Most of us learned our history from dry, boring textbooks, and pretty much can’t remember any of it. One of the most well respected children’s nonfiction authors, Steve Sheinkin, admits to being one of those boring textbook writers. He’s made amends, and two of his books appear on this list. Who knew American history could be highly readable and entertaining?
The Crossing by Jim Murphy
This book pays homage to the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River after his disastrous defeat and loss of New York City. In full retreat, Washington makes one last effort at victory as he crosses the icy Delaware River for a surprise attack on the British at Trenton, N.J. Washington’s stunning win makes for an exciting read.
The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin
Benedict Arnold was first a military hero then a traitor. After being passed over for promotion and under-appreciated by Washington, he hatches a plan to benefit the British and put a quick end to the war. The plan fails and the rest is history. Sheinkin works his magic in this nonfiction book that reads like a novel.
Remember Valley Forge by Thomas B. Allen
A concise, straight forward telling of the winter of 1777-78. The Continental Army waits out the season at Valley Forge with a shortage of food and clothing. Many men die. The British Army experiences an entirely different winter, housed and entertained by the loyalists in Philadelphia. Traditional style, but highly readable.
George vs. George by Rosalyn Schanzer
We know how George Washington felt about the revolution, but what about the other George? This book compares both the American and British view of the conflict beginning with an overview of both men and progressing through the major events of the war. Short book with big color illustrations.
Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution by Jonathan W. Stokes
Travel back in time with Time Corp. Become a part of the action. Eat lunch with a famous founding father. Experience the Boston massacre, Lexington and Concord, Ticonderoga, Bunker Hill, Brooklyn, Trenton, Valley Forge, Saratoga, Yorktown. Due to the hazards of this destination, it’s highly recommended that you buy life insurance. Hilarious book.
Guts & Glory: The American Revolution by Ben Thompson
This is a complete account of the Revolutionary War beginning with the tax rebellions in Massachusetts and ending with the surrender at Yorktown. The author uses humor to connect with kids who might not otherwise pick up a history book. Lengthy at 302 pages.
Lafayette! Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale
Nathan Hale (author, not the famous spy) has created a nonfiction graphic novel series. This one covers the American Revolution from French General Lafayette’s perspective. Perfect for kids who want nonfiction graphic novels.
King George: What Was His Problem? By Steve Sheinkin
Steve Sheinkin used to write textbooks. He couldn’t write them the way he wanted to, so he decided to write his own book. This is that book, a semi-humorous look at the American Revolution. It starts by giving you pointers on how to start a revolution (just do what the Americans did).
The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers by Anne Quirk
Short, easy book divided into four chapters about four well known founding fathers. It contrasts the main founder with at least one other person to help define his beliefs. It’s mainly about George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and their different opinions about government.