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Selected Reading Unearthed from the Youth Collection
Ann Arbor District Library


Compiled by Paula C. Schaffner
March, 1996

Table of Contents

  1. The New World
  2. Colonial America
  3. Revolutionary America and the New Republic
  4. The Nineteenth Century: Antebellum
  5. The Civil War
  6. The Later Nineteenth Century
  7. The Twentieth Century: 1901-1938
  8. The Twentieth Century: World War II and beyond

The New World

Baker, Betty. Walk the World's Rim. 1965.
A sixteenth-century Indian boy accompanies three Spaniards and their slave, Esteban, from present-day Texas to Mexico, at the time of the Spanish conquest.
Baylor, Byrd. One Small Blue Bead. 1965.
In prehistoric North America, an old man believes there may be other lands and peoples in the world, but only one young boy shares his dream and defends the man's decision to leave the tribe and explore unknown territory.
Benchley, Nathaniel. Small Wolf. 1972.
When people from another country settle on Manhattan Island, Small Wolf's family and tribe are forced to move away from their home.
Dorris, Michael. Morning Girl. 1992.
In alternating chapters, Morning Girl and her brother, Star Boy, describe their island life in pre-Columbian America; in the final chapter, Morning Girl watches the arrival of Columbus and his men.
Levitin, Sonia. Roanoke: A Novel of the Lost Colony. 1973.
In 1587, runaway apprentice William Wythers joins a group of emigrants bound for Virginia, where he finds hardship, danger, treachery, and love.
O'Dell, Scott. The Feathered Serpent. 1981.
A young Spanish seminarian is mistaken for the Mayan god Kukulcan, and witnesses the coming of Cortes and the capture of the magnificent city Tenochtitlan in the early sixteenth century.
Yolen, Jane. Encounter. 1992.
A Taino Indian boy describes the landing of Christopher Columbus and his men.
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Colonial America

Bulla, Clyde Robert. John Billington, Friend of Squanto. 1956.
After arriving in America on the Mayflower, troublemaker John Billington makes friends with a very special person.
Clapp, Patricia. Witches' Children: A Story of Salem. 1982.
During the winter of 1692, when the young girls of Salem suddenly find themselves subject to fits of screaming and strange visions, some believe that they have seen the devil and are the victims of witchcraft.
Edmonds, Walter D. Seven American Stories. 1970 (originally pub. 1930-49).
Dutch settlers near Albany (1756), a young couple in the Mohawk Valley (1777), a fatherless boy in Upstate New York (1830), and a Confederate balloonist are just a few of the characters whose stories are told in this collection.
Greene, Jacqueline Dembar.Out of Many Waters.* 1988.
Kidnapped during the Portuguese Inquisition and sent to Brazil as slaves, two Jewish sisters attempt to return to Europe in 1654 but become part of the first Jewish settlement in the United States. (Sequel: One Foot Ashore)
Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims. 1992.
Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew live through an exciting and difficult year as they sail with their family to the Plymouth Colony and start a new life.
Holling, Holling Clancy. Tree in the Trail. 1942.
A tree which takes root in the early eighteenth century "observes" many changes in the American West.
Latham, Jean Lee. This Dear-Bought Land. 1957.
In 1607, fifteen-year-old David Warren sails to the new colony of Jamestown, Virginia "for the glory of England" and his family name, but he learns that the cost of the New World is suffering, conflict, and death.
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. 1958.
Kit Tyler's unconventional upbringing makes her an object of disapproval, suspicion, and fear in the Puritan Connecticut of 1687.
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Sign of the Beaver. 1983.
Left alone to guard the family's wilderness home in eighteenth-century Maine, a thirteen-year-old boy is hard-pressed to survive until local Indians teach him their skills.
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Revolutionary America and the New Republic

Avi. The Fighting Ground.1984.
Thirteen-year-old Jonathan goes off to fight in the Revolutionary War and discovers it is not at all what he had imagined.
Benchley, Nathaniel. George, the Drummer Boy.1977.
George, a British drummer boy, sees the incidents at Lexington and Concord which were the start of the American Revolution.
Bulla, Clyde Robert. Daniel's Duck 1979.
Daniel wants to be a woodcarver, but feels discouraged by his efforts until he meets a real woodcarver in Tennessee.
Clapp, Patricia. I'm Deborah Sampson: a Soldier in the War of the Revolution. 1977.
A teen-aged girl dresses as a boy and enlists as a soldier, in this story based on the true adventures of Deborah Sampson.
Collier, James Lincoln and Christopher Collier. Jump Ship to Freedom. 1981.
In 1787 a fourteen-year-old slave, anxious to buy freedom for himself and his mother, escapes from his dishonest master and tries to find help in cashing the soldiers' notes received by his father for fighting in the Revolution.
Finlayson, Ann. Rebecca's War. 1972.
In a house occupied by two British officers, fourteen-year-old Philadelphian Rebecca Ransome must take care of her younger brother and sister, secret papers for the patriot cause, and hidden gold ingots.
Fleischman, Paul. Path of the Pale Horse. 1983.
Lep, a doctor's apprentice, helps treat yellow fever victims in Philadelphia in 1793.
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain: a Novel for Young & Old. 1943.
A silversmith's apprentice finds his life taking unexpected twists, forcing difficult decisions in Revolutionary Boston.
Hansen, Joyce. The Captive. 1994.
In 1788, twelve-year-old Kofi is captured and sold as a slave to a New England farmer.
Henry, Marguerite. Justin Morgan Had a Horse. 1945.
A boy named Joel gentles the first of the famous Morgan horses, in 1796 Vermont.
Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. The Bear That Heard Crying. 1993.
In 1783, three-year-old Sarah Whitcher is lost in the woods in New Hampshire and protected by a bear until she is rescued.
O'Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop. 1980.
Left alone after the deaths of her father and brother, who took opposite sides in the War for Independence, Sarah flees the British and struggles to make a life for herself in the wilderness.
Peck, Robert Newton. Rabbits and Redcoats. 1976.
Two young boys join Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys in the attack on Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolution.
Shub, Elizabeth. Cutlass in the Snow. 1986.
In 1797, Sam and his grandfather explore the wild and uninhabited Fire Island, just missing a band of pirates, but finding a cutlass and buried treasure.
Turner, Ann Warren. Katie's Trunk. 1992.
Katie, whose family is not sympathetic to the rebel soldiers during the American Revolution, hides under the clothes in her mother's wedding trunk when soldiers invade her home.
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The Nineteenth Century: Antebellum

Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. 1990.
Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a ship with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew.
Berry, James. Ajeemah and His Son. 1992.
Kidnapped, taken to Jamaica, and sold as slaves, a man and his 18-year-old son respond differently to their situation.
Blos, Joan W. Brothers of the Heart: a Story of the Old Northwest 1837-1838. 1985.
Fourteen-year-old Shem, crippled from birth, spends six months in the Michigan wilderness alone with a dying Indian woman who helps him survive and mature.
Clements, Bruce. I Tell a Lie Every So Often. 1974.
One little lie sends Henry on a five-hundred-mile journey and flings him into a series of wild adventures as he and his brother travel up the Missouri River in search of a lost cousin in 1848.
DeFelice, Cynthia. Weasel. 1990.
Alone in the wilderness in 1839, Nathan seeks to avenge the victims of a brutal killer.
Fox, Paula. The Slave Dancer: A Novel. 1973.
Jessie Bollier is taken prisoner and forced to play music to "dance the slaves" so their muscles will stay strong on a slaveship in 1840.
Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man. 1979.
The day-to-day life of a nineteenth-century New England family changes with the seasons.
Johnson, Dolores. Now Let Me Fly: The Story of a Slave Family. 1993.
Minna, kidnapped as a girl in Africa, endures the harsh life of a slave on a Southern plantation and tries to help her family survive.
Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Facing West: A Story of the Oregon Trail. 1994.
Ben wonders if he will have more trouble with hardships on the Oregon Trail or with his asthma.
Lewis, Thomas P. Clipper Ship. 1978.
Captain Murdock's wife and children accompany him as he commands a clipper ship sailing from New York to San Francisco in 1850.
Moeri, Louise. Save Queen of Sheba. 1981.
After miraculously surviving a Sioux Indian raid on the trail to Oregon, a boy and his little sister set out with few provisions to find the rest of the travelers.
Monjo, F. N. The Drinking Gourd. 1970.
In 1851, young Tommy Fuller becomes part of the Underground Railroad when he helps two slaves escape to Canada.
Nixon, Joan Lowery. Fat Chance, Claude. 1987.
Shirley and Claude meet on the way to Colorado's gold country and are good friends until they find gold.
Paulsen, Gary. Nightjohn. 1993.
Sarny's brutal life as a slave becomes much more dangerous when a newly arrived slave offers to teach her how to read.
Sanders, Scott R. Here Comes the Mystery Man. 1993.
The traveling peddler visits the Goodwin family's pioneer home and brings amazing objects and stories from far away.
Sperry, Armstrong. Danger to Windward. 1947.
When Hugh Dewar travels to Nantucket in 1816 to claim his inheritance, he is instead hit on the head and carried off to the ship he should have inherited, where he finds himself embarked on a two-year whaling expedition.
St. George, Judith. By George, Bloomers! 1976.
Hannah wants to wear bloomers instead of skirts, but her mother disapproves of the unladylike garments until Hannah's makeshift bloomers avert a disaster.
Turkle, Brinton. Rachel and Obadiah.1978.
A Quaker brother and sister on Nantucket race to be the first to sight the next incoming ship.
Turner, Ann Warren. Nettie's Trip South. 1987.
A ten-year-old northern girl encounters the ugly realities of slavery when she visits the South before the Civil War.
Whelan, Gloria. Next Spring an Oriole.* 1987.
In 1837, Libby and her parents journey by wagon to the Michigan frontier, where they make a new home near a Potawatomi tribe. (Sequel: Night of the Full Moon)
Wilson, Helen (Holly). Double Heritage. 1971.
Her Indian heritage, the Black Hawk War, and a cholera epidemic seem destined to prevent Emily's marriage to the son of an aristocratic Detroit family in 1832.
Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. 1988.
Following the directions in the song "Drinking Gourd," runaway slaves journey north to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
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The Civil War

Beatty, Patricia. Jayhawker. 1991.
A Kansas teenager becomes a Jayhawker, an abolitionist raider freeing slaves in Missouri.
Burchard, Peter. Jed, the Story of a Yankee Soldier and a Southern Boy. 1960.
In the days after Shiloh, sixteen-year-old Jed finds a hurt Southern boy and is unable to treat the boy as an enemy.
Calvert, Patricia. Bigger. 1994.
When his father disappears near the Mexican border, Tyler decides to go looking for him, and acquires a dog he names Bigger along the way.
Fleischman, Paul. Bull Run. 1993.
Sixteen people describe the first battle of the Civil War, each in a distinctive voice.
Gauch, Patricia Lee. Thunder at Gettysburg. 1975.
A young girl describes the terrible day when she found herself in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Hansen, Joyce. Which Way Freedom?* 1986.
In 1864, Obi escapes slavery and joins a black Union regiment.
Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils. 1964.
War comes even to the Illinois frontier as Jethro Creighton's brothers join the armies of the North and the South.
Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie. 1957.
Jefferson Davis Bussey, a Kansas farmboy, becomes a Union soldier and spy and thus sees the Civil War from both sides.
Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. 1994.
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War and their subsequent capture by Southern troops.
Rinaldi, Ann. The Last Silk Dress. 1988.
Susan finds a way to help the Confederate Army and also uncovers mysterious family secrets.
Stolz, Mary. Cezanne Pinto: A Memoir. 1994.
Cezanne Pinto runs away from slavery, enlists to fight in the Civil War, and then goes out West to become a cowboy.
Wisler, G. Clifton. Mr. Lincoln's Drummer. 1995.
Willie Johnston, eleven-year-old drummer, becomes the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor.
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The Later Nineteenth Century

Angell, Judie. One-Way to Ansonia: A Novel. 1985.
In 1893, ten-year-old Rose and her siblings emigrate from Russia to America, where they are rejected by their new stepmother and placed in other homes to work.
Armstrong, William H. Sounder. 1969.
A boy's search for his father, a black sharecropper jailed for stealing a ham, is fruitless; both the boy and the dog Sounder wait faithfully for the man's return, however, and the boy finds something else of value in his search.
Beatty, Patricia. Hail Columbia. 1970.
When Louisa's Aunt Columbia arrives in Astoria, Oregon, she turns the town upside down with her suffragette notions in a fast and funny story set in 1893.
Brenner, Barbara. Wagon Wheels. 1978.
A black family travels to Kansas after the Civil War to get some of the free land offered through the Homestead Act of 1862.
Brink, Carol Ryrie. Caddie Woodlawn.* 1935.
An eleven-year-old tomboy and her family have adventures on the Wisconsin frontier of 1864.
Conrad, Pam. Prairie Songs. 1985.
Louisa's life in a loving, turn-of-the-century pioneer family on the Nebraska prairie is altered by the arrival of a new doctor and his beautiful, frail wife.
DeClements, Barthe. The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush. 1992.
Bucky and his father use the family's life savings to pursue Alaskan gold in 1898.
Fleischman, Sid. Mr. Mysterious & Company. 1962.
The Hackett family and their marvelous magic act make a farewell tour through the Southwest in 1884, capturing a bandit and outwitting bad guys along the way.
Hansen, Joyce. Out from This Place. 1988.
During the confusing times after the emancipation of the slaves, a fourteen-year-old girl tries to find a fellow ex-slave who had joined the Union Army during the Civil War.
Irwin, Hadley. Jim-Dandy. 1994.
After the Civil War, Caleb leaves Kansas to follow his horse, Dandy, when Dandy is sold to Custer's Seventh Cavalry regiment.
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. 1986.
Caleb and Anna are captivated by the mail-order bride visiting their home, and they desperately hope she will stay.
Mazzio, Joann. Leaving Eldorado. 1993.
After her father abandons her for the Yukon goldfields in the late 1890s, fourteen-year-old Maude struggles to fend for herself in a New Mexican mining camp.
McPhail, David. Farm Boy's Year. 1992.
Illustrations and journal entries evoke life on a New England farm one hundred years ago.
O'Dell, Scott. Sing Down the Moon. 1970.
Bright Morning and thousands of other Navahos are rounded up by Kit Carson and forced to walk three hundred miles to imprisonment at Fort Sumner, where more than 1500 of them die but Bright Morning's strong spirit saves her, her husband, and their child.
Paige, Harry W. Shadow on the Sun. 1984.
When in 1892 a twelve-year-old discovers he is the son of gunfighter Billy the Kid, he must decide whether to follow in his father's footsteps or seek a better way of life.
Pellowski, Anne. First Farm in the Valley: Anna's Story.* 1982.
Anna is the first American-born child of her immigrant parents in 1870's Wisconsin, but she longs for the Poland she has never seen.
Sandin, Joan. The Long Way to a New Land. 1981.
Carl Erik journeys with his family from Sweden to America during the Swedish famine of 1868.
Sorensen, Henri. New Hope. 1995.
Lars Jensen and his family emigrate from Denmark to the United States in 1885 and start a new town where their wagon axle breaks.
Stover, Marjorie Filley. Chad and the Elephant Engine. 1975.
Poppa insists that members of their family are always acrobats, but Chad wants to work with the elephants in Jinglehoffer's Circus.
Whelan, Gloria. Hannah. 1991.
Hannah, a blind girl living in Michigan in the late nineteenth century, doesn't go to school until a new teacher comes to board at her house.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Farmer Boy. 1933.
Young Almanzo Wilder and his brothers and sisters have a number of adventures growing up in New York State in the 1870s.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House in the Big Woods.* 1932.
The first book of the "Little House" series about pioneer life in the 1870s and 1880s begins with the Ingalls family's life in Wisconsin.
Yep, Laurence. Dragon's Gate. 1993.
When he accidentally kills a Manchu, a Chinese boy is sent to America to join his father and others building a tunnel through the Sierra Nevada mountains for the transcontinental railroad in 1867.
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The Twentieth Century: 1901 to 1938

Blos, Joan W. The Heroine of the Titanic: A Tale both True and Otherwise of the Life of Molly Brown. 1991.
Numerous episodes are recounted from the life of Molly Brown, including the sinking of the Titanic (1912).
Christiansen, Candace. The Ice Horse. 1993.
While harvesting ice on the Hudson River, a boy's quick thinking saves his uncle's horse.
Clifford, Eth. The Man Who Sang in the Dark.* 1987.
After her father's death, Leah and her family make a new life for themselves in a boarding house during the Depression.
Green, Connie Jordan. Emmy. 1992.
When her father is disabled in a coal-mining accident in 1924, Emmy and the others in her family do what they can to help, with her fourteen-year-old brother taking Pa's place in the mines.
Hall, Donald. Lucy's Summer.* 1995.
Lucy Wells spends a busy summer on a New Hampshire farm in 1910.
Hamilton, Virginia. Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed. 1983.
In October of 1938, on their farm homestead in Ohio, a family is caught up in the fear generated by the Orson Welles War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
Hines, Gary. The Day of the High Climber. 1994.
Spending the summer at Papa's logging camp in the 1930s, two brothers watch with awe as Puss Tompkins, the high climber, chops branches off a tree.
Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Earthquake! A Story of Old San Francisco. 1993.
Phillip struggles to save his family's horses when a terrible earthquake and accompanying fires destroy large parts of San Francisco in 1906.
Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl. 1945.
When Birdie Boyer's father decides to raise strawberries in Florida early in the century, the Boyer family must contend with both the difficulties of farming and the enmity of a neighboring family.
Levinson, Riki. Watch the Stars Come Out. 1985.
Grandma tells about her mama's journey to America by boat early in the century.
Peck, Robert Newton. Soup.* 1974.
Two boys growing up in a small Vermont town in the 1930s and 40s get into all sorts of mischief.
Ransom, Candice. Jimmy Crack Corn. 1994.
A nine-year-old boy and his father leave their farm in 1932 to march on Washington, demanding the bonus money promised them after World War I.
Shefelman, Janice Jordan. A Peddler's Dream. 1992.
A Lebanese immigrant seeks his fortune in the United States, and after several setbacks he makes his dream come true.
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley. Cat Running. 1994.
Cat Kinsey overcomes her own prejudices when she befriends a family of "Okies," refugees from the Texas dust storms of the 1930s.
Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.* 1976.
A black family living in the South during the 1930s are faced with prejudice and discrimination--which the children do not understand.
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-a-Kind-Family.* 1951.
Five young Jewish girls have numerous adventures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Thrasher, Crystal. The Dark Didn't Catch Me. 1975.
Finding beauty and comfort in the hills of southern Indiana, Seeley withstands the work, troubles and sorrows that encompass her family during the Depression.
Voigt, Cynthia. Tree by Leaf. 1988.
Her wounded father's return after World War I creates problems for twelve-year-old Clothilde.
Wells, Rosemary. Waiting for the Evening Star. 1993.
Growing up between 1909 and 1917, Benny enjoys the slow wheel of time on his Vermont farm.
Yep, Laurence. Dragonwings. 1975.
A young Chinese boy sails from China to San Francisco in 1903 to join the inventor (and laundryman) father he has never met.
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The Twentieth Century: World War II and Beyond

Antle, Nancy. Tough Choices: A Story of the Vietnam War. 1993.
Samantha is torn between her two brothers, one a returning Vietnam veteran and the other a war protester.
Green, Connie Jordan. The War at Home. 1989.
The families of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, have no idea what the city's tight security is hiding during World War II, but Mattie is more concerned with day-to-day wartime worries and her annoying cousin Virgil.
Houston, Gloria. But No Candy. 1992.
Lee's uncle is overseas during World War II, the family store has run out of candy, and Lee realizes the whole world has changed.
Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Pearl Harbor is Burning! A Story of World War II. 1991.
Newly arrived in Hawaii, Frank is miserable until he meets Kenji, a Japanese-American boy who might become a friend. Then the boys witness the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Lakin, Patricia. Don't Forget. 1994.
While buying birthday cake ingredients, Sarah shares secrets with neighborhood shopkeepers, including Holocaust survivors Mr. and Mrs. Singer.
Lord, Bette Bao. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. 1984.
Shirley Temple Wong loves American movies and America's game (baseball); but America's language and customs are much more difficult for this third-grader to learn.
Mazer, Harry. The Last Mission. 1979.
In 1944, a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy tells his family he will travel in the West, but he instead enlists in the U.S. Air Corps, and is subsequently taken prisoner by the Germans.
Mochizuki, Ken. Heroes. 1995.
Despite his protests that both his father and uncle were U.S. soldiers, Japanese-American Donnie is forced to be the enemy in neighborhood war games in the Vietnam era because he looks Asian.
Moore, Yvette. Freedom Songs. 1991.
Sheryl organizes a gospel concert in support of the Freedom Riders, civil rights workers in the 1960s.
Savin, Marcia. The Moon Bridge. 1992.
The friendship between San Francisco girls Mitzi Fujimoto and Ruthie Fox is changed when World War II begins and Mitzi and her family are forced to go to an internment camp.
Sorensen, Virginia. Miracles on Maple Hill. 1956.
Marly's family moves to a farm after World War II, hoping it will help her father recuperate from his experiences as a prisoner of war.
Uchida, Yoshiko. Journey to Topaz: a Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation.* 1971.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, including Yuki and her mother and brother, are "evacuated" to camps in the Utah desert.
White, Robb. Torpedo Run: Mutiny and Adventure Aboard a Navy PT Boat during World War II. 1962.
A PT boat and its twelve-man crew survive numerous Pacific forays during World War II, but after the death of their captain, the crew members threaten his replacement with mutiny.

Arrangement and original material copyright © 1996 Paula C. Schaffner and the Ann Arbor District Library. This list may be copied and distributed without requesting permission, so long as this notice remains attached and appropriate credit is given.

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