Friday, February 19, 2016

10 Favorite Books to Promote History - #nf10for10

Here's my official Nonfiction 10 for 10 post for 2016!  Wahoo!  Last year I shared my rediscovering my love for biographies.  I knew I had added many new titles over the past year and thought I would make this a list of 10 New Must Have Biographies.  I discovered two of my books were shared last year but I still love them and there are no rules about how much you have to change a list.  Then I realized as I was building this collection of biographies, two of my books are really historical fiction which is based on true events but makes my list not 10 New Must Have Biographies.  I thought about changing out the two repeats and the historical fiction pieces but I decided I could come up with a new name - 10 Favorite Books to promote History.

I'm so glad I pulled this collection today and am thrilled to have so many people join our nonfiction book loving event.  I learned a few things about my classroom library today.  I need to carefully decide which genre my books fit in biography or historical fiction.  I've been growing my biography section but my historical fiction tub is probably my weakest link right now.  I'm beginning a social studies unit very soon and hope to look at history in segments of fifty years to see change over time.  Maybe I have an idea for next year's collection already.

Star Stuff Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson is a story embracing imagination and wonders.  His inquisitive nature led him to create mechanical explorers that were sent to space including Voyager spacecrafts that captured information to help us understand what is beyond Earth.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis is the story about George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and how he created the ferris wheel for the World's Fair to out shine the year before when France built the Eiffel Tower.  George made observations of a water wheel and wanted to enhance the concept of a circle.

A Passion for Elephants, The Real Life Adventure of Field Scientist Cynthia Moss by Toni Buzzeo is a must have for every classroom.  I think scientist are often viewed as people in lab coats inside a room with lots of beakers and potions and notions.  Not Cynthia Moss!  She wears shorts, travels by plane and jeep to study elephants.  She sketches, photographs, takes notes, and learns elephants do defend each other, care for each other and cooperate with each other.

The Original COWGIRL, The Wild Adventures of Lucille Mulhall by Heather Lang is just a fun book to read and enjoy.  We often hear about cowboys but a cowgirl?  How fun!  Lucille isn't like most girls in the 1890s.  She wants to be a ranch hand.  Caring for the land and the horses who use the land.  She worked hard to learn how to ride and rope a horse which led her to tour with a rodeo!  What a great story to show you can do anything!

Knit Your Bit! by Debra Hopkinson is technically historical fiction inspired by real events.    During World War 1, the American Red Cross decided there wasn't enough warm clothes for the soldiers began a national movement which led to knitting clubs springing up all over our country.  Men, women, and children were all involved.  This is a story about a community who made a difference and gathered to knit.  

Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph by Lucy Margaret Rozier and Leo Espinosa is another historical fiction Jackrabbit McCabe grew up loving to run and raced against anything; stagecoaches, horses, and trains near where he lived.  The community loved to cheer him on.  This was great fun for everyone until the electric telegraph came.  Jackrabbit had been running messages for people for quite some time but had the race of his life when he was up against the telegraph man to deliver the same message.  A great introduction to morse code.  

Marvelous Cornelius, Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner.  This book caught me off guard a bit.  It's a biography about a sweet sweeper, Cornelius Washington.  A sanitation worker who worked hard, was an integral part of his community and made a differences.  He shortly died after Hurricane Katrina.  I'm so glad to have read this story about a positive person who loved his job and his community.  

Clara and Davie, The True Story of Young Clara Barton the Founder of the American Red Cross by Patricia Polacco.  When Clara was young she had a lisp which made her school experience hard.  Davie her older brother persuaded her family to home school her.  Clara loved the outdoors, animals, and seemed to know how to help people when they were hurt.  Davie needed Clara's help after an injury. This book tells of his recovery and of her interest that led her in starting the American Red Cross. 

Earmuffs for Everyone!, How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs by Meghan McCarthy is a delightful book about improving. It's the story of hand muffs to ear slippers to ear muffs.  Chester Greenwood was an inventor of many things but his greatest achievement wasn't designing something new but adapting older versions of things to keep ears warm by redesigning the earmuff.  

Strange Creatures, The Story of Walter Rothschild and His Museum by Lita Judge is a story about a boy who was so shy he barely spoke.  He was home schooled and loved creatures, spending a great deal of time outdoors.  After attending a circus he was inspired to share his idea with his parents and began talking about collecting animals to create a museum.  This story shares his journey of collecting the largest zoological collection and creating a museum. 


  1. Wouldn't history be more fun if we could just read the stories of the people of the past? What a great list of interesting people who made a difference!

  2. My lines are a bit blurry in my classroom too- so many great books here to explore. Bad news for my budget is that I only own one of your titles (so far).

  3. What a great list! So many new books! It would be fun some year to read a biography every single day!

  4. I've forgotten about Knit Your Bit, such a great book! Thanks for these, Mandi. There are several that are new to me, like Strange Creatures by Lita Judge. I love the stories of Mr. Ferris and Marvelous Cornelius!

  5. Such a great list, all these are new to me. I'm on my way to the library to pick some of them up and others are on hold. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for co-hosting this event, Mandy. Such a good idea and way for those passioate about children's literature to share titles. Three of your recommendations (Marvelous Cornelius, Clara and Davie, and Earmuffs for Everyone) have been added to my list. Thank you!
    Apples with Mant Seeds

  7. I love learning history through nonfiction titles! I have Star Stuff and think it is such an interesting book to share!

  8. Almost all of these are new to me! I'm so excited about Knit Your Bit since I'm a big Hopkinson fan and haven't seen this one yet.

    Thanks to you and Cathy for hosting this incredible event.