Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Top Picks: American Revolution

I'm trying to get back into the habit of posting topics in our Top Picks section, every other Wednesday. (Now that that is in print, it's a little scary! I hope I can keep up the pace with a new baby due in a few months.)

This week let's look at some great books for the American Revolution--everything from easy-readers to historical fiction to pure history books:

Easy Readers and Picture Books:

Sam the Minuteman, Nathaniel Benchley (HarperCollins, 1987 reprint)
An I Can Read History book. This easy reader tells the story of a young minuteman in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Don't miss the companion book, George the Drummer Boy, Nathaniel Benchley (HarperCollins, 1987 reprint) which tells about a boy drummer in King George's army during the same conflict.

Six Silver Spoons, Janette Lowery (Harper, 1971)
Another I Can Read History, this story features a girl who owns silver spoons made by Paul Revere.

The Silver Mace, Maud & Miska Petersham (Macmillan, 1956)
This picture book tells the story of Colonial Williamsburg through the American Revolution.

Paul Revere's Ride, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Ted Rand (Puffin, 1996)

This is a beautifully illustrated version of Longfellow's famous poem.

General History:

The American Revolution, Bruce Lancaster, illustrated by Lee Ames (Doubleday, 1957)
This is a great overview of the entire war, written for elementary students. An oversized piture book format, but with a lot of text, it covers the war from start to finish.

The American Revolution, Bruce Bliven (Random House, 1958, 1981)
This is one of the few Landmark Books still in print (in paperback). A wel-written narrative of the war, for upper-elementary through middle schoo students.

The Winter at Valley Forge, F. Van Wyck Mason (Random House, 1953)
Another in the classic Landmark Books series, this tells of the grueling winter the Continental Army spent at Valley Forge--and the enormous courage it took to endure hardship in the fight for liberty.

The French are Coming, Wilma Pitchford Hays (Holt, 1965)
Interesting look at the role the French played in helping America win the war for independence. A less well-known aspect of the war written for upper-elementary on up.

Historical Fiction:

The Scarlet Badge, Wilma Pitchford Hays (Colonial Williamsburg, 1963)
This is a particular favorite of mine as it offers us a unique perspective--the son of a Loyalist feels torn as he sympathizes with both sides of the conflict. Middle-school on up.

The American Twins of the Revolution, Lucy Fitch Perkins (Houghton Mifflin, 1926)
Based on a true story, this is part of the classic "Twins" series. Taking place in Philadelphia in 1777, two young children help the Patriot's cause.

Mr. Revere and I, Robert Lawson (Little, Brown, 1988 reprint)
A beloved book for upper-elementary readers, Mr. Lawson brings us the tale of Paul Revere told from the perspective of his horse--upon whose back he made his famous ride.

Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes (Houghton Mifflin, 2011 reprint)
No one should miss this Newbery Award winner! Set in Boston, a young silversmith's apprentice witnesses the events leading up to the American Revolution. For Middle School readers, or younger listeners, older readers will also appreciate this one.

The "We Were There" Series has several titles during the American Revolution:
WWT at the Boston Tea Party, Robert Webb (Dover, 2013 reprint)
WWT at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Felix Sutton (Grosset, 1958)
WWT with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, Robert Webb (Grosset, 1956)
WWT When Washington Won at Yorktown, Earl Schenck Miers (Grosset, 1958)


Haym Salomon, Son of Liberty, Howard Fast (Messner, 1958)
Charlotte Mason said that studying a little-known figure from history gives a much fuller understanding of that time and place. Salomon definitely fits the bill! Messner biographies are wonderful for many ages--very well-written to not talk down to older students, interesting enough for younger students to listen.

Lafayette: French-American Hero, Claire Huchet Bishop (Garrard, 1960)
This particular biography is part of the Discovery Book series--a favorite with early readers and elementary students alike. Did you know Lafayette's descendants automatically have US citizenship? Discover more about this brave young man who came to the Americans' aid.

Story of Lafayette, Hazel Wilson (Grosset, 1952)
A Signature Biography, these are for upper-elementary readers and place the subject as the main character in his own story. A good option for older students than the suggestion above.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We're just getting to the AR and your book suggestions are super helpful!

    1. I'm so glad I could oblige! Enjoy your study.