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Picturing America Bookshelf

Four thousand libraries received the “Picturing America” Bookshelf—a collection of seventeen classic hardcover books for young readers, all on the “Picturing America” theme.  In addition, libraries received three of these books in Spanish translation and two “Books for Readers of All Ages.”   

 

 Kindergarten to Grade 3

Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley

A biography of the American poet whose compassion led him to nurse soldiers during the Civil War, to give voice to the nation’s grief at Lincoln’s assassination, and to capture the true American spirit in verse.

*Harvesting Hope: the Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
A biography of Cesar Chavez, from age ten when he and his family lived happily on their Arizona ranch, to age thirty-eight when he led a peaceful protest against California migrant workers’ miserable working conditions.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
An illustrated version of the narrative poem which describes Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775 to warn the people of the Boston countryside of an impending attack by the British.

Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie Taylor
C.J., who aspires to be as great a jazz musician as his uncle, searches for Uncle Click’s hat in preparation for an important photograph and inadvertently gathers some of the greatest musicians of 1950s Harlem to join in on the picture.

*Cosechando esperanza: La historia de César Chávez by Kathleen Krull SPANISH VERSION
(translated by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy)

Grades 4 to 6

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.  The satisfying rhythms of their lives are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever.

American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
A collection of tall tales about such American folk heroes as Sally Ann Thunder, Ann Whirlwind, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan.

On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
A boy in Illinois remembers the homefront years of World War II, especially his two heroes–his brother in the Air Force and his father, who fought in the previous war.

Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Robinet
Born with a withered leg and hand, Pascal, who is about twelve years old, joins other former slaves in a search for a farm and the freedom which it promises.

The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith
Captain Meriwether Lewis’s dog, Seaman, describes his experiences as he accompanies his master on the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the uncharted western wilderness.

Grades 7 to 8

 The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell Freedman

A biography of the Oglala leader who relentlessly resisted the white man’s attempt to take over Indian lands.

*The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Illustrations by Arthur Rackham accompany this retelling of Irving’s classic tale of a headless horseman.

Across America on an Emigrant Train by Jim Murphy
Combines an account of Robert Louis Stevenson’s experiences as he traveled from New York to California by train in 1879 and a description of the building and operation of railroads in nineteenth-century America.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s first novel about Tom and Huck, one of the world’s best-known and best-loved books, is published here with all the original True W. Williams illustrations.

*La leyenda de Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving SPANISH VERSION
(translated by Manuel Broncano)

Grades 9 to 12

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis

Having considered Thomas Jefferson in his National Book Award winner, American Sphinx, Ellis expands his horizons to include Jefferson’s “brothers,” e.g., Washington, Madison, and Burr.

Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge
A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.

*Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
Thirty-five years ago, when “searching for America” was not yet the cliche it has since become, Steinbeck hit the highways with his French poodle, Charley.  Their varied experiences comprise several slices of small-town, back-roads Americana.

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
French writer and politician Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Verneuil to an aristocratic Norman family.  In 1831, he was sent to the United States to report on the prison system, which produced a significant work called Democracy in America (1835–40), a treatise on American society and its political system

*Viajes con Charley – en busca de América by John Steinbeck SPANISH VERSION
(translated by José Manuel Alvarez Flórez)

Books for Readers of All Ages

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance

More than one hundred leading authors and illustrators donate their talents to a collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, and poetry which looks at America’s history through the prism of the White House.

1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough
A history of the American Revolution that draws on personal correspondence and period diaries also features thirty-five removable facsimiles of historical documents, including Washington’s commissions as commander-in-chief.

Learn more about the We the People Bookshelf project.

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