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Colonial And Revolutionary Periods: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about Colonial and Revolutionary periods?

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

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 Colonial and Revolutionary periods, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like And Then what Happened, Paul Revere? to popular sellers like The Witch of Blackbird Pond to some of our favorite hidden gems like Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History.

We hope this list of kids books about Colonial and Revolutionary periods 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 Colonial And Revolutionary Periods

An Inconvenient Alphabet book
#1
An Inconvenient Alphabet
Written by Beth Anderson & illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Do you ever wish English was eez-ee-yer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Debut author Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet. Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet. In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard. Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.

Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History book
#2
Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History
Written & illustrated by Don Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The most famous duel in American history dramatized by leading nonfiction picture book illustrator, Don Brown.

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel. For young patriots who may not yet know the shocking and tragic story, Aaron and Alexander captures the spirit of these two great men who so valiantly served their country and ultimately allowed their pride and ego to cause their demise.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond book
#3
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt book
#4
Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

I Am George Washington book
#5
I Am George Washington
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Learn all about George Washington, America’s first president. George Washington was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was never afraid to be the first to try something, from exploring the woods around his childhood home to founding a brand new nation, the United States of America. With his faith in the American people and tremendous bravery, he helped win the Revolutionary War and became the country’s first president. Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person a role model for kids. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list.

A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton book
#6
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.

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving book
#7
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
Written by Eric Metaxas & illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Describes how the Massachusetts Indian Squanto was captured by the British, sold into slavery in Spain, and ultimately returned to the New World to become a guide and friend for the Pilgrims.

Fever 1793 book
#8
Fever 1793
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where “the plot rages like the epidemic itself” (The New York Times Book Review). During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

To the Future, Ben Franklin book
#9
To the Future, Ben Franklin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Track the facts about the great printer, inventor, and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin!

When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #32: To the Future, Ben Franklin! they had lots of questions. What was Ben Franklin’s first job? How did a kite teach him about electricity? What are some of Ben’s most famous inventions? Why did he have so many nicknames? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about Benjamin Franklin.

Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures.

Squanto's Journey book
#10
Squanto's Journey
Written by Joseph Bruchac & illustrated by Greg Shed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together—a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and...

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and Historical Figures

Electric Ben
Written & illustrated by Robert Byrd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin’s numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd’s lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

An Inconvenient Alphabet
Written by Beth Anderson & illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Do you ever wish English was eez-ee-yer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Debut author Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet. Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet. In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard. Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.

Guts & Glory: The American Revolution
Written by Ben Thompson & illustrated by C.M. Butzer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

From George Washington crossing the icy Delaware, to Molly Pitcher fearlessly firing her cannon, the people of the American Revolution were some of the bravest and most inspiring of all time. Jump into a riot in the streets of Boston, join the Culper Spy Ring as they steal secrets in the dead of night, and watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence in this accessible, illustrated guide to the birth of the United States.

History buff and popular blogger Ben Thompson’s extensive research and irresistible storytelling make history come alive in this fourth book in the unforgettable Guts & Glory series.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! - Can this Founding Father find a friend? Introducing a new board-book series perfect for even the youngest historian! Ben Franklin is sad.No one has time to fly kites with him today.Betsy Ross is busy sewing a flag.Alexander Hamilton is busy counting money…Will things change for Ben when he reaches Independence Hall?The first volume of this new board-book series takes a tongue-in-cheek look at American history to introduce the youngest historians to some of the most prominent characters during our nation’s exciting beginning. Readers will love the amusing story, and biographies in the back of the book will ensure they’ll learn even more along the way.

  3. The Extraordinary Suzy Wright - Children are taught much about the men who shaped early America, but history-shaping colonial women remain largely unknown and undiscussed. The Extraordinary Suzy Wright sets about to change that, telling the little-known story of Quaker Susanna (Suzy) Wright (1697-1784), a renowned poet and political activist. Suzy helped settle the Pennsylvania frontier, where she acted as legal counselor to her less literate neighbors, preparing wills, deeds, indentures, and other contracts. Surviving documents and correspondence between Suzy and a host of her contemporaries—including Benjamin Franklin; James Logan, Pennsylvania’s governor and chief justice; and a few signers of the Declaration of Independence—reveal that Suzy, from her home on the frontier, exerted considerable influence in the highest circles of Pennsylvania government. This fascinating and inspiring story includes an author’s note, bibliography, and index.

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and Alexander Hamilton

Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History
Written & illustrated by Don Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The most famous duel in American history dramatized by leading nonfiction picture book illustrator, Don Brown.

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel. For young patriots who may not yet know the shocking and tragic story, Aaron and Alexander captures the spirit of these two great men who so valiantly served their country and ultimately allowed their pride and ego to cause their demise.

Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution
Written by Gretchen Woelfie & illustrated by R Gregory Christie
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Uncover the lives of thirteen African-Americans who fought during the Revolutionary War.

Even as American Patriots fought for independence from British rule during the Revolutionary War, oppressive conditions remained in place for the thousands of enslaved and free African Americans living in this country. But African Americans took up their own fight for freedom by joining the British and American armies; preaching, speaking out, and writing about the evils of slavery; and establishing settlements in Nova Scotia and Africa. The thirteen stories featured in this collection spotlight charismatic individuals who answered the cry for freedom, focusing on the choices they made and how they changed America both then and now. These individuals include: Boston King, Agrippa Hull, James Armistead Lafayette, Phillis Wheatley, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, Prince Hall, Mary Perth, Ona Judge, Sally Hemings, Paul Cuffe, John Kizell, Richard Allen, and Jarena Lee. Includes individual bibliographies and timelines, author note, and source notes.

Who Was Alexander Hamilton?
Written by Meg Belviso and Pam Pollack & illustrated by Dede Putra
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Read the story of the Founding Father who inspired the smash Broadway musical.

Born in the British West Indies and orphaned as a child, Alexander Hamilton made his way to the American Colonies and studied to become a lawyer. He joined a local militia during the American Revolution, rose to the rank of Major General, and became the chief aide to General George Washington. After the war, he became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. He founded the Bank of New York and The New York Post newspaper. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and is also celebrated as a co-author of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays that are still used today to interpret the U.S. Constitution.

The end of his life became a national scandal when he was shot and killed in a duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr.

Honorable Mentions
  1. King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution - What do the most famous traitor in history, hundreds of naked soldiers, and a salmon lunch have in common? They’re all part of the amazing story of the American Revolution. Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. This isn’t one of them. What it is, instead, is utterly interesting, antedotes (John Hancock fixates on salmon), from the inside out (at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, hundreds of soldiers plunged into battle “naked as they were born”) close-up narrative filled with little-known details, lots of quotes that capture the spirit and voices of the principals (“If need be, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston” — George Washington), and action, It’s the story of the birth of our nation, complete with soldiers, spies, salmon sandwiches, and real facts you can’t help but want to tell to everyone you know. King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin is a fun, funny way for young readers to learn about a chapter of American history, which has been popularized by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show Hamilton. Steve Sheinkin is the acclaimed author of many nonfiction works, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award Finalist Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, and National Book Award finalist Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.

  2. Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends with very different personalities. But their differing views on how to run the newly created United States turned them into the worst of friends. They each became leaders of opposing political parties, and their rivalry followed them to the White House. Full of both history and humor, this is the story of two of America’s most well-known presidents and how they learned to put their political differences aside for the sake of friendship.

  3. Alexander Hamilton: Little Lion - Now that the twins have begun to settle into their new lives at Elm Medona, they delve deeper into The Treasure Chest and uncover more about the Pickworth family, including the disappearance of their great-uncle Thorne and the theft of priceless family artifacts. In this adventure, The Treasure Chest transports Felix and Maisie to tropical St. Croix in 1772. There they meet a young man named Alexander Hamilton who is about to embark on a journey to New York. Felix and Maisie aren’t sure why The Treasure Chest has brought them to meet Alexander, but they are determined to not let him out of their sights . . .even if that means stowing away on the very ship he is sailing off on!

  4. The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America - In this eye-opening look at our Founding Fathers that is full of fun facts and lively artwork, it seems that Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and their cohorts sometimes agreed on NOTHING…except the thing that mattered most: creating the finest constitution in world history, for the brand-new United States of America. Tall! Short! A scientist! A dancer! A farmer! A soldier! The founding fathers had no idea they would ever be called the “founding Fathers,” and furthermore they could not even agree exactly on what they were founding! Should America declare independence from Britain? “Yes!” shouted some. “No!” shouted others. “Could you repeat the question?” shouted the ones who either hadn’t been listening or else were off in France having fun, dancin’ the night away. Slave owners, abolitionists, soldiers, doctors, philosophers, bankers, angry letter-writers—the men we now call America’s Founding Fathers were a motley bunch of characters who fought a lot and made mistakes and just happened to invent a whole new kind of nation. And now here they are, together again, in an exclusive engagement!

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and Action And Adventure

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

Fever 1793
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where “the plot rages like the epidemic itself” (The New York Times Book Review). During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

George Washington's Spy: A Time Travel Adventure
Written & illustrated by Elvira Woodruff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

This historic time-travel fantasy is a riveting sequel to a bestselling classic. Ten-year-old Matt Carlton and six friends are accidentally swept back in time—to Boston in 1776! The British now occupy the city, and redcoat guards are everywhere! While the boys are being held captive by a den of Patriot spies, the girls have been taken in by a wealthy Tory family.

The pox is rampant; danger lies around every corner—and there’s no hope for returning home to their own time. How will these seven children survive?

Readers will relish the nonstop action and humorous dialogue in this riveting sequel to Woodruff’s bestselling novel, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Revolutionary War on Wednesday - It is a dark and snowy night when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to colonial times. General George Washington is about to lead his army in a sneak attack against their enemy. But now a terrible weather is making the great general question his plans. Can Jack and Annie keep history on track? The fate of the country rests in their hands!

  2. Thanksgiving on Thursday - Jack and Annie travel in their magic treehouse to the year 1621, where they celebrate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in the New Plymouth Colony.

  3. George Washington's Socks: A Time Travel Adventure - Elvira Woodruff’s million-copy seller, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS, returns in time for the book’s anticipated HC sequel — Ben Franklin’s Boots! A mysterious rowboat transports five adventurous kids back in time to the eve of the Battle at Trenton where they experience the American Revolution. Through encounters with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and even George Washington himself, Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie watch history unfold before their eyes as they see first-hand, the grim realities of war and the cost of freedom.

  4. Ben's Revolution - History comes alive in this gripping account of a young boy caught up in the start of the Revolutionary War. Based on an episode in National Book Award–winning author Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, this engrossing story allows readers to experience history from a child’s perspective, and Wendell Minor’s stunning paintings will transport readers back to the early days of the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Russell is in school on the morning of April 19th, 1775, when his teacher announces, “The war’s begun, and you may run!” Ben knew this day was coming; after all, tensions had been mounting between the colonists and the British troops ever since the Boston Tea Party. And now they have finally reached the breaking point. Ben and his friends excitedly rush out of their classroom to bear witness, and follow the throngs of redcoats marching out of Boston toward Concord. Much to Ben’s surprise, Boston is sealed off later that day—leaving the boys stuck outside the city, in the middle of a war, with no way to reach their families. But Ben isn’t worried—he’s eager to help the Patriots! He soon becomes a clerk to the jovial Israel Putnam, a general in the provincial army. For months he watches the militia grow into an organized army, and when the Battle of Bunker Hill erupts, Ben is awed by the bravery of the Patriots, although saddened by the toll war takes. He later goes on to become an apprentice at a Revolutionary newspaper, and it’s a happy day when they get to report on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and Us Presidents

I Am George Washington
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Learn all about George Washington, America’s first president. George Washington was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was never afraid to be the first to try something, from exploring the woods around his childhood home to founding a brand new nation, the United States of America. With his faith in the American people and tremendous bravery, he helped win the Revolutionary War and became the country’s first president. Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person a role model for kids. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list.

