ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Episode 44 — Tales of Young Americans
|Grades||K – 5|
|Podcast Series||Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series
|Original Air Date||Published April 13, 2012|
Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.
The Town That Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story
Author: Lisa Papp
Illustrator: Robert Papp
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2011
This story is set during the War of 1812. The British fleet is on the hunt to destroy the town of St. Michaels, Maryland, a small town that is known for building some of America’s best ships. Young Henry wants to help defeat the British more than anything, but he is too young to fight. His mother sends him to take two lanterns to his father, who is in the militia and getting ready for the battle. While running this important errand, Henry has a bright idea to fool the British!
Author: Gloria Whelan
Illustrator: Mike Benny
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2009
This book is about three young slaves, Ella May, Bobby, and Sue, who have an important job to do each night. After a long day of picking cotton in the fields, their parents send them up to the main house to listen to what the masters are saying and bring back information to the other slaves. Sometimes they hear things that bring fear, like when Ella May hears her master talk about selling her father, a reality that her friend Sue is already living. But sometimes they hear things that bring joy and jubilee, like when she and her friends carry back the message that Abraham Lincoln has been elected president.
Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story
Author: Judy Young
Illustrator: Bill Farnsworth
Publisher: Sleeping Bear, 2009
Rose is a young girl on the Oregon Trail. After many days of riding on never-ending dusty plains, Rose is excited when the wagon train stops to make camp near a river. When she goes down to the river to get water, she sees a young Indian girl. The young Indian is named Minnow, a name earned by her love of water and her great swimming ability. Rose and Minnow are curious but cautious about one another. However, when Rose’s life is in danger and only Minnow can save her, they both find that friendship takes precedence over any fears they had about one another.
A Book for Black-Eyed Susan
Author: Judy Young
Illustrator: Doris Ettlinger
Publisher: Sleeping Bear, 2011
Cora is a 10-year-old girl on the Oregon Trail. Sadly, she has just lost her mother during childbirth when the story begins. Cora helps her Aunt Alma care for the baby, and they decide on the name Susan because her eyes are black like her mother’s favorite flowers, black-eyed Susans. To pass time on the trail, Cora begins to make quilt squares to help her remember her family and her long journey. One evening her father tells her that he has decided to let Cora’s aunt raise Susan. Cora’s heart breaks, and at their final good-bye she gives her baby sister all of the quilt squares she’s bound into a book. It is Cora’s most special possession and one that she hopes will help her sister to know about her family. The story ends with a grown-up Cora seeing her quilt book in an unexpected way.
The Lucky Star
Author: Judy Young
Illustrator: Chris Ellison
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2008
Ruth’s Momma was always counting her lucky stars. And during the Great Depression that was a difficult thing to do. It was hard for Ruth to count her lucky stars when she found out that her town couldn’t afford to keep the school open and she wouldn’t be going to fifth grade. And even harder to count when her father found a job that took him far away from home. Aside from her own disappointments, the one thing that Ruth can’t get out of her mind is her little sister, Janie. Ruth wonders how Janie will learn to read without going to school. Remembering her mom’s words, Ruth decides that she can be her sister’s lucky star by teaching her sister and the other neighborhood children how to read.
Listen in as Emily chats with Judy Young, one of the authors of the Tales of Young American series. Judy discusses her research process and how she looks for “seeds” of history that she can grow into stories. She also shares which time period she would like to visit if she could go back in time!