For history to come to life, you have to tell the story of people. A list of dates and names alone don’t tug at the heart strings. Picture books provide an excellent opportunity to connect children to the people and times of yesterday through the magic of artwork and story. For this reason, I selected ten nonfiction and historical fiction picture books for Picture Book 10 for 10 #pb10for10.
These ten books reflect both well known events and ones that may not be as known. From the beginning of the American Revolution to the cultural revolution in China, from battlefields to the racetracks, these books will transport you to life in another time.
The American Revolution
Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don Brown – A winter expedition in 1775 to bring cannons to Boston.
US Civil War Era
The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery by Judith Fradin and Dennis Fradin. Illustrations by Eric Velasquez – Oberlin, Ohio in 1856 and the repercussions of the Fugitive Slave Act.
Voices of Gettysburg by Sherry Garland. Illustrations by Judith Hierstein – Different perspectives in the voices of participants in the 1863 battle and its aftermath.
Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of Doctor, Reformer and Civil War Hero: by Cheryl Harness. Illustrations by Carlo Molinari – Medical service in the Civil War.
Kid Blink Beats the World by Don Brown – 1899 strike in New York City.
This is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrations by James Ransome. One girl’s family experiences as they move from South Carolina to New York City during the Great Migration.
Seabiscuit: The Wonder Horse by Meghan McCarthy. It’s the race of the Great Depression when Seabiscuit takes on War Admiral.
Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss. Illustrations by Yuko Shimizu. Kenichi Zenimura brings baseball to a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang. Illustrations by Greg Ruth. Chinese Cultural Revolution and a young boy’s separation from his father.
As Fast As Words Can Fly by Pamela M. Tuk. Illustrations by Eric Velasquez. Set in 1960s North Carolina, an African boy starts attending a “whites-only” high school in this historical fiction picture book.