Sunday, July 28, 2013

Social Studies Mentor Texts

It's no secret, Social Studies tradebooks are my weakness! If I see a tradebook that I could use in a Social Studies setting... I just have to have it! I pulled three of my favorite books today to share but I could have shared 20+ books. I have quite an extensive collection. If only I could get in to my classroom and show you a picture of my cabinet... On second thought maybe it's for the best!

To share my favorites, I'm linking with amazing ladies Amanda & Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text linky party! Here are my three highlights...

 First up is the story, Henry's Freedom Box. If you teach the Underground Railroad, Slavery, or even Civil Rights... this is a story you need in your collection. The story sounds almost poetic and pictures are breathtaking...but the story is the best part! The story is of the true story of Henry "Box" Brown who mailed himself to freedom during the slavery. I love this book because it shows the reality of slavery during this time period but ends on such a hopeful note. This unit can be very weighty and dark and it's nice to find a true story that is so inspiring! 

Next up is the picture book Encounter. This book is fantastic for incorporating Language Arts & