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Era Reading Level Genre

A listing of books that can be used to teach American history. The selected books represent a variety of historical eras, types of books, and reading levels and the list will grow over time.

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The House On Fire: The Story of the Blues

Author: Craig Awmiller
Reading Level: High School
Genre: Non Fiction

Traces the history of the blues from its African roots through the 90s, with a focus on key artists ranging from Louis Armstrong...


The Jazz Fly

Author: Matthew Gollub
Reading Level: Early Elementary School
Genre: Fiction

A fly, who speaks jazz, seeks directions to town from animals and insects who respond to him with their sounds. The fly uses...


The Jim Crow Laws and Racism in American History

Author: David K. Fremon
Reading Level: High School
Genre: Non Fiction

A look at racism between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.


The John Bull 150 Years a Locomotive

Author: John H. White, Jr.
Reading Level: Middle School, High School, Adult
Genre: Non Fiction

The John Bull details the history of the locomotive engine and includes photographs and detailed drawings of the interior and...


The John Bull: A British Locomotive Comes to America

Author: David Weitzman
Reading Level: Early Elementary School, Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Non Fiction

A detailed history of one of the earliest steam locomotives in American history, rich with intricate pen and ink drawings


The Journal of Ben Uchida

Author: Barry Denenberg
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Fiction

The story of a 12 year old prisoner in one of America's Japanese internment camps during World War II


The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker

Author: William Durbin
Reading Level: Late Elementary School
Genre: Fiction

A young boys experience of working on the Transcontinental Railroad. (Part of the My Name Is America series)


The Land

Author: Mildred D. Taylor
Reading Level: Middle School, High School, Adult
Genre: Fiction
Awards: Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award

In the stories Taylor tells the stories of her African American family in the Deep South during and after the Civil War, a time...


The Last Dragon

Author: Susan Miho Nunes
Reading Level: Late Elementary School, Middle School
Genre: Fiction

A little boy becomes part of a Chinese-American community as he works to restore an old Chinese dragon.


The Legend of the Teddy Bear

Author: Frank Murphy
Reading Level: Late Elementary School
Genre: Fiction

The legend of how Teddy Roosevelt's refusal to shoot a cornered bear inspired the name of a popular children's toy.

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Award Key

Caldecott Medal

Most distinguished American picture book for children (annually).

Newbery Medal

Most distinguished contribution to American literature for children (annually).

Coretta Scott King Award

Distinguished books by authors and illustrators of African descent which promote an understanding and appreciation of the American dream (annually).

Golden Kite Award

Outstanding examples of text, illustration, fiction and nonfiction (four awards annually).

Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award

Outstanding work of historical fiction published by a U.S. publisher set in the New World.