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Some Fun Halloween Picture Books

by Miriam Downey 29. October 2013 19:28


Well, it's Halloween. It's one of the most fun times of the year for children. My little granddaughter who is two is trying to figure it out. Really! You go to houses and get candy! How amazing is that!

My father used to tell us about Halloween out in the country in the 1930s. There were more tricks than treats during that era, but by the time I was a child, it was a grand adventure much like it is now. I wrote a blog posting in October of 2012 that you might want to check out. It tells about a visit to Sleepy Hollow in Tarrytown, New York and lists some books about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I am including this year a list of some funny Halloween picture books for younger children. Check them out!

Here are five Halloween books that are available from We Give Books. You can read them online just by signing in. There is no obligation.

Bug Out! The World's Creepiest, Crawliest Critters by Ginjer Clark

Many Marvelous Monsters by Ed Heck

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex

Halloween by DK Publishing

H is for Haunted House by Tanya Lee Stone

Here are some other funny Halloween books that you can find at the library or bookstore.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan Berenstain

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

Space Case by Edward Marshall

Have a safe and fun Halloween



Blog | Libraries, Library Books

Beginning chapter books make good readers

by Miriam Downey 22. October 2013 09:17

Early readers or beginning readers are the earliest "chapter books" that a kid can get. They are short with a few basic words and are broken up into "chapters" of two or three pages. Early readers love them because they feel like they are reading a book with real chapters. These books range from 32 to 60 pages long, with pictures, and most of them have been designed with strict guidelines for vocabulary and sentence structure. They are also graded so that kids can develop their reading skills and become independent readers. Many companies have books for beginning readers; some of these are called Step into Reading, Penguin Young Readers and the I Can Read! books.I would recommend these books for kindergarteners who are reading as well as first and second graders. Unfortunately, you will not find many of these books online, but they are available in libraries and bookstores. I did discover that Amazon has numerous beginning readers in electronic format, either free or for a very small price. You can find additional beginning reader books at We Give Books or other online book sources.

Children love to read about the same characters, like Pinky and Rex or Amelia Bedelia. I highly recommend that if your child finds a series of early readers that he/she likes and find more books from the same series. There is a real comfort level in reading about the same characters, and once your child is familiar with the characters, many of the words come easier.

Recently I had the experience of working with a large publishing company to make a list of the best books for children. In the course of making the list, we found more than 150 extraordinary books that beginning readers will love to read. I will include many of the books from this list today and next week I will add to the list. Happy reading!


The Cam Jansen series by David Adler

Dinosaur Hunter by Elaine Marie Alpin

The Snowball by Jennifer Armstrong

Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold

The Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold

Fire Cat by Esther Averill

On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green by Keith Baker

The Little Rat series by Monika Bang-Campbell

A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker

Sam the Minuteman by Nathaniel Benchley

Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss

Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner

 I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown

Golly Sisters Go West by Betsy Byars

My Brother, Ant by Betsy Byers

 Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow

Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr

The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr

Big Egg by Molly Coxe

Aunt Eater Loves a Mystery by Doug Cushman

Inspector Hopper by Doug Cushmen

Stinky by Eleanor Davis

Wombat and Fox: Summer in the City by Terry Denton

26 Fairmont Avenue by Tomie de Paola

Snakes by Patricia Deumuth

The Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

The Quick Brown Fox Cub by Julia Donaldson

Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman

Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan

The Cool Crazy Crickets to the Rescue by David Elliott

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz

Now I'm Reading: Amazing Annimals by Nora Gaydos

Now I'm Reading: Animal Antics by Nora Gaydos

See the Yak Yak by Charles Ghigna

Chicken Said, "Cluck" by Judy Ann Grant

The Princess Posey series by Stephanie Greene





Reading Great Books Online

by Miriam Downey 17. September 2013 08:13

Because Free World U is an online school, parents and students are always looking for great books to read online. Today, I would like to share some of my sources for finding books that are available Free online. Although I have mentioned this in previous postings, copyrights for books last for 75 years. This means that a book is not legally available to be free online until it is 75 years old. The good news is that most literature we consider to be classic may be available online if it has been digitalized.