George Washington and the General's Dog
Written by Frank Murphy & illustrated by Richard Walz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Children will delight at this little-known-story about our nation’s first president, George Washington, that makes for perfect President’s Day readers!

Boom! Bang! Guns fire! Cannons roar! This Step 3 History Reader is about George Washington fighting in the American Revolution. He sees a dog lost on the battlefield. Whose dog is it? How will it find its master? Early readers will be surprised to find out what happens in this little-known true story about America’s first president.

Step 3 Readers feature engaging characters in easy-to-follow plots about popular topics. These books are for children who are ready to read on their own.

Thomas Jefferson
Written & illustrated by Maira Kalman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides - There are two sides to every story. Rosalyn Schanzer’s engaging and wonderfully illustrated book brings to life both sides of the American Revolution. The narrative introduces anew the two enemies, both named George: George Washington, the man who freed the American colonies from the British, and George III, the British king who lost them. Two leaders on different sides of the Atlantic, yet with more in common than we sometimes acknowledge. We are lead through their story, and the story of their times, and see both sides of the arguments that divided the colonies from the Kingdom. Was King George a “Royal Brute” as American patriots claimed? Or was he, as others believed, “the father of the people?” Was George Washington a scurrilous traitor, as all the king’s supporters claimed? Or should we remember and celebrate him as “the father of his country?” Who was right? History teaches us that there are two sides to every story. Rosalyn Schanzer’s book is an accessible account of one the most vital periods in American history. It is also a timeless lesson in seeing history from different points of view. The author spent two years researching books, paintings, cartoons, and descriptions of Revolutionary times. She uses art, text, and first-hand accounts to illustrate how history should never be reduced to simplistic conflicts between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Her illustrations, and her engaging quote bubbles, bring the Revolution to life again, and allow the characters of the period to speak for themselves. Through its lively text, detailed illustrations, and fully authenticated quotes, George vs. George shines fresh light on both sides of the story of our country’s formative years.

  2. George Washington's Teeth - From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year, and by the time he was elected president, he had only two left! In this reverentially funny tale written in verse and based on Washington’s letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness. Illustrated in watercolors with subtle humor by Brock Cole, the main story is followed by a four-page time line featuring reproduced period portraits of Washington.

  3. A Kids' Guide to the American Revolution - Packed with anecdotes, sidebars, quotes, and illustrations, A Kids’ Guide to the American Revolution brings vividly to life the birth of our nation. Introduce young readers to the stakes, challenges, setbacks, and victories involved in the single most important event in our nation’s history, the American Revolution, with this approachable book from Kathleen Krull, a Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award winner. Find out what events led our young nation to go to war with Great Britain and how the Declaration of Independence, the document that continues to shape our civil rights, came to be. • Why did the colonists want independence from Great Britain? • What brought on the Boston Tea Party? • How did the Declaration of Independence initially impact women and slaves? • What did Benjamin Franklin do to convince the French to join the revolution? • How was George Washington chosen to lead the new young country? • What elements of the Declaration of Independence continue to be debated today?

  4. The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) - “No picture accurately resembled him in the minute traits of his person . . . there was an expression of his face that no painter had succeeded in taking.”―London’s New Monthly Magazine in 1790 George Washington’s face has been painted, printed, and engraved more than a billion times since his birth in 1732. And yet even in his lifetime, no picture seemed to capture the likeness of the man who is now the most iconic of all our presidents. Worse still, people today often see this founding father as the “old and grumpy” Washington on the dollar bill. In 2005 a team of historians, scientists, and artisans at Mount Vernon set out to change the image of our first president. They studied paintings and sculptures, pored over Washington’s letters to his tailors and noted other people’s comments about his appearance, even closely examined the many sets of dentures that had been created for Washington. Researchers tapped into skills as diverse as 18th-century leatherworking and cutting-edge computer programming to assemble truer likenesses. Their painstaking research and exacting processes helped create three full-body representations of Washington as he was at key moments in his life. And all along the way, the team gained new insight into a man who was anything but “old and grumpy.” Join award-winning author Carla Killough McClafferty as she unveils the statues of the three Georges and rediscovers the man who became the face of a new nation.

