 1850-1899 and Action And Adventure

The Great Brain
Written by John D. Fitzgerald & illustrated by Mercer Mayer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This first book in the series is a great combination of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Terrible Two series, and is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl.

The best con man in the Midwest is only ten years old. Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, is a silver-tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit. When the Jenkins boys get lost in Skeleton Cave, the Great Brain saves the day. Whether it’s saving the kids at school, or helping out Peg-leg Andy, or Basil, the new kid at school, the Great Brain always manages to come out on top-and line his pockets in the process.

The Great Brain Is Back
Written by John D. Fitzgerald & illustrated by Mercer Mayer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This classic trickster is back again, and he’s up to no good in his eighth and final book of the series. Great mix of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Terrible Two series, and is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl.

Tom D. Fitzgerald—better known as The Great Brain—has turned thirteen, and pretty Polly Reagan has put a spell on him. But when it comes to swindling his younger brother J. D., and all the other kids in Adenville, Tom hasn’t changed a bit. The Great Brain is back one more time, and he’s at the top of his form with his money-making schemes and getting into big trouble. As always, life is more exciting when this brain’s around!

Major Impossible (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #9)
Written by Nathan Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The ninth book in the bestselling series tells the story of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed geologist who explored the Grand Canyon John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869 he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition, ten men in four boats, to float through Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history! Equal parts gruesome and hilarious, this latest installment in the bestselling series takes readers on an action-packed adventure through American history.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Willa of the Wood - From #1 New York Times best-selling author Robert Beatty comes a thrilling new series set in the magical world of Serafina. Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand—but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people. When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack. As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her home, Willa must decide who she truly is. To save the day-folk family that has become her own—and lift the curse that has robbed her people of their truth—Willa will meet deadly force with trusted alliance, violence with shelter, and an ever-changing world with a steady heartbeat of courage.

  2. A Race Around the World - In 1889, New York reporter Nellie Bly—inspired by Jules Verne’s book Around the World in 80 Days—began an around-the-world journey that she hoped to complete in less time. Her trip was sponsored by the newspaper that employed her, The World. Just hours after her ship set out across the Atlantic, the publisher of another New York publication, The Cosmopolitan magazine, put writer Elizabeth Bisland on a westbound train. Bisland was headed around the world in the opposite direction, thinking that she could beat Bly’s time. Only one woman could win the race, but both Bly and Bisland completed their journeys in record time and experienced unforgettable adventures.

  3. Abe Lincoln at Last! - The magic tree house whisks Jack and Annie to Washington D.C. in the 1860s where they meet Abraham Lincoln and collect a feather that will help break a magic spell.

  4. Civil War on Sunday - Cannon fire! That’s what Jack and Annie hear when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the time of the American Civil War. There they meet a famous nurse named Clara Barton and do their best to help wounded soldiers. It is their hardest journey in time yet—and the one that will make the most difference to their own lives!

Books About 1850-1899 and Black History

Before She Was Harriet
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life.

Words Set Me Free
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

“Words Set Me Free is the inspiring story of young Frederick Douglass’s path to freedom through reading”—

So Tall Within
Written by Gary D. Schmidt & illustrated by Daniel Minter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today. Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History - A NEW YORK TIMES INSTANT BESTSELLER!A USA TODAY BESTSELLER! This beautifully illustrated book introduces readers of all ages to 40 women who changed the world. Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things - bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.

  2. Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights - In 1854, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation. One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way to church. Though there were plenty of empty seats, she was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened all because of her race—even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court—where future president Chester Arthur represented her—and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation, and Lizzie’s case set a precedent. Author Beth Anderson and acclaimed illustrator E. B. Lewis bring this inspiring, little-known story to life in this captivating book.

  3. The Escape of Robert Smalls - The mist in Charleston Inner Harbor was heavy, but not heavy enough to disguise the stolen Confederate steamship, the Planter, from Confederate soldiers. In the early hours of May 13, 1862, in the midst of the deadly U.S. Civil War, an enslaved man named Robert Smalls was about to carry out a perilous plan of escape. Standing at the helm of the ship, Smalls impersonated the captain as he and his crew passed heavily armed Confederate forts to enter Union territory, where escaped slaves were given shelter. The suspenseful escape of the determined crew is celebrated with beautiful artwork and insightful prose, detailing the true account of an unsung American hero.

  4. An Apple for Harriet Tubman - Biography of a little slave girl whipped for eating an apple, who later grew up to become a famous “conductor” for the underground railroad.

Books About 1850-1899 and 20th Century

Hi, I’m Norman: The Story of American Illustrator Norman Rockwell
Written by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“An inviting and admiring introduction to an important American artist.” —Kirkus Reviews

From award-winning author Robert Burleigh comes a striking, intimate picture book biography about an American icon—beloved artist Norman Rockwell.

Norman Rockwell is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late twentieth century. This beautifully illustrated, first-person narrative explores Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. Norman Rockwell is not only a great American artist, but he also successfully chronicled two generations of American life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for "America the Beautiful"
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Olga Baumert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Katharine Lee Bates first wrote the lines to “America the Beautiful” after a stirring visit to Pikes Peak in 1893. But the story behind the song begins with Katharine herself, who pushed beyond conventional expectations of women to become an acclaimed writer, scholar, suffragist, and reformer. Katharine believed in the power of words to make a difference, and in “America the Beautiful,” her vision of the nation as a great family, united from sea to shining sea, continues to uplift and inspire us all.

Soldier for Equality
Written & illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to life the story of a Mexican-American war hero Jos. de la Luz S.enz (1888-1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization. Soldier for Equality is based in part on Luz’s diary during the war. It includes a biography of Luz’s later years, an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sandy's Circus - Alexander Calder, or Sandy to those who knew him, was a joyous, playful man who did not call himself an artist. But, oh what an artist he was! His gigantic, colorful metal sculptures and his amazing mobiles can be seen in public places all over the world. One of his first creations was a wonderful, whimsical that made out of found materials such as wire, cork, and paper. Imagine a big bear of a man down on his hands and knees, making his clever creations leap, run, and dance to the delight of everyone who watched. This is the story of Sandy’s magical, moveable circus.

  2. A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams - 2009 Caldecott Honor Book An ALA Notable Book A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book A Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book NCTE Notable Children’s Book When he wrote poems, he felt as free as the Passaic River as it rushed to the falls. Willie’s notebooks filled up, one after another. Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So he went off to medical school and became a doctor — one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry. In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet.

  3. Harry Houdini (First Names #1) - Discover the man behind the magic and see how Houdini pulled off his most daring escapes Before Harry Houdini (1874-1926) became the greatest magician in the world, he was just little Ehrich Weisz, a Hungarian-born immigrant who moved to America with his family and performed stage tricks for a little extra cash. He started off with card tricks and then eventually began performing the escape acts that would make him famous. Known for his daring and death-defying illusions, he would do some of the greatest tricks ever: escaping from a milk can, being buried alive, and being locked inside a crate and thrown into a river. He conquered each of these seemingly impossible feats and showed the world the power of a little magic. Fun, fast-paced, and highly illustrated, Harry Houdini tells the story of the curious boy who became the world’s greatest magician and reveals how Houdini did some of his most stunning escapes. It includes a timeline, glossary, and index.

  4. Milton Hershey - Did you know that the man behind Hershey’s chocolate used to work in an ice cream parlor? Or that he had to try over and over again to get his now-famous chocolate to taste as delicious as it does today? Milton Hershey’s life wasn’t always a bowl of chocolate Kisses. When he was in fourth grade, he even had to drop out of school and work to help his poor family make ends meet. Read all about how the man we know as the famous young chocolatier finally struck it rich — in money, love, and chocolate!

Books About 1850-1899 and Friendship

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Written by Mark Twain
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

They’re Puffin Classics for a reason, it’s because they’re the best

Tom Sawyer is sure to find trouble wherever the river leads him . . .

On the banks of the Mississippi River, Tom Sawyer and his friends seek out adventure at every turn. Then one fateful night in the graveyard they witness a murder. The boys make a blood oath never to reveal the secret, and they run away to be pirates in search of hidden treasure. But when Tom gets trapped in a cave with scary Injun Joe, can he escape unharmed?

Anne of Green Gables
Written by Stephanie Clarkson & illustrated by Kevin Meyers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

BabyLit(R) Storybooks give classics new life for the next generation of early readers. In Anne of Green Gables, preschoolers get to know the beloved redheaded orphan Anne Shirley, who is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in Avonlea. Tag along with Anne on her adventures with her best friend Diana and classmate Gilbert as they explore Prince Edward Island. Easy-to-follow, engaging text combined with original quotes and beautiful artwork create a book to be treasured through childhood and beyond. Part of the BabyLit(R) Storybook Series. Stephanie Clarkson authored Pride and Prejudice BabyLit(R) Storybook. She is also the author of Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups, illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Scholastic). She lives in Surrey, England. Annabel Tempest illustrated three previous BabyLit(R) Storybooks: Pride and Prejudice, The Jungle Book, and Moby-Dick. She lives in Somerset, England.

The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody
Written by Matthew Landis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is obsessed with the Civil War. He knows everything about it: the battles, the generals, every movement of the Union and Confederate Armies. So when the last assignment of seventh-grade history is a project on the Civil War, Oliver is over the moon–until he’s partnered with Ella Berry, the slacker girl with the messy hair who does nothing but stare out the window. And when Oliver finds out they have to research a random soldier named Private Raymond Stone who didn’t even fight in any battles before dying of some boring disease, Oliver knows he’s doomed. But Ella turns out to be very different from what Oliver expected. As the partners film their documentary about Private Stone–with Oliver’s friend Kevin signing on as their head writing consultant–Oliver discovers that sometimes the most interesting things are hiding in uninteresting places. Even Private Stone is better than expected: There’s a mystery buried in his past, and Oliver knows he can figure it out.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Anne of Green Gables - The Cuthberts are in for a shock. They are expecting an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables � but a skinny red-haired girl turns up instead. Highly spirited Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts’ affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter, and soon it’s impossible to imagine life without her. A favourite classic with cover and introduction by the inimitable Lauren Child, award-winning creator of Clarice Bean and the hugely popular Charlie and Lola series.

  2. Firestorm! - Twelve-year-old Poppy is an orphan living in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, pick pocketing so that she has a place to sleep at night. Justin’s world couldn’t be more different—his father owns a jewelry store—but when he and Poppy meet, they become fast friends, thanks in part to Justin’s sweet pet goat. Through their friendship, Poppy realizes that she doesn’t want to be a thief anymore and she begins to feel like she may have a place with Justin’s family. But when Justin makes an expensive mistake at his father’s store, Poppy is immediately blamed. In response, she flees . . . right into the Great Chicago Fire. Poppy and Justin must rely on their instincts if they are going to survive the catastrophe. Will anything be left when the fire finally burns out?

Want to see books about friendship?

Books About 1850-1899 and Women's Suffrage

Elizabeth Leads the Way
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood up and fought for what she believed in. From an early age, she knew that women were not given rights equal to men. But rather than accept her lesser status, Elizabeth went to college and later gathered other like-minded women to challenge the right to vote. Here is the inspiring story of an extraordinary woman who changed America forever because she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Elizabeth Leads the Way is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
Written by Linda Arms White & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Full of humor and spunk – just like Esther!

“I could do that,” says six-year-old Esther as she watches her mother making tea. Start her own business at the age of nineteen? Why, she could do that, too. But one thing Esther and other women could NOT do was vote. Only men could do that.

With lively text and humorous illustrations as full of spirit as Esther herself, this striking picture book biography shows how one girl’s gumption propels her through a life filled with challenges until, in 1869, she wins the vote for women in Wyoming Territory – the first time ever in the United States!

I Could Do That! is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Elizabeth Started All the Trouble
Written by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

She couldn’t go to college.

She couldn’t become a politician.

She couldn’t even vote.

But Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn’t let that stop her.

She called on women across the nation to stand together and demand to be treated as equal to men-and that included the right to vote. It took nearly seventy-five years and generations of women fighting for their rights through words, through action, and through pure determination . . . for things to slowly begin to change.

With the help of these trailblazers’ own words, Doreen Rappaport’s engaging text, brought to life by Matt Faulkner’s vibrant illustrations, shows readers just how far this revolution has come, and inspires them to keep it going!

Select praise for Doreen Rappaport: Martin’s Big Words

  • 2002 Caldecott Honor Book

  • 2002 Coretta Scott King Honor Book

  • Child Magazine Best Book of 2001

  • New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2001

  • “A stunning, reverent tribute.” -School Library Journal, starred review

Abe’s Honest Words

  • “Exceptional art, along with Rappaport’s and Lincoln’s words, makes this a fine celebration of a man who needs little introduction.” -Booklist, starred review

Eleanor, Quiet No More

  • “Once again Rappaport celebrates a noble, heroic life in powerful, succinct prose, with prominent, well-chosen, and judiciously placed quotes that both instruct and inspire…Celebrate women in history and in politics with this picture-book life.” -School Library Journal, starred review

Helen’s Big World

  • “Stirring and awe-inspiring.” -The Horn Book, starred review

To Dare Mighty Things

  • “[T]his lavish picture-book biography deftly captures the legendary man’s bold, exuberant nature. . . . A truly inspiring tribute to a seemingly larger-than-life U.S. president.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • “Theodore Roosevelt’s big ideas and big personality come together in this splendid picture-book biography.” -Booklist, starred review

  • “Concisely written and yet poetic, this is a first purchase for every library.” -School Library Journal, starred review

Honorable Mentions
  1. Emmeline Pankhurst - New, in the My First Little People, Big Dreams series: Introduce your littlest one to the leader of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst. Told in simple sentences, this young reader edition of the best-selling series is perfect to read out loud to little dreamers. This empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world – and is now in available in a board format for little hands! These books make the lives of these role models accessible for the youngest children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

  2. Emmeline Pankhurst - In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, meet Emmeline Pankhurst, an inspiring women’s rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women. As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was inspired by books about heroes who fought for others. She dedicated her life to fighting for women’s voting rights and, with hard work and great bravery, led a remarkable movement that changed the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Books About 1850-1899 and New York

King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara
Written by Donna Janell Bowman & illustrated by Adam Gustavson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

In 1859, Jean-Francois Gravelet, known as The Great Blondin, walked across the Niagara River on a tightrope. What kind of man would do something like that? And more importantly, how do you become that man?

At the age of four, Jean-Francois Gravelet walked across his first balance beam. Later, he took to the tightrope like a spider to its web, and with his family troupe, he climbed toward stardom. Though his feats became more and more marvelous, he grew bored. That is, until he visited Niagara Falls and imagined doing something that no one else had ever accomplished. To cross the raging river, The Great Blondin needed an engineering process, determination, and a belief that what he could imagine, he could accomplish. In 1859, with all of the work completed, Blondin would step out onto the most dangerous tightrope walk he’d ever faced.

Author Donna Janell Bowman’s trademark in-depth research gives readers a clear and exciting look into the accomplishments of The Great Blondin, as well as the hard work, determination, and meticulous mathematic and scientific planning it took to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Adam Gustavson’s detailed illustrations turn this book into an experience that will inspire readers of all ages.

Molly, by Golly!
Written by Dianne Ochiltree & illustrated by Kathleen Kemly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Introduces the first known female firefighter, Molly Williams, an African American cook for New York City’s Fire Company 11, who one winter day in 1818 with many volunteers sick with influenza jumped into action to stop a house fire.

A Green Place to Be: the Creation of Central Park
Written & illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

How did Central Park become a vibrant gem in the heart of New York City? Follow the visionaries behind the plan as it springs to green life. In 1858, New York City was growing so fast that new roads and tall buildings threatened to swallow up the remaining open space. The people needed a green place to be — a park with ponds to row on and paths for wandering through trees and over bridges. When a citywide contest solicited plans for creating a park out of barren swampland, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted put their heads together to create the winning design, and the hard work of making their plans a reality began. By winter, the lake opened for skating. By the next summer, the waterside woodland known as the Ramble opened for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, sculptors, stone masons, and master gardeners joined in to construct thirty-four unique bridges, along with fountains, pagodas, and band shells, making New York’s Central Park a green gift to everyone. Included in the end matter are bios of Vaux and Olmsted, a bibliography, and engaging factual snippets.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Irving Berlin - Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

  2. Born to Ride - Louise Belinda Bellflower lives in Rochester, New York, in 1896. She spends her days playing with her brother, Joe. But Joe gets to ride a bicycle, and Louise Belinda doesn’t. In fact, Joe issues a solemn warning: If girls ride bikes, their faces will get so scrunched up, eyes bulging from the effort of balancing, that they’ll get stuck that way FOREVER! Louise Belinda is appalled by this nonsense, so she strikes out to discover the truth about this so-called “bicycle face.” Set against the backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement, Born to Ride is the story of one girl’s courageous quest to prove that she can do everything the boys can do, while capturing the universal freedom and accomplishment children experience when riding a bike.

  3. A Farmer Boy Birthday - Long, long ago, a little boy named Almanzo Wilder lived on a farm in the New York countryside with his father, his mother, his big brother, Royal, and his big sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. One special day is Almanzo’s birthday. He gets to stay home from school, and even better, Father gives him a yoke for his calves, Star and Bright, and a beautiful hand-sled. Almanzo spends the morning learning how to break the calves, and then he spends the afternoon flying down the hill in his brand-new sled. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers. Now for the first time, the youngest readers can share Almanzo’s adventures on the farm in these very special picture books adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved storybooks. Jody Wheeler’s warm paintings, inspired by Garth Williams’ classic Little House illustrations, bring Almanzo and his family lovingly to life.

Want to see books about New York?

Books About 1850-1899 and Us Presidents

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek
Written by Deborah Hopkinson & illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In Knob Creek, Kentucky, in 1816, seven-year-old Abe Lincoln falls into a creek and is rescued by his best friend, Austin Gollaher.

Abraham Lincoln
Written by Marion Dane Bauer & illustrated by Liz Goulet Dubois
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Presents a simple biography of the sixteenth president of the United States.

Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln
Written by Shari Swanson & illustrated by Chuck Groenink
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Based on a little-known tale from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, this charming picture book written by debut author Shari Swanson and illustrated by acclaimed artist Chuck Groenink tells a classic story of a boy, his dog, and a daring rescue.

Deeply researched and charmingly told, this is the true story of one extra-special childhood rescue—a dog named Honey.

Long before Abraham Lincoln led the nation or signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he was just a barefoot kid running around Knob Creek, Kentucky, setting animals free from traps and snatching frogs out of the jaws of snakes.

One day, young Abe found a stray dog with a broken leg and named him Honey. He had no idea that the scruffy pup would find his way into Abe’s heart, become his best friend, and—one fateful day—save his life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Looking at Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln’s legacy is everywhere – there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together. But who was he, really? The little girl in this book wants to find out. Among the many other things, she discovers our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for all, had a dog named Fido, loved Mozart, apples, and his wife’s vanilla cake, and kept his notes in his hat. From his boyhood in a log cabin to his famous presidency and untimely death, Kalman shares Lincoln’s remarkable life with young readers in a fresh and exciting way.

  2. Who was Abraham Lincoln? - Highlights the life and achievements of the sixteenth president of the United States, discussing his childhood years, his rise through politics, and the major decisions he made as president during the Civil War.

  3. Thomas Jefferson - Renowned artist Maira Kalman sheds light on the fascinating life and interests of the Renaissance man who was our third president. Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known for writing the Declaration of Independence—but there’s so much more to discover. This energetic man was interested in everything. He played violin, spoke seven languages and was a scientist, naturalist, botanist, mathematician and architect. He designed his magnificent home, Monticello, which is full of objects he collected from around the world. Our first foodie, he grew over fifteen kinds of peas and advocated a mostly vegetarian diet. And oh yes, as our third president, he doubled the size of the United States and sent Lewis and Clark to explore it. He also started the Library of Congress and said, “I cannot live without books.” But monumental figures can have monumental flaws, and Jefferson was no exception. Although he called slavery an “abomination,” he owned about 150 slaves. As she did in Looking at Lincoln, Maira Kalman shares a president’s remarkable, complicated life with young readers, making history come alive with her captivating text and stunning illustrations.

  4. Where's Your Hat, Abe Lincoln? - Abe Lincoln is worried. He cannot find his hat anywhere. Will his friends help him find it? Frederick Douglass is busy writing a book. Clara Barton is busy nursing wounded soldiers. What will Abe do? From Harriett Tubman to Ulysses S. Grant, nobody seems to have the time to join the search. Will Abraham Lincoln find his hat in time to deliver the Gettysburg Address? This colorful and humorous board book primer features some of the most prominent figures of American history and introduces historians of all ages to the incredible beginning of the United States of America.

Books About 1850-1899 and Historical Figures

Lights! Camera! Alice!
Written by Mara Rockliff & illustrated by Simona Ciraolo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Meet Alice Guy-Blaché. She made movies—some of the very first movies, and some of the most exciting! Blow up a pirate ship? Why not? Crawl into a tiger’s cage? Of course! Leap off a bridge onto a real speeding train? It will be easy! Driven by her passion for storytelling, Alice saw a potential for film that others had not seen before, allowing her to develop new narratives, new camera angles, new techniques, and to surprise her audiences again and again. With daring and vision, Alice Guy-Blaché introduced the world to a thrilling frontier of imagination and adventure, and became one of filmmaking’s first and greatest innovators. Mara Rockliff tells the story of a girl who grew up loving stories and became an acclaimed storyteller and an inspiration in her own right.

Henri's Scissors
Written & illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An introduction to the life and paper-cutout art of Henri Matisse describes his early sketching hobby, famous paintings and the illness that confined him to a wheelchair and inspired his sophisticated paper-cutout masterworks.

Our Flag Was Still There
Written & illustrated by Jessie Hartland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“So much to like about this, including the folk art–style artwork with childlike appeal, the emphasis on the women who constructed the flag, and the important ways a symbol can influence a country for generations.” —Booklist (starred review) From beloved author-illustrator Jessie Hartland comes a whimsical nonfiction picture book that tells the story of the American flag that inspired the poem and our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If you go to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, you can see a massive American flag: thirty feet tall and forty-two feet long. That’s huge! But how did it get there? And where did it come from? Well… The story of this giant flag begins in 1812 and stars a major on the eve of battle, a seamstress and her mighty helpers, and a poet named Francis Scott Key. This isn’t just the story of one flag. It’s the story of “The Star Spangled-Banner,” a poem that became our national anthem, too. Dynamically told and stunningly illustrated, Jessie Hartland brings this fascinating and true story to life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Guts & Glory: The American Civil War - From courageous cavalry rides deep into enemy territory to harrowing covert missions undertaken by spies and soldiers, the events of the American Civil War were filled with daring figures and amazing feats. This exhilarating overview covers the biggest battles as well as captivating lesser-known moments to entertain kids with unbelievable (and totally true) tales of one of America’s most fascinating conflicts. History buff, Civil War reenactor, and popular blogger Ben Thompson uses his extensive knowledge and vivid storytelling style to bring the Civil War to life in this first book in a thrilling new series featuring incredible people, events, and civilizations. Get ready to learn just how awesome history can be!

  2. The Eye That Never Sleeps - From award-winning author Marissa Moss comes the first children’s book about Allan Pinkerton, one of America’s greatest detectives. Everyone knows the story of Abraham Lincoln, but few know anything about the spy who saved him! Allan Pinkerton’s life changed when he helped the Chicago Police Department track down a group of counterfeiters. From there, he became the first police detective in Chicago and established the country’s most successful detective agency. He went on to solve more than 300 murders and recover millions of dollars in stolen money. However, his greatest contribution was protecting Abraham Lincoln on the way to his 1861 inauguration. Though assassins attempted to murder Lincoln en route, Pinkerton foiled their plot and brought the president safely to the capital. The Eye That Never Sleeps is illustrated with a contemporary cartoon style, mixing art and text in a way that appeals to readers of all ages. The book includes a bibliography and a timeline.

  3. Lizzie Borden - Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to be considered one of the worst figures in history, with this fourth book in a nonfiction series that focuses on the most nefarious historical figures. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. On August 4, 1892, the murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden rocked the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. But did she actually do it? And if she did, why? Lizzie had as much to gain from the death of her father as anyone. Despite his wealth, Andrew did not believe in spending money and Lizzie had grown frustrated with the situation. And her actions in the days before the murder—trying to buy a type of strong poison—as well as those after the murder—burning a dress she claimed was stained—didn’t help. On August 11, Lizzie was arrested. But after a sensational trial, she was found not guilty. Rumors lingered. Stories persisted. And Lizzie continues to fascinate even today.

Books About 1850-1899 and Farm Life And Ranch Life

The First Four Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover. Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers. And so Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

Santa Comes to Little House
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Christmas is coming to the little house on the prairie, but Laura and Mary Ingalls are worried. It has been raining for days now, and Santa and his reindeer cannot travel without snow. Will Santa visit their log cabin this year?

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s heartwarming story, taken unabridged from the beloved little house on the prairie, combined with Renée Graef’s vibrant, rich illustrations, makes santa comes to little house a holiday classic for families to share year after year.

Christmas Stories
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Ji-Hyuk Kim
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Join the original pioneer girl in this Little House chapter book, adapted for younger readers from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics.

Illustrated with beautiful new black-and-white artwork, this repackaged edition includes bonus material such as games, activities, and more!

For Laura Ingalls, Christmas means good things to eat, visits from friends, and special gifts to give and receive. As Laura grows up, every Christmas is better than the one before.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Little Prairie House - With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series! Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, and baby Carrie have traveled from the Big Woods to the prairie in their covered wagon, driving through tall grass until they found just the right spot for their new home. With the help of their kind neighbor, Mr. Edwards, Pa builds a snug little house for the family in the middle of the wide-open prairie. Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  2. Prairie Day - With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series! Laura and her family are journeying across the flat Kansas prairie to find a new home.  There are gophers and rabbits to play with in the daytime, and a cozy camp awaits at night.  Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  3. Sugar Snow - With this illustrated adaptation from the beloved Little House series**, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics.** In Sugar Snow, Laura is delighted when a soft, thick snow falls in late spring in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. A late snow helps the trees make more sap for maple syrup, and maple syrup means sweet sugar cakes and sticky fingers for Laura!  Doris Ettlinger’s full-color illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  4. County Fair - It’s an exciting day for Almanzo as the Wilder family visits the county fair in this second My First Little House Book adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Farmer Boy. There are contests, races, and good things to eat, and Almanzo can’t wait to see what the judges think of his special pumpkin. Jody Wheeler’s luminous illustrations bring Laura’s beloved farmer boy to life.

Books About 1850-1899 and Family

Little Women: A Babylit Storybook
Written by Mandy Archer & illustrated by Ela Smietanka and Mandy Archer
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

BabyLit Storybooks are a great way to introduce young readers to the classics, with easy to read storylines and bright illustrations. They are part of the bestselling BabyLit series, which provides a literary education for your brilliant children. BabyLit(R) primers have become the chic, smart way to introduce babies to the most beloved and readable literature of our time. Gibbs Smith is now presenting a delightful collection of picture books, lovingly designed and crafted for young children. Each book retells a story from the literary canon, bringing a classic to life for an entirely new audience. In Little Women, preschoolers meet Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and Marmee, following the March family as they grow and learn. Easy-to-follow, engaging text combined with original quotes and beautiful artwork create a book to be treasured through childhood and beyond. Part of the BabyLit(R) Storybook Series.

Dance at Grandpa's
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series!

Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, and baby Carrie are going to a party at Grandpa and Grandma’s house! There’s music, dancing, yummy food, and great company. It’s the best party Laura’s ever been to!

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

Laura's Christmas: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Doris Ettlinger
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Lift the flaps to find out all about Laura in these delightful new Little House books. Spend a happy day in Laura’s cabin in the Big Woods in Laura’s Little House and celebrate the holidays with the Ingalls family in Laura’s Christmas. Chock-full of vivid illustrations and sturdy flaps, these cheerful lift-the-flap books are the perfect interactive gift for the youngest Little House fans.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ellen's Broom - A young girl learns a new meaning for freedom during the time of Reconstruction Ellen always knew the broom resting above the hearth was special. Before it was legal for her mother and father to officially be married, the broom was what made them a family anyway. But now all former slaves who had already been married in their hearts could register as lawful husband and wife. When Ellen and her family make the long trip to the courthouse dressed in their best, she brings the broom her parents had jumped so many years before. Even though freedom has come, Ellen knows the old traditions are important too. After Mama and Papa’s names are recorded in the register, Ellen nearly bursts with pride as her parents jump the broom once again. Ellen is a wonderfully endearing character whose love for her family is brought to life in Daniel Minter’s rich and eye-catching block print illustrations.

  2. Good Wives - Louisa May Alcott’s enchanting tale of the March sisters continues with Good Wives, the second novel in the Little Women Collection! The tale of the March sisters continues in the beloved sequel to Little Women, which picks up three years later as Meg is preparing for her wedding, Jo attempts to launch her literary career, Beth still struggles to regain her health, and Amy begins traveling the world with their aunt. But obstacles stand between the girls and their dreams, and they’re forced to confront unimaginable heartache. Through love, perseverance, and family, together they overcome the hardships to find happiness.

  3. Rodzina - Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski, a strong and stubborn Polish orphan, leaves Chicago on an orphan train, expecting to be adopted and turned into a slave—or worse, not to be adopted at all. As the train rattles westward, she  begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to believe that there might be good homes for orphans—maybe even for a big, combative Polish girl. But no placement seems right for the formidable Rodzina, and she cleverly finds a way out of one unfortunate situation after another until at last she finds the family that is right for her.  The compelling narrative is laced with wry humor and keen observation, full of memorable characters, and a thoroughly researched Afterword.

Books About 1850-1899 and Science And Technology

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An introduction to the life and achievements of the first American female doctor describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women.

Barnum's Bones
Written by Tracey Fern & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Documents the work of an early 20th-century paleontologist, named after the famous circus icon by his ambitious parents, who grew up to work for the American Museum of Natural History and discovered the first documented skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and other noteworthy species. By the author of Pippo the Fool.

Snowflake Bentley
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & illustrated by Mary Azarian
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” — Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Honorable Mentions
  1. DK Biography: Marie Curie: A Photographic Story of a Life - DK Biography: Marie Curie tells the story of the discoverer of radium, from her childhood in Warsaw, to her experiments with radioactivity in Paris, to her recognition as one of the preeminent scientists of her time. Filled with archival photographs and amazing fact boxes, this groundbreaking series introduces young readers to some of history’s most interesting and influential characters. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

  2. Marie Curie - Marie Curie, the woman who coined the term radioactivity, won not just one Nobel Prize but two?in physics and chemistry, both supposedly girl-phobic sciences.

  3. Pocket Bios: Marie Curie - A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of influential physicist and chemist Marie Curie. Marie Curie, the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize and only person to win it in two different scientific fields, was a physicist and chemist. As she conducted pioneering research, Marie Curie coined the term “radioactivity,” developed some of the first techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. She also discovered two elements: polonium and radium, and developed mobile X-ray units for use in field hospitals during World War I. In 1934, at the age of sixty-six, she died of complications from long-term exposure to radiation. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Books About 1850-1899 and Abraham Lincoln

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers
Written by Karen B. Winnick & illustrated by Boyds Mills Press Staff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Complete with letter reproductions, this story tells of eleven-year-old Grace Bedell’s written suggestion to President Lincoln that he grow a beard and the amazing events that followed as result. Reprint.

Lincoln and His Boys
Written by Rosemary Wells & illustrated by P.J. Lynch
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Historians claim him as one of America’s most revered presidents. But to his rambunctious sons, Abraham Lincoln was above all a playful and loving father. Here is Lincoln as seen by two of his boys: Willie, thrilled to be on his first train trip when Lincoln was deciding to run for president; Willie and Tad barging into Cabinet meetings to lift Lincoln’s spirits in the early days of the Civil War, Tad accompanying him to Richmond just after the South’s defeat. With the war raging and the Union under siege, we see history unfolding through Willie’s eyes and then through Tad’s — and we see Lincoln rising above his own inborn sadness and personal tragedy through his devotion to his sons. With evocative and engaging illustrations by P.J. Lynch, Rosemary Wells offers a carefully researched biography that gives us a Lincoln not frozen in time but accessible and utterly real. Back matter includes an author’s note.

I am Kind
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great—the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. In this new board book format, the very youngest readers can learn about one of America’s icons in the series’s signature lively, conversational style. The short text focuses on drawing inspiration from these iconic heroes, and includes an interactive element and factual tidbits that young kids will be able to connect with. This volume tells the story of Abraham Lincoln, America’s sixteenth president.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Abraham Lincoln Comes Home - When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, the country grieved for the courageous president who had guided them through the Civil War. Over the course of thirteen somber days, people paid homage as Lincoln’s funeral train made its way from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois. In moving prose and stunning paintings, a young boy experiences the deep feelings evoked by the assassination and death of a major historical figure, during a time of great change in the country.

  2. Lincoln Tells a Joke - Poor Abraham Lincoln! His life was hardly fun at all. A country torn in two by war, citizens who didn’t like him as president, the loss of two young sons, a homely appearance—what could there possibly be to laugh about? And yet he did laugh. Lincoln wasn’t just one of our greatest presidents. He was a comic storyteller, a lover of jokes, someone who could lighten a grim situation with a clever quip. What better way to deal with a hard life than to find the humor in it?

  3. Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln - A look at the early years of our sixteenth president.

  4. Dancing Hands - As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War. Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?

Books About 1850-1899 and Pioneers

The Deer in the Wood
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series!

Laura and her sister Mary miss Pa when he goes into the woods to find food for their family. When he comes home, he tells them a very special story.

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

A Little House Birthday
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Doris Ettlinger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series!

Join the Ingalls family as they celebrate little Laura’s fifth birthday in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. There are special presents from everyone, and that night Laura falls asleep to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. It’s a Little House birthday to remember!

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

Laura & Nellie
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Ji-Hyuk Kim
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Laura Ingalls and Nellie Oleson are classmates, but they don’t get along. Join the original pioneer girl in this Little House chapter book, adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics. Illustrated with beautiful new black-and-white artwork, this repackaged edition includes bonus material such as games, activities, and more!

Laura loves living on a farm, playing in Plum Creek, and wearing her homemade dresses. She’s a country girl, through and through. But Nellie is a town girl. Her dad is a shopkeeper and she wears store-bought dresses. Laura is proud to be a country girl, but Nellie teases her for it. Can they put aside their differences and become friends?

Honorable Mentions
  1. School Days - Laura Ingalls is going to school! Join the original pioneer girl in this Little House chapter book, adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics. Illustrated with beautiful new black-and-white artwork, this repackaged edition includes bonus material such as games, activities, and more. The Ingalls family has settled near town, and it’s finally time for Laura and her sister Mary to start school. Laura wants to stay home and play, but Ma says she should be learning to read instead of running wild. Laura soon realizes she can learn and have fun at school, and she especially loves having new friends to play with at recess.

  2. Fearless Mary - “The true story of Mary Fields, aka “Stagecoach Mary,” a trailblazing African American woman who helped settle the American West.”—Provided by the Publisher.

Want to see books about pioneers?

Books About 1850-1899 and Animals

Old Yeller
Written by Fred Gipson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn’t been for brother Arliss’ loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn’t have got along without him. Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn’t an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860’s was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away. Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets tip from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line. But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier’s.

The Eternal Soldier
Written by Allison Crotzer Kimmel & illustrated by Rotem Teplow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the untold story of Sallie, a dog whose life as a soldier began in a basket and ended as a Civil War hero. The pup barked and nearly tumbled out of the basket. We laughed, and immediately we knew—she was one of us already. Brindle fur with streaks of brown and black swirled all over her like a patchwork quilt. She was as pretty as an apple tree in full bloom. We called her Sallie. During the Civil War, Sallie came to the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry as a gift from a townsperson, but she quickly became a favorite among her men. She marched with them from battle to battle, always guarding the unit’s colors, and even met President Lincoln. And over three long days at the battle of Gettysburg, Sallie stayed with the dead, guarded their bodies, and nearly died herself from hunger and thirst as the conflict raged on. Though she fell in battle, her loyalty was rewarded years later when her men met again on the battlefield at Gettysburg to erect her likeness in bronze so that she might eternally guard them. This beautiful story about a dog’s dedication and loyalty shows that bravery comes in all shapes and forms!

A Prickly Problem: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet
Written by Jacqueline Kelly
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

In this story in the Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet chapter book series, Callie must help the family dog out of a prickly situation. When the Tate family dog, Ajax, has a run-in with a porcupine, things get prickly—and dangerous—quickly. It’ll take Callie’s quick thinking and doctoring, along with a little help from Dr. Pritzker, to make things right. Will Ajax learn to leave other critters alone? - GODWIN BOOKS -

Honorable Mentions
  1. Counting Sheep: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet - In rural Texas in 1901, thirteen-year-old Callie nurses a butterfly with a broken wing and delivers a baby lamb, despite her mother’s disapproval of Callie’s “unladylike behavior.”

  2. Who Gives a Hoot?: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet - Calpurnia and her grandfather rescue a barn owl from the river and, with the help of Dr. Pritzker, dead mice, and some detective work, nurse it back to health.

  3. Skunked!: Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet - “When Travis discovers an abandoned baby skunk, he can’t help but bring it home and take care of it. Stinky, as Travis names him, settles in pretty well. But when Travis discovers Stinky’s litter-mate, Winky, who is in need of some help, things get complicated around the Tate house”—

Want to see books about animals?

Books About 1850-1899 and Social Themes

Kirsten Learns a Lesson
Written by Janet Shaw
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Kirsten starts school in America, but she doesn’t speak English very well. Miss Winston, her new teacher, is strict and not very understanding. Things get worse when Miss Winston comes to live with the Larson family. Kirsten’s only escape is playing with her secret friend, Singing Bird. When Singing Bird suggests running away forever, Kirsten must decide where she belongs. Kirsten does learn some important lessons in school, but she learns something even more important about herself.

Summer of the Monkeys
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fourteen-year-old Jay tries to recover a group of wily monkeys escaped from a circus train in the hopes the reward will buy him the gun and pony he has so long wanted.

Voices from the Underground Railroad
Written by Kay Winters & illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Siblings Mattie and Jeb escape slavery via the Underground Railroad, meeting helpful conductors and dodging slave catchers as they travel from Maryland to Massachusetts

Honorable Mentions
  1. In the New World - The story of Robert and Margarete and their children Johannes and Dorothea, who emigrate from Germany to the United States in 1850. After landing in New Orleans and joining a wagon train headed west to Nebraska, the family establishes a farm outside Omaha. The book ends with a switch to modern day with descendants of Robert and Margarete living on the same farm. They make the decision to investigate their roots and visit Germany, reversing the trip their ancestors made.

  2. Meet Kirsten - Kirsten Larson and her family arrive in America in 1854, after a long sea voyage. Everything looks so different from the life Kirsten knew back in Sweden—the ways people talk and dress seem strange! Getting lost in a big city and parting with her best friend only add to Kirsten’s worry. Will she ever feel at home here? It is only when the Larsons arrive at a tiny farm on the edge of the frontier that Kirsten believes Papa’s promise—America will be a land filled with opportunity for them all.

Books About 1850-1899 and Adventure And Adventurers

Charlotte Spies for Justice
Written by Nikki Shannon Smith & illustrated by Alessia Trunfio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1864 twelve-year-old former slave Charlotte is lucky enough to live on a plantation near Richmond, Virginia, owned by a Miss Van Lew, who hates slavery, and when Charlotte overhears a conversation she realizes that her mistress is gathering information and passing it on to the Union army; Charlotte is eager to help, (especially since her own cousin, Mary, is involved) but her enthusiasm may endanger them all—or help free 400 Union soldiers who are being moved from Richmond further south.

The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A Newbery Medal Winner

Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, this classic fantasy-adventure is now available in a handsome new edition.

“William Pene du Bois combines his rich imagination, scientific tastes, and brilliant artistry to tell a story that has no age limit.” —The Horn Book

The 21 Balloons
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Relates the incredible adventures of Professor William Waterman Sherman who in 1883 sets off in a balloon across the Pacific, survives the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa, and is eventually picked up in the Atlantic.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Around the World in Eighty Days (Sterling Unabridged Classics) - Jules Verne—and his one-of-a-kind hero, Phileas Fogg—take children on an action-packed, whirlwind race around the world. For as long as anyone can remember, Fogg’s daily ritual has never varied by even a minute. Then, on a whim and a bet, he sets out to prove that he can span the globe and return to his club in London in only 80 days. Suddenly, his life is turned upside down, and every day offers an exciting new adventure. Kids will love it!

  2. John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall - The now iconic figure John Muir, while living at the base of Yosemite Falls in California, ventures up the trail from his cabin one night and has a harrowing waterfall adventure. Back matter roots the story in Muir’s life’s work as a conservationist and naturalist.

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