Occasionally, authors allow their out-of-print books to appear on book websites, or occasionally books by publishers that have gone out of business will also show up on free websites. This is particularly true of picture books. There are websites of out-of-print short stories as well.


Here are some places to find free ebooks

The most prominent place to find classic ebooks is Project Gutenberg. Thousands of out-of-print books and books whose copyrights have expired can be found on Project Gutenberg. Let's consider Mother Goose rhymes as an example. If you are looking for a book of Mother Goose rhymes, you would type "Mother Goose" in the Gutenberg's book catalog search and up would come a listing of all the editions of Mother Goose rhymes that are available in their database. There are many choices, and after you pick the one you want, you can either read the book online or download it to your computer or device.

Another way to access classic books is to go to Amazon and search for the title. Recently, I was looking for Wuthering Heights for my Kindle. I went to Amazon and was able to choose the free version which then downloaded to my Kindle. The process is the same as going to the Project Gutenberg website.

My favorite source for online picture books is We Give Books. For every picture book read online, a book is sent to a prominent charity. I notice more and more current books appearing on this website. For instance, the great children's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper can be found on We Give Books. Another site for classic books is Lit To Go. The site is sponsored by the University of South Florida, and it has a lot of Spanish editions as well as English editions. It also has books on audio.

Starfall is a website that has a lot of easy reader books for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Starfall utilizes phonics and simple stories to teach reading. The stories are cute, and the settings are fun.

Another great source for online reading is East of the Web. This is a site for short stories, which are arranged by categories, including children's stories, crime, fiction, horror, humor, nonfiction, romance, sci-fi, and interactive. It is very user friendly and a delight for the reader.

Perhaps you have discovered another source of online literature that I haven't discussed. Send me a comment, and I will check it out and post it on this blog.

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A New Year in the Library

by Miriam Downey 4. September 2013 17:32

I want to welcome new students to the library at Free World U. Every week or so, I will post an article about books that I consider to be significant or important for students to read. I will also include websites that will be of interest as they relate to subjects in the curriculum. About a year ago, I spent three months working with a group of librarians creating a list of 3000 books that we all considered to be the best books written for children and teenagers. This year, I will highlight those books in my blog postings. Stay tuned for some delightful books, old and new.

I thought it might be helpful at the beginning of another school year to remind us all about where the suggested library books are on the FWU website.

Over the past year, I have added books in two kinds to the library--books that can be found on the Internet and books that can be purchased or found at your local library. The two categories are Online Books and Other Great Books. The books that will be found online are primarily the classics. Copyrights generally last for 75 years. That means if your eighth grader wants to read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, which was published in 2006, he/she is most likely not going to find it on the Internet. If it can be found, it is probably a pilfered or pirated copy of the book, and it will be taken down from the Internet as soon as it is discovered by the author or the publisher. You can buy the paperback at the bookstore, purchase the e-book, or visit your local library to check it out.

On the other hand, if your child wants to read Aesop's Fables or Anne of Green Gables, both of these books are available online since the copyrights have expired, and the books are in the public domain. Those classic books can be read online from Project Gutenberg or downloaded free to your computer, Nook, Kindle, or other device. You can find more information about downloading free books on my blog posting, which can be found here.

The other part of the library website includes Research Resources, a listing of websites that can help students with research questions and includes links to the websites. Like the library books, this resource is fluid, and websites are added and subtracted as necessary.

I welcome your comments and your questions. As the librarian, I am here to help with book questions, comments about blog postings, and references for research. I have had 30 years of experience in K-12 libraries, and I love to be of help to the students and parents of Free World U.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

by Miriam Downey 25. July 2013 07:02

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about baseball games between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The game last Sunday took 4 hours and 46 minutes. This caused me to ponder about the kind of people who could sit at a baseball game for 4 hours and 46 minutes. Lots of people, apparently. The article also noted that it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Fenway Park in Boston to Yankee Stadium in New York--an hour longer to play a game than to drive to the game!

Of course, Americans love baseball. True fans will tell you that the game has nothing to do with the action and everything to do with the mind games that are part of the sport's intrigue. I was very interested in the movie "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, that detailed the strategy of a baseball team manager to create a winning team. That movie was based on a book by Michael Lewis called Moneyball:The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. My teenage grandson who is fascinated by sports statistics really enjoyed both the book and the movie.

There are many biographies of baseball heroes--many more than I can put in this short blog posting. Pick a baseball here and there's a biography about him. I can also recommend novels by Matt Christopher, Duane Decker, and John Tunis for kids who just can't read enough sports books. Another fun series is the Southside Sluggers Baseball Mysteries by Daniel Greenberg.

Here are some other baseball books that are well worth reading. All of them can be found at your local library or bookstore.

Biographies of Baseball Greats

Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler (grades k-3). The moving story of a baseball hero who died too young.

My Greatest Day in Baseball by Eliot Cohen (grades 4-8). Short biographies of 38 of the greatest baseball players.

Teammates by Peter Golenbock (grades k-6). When Branch Rickey recruited Jackie Robinson to play baseball.

When Willard Met Babe Ruth by Donald Hall (easy reader). In 1917, Willard met Babe Ruth and sparked the interest of three generations of his family.


The Longest Home Run by Roch Carrier (easy reader). A girl hits the longest home run ever. Very fun book.

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (K-6) A Caldecott award winner illustrated by Christopher Bing makes the old poem new again.

Heart of a Champion and Painting the Black by Carl Deuker (grades 9-12). Coming of age novels with baseball as the theme.

Grandmas at Bat by Emily McCully (grades k-3). Grandmas are the coaches of the kids' baseball team.

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki (grades k-6). Children in a Japanese internment camp during World War II create baseball teams to pass the time.

MadCat by Kathy Mackel (grades 9-12). A novel about high school softball.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (grades 4-6). A delightful story about a Chinese immigrant girl who becomes fascinated with Jackie Robinson and baseball.

Heat by Mike Lupica (grades 4-6). Michael dreams of being a professional baseball player.

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella (grades 9-12). The classic baseball story that became the movie "Field of Dreams."


An Inside Look at Spring Training by Joan Anderson (grades 4-6). A photo essay about spring training through the eyes of a batboy.

The Super Book of Baseball by Ron Berler (grades 4-6). Everything you wanted to know about baseball.

Careers in Baseball by Howard Blumenthal (grades 9-12). What are the options for people who might want a career in baseball?

The All American Girls Professional Baseball  League by Margot Galt (grades 4-6). For twelve years there was a professional women's baseball league. The movie "A League of Their Own" came from that era.

Latinos in Beisbol by James Cockcroft (grades 9-12). Discusses the history of Latinos in American baseball.

Baseball in the Barrios by Henry Horenstein (grades k-3). How baseball is played in Venezuela.



Blog | English | Libraries, Library Books

Reading Apps and Free Online Books for Beginning Readers

by Miriam Downey 17. June 2013 07:35

Here's something to try. There are several new reading apps out for the summer that you might want to try with your new readers. Beginning readers lose the most over the summer months, At the same time, children don't want to be tied down to the regular grind of school work. A book to read on the computer or a mobile device may help them retain what they have already learned and not cause them to lose the knowledge they gained over the regular school term.

An app for your computer, phone, or tablet may be just the ticket for your child. The following list is not exhaustive by any means, but just offers a suggestion for you to look at. A disclaimer: I have looked at all of these apps, but have not downloaded any of them to my computer or mobile devices. Give them a try and let us know how they work. Some of them are free: some have fees. Most apps have free trials, so I would certainly try out the free trial.

Apps for Mobile Devices

Penguin Leveled Readers. This is a free app for IPad or IPhone. Several levels of readers are available with nice stories. This app comes highly recommended.

Booksy: Learn to Read Platform for K-2. A free app for IPad. Mostly science and animal topics. Leveled.

LAZ Readers are an app for ITunes for your Mac or PC. This is an extensive library of books by Language Technologies. It has a cost but they offer a free trial and free samples.

