Abraham Lincoln

Homeschool Reading Essentials

Uncle Tom's Cabin remains a landmark classic that's never gone out of print. Highly controversial throughout its long life, Uncle Tom, Sambo and little Eva have come into the American language as bywords and as human portraits of the injustices of slavery. Featuring the first African-American hero in literature, the heart wrenching tale of slavery, being "sold down the river" and the breakup of families presents a stirring look at the 19th century's white views of "the peculiar institution" of slavery. 511 pages, softcover with introduction by Alfred Kazin.

This is the unforgettable story of young Jethro Creighton who comes of age during the turbulent years of the Civil War. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. A 1965 Newbery Honor book.

This classic novel looks at a young civil war soldier's struggle with the horrors of war. Crane's precise prose portrays the physical atrocities of war, as well as its psychological affects, in this American standard. First published in 1895, The Red Badge of Courage features clear realism and masterful depictions of the emotions felt by the soldiers in the thick of it.

The Heroes of History series chronicles the true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.

At age six the sharp bite of a whip taught Harriet Tubman what it meant to be a slave. The other slaves scoffed when Harriet resolved to escape north someday. Little did they know that this girl would one day lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

For ages 10 and up.

Brady could never be trusted with secrets. His family knows that he cannot keep quiet when he should.  But when Brady discovers an Underground Railroad station near his family's farm, it becomes more important than ever before that he does not say a word, because now lives are at stake: his family, friends, and the men, women, and children they are helping.  As Brady is confronted with the slavery controversy, he is forced to make his own decision about what he believes. Can he earn his father’s respect and trust? From Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz. 224 pages, softcover. Ages 8 and up.

My Bondage and My Freedom represents ten years of Frederick Douglass' reflections following his legal emancipation in 1846, and captipulted him into the spotlight as the foremost spokesman for American blacks--free and slave. 364 pages, softcover.

The Landmark Book Series is well revered for its simple storytelling style that's packed with historical information. Read of the fateful battle of Gettysburg, it's major players, and the aftermath that spawned the Gettysburg Address. 149 pages, softcover. Grades 6 & up.

Thirteen-year-old Jessie Bollier earns pennies on the docks of New Orleans playing his fife. He suddenly finds himself thrown aboard a slave ship when he is kidnapped! His job on the ship is to provide music while shackled slaves "dance" to keep their muscles strong and their bodies profitable. Jessie grows increasingly sickened by the greed, brutality, and inhumanity of the slave trade. But nothing prepares him for the ultimate horror he will witness before his nightmare ends--a horror that will change his life forever. Recommended for ages 11 to 14. The 1974 Newbery Medal winner.

Louisa May Alcott shares the innocence of girlhood in this classic coming of age story about four sisters-Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy are responsible for keeping a home while their father is off to war. At the same time, they must come to terms with their individual personalities-and make the transition from girlhood to womanhood. It can all be quite a challenge. But the March sisters, however different, are nurtured by their wise and beloved Marmee, bound by their love for each other and the feminine strength they share. Readers of all ages have fallen instantly in love with these Little Women. Their story transcends time-making this novel endure as a classic piece of American literature that has captivated generations of readers with their charm, innocence, and wistful insights.

Picture Books & Early Readers

Clara, a slave and seamstress on Home Plantation, dreams of freedom, not just for herself, but for her family and friends. When she overhears a conversation about the Underground Railroad, she has a flash of inspiration. Using scraps of cloth from her work in the Big House and scraps of information gathered from other slaves, she fashions a map that the master would never even recognize. From the award-winning author-illustrator team of Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome, this fictional tale of the Underground Railroad continues to inspire young readers decades after its original publication. 40 pages, hardcover. Ages 3 and up.

    We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. As Araminta she was a young girl whose father showed her the stars and the first steps on the path to freedom. This lush, lyrical multiple award-winning biography in verse begins with a glimpse of Harriet Tubman as an old woman, and travels back in time through the many roles she played through her life: spy, liberator, suffragist and more. 32 pages, softcover. Ages 4 and up.

      The woods are dark and dangerous. Slave catchers are out with their dogs. But high above the trees, the North Star shines down. Harriet Tubman is glad to see the star. It points the way to freedom. Tonight Harriet is helping slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. Will they make it? Find out in this exciting true story. Recommended for ages 7 to 9, grades 2 to 3.

      This is the untold story of Sallie, a dog whose life as a soldier began in a basket and ended as a Civil War hero.

      During the Civil War, Sallie came to the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry as a gift from a townsperson, but she quickly became a favorite among her men. She marched with them from battle to battle, always guarding the unit's colors, and even met President Lincoln. And over three long days at the battle of Gettysburg, Sallie stayed with the dead, guarded their bodies, and nearly died herself from hunger and thirst as the conflict raged on. Though she fell in battle, her loyalty was rewarded years later when her men met again on the battlefield at Gettysburg to erect her likeness in bronze so that she might eternally guard them. This beautiful story about a dog's dedication and loyalty shows that bravery comes in all shapes and forms!

      40 pages, hardcover. Ages 6-9 / Grades 1-4.

      Chapter Books - Excellent Historical Fiction

      Born Arminta Ross, young Harriet Tubman (named after her mother when she was full-grown) was a faithful strong girl growing up in the late 1800's as a slave in the south. Her faith was at the center of everything she did and she was tested at every turn. The story of her childhood is a record of courage and bravery. Even more, it's the story of God's faithfulness as he prepares her to eventually lead more than 300 people out of slavery through the Underground Railroad. For ages 8-12.

        The Heroes of History series chronicles the true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.

