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German Americans: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about German Americans?

As you can see, this list of kids books about German Americans is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about German Americans, please share it with us!

We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.

We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].

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In the New World
Written & illustrated by Christa Holtei
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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Anna All Year Round
Written by Mary Downing Hahn & illustrated by Diane de Groat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12
Eight-year-old Anna enjoys one exciting experience after another in this charming story set in Baltimore just before World War I. She gets a new winter coat that's even better than Rosa's, rollerskates down the steepest hill in the neighborhood, and rides the trolley all by herself. And she delights in the changes occurring in the world around her, as motorcars and electric lights appear for the first time on her street. Based on the childhood experiences of the author's mother, these heartwarming episodes touch on timeless themes of family, friends, and the wonders of growing up.
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Anna All Year Round
Written by Mary Downing Hahn & illustrated by Diane de Groat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Based on the childhood of the author's mother, this engaging episodic novel follows the everyday adventures of third-grader Anna Sherwood growing up in pre-WWI Baltimore. Anna is "ein kluges M,dchen"-a clever girl, in her mother's native German-who likes reading better than arithmetic ("All you can do with numbers is make prob-lems. But you can make stories and poems with words"); she's also something of a tomboy. The novel moves from fall to summer as Anna conquers long division (having previously resorted to cheating); battles with her mother over the color of a new winter coat (Anna wants bright red, Mother wants "drab and boring" brown); "split[s] her chin wide open" roller-skating down the steepest hill in Baltimore on a dare; and is judged grown-up enough to ride the trolley downtown to have lunch with her father. All the chapters are informed by Hahn's able evo-cation of time and place-a Baltimore of groceries delivered by horse-drawn wagon and streets lit by gas lamps-and of the specific characters who inhabit it. Many of the episodes are driven by the tension between Anna and her strict, old-fashioned mother (in one of the best chapters, "Anna's Birthday Surprise," Anna, desperate to have a birthday party despite Mother's refusal, secretly issues invitations and then, with a mixture of hope and dread, waits to see what will happen when her friends arrive); the tension is always defused by the unqualified love between Anna and her father. Hahn's use of the present tense to tell Anna's stories helps keep nostalgia at bay, as does the energetic, just-dashed-off quality of deGroat's rough pencil sketches.

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