Big Universe Learning has many books that are online or available for apps. This site has a fee, but they have a free trial.

Free Books Available Online

Starfall is a very nice phonics reading system. Lots of good stories.

We Give Books has a very good selection of free books. You need to register, but then the books are free. The advantage of this site is that many of the books are by famous children's authors.

The International Children's Digital Library is a great source for online books. The advantage of this site is that many of the books are bilingual.


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Everyone Likes Dogs: Great Books About Dogs

by Miriam Downey 28. May 2013 18:11

 I recently read an article by a veterinarian who said that there are certain breeds of dogs that he isn't seeing much of any more. The list included Irish setters, cocker spaniels, and collies among others. All three of these are breeds of dogs that have played important roles in my life. The writer of the article suggested that the popularity of certain dog breeds has to do, in part, with the breeds of dogs that are being shown on television. He suggested, for instance, that when the show Lassie was no longer on the air, the popularity of collies waned, and that when the Taco Bell ads featured the talking Chihuahua, the popularity of the Chihuahua dramatically increased.

Many of us have dogs that we love. I inherited a mutt named Buck when my son and family moved into a third floor condo in Chicago. No room for a dog. Buck came to live at our house. He was already an old dog when he came, and he lived with us for five years. Every afternoon at 3 pm, he would come and lay his head on my lap. "Leave your desk. It's time to go for a walk," he seemed to be saying to me. Such a wonderful dog!

This week, let's look at some chapter books and novels where dogs play an important role. Several of these books are available as ebooks, while the rest are available at your library or book store.

Chapter Books

Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston. A true story of an incredible dog that became the foster parent to orphaned animals in the African bush.

Lad: A Dog by Albert Payson Terhune. Lad is a collie dog with a soul. The first in a series of books.

Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight.The first book in a series about a beautiful collie. There is a movie and an entire television series based on this book. There is also a picture book series by Rosemary Wells based on Eric Knight's books.

Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard. The first book in a series about an Irish Setter. Wonderful adventure series.

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Yeller is a stray dog on the Texas frontier. A Newbery award book. Also a movie.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Justor. Milo and his watchdog named Tock take a memorable magical journey.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. A boy and his two hounds roam the countryside. A children's classic.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Marty finds an abused beagle named Shiloh in the hills, but there is nothing but trouble when he brings the dog home.


Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler. Katie's adoption of Seamus, an orphaned dog, changes her whole world.

Marley and Me by John Grogan. The golden retriever Marley plays an important role in a young family's life. Also a delightful movie.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DeCamillo. Opal goes into the grocery store and comes out with a stray dog. She names him Winn Dixie after the store. An excellent movie as well.

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat. The absolute funniest dog book ever!

Sounder by William H. Armstrong. Sounder is the pet dog of an African American sharecropper family. Newbery award book and a great movie.

Books About Choosing and Caring for Dogs

Complete Dog Book for Kids by the American Kennel Club.

How to Speak Dog by Sarah Whitehead.

Puppy Training for Kids by Sarah Whitehead.

My Dog! A Kid's Guide to Keeping a Happy and Healthy Pet by Michael J. Rosen.



Graphic Novels for Middle and High School Students

by Miriam Downey 12. May 2013 12:28

The graphic novel is a genre that has evolved over the last 20 years. Although they have some aspects of a comic book, they are very different from comic books in topic and style. The graphic novel combines a story line that is a complete plot with a lot of illustrations. Some of the dialogue appears in bubbles; other dialogue appears in text. Some parents might be concerned that graphic novels are either not appropriate for students or are not "good" literature, but they have evolved to the point that many graphic books are receiving awards from the major book awards. Even classic children's series like The Babysitter's Club and Nancy Drew (and even Jane Eyre) are now appearing as graphic novels.

Here are some ways that graphic books promote reading and literacy:

  • They can motivate reluctant readers to read. Educators report great success getting reluctant readers to read graphic novels.
  • They are great for struggling readers, special needs students, and English-language learners. In the same way picture books work for younger children, graphic novels work for middle school and high school students.
  • They are highly accepted by librarians and educators.
  • They foster the acquisition of critical reading skills.
  • They have many of the same literary themes as classic literature.

Frankly, I love graphic books. I was first exposed to them when my book club read the graphic memoir Persepolis by Marjane Santrapi. It is such an intensely written and illustrated book that I was completely enthralled. It is the story of the Iranian Revolution of the 1970s told through the eyes of a little Iranian girl. It was made into a movie which was nominated for an Oscar. It is appropriate for high school students.

Another of my favorites is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This novel is based on the author's experiences as a Native American who left the reservation to attend another high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Alexie won the National Book Award for this memoir.

For middle school students, of course there are the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. These are widely popular books that reflect all the anxieties of middle school age kids, and they are very funny too. There are several movies, and Kinney has a series of cartoon classes where he teaches kids to draw cartoons like he does. You can find the videos here.

Here are some other graphic novels that your teenager will enjoy.

Bone by Jeff Smith. Hilarious and action packed. 10 volumes in all. (middle school)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier. A memoir of the author in her middle school years.

Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi. There are 5 books in this fantastical series. (middle school)

The Arrival by Shaun Tan. A remarkable wordless graphic novel about immigration. (high school)

The Good Neighbors series by Holly Black. Three books in the series about a mysterious, darkly beautiful world. (middle School)

Maus: A Survivors Tale by Art Spiegelman. An incredible portrayal of the Holocaust through the eyes of Spiegelman's father. (high school)

If your teenager is truly interested in graphic novels, he/she will want to look at this website. It is an excellent resource.



World War II Revisited: Accessible Books for Kids

by Miriam Downey 8. March 2013 05:27


Maxwell, my 15-year-old grandson, is fascinated by World War II. His great grandfather served in the war in the Pacific, and Maxwell has some of his medals and pictures. He is taking a trip with his father this summer to Dunkirk and Normandy as well as some of the other infamous sites of the European war.

I am currently reading a remarkable biography of the war with Japan called Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner, whose plane was bombed down over the Pacific in 1943. One of my other grandsons read the book last year and was fortunate to hear Louis Zamperini, now in his 90s, speak at our nearby university. I would highly recommend this book to students of high school age for a look at an important time in American history.

Thousands of books have been written about World War II. The following list includes books from several genres: fiction, biography, and history. Of course, this cannot possibly be an exhaustive list, but these are books that are accessible to young people. The war continues to be an important topic for authors of all types. We are losing the last of the veterans of World War II, and this generation of children only know of the war as history. All of these books will be available at your local library or bookstore. Following the book list are a couple of websites that may be of interest.

Non-Fiction History

Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II by Penny Colman. Describes the work of women war correspondents who covered all the theaters of the war. (grades 6=12)

Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis by Peter Nelson. This tells about a young boy who helped solve some of the mysteries about the sinking of the Indianapolis 55 years after it happened. (grades 6-12)

Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II by Penny Colman. Describes the many jobs women took on during the war. (grades 6-9)

Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins. The story of how Paris was saved from Hitler in 1944. (grades 9-12)

Beyond Courage by Doreen Rappaport. Describes the ways that teens and young adults stood up to the terrorism of the Nazis during the war. (grades 8-12)


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Newbery Medal winner about the Danish Christians and their efforts to rescue Jews. (grades 4-8)

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green. The friendship between a young Jewish girl in Arkansas and a German prisoner of war. (grades 5-8)

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki. Japanese American boys play baseball in an internment camp during the war. (grades 4-8)

Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall. A 12-year-old boy and his dog seek safety in war-torn England. (grades 5-9)

For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy by Kimberly Bradley. A novel based on the experiences of a young woman spy during the French Resistance. (grades 9-12)

Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World WarTwo by Joseph Bruchac. Young Navajo Marines use their language to send coded messages during the war. (grades 8-12)

A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer. A Hawaiian boy tries to find his father after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (grades 6-9)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. An award-winning novel about two young women involved in the war effort in Great Britain. (grades 10-12)


No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel. The story of the author's journey during World War II trying to escape from Poland. (grades 5-9)

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This is probably the most famous memoir of Jews during World War II. (grades 6-9)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The story of an Olympic runner whose plane was bombed down in the Pacific. (grades 8-12)

The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause by Damon Gause. A firsthand account of a soldier who escapes from the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. (grades 8-12)

Hiding in the Spotlight by Greg Dawson. The story of Zhanna and Frina, piano proteges who were living in the Ukraine when the Nazis invaded. They entertained their way through the war and escaped the death march. (grades 9-12)


The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color. This is a PBS series with some rare color photographs.

Pictures of World War II. Pictures and writings from the National Archives.

Life in World War II: The Photos We Remember. The story of the war as it was portrayed in Life and Time magazines.




Heroes of Diversity: Biographies for Inauguration Week

by Miriam Downey 26. January 2013 07:16

As I was watching the inauguration festivities this week, I was struck by the racial and ethnic diversity of the people on the stage with the president, from Justice Sotomayor, who administered the oath of office to Vice President Biden, to President Obama himself. Then, as the camera panned the crowd, I saw one of the most diverse crowds I have every seen. This was followed by an inaugural parade that had Native American horseback riders, Mexican dancers, and African American college bands.

I have collected a variety of biographies about some of the heroes of this diverse nation of ours. Some names will be familiar; some you won't know at all. Some of the books are available from the We Give Books website, while others will be available at your library or bookstore. Finish our month of biographies by reading one or more of these inspiring biographies. You will need to log on to the We Give Books website to access their online books, but I think that you will be glad that you did because there are several hundred books on that site.

PB means picture book or easy reader or picture book for the early grades; MR means books for children in grades 4-8; and YA means books for high school students. Enjoy!

African Americans

PB The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bidner. Two African American pilots fly across the country during the Great Depression.

PB Who is Barack Obama? by Roberta Edwards. An easy reader of the the president's life.

MR Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves Deputy US Marshall by Vaunda Nelson. The story of a colorful career.

MR Free at Last: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by DK Publishing. An easy reader of MLK's life.

MR The Voice that Changed a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman. A biography of the singer who broke racial barriers.

MR Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell. Sojourner Truth was one of the original abolitionists.

YA Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. The amazing story of the escaped slave and abolitionist.


PB  Emma's Poem: The voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser. The story of how Emma Lazarus came to write the poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty.

PB Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford. How Tubman's faith sustained her on the road to freedom.

MR Women Explorers by Julia Cummins. Adventurous women.

MR Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming. The drama of Earhart's adventurous life.

YA Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Stone. How women tried to become astronauts in the early days of the Mercury astronaut program.

Hispanic Americans

MR  Soledad O'Brien: Television Journalist by David Robson. Highlights the life of the television journalist.

MR Sonia Sotomayor: First Hispanic US Supreme Court Justice by Lisa McElroy. On stage at the inauguration this year.

MR  Roberto Clemente by Thomas W. Gilbert. The story of the Puerto Rican American baseball player.

YA Ellen Ochoa by Judy L. Hasday. A biography of the first Hispanic woman to travel in space.

YA Cesar  Chavez  by Consuelo Rodriguez. A portrait of the man who organized farm workers.

Asian Americans

MR I.M. Pei by Mary Englar. A biography of the architect.

MR Yo-Yo Ma by Mary Olmstead. A profie of the world-renowned cellist.

YA Amy Tan: Weaver of Asian-American Tales by Ann Angel. Tan is an important Asian-American novelist.

Native Americans

PB Pocahontas by DK Publishing. Easy reader about native woman who maintained the peace between English colonists and Native Americans.

PB This Land is My Land by George Littlechild. The memories of a member of the Plains Cree Nation.

MR King Philip the Indian Chief by Ester Averill. An account of King Philip's War.

MR Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan LeFlesche Picotte by Jeri Ferris. The story of the first Native American woman doctor.

YA Sitting Bull and His World by Albert Marrin. One man's fight against the destruction of his tribe.

 If you need other book selections, please add a comment to this posting.

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