        Known during the Civil War as the "Angel of the Battlefield," remarkable Clara Barton risked everything to save countless lives on the frontlines of battle. Once a painfully timid child, Clara was as bold as a lion when it came to helping others, whether wayward schoolboys, natural-disaster victims, or dying soldiers.

        For ages 10 and up.

        In To Be a Slave by Julius Lester, A Newbery Honor Book, tweens will hear the words of several slaves and ex-slaves, that tell the story of their forced journey from Africa to the United States, where they worked in the fields and homes of their owners, while remaining passionate about freedom. Paperback, 160 pages. Ages 10-14

          The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers, and so the rumors fly. Is Delphine's companion a slave? Could they be spies for the South? Are the Pruitts traitors? A masterful tale of mystery and war, and a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact one person can have on another.

          Once a shy, timid child, Clara Barton (1821-1912) grew up to show great courage in dangerous and challenging circumstances, all because she wanted to help others. During the Civil War, Clara delivered supplies right to the battlefields, where she cared for hundreds, if not thousands, of wounded Union and Confederate soldiers. So she founded the American Red Cross and persuaded the U.S. government to support its important mission. Her legacy continues today in the lives of the many Red Cross workers who put the needs of others before their own - just as Clara did so courageously.

          The Heroes for Young Readers series introduces younger children to the lives of Christian heroes. Perfect for read-alouds or early independent readers, children will love the captivating rhyming poems and color illustrations. Recommended for ages 5 to 10.

          Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass was separated from his family, beaten, and was forced to work constantly-all because of his skin color. How could anyone overcome such odds? But overcome he did, as Frederick eventually became a famous abolitionist, author, statesman, and reformer. Read about how one of the most prominent figures in African American history paved the way for others to achieve their own freedom! 192 pages, paperback. Ages 8-12.

          In To the Front!: Clara Barton Braves the Battle of Antietam Claudia Friddell, readers will learn about the heroic efforts of Clara Barton during the Battle of Antietam. She and her team went onto the battlefield and nursed the wounded and dying, and also provided lanterns and medical supplies to the doctors on the battlefield. She continued on her path to be one of our country's greatest humanitarians and founder of the American Red Cross. Hardcover, 40 pages. Ages 7 to 10 years old.

          Born into slavery, young Harriet Tubman knew only hard work and hunger. Escape seemed impossible - certainly dangerous. Yet Harriet was strong-willed and courageous. "Some day," she said, "I'm going to be free."

          When she finally did escape North, by the secret route called the "Underground Railroad," Harriet didn't forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.

          Freedom Train is the exciting, true story of Harriet Tubman's bold and daring life. Recommended for grades 6 to 9, ages 12 and up.

          Follow the adventures of two orphaned teenage brothers who grow up as Confederate soldiers during the War Between the States. Challenged to defend their homeland against overwhelming odds, they learn a great deal about themselves and the faithfulness of God as they realize the terrible price the South will have to pay for its beliefs.

          Some Union and Confederate soldiers were as young as twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years old when they went off to fight in the Civil War. With firsthand accounts of their experiences, The Boy's War follows these boys through the rigors of camp life and drilling, right into the chaos of the battlefield.

          Avery and his dog, Gunner, have a good life in the Kanawha Valley. But when the Civil War begins, Avery's peaceful world is shattered. His father, brother, and uncle leave home, each drawn away by the war. Soon Avery and Gunner must begin a dangerous journey that will take them across the paths of people on both sides of the struggle. 188 pages, softcover.

          Avery's skills as a doctor, along with his dog Gunner's friendly personality, make the pair a welcome sight to the soldiers in the Civil War hospitals. But mending wounds is not the only challenge Avery faces. Dwindling supplies, insufficient medical facilities, and local troublemakers add to the stress of the war. Avery realizes that the real wounds of the war-the wounds of the soul-will take years to heal. But he finds hope for the future in his deepening friendship with Claire, a girl from back home who shares his passion for helping the wounded. 240 pages, softcover.

          Enrichments

          History Spines and References

          The 1940 Newbery Honor title, Abraham Lincoln's World sets American history into a world context. Short, beautifully written stories explain what was going on during the years of Abraham Lincoln's birth, childhood, employment as a storekeeper and lawyer, and finally during his years as president. Discover that when Abe Lincoln was a boy romping the woods of Kentucky, Thomas Jefferson was completing his eighth year as president, George III reigned in Great Britain and Napolean was about to meet his Waterloo. By the time Lincoln was old enough to help his father chop wood, Harriet Beecher was reading anything she could get her hands on, Charles Darwin was collecting toads, crabs and shells, and the impoverished boy Dickens was working in a shoe blacking factory in London. Have fun as you learn all about the intersections in history we often don't see! 345 pages, softcover. Ages 9 & up.

          Originally published as The Landmark History of the American People from Plymouth to Appomattox, which came out in 22 chapters from 1968-1987, this edition features new text alongside updated and revised text and new, colorful illustrations, timelines, and maps.

          The second in a 2-volume series, this book covers the Civil War, industry during the 1800s, reconstruction, the growth of cities, new inventions, immigration, the roaring '20s, oil barons, World War I & World War II, Civil Rights, and the moon landing. Engaging, lively chapters are filled with the dramatic true stories of history, giving students a unique perspective into the lives of people whose actions continue to impact the character of our nation. Image-rich chapters feature numerous archival photographs, annotated maps, and helpful graphics. Readers will gain an understanding of the trajectories of historical events and the people who influenced the course of history through this unique history text. 254 pages, indexed, softcover. Grades 6 & up.