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and Statesmen

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.

To the Future, Ben Franklin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Track the facts about the great printer, inventor, and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin!

When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #32: To the Future, Ben Franklin! they had lots of questions. What was Ben Franklin’s first job? How did a kite teach him about electricity? What are some of Ben’s most famous inventions? Why did he have so many nicknames? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about Benjamin Franklin.

Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures.

And Then what Happened, Paul Revere?
Written by Jean Fritz & illustrated by Margot Tomes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

A true American story for young readers by the Newbery-Honor winning author!

Everyone knows about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. But not everyone knows the harrowing details and narrow escapes that occurred along the way. This timeless and witty book highlights little-known facts about patriot Paul Revere.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father - Fans of the Broadway musical Hamilton and American history lovers will want to share this illustrated biography of Alexander Hamilton with their young readers. Did you know that one of our Founding Fathers was not born in America? An orphan from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton came to the colonies and played an important role in the Revolutionary War, rising to become General George Washington’s right-hand man. But his accomplishments don’t stop there! He helped obtain the ratification of the Constitution; he was America’s first secretary of the treasury; and he established the first national bank and the U.S. Mint. A man of ambition, loyalty, and principle, he is now being celebrated as the prominent patriot he was. Step 3 Readers feature engaging characters in easy-to-follow plots about popular topics—for children who are ready to read on their own.

  2. Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider - The perfect chapter book biography for young fans of the Hamilton musical! Most people know that Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, and that his face is on the ten dollar bill. But he was much more than that! Born in the West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an immigrant, an outsider. He fought in the American Revolution and became George Washington’s most valuable aide-de-camp. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, he was there for the writing of the Constitution and became the first Secretary of the Treasury. Jean Fritz’s award-winning talent for bringing history to life shines as she shares the true story of Alexander Hamilton, a man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.

Want to see books about statesmen?

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and George Washington

John, Paul, George & Ben
Written & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Once there were four lads… John [Hancock], Paul [Revere], George [Washington], and Ben [Franklin].

Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around. These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few…liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated. This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.

Washington at Valley Forge
Written & illustrated by Russell Freedman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Newbery Award-winning author Russell Freedman offers up this powerful account of the survival of American soldiers while camped at Valley Forge during a crucial period in the American Revolution.

George Washington’s army almost perished during the winter of 1777-78. Camped at Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, the revolutionaries endured severe hardship because the army’s supply system had collapsed and they were without food, clothing, and blankets. The army was at its most vulnerable; but when the harsh winter drew to a close, the soldiers had survived, and marched away from Valley Forge more determined than ever. The British were defeated in 1783, and Washington, for the rest of his life, said that the credit for the Amrican victory belonged to the soldiers who had braved the horrific conditions at Valley Forge.

My Little Golden Book About George Washington
Written by Lori Haskins Houran & illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

George Washington comes alive for preschoolers in this all-American Little Golden Book!

Bright, appealing artwork and simple words introduce the youngest readers to our first president with engaging anecdotes, beginning with how young George liked to study and ride his horse. Fun facts at the end—such as that Washington’s image can be found on our dollar bill, our postage stamps, and on Mount Rushmore—round out this charming Little Golden Book.

And look for: My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington - A boy from Virginia becomes the first president Before he was the face on the dollar bill, George Washington was a shy boy with a hot temper. But George had character and adaptability. He taught himself courage and self-control. At an early age, and without really realizing it, George Washington gathered the qualities he’d need to become one of the greatest leaders America has ever known. Anne Rockwell’s prose is dignified, Matt Phelan’s illustrations are striking, and the details they reveal about George Washington’s early days are fascinating, sometimes tragic, and always moving. Includes an author’s note.

  2. Dear Mr. Washington - Based on the true story behind Gilbert Stuart’s famous portraits of Washington, this funny historical read will leave rascals, ruffians, and troublemakers of all ages laughing. Charlotte, James, and baby John have promised to be on their very best behavior for when George Washington comes to have his portrait painted by their father, Gilbert Stuart. But, it seems like every time George Washington comes to visit, Charlotte has to write another apology letter, even when they try to follow George Washington’s Rules of Good Behavior. If these whippersnappers want any dessert, they are going to have to learn some manners—and fast! What results is a hilarious chain of events, a giant mess…and a painting that will be remembered for centuries to come.

  3. Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette - Young fans of the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” will enjoy this narrative nonfiction picture book story about the important friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette has come to America to offer his services to the patriotic cause. Inexperienced but dedicated, he is a much-needed ally and not only earns a military position with the Continental Army but also Washington’s respect and admiration. This picture book presents the human side of history, revealing the bond between two famous Revolutionary figures. Both the author and illustrator worked with experts and primary sources to represent both patriots and the war accurately and fairly.

  4. Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons - Soon after American colonists had won independence from Great Britain, Ona Judge was fighting for her own freedom from one of America’s most famous founding fathers, George Washington. George and Martha Washington valued Ona as one of their most skilled and trustworthy slaves, but she would risk everything to achieve complete freedom. Born into slavery at Mount Vernon, Ona seized the opportunity to escape when she was brought to live in the President’s Mansion in Philadelphia. Ona fled to New Hampshire and started a new life. But the Washingtons wouldn’t give up easily. After her escape, Ona became the focus of a years-long manhunt, led by America’s first president. Gwendolyn Hooks’ vivid and detailed prose captures the danger, uncertainty, and persistence Ona Judge experienced during and after her heroic escape. The Capstone Interactive edition comes with simultaneous access for every student in your school and includes read aloud audio recorded by professional voice over artists.

Books About Colonial And Revolutionary Periods and 18th Century

Anna Strong: A Spy During the American Revolution
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh & illustrated by Sarah Green
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The thrilling true story of the female spy who helped save the American Revolution

Anna Smith Strong (1790–1812) was a fearless woman who acted as a spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Recruited by Washington’s spymaster, Major Benjamin Tallmadge, she joined the Culper Ring, a group of American spies. General Washington placed a huge amount of trust in his spies, and Anna helped pass him important messages at a great risk to herself and her family. One of her cleverer devices was to hang laundry on the line in a planned fashion so that other spies could read the “message.” Had she been discovered by the British, she would have faced jail or execution. Thrilling and dramatic, Anna Strong tells the story of how one brave woman helped change the course of American history. The book includes an author’s note, a bibliography, an index, and a spy code so kids can get involved in the action.

Sophia's War
Written by Avi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.

Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly) that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.

The Matchlock Gun
Written by Walter D. Edmonds & illustrated by Paul Lantz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A Newbery Medal Winner

In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came? This classic, first published in 1941, has an updated, kid-friendly format that includes the original black-and-white illustrations.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Betsy Ross - Betsy ripped. Rip, rip.Seven rich, crimson strips. Inch by inch, bit by bit, Betsy Ross clips, dips, and stitches the first American flag. Based on a sketch Betsy’s friend George Washington gave her in 1776, the flag had thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, which Betsy showed George how to make with a single clip of her scissors. Included activity shows children how to make their own Betsy Ross star.

  2. Johnny Tremain - This striking 75th Anniversary edition of this Newbery Medal-winning historical fiction classic is updated with new jacket art and an illustrated foreword from author-illustrator Nathan Hale. Johnny Tremain is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. To read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future, injures his hand in an accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse boy, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in pivotal events from the Boston Tea Party to the shots fired at Lexington. For this anniversary edition, Nathan Hale brings his distinct graphic-novel storytelling to a new foreword.

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