As teacher friends ask for suggestions to add to their reading lists, this seems like a good time to re-post this past favorite:
In a recent thought-provoking Washington Post article, journalist and author Joy Hakim wrote the following: “As they [education historians] document the tale, it was decades ago that we gave up teaching history as an idea-centered discipline played out by a succession of characters—heroes and villains—whose actions led to results that can be analyzed. That kind of story-based history is engaging. We replaced it with litanies of facts.”
She was talking about the state of textbooks, as well as the lack of integration of standard curriculum with the stories of science and social studies that, without, leave gaping holes in education. That’s where we nonfiction writers today come in.
As depressing and infuriating as much of Hakim’s article was to me, I also felt myself saying “but we do that—those stories are being written!” And so, with the intention of offering a tiny bit of assistance to all those who teach and/or otherwise influence the education of young minds, I decided to begin compiling a recommended reading list of stories for older readers—true stories; i.e., nonfiction (or veritas, truthiness or True Dat!)—that will surely supplement and complement and enhance the experience of anyone taking social studies and science classes using textbooks.
Please—I mean this—please, add to this beginning of a list. Let’s make it grow. I will incorporate your comments and update the list accordingly. Next time, I’ll make a picture book list!
History and Science Through Story:
Armstrong, Jennifer. The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History
Aronson, Marc and Budhos, Marina. Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science
Aronson, Marc. Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow
Burns, Loree Griffin. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion
Cobb, Vicki. What's the Big Idea?: Amazing Science Questions for the Curious Kid.
Colman, Penny. Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II
Deem, James. Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and Rediscovery of the Past
Delano, Marfe Ferguson. Earth in the Hot Seat: Bulletins from a Warming World
Freedman, Russell. Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas
Giblin, James Cross. The Many Rides of Paul Revere
Hakim, Joy. The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way
Harness, Cheryl. The Ground-Breaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science and Invention in America
Heiligman, Deborah. Charles & Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith
Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Jackson, Ellen and Bishop Nic. Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy and Black Holes
Jackson, Donna M. The Wildlife Detectives: How Forensic Scientists Fight Crimes Against Nature
Murphy, Jim. An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Nelson, Kadir. We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
Partridge, Elizabeth. Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t You Grow Weary
Sis, Peter. The Wall: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain
Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: Thirteen Women Who Dared to Dream
Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 On the Moon
Walker, Sally. Written In Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom