Features: History & Social Studies
United Cake of America, by Julie Paschkis

We the People Bookshelf: A More Perfect Union

The "More Perfect Union" Bookshelf Theme

The We the People Bookshelf theme, “A More Perfect Union,” invites reflection on the idea of the United States as a “union,” a “One” as well as a “Many,” and is the literary complement oflibrary programs observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in American history and culture.

In spring 2010, NEH and ALA will select 4,000 libraries to receive the 17 books for young readers, as well as bonus materials for readers of all ages, and the option to receive three titles in Spanish translation. Libraries selected will be required to use the Bookshelf selections in programs for young readers in their communities.

The Books and Resources

K-3

4-6

7-8

9-12

Bonus


—Grades K-3—

Tico and the Golden Wings—Leo Lionni (K-3)

Tico book coverIn this beautifully illustrated book, a bird comes to know himself and his own worth through selfless acts for others.

[©1964] (Knopf Books for young Readers, 2007)
ISBN-10:
0394817494 / ISBN-13: 978-0394817491

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When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson—Pam Muñoz Ryan (K-3)

Marian AndersonMarian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial was a dramatic moment in the nation’s long quest to rise above racial divisions.

Brian Selznik (ill.)
(Scholastic Press, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0439269679 / ISBN-13: 978-0439269674.

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A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution—Betsy and Giulio Maestro (K-3)

Amore perfect unionThe authors offer a clear and simple account of why and how thirty-nine
men devised a Constitution that tied thirteen separate states into one United States of America.

(Lothrop Lee & Shepard, 1987)
ISBN-10: 0688068391 / ISBN-13: 978-0688068394

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—Grades 4-6—

Cesar: ¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!—Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, David Diaz (ill.) (4-6)

Cesar, Si si puedeThe life and times of César Chávez are vividly re-created in this collection of poems. Where most biographies stick to the facts of what a person did, this one also touches on the man's character and values. Children will learn about Chávez, but, more importantly, they will learn the important lessons he taught, and they will be able to apply them to their own lives.

(Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0761451722 / ISBN-13: 978-0761451723

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Darby—Jonathon Scott Fuqua (4-6)

darbyIt is 1926, and nine-year-old Darby creates a stir in her small South
Carolina town by writing columns for the local newspaper urging whites to treat blacks as equals.

(Candlewick, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0763622907 / ISBN-13: 978-0763622909

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Eagle Song—Joseph Bruchac (4-6)

Eagle Song

Danny Bigtree, fresh from the Mohawk reservation, is taunted by his new Brooklyn schoolmates. The students move toward greater understanding and peace after they learn the story of Hiawatha, the Iroquois Peacemaker.

 

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The Great Little Madison—Jean Fritz (4-6)

The Great Little Madison—Jean FritzThis biography traces the events and ideas that led James Madison
to become a great champion of a strong union and the Father of the Constitution.

(Putnam Juvenile, 1998) [©1989]
ISBN-10: 0399217681 / ISBN-13: 978-0399217685.

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—Grades 7-8—

Chains—Laurie Halse Anderson (7-8)

Chains—Laurie Halse AndersonThis fast-paced novel reveals the heartache and struggles of a country and slave fighting for freedom. The characters are well developed, and the situations are realistic. An author's note gives insight into issues surrounding the Revolutionary War and the fight for the nation's freedom even though 20 percent of its people were in chains.

(Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1416905855 / ISBN-13: 978-1416905851

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Hitch—Jeanette Ingold (7-8)

Hitch—Jeanette IngoldOut of work and out of money, Moss Trawnley signs up for a “hitch” in
the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), helping Montana ranchers facing Depression and drought.

(Harcourt Children’s Books, 1st ed., 2006)
ISBN-10: 0152047476 / ISBN-13: 978-0152047474

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Lincoln Shot. A President’s Life Remembered—Barry Denenberg (7-8)

Lincoln Shot. A President’s Life Remembered—Barry DenenbergNoted children’s book biographer Barry Denenberg, award-winning illustrator Christopher Bing, and book designer Rich Deas collaborate on an intimate portrait of Abraham Lincoln. This arresting combination of Bing’s award-wining illustrations, plus archival photography and period typefaces and design is presented as a 19th century newspaper memorial edition.

(Feiwel & Friends, 2008)
ISBN-13: 9780312370138

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Warriors Don’t Cry—Melba Pattillo Beals (7-8)

Warriors Don’t Cry—Melba Pattillo BealsMelba Beals recounts her experience as one of the “Little Rock Nine,” the group of students who led the way to desegregation.

First choice:
ISBN-10:
0671866389 / ISBN-13: 978-0671866389
Second choice:
ISBN-10:
0671866397 / ISBN-13: 978-0671866396

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Grades 9-12

American Creation: triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the republic—Joseph Ellis (9-12)

American Creation: triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the republic—Joseph EllisA brilliant examination of the period between the War of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase. Six stories, each centering on a significant creative achievement or failure, combine to portray often flawed men and their efforts to lay the republic's foundation.

(Knopf, 2007)
ISBN-10: 030726369X / ISBN-13: 978-0307263698

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Killer Angels—Michael Shaara (9-12)

Killer Angels—Michael ShaaraMichael Shaara won the Pulitzer Prize for this riveting and unforgettable novel about the Battle of Gettysburg.

(Ballantine Books, 2001) [Ó 1974]
ISBN-10: 0345444124 / ISBN-13: 978-0345444127


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Lincoln in His Own Words—Milton Meltzer (9-12)

Lincoln in His Own Words—Milton MeltzerHistorian Milton Melzer contributes context and commentary on the life and times, ideas, and achievements of Lincoln. Otherwise he lets Lincoln speak for himself.

Stephen Alcorn (ill.) (1993)
First choice:
Harcourt; 1st edition (October 1, 1993) ISBN-10: 0152454373 / ISBN-13: 978-0152454371
Second choice:
Sandpiper; Reprint edition (January 1, 2009) ISBN-10: 0152064362 / ISBN-13: 978-0152064365

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Carver: A Life in Poems—Marilyn Nelson (9-12)

MCarver: A Life in Poems—Marilyn Nelsonarilyn Nelson’s lyrical poems, complemented by black and white photographs, speak eloquently about the inspiring life and character of George Washington Carver.

(Front Street imprint of Boyds Mill Press, 1st ed., 2001)
ISBN-10: 1886910537 / ISBN-13: 978-1886910539

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Twelve Angry Men—Reginald Rose (9-12)

Twelve Angry Men—Reginald RoseThis stage play, recounting the deliberations of a twelve-man jury in a murder case, examines the complexity of justice in a democratic society.

(Penguin Classics, 2006) [written in 1954]
ISBN-10: 0143104403 / ISBN-13: 978-0143104407

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The Souls of Black Folk—W. E. B. DuBois (9-12)

The Souls of Black Folk—W. E. B. DuBois

Looking back at Emancipation and its effects, DuBois’s proclamation that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line” anticipates and advances the civil rights movement.

(Oxford University Press, 2007) [written in 1903]
ISBN-10: 0192806785 / ISBN-13: 978-0192806789

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—Bonus—

The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

The Civil War: An Illustrated History—Geoffrey Ward, Ric Burns, Ken Burns (Bonus)

The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns The Civil War: An Illustrated History

In the acclaimed, best-selling companion volume to the PBS series, text is interwoven with more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs, paintings, lithographs, and maps in full color.

(DVD set released 2004)
(to be purchased directly at a discount from PBS)

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Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding Document—ed. Christian Y. Dupont (Bonus)

Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding DocumentThis handsome volume features images and artifacts from the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection at the University of Virginia, and includes scholarly essays and biographies of the Declaration’s signers.

(University of Virginia Press, 2008)
(to be reprinted and purchased by National Trust for the Humanities)

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