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April 23, 2014

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American History Comes Alive | Series Made Simple

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These fresh, original takes on American History include firsthand historical accounts, looks at military conflict, exploration of our government, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Building a Nation: American History | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

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The fall of 2012 was a strong season for new series in American history and geography. In comparison, the spring of 2013 has a small turnout. However, that does not mean that these books are also-rans. Quite the contrary is true.

Pick of the Day: Sophia’s War (Audiobook)

Audiobook cover of girl in silohuette and noose

Sophia’s War. By Avi. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 7:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2012. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-2043-0, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-2042-3. $66.75.
Gr 5-9–Set in 1776 during the American Revolution when New York was under siege by the British, Avi’s tale (S & S/Beach Lane Books, 2012) of resistance features an amazing female protagonist, trials aplenty as she tries to avenge her brother’s death, and a little romance thrown in for good measure. Sophia’s family believes in freedom and desperately wants America [...]

Pick of the Day: We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart (Audiobook)

Close up of Statue of Liberty

We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart. By Walter Dean Myers. CD. 33:51 min. with hardcover book. Live Oak Media. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4301-1112-2. $29.95.
Gr 3 Up–The sweeping scope of Myers’s free verse poems (HarperCollins, 2011) is captured beautifully and interpreted dramatically on this CD by a diverse cast of narrators. This eminently patriotic book celebrates free expression and attempts to paint with word pictures the depth and breadth of the varied American experience. Rarely are all ethnicities given voice [...]

Pick of the Day: Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union (DVD)

Painting of Henry Clay before the Senate

Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union (Series). 3 DVDs.  20 min. ea. with tchr’s. guides online. Prod. by Witnessing History. Dist. by TMW Media. 2011, 2012 release. ISBN unavail. $69.95 ea. Includes: The Formation of the Union and Its Early Challenges; The Missouri Compromise of 1820 to the Tariff Compromise of 1833; The Compromise of 1850 to the Civil War.
Gr 6 Up–Henry Clay served in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate and worked to preserve the Union against the destructive forces [...]

From Sea to Shining Sea: American History | Series Made Simple Fall 2012

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America can be described in one word: diverse. The nation’s history, though short as far as other national histories go, is complex. From its conception as a refuge for religious dissidents to its 21st-century manifestation as a major world power, America has undergone breath-taking changes.

The Secret Lives of Presidents: A behind-the-scenes look at the residents of the White House

Picture book cover: Presidents' mothers

Every U.S. president had a mother. Most of them had children and pets. Combine these obvious, but often-unconsidered facts with a touch of humor and they spell can’t-miss booktalks.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales
by Nathan Hale
Vol. 1: One Dead Spy 978-1-4197-0396-6. 128 pp.
Vol. 2: Big Bad Ironclad 978-1-4197-0395-9. 128 pp.
Published by Amulet Books, 2012
Recommended for grades 5-8

“I regret that I have but one life to live for my country.”
And with his famous last words, Nathan Hale, spy for the American War of Independence was hanged. [...]

Pick of the Day: The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure

Book cover: Whaleship in the arctic circle

SANDLER, Martin W. The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure. 176p. bibliog. chron. index. maps. notes. photos. CIP. Candlewick. Sept. 2012. RTE $22.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5080-3. LC 2011018618.
Gr 5 Up–Endurance. Fortitude. Bravery. Any of these words could easily describe the people involved in this amazing, but little-known rescue-adventure. The year was 1897 and whaling was big business in America. Whaleship captains hunting in the Arctic Circle, pushing for more whales and the profits they meant, ended up [...]

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: A Look Back at Revolutionary War Heroes

Book cover: silohuette of girl with noose

Every anniversary of 9/11, we often remember heroes—past and present. Some are elected officials or military personnel. Others are everyday folks who decided to take a stand or try something different. Still, other heroes remain nameless but made an impact, nonetheless. The following books are full of heroes from the American Revolution. Perfect for reading in a history class, most of these are short, informational works with well-researched back matter that shouldn’t be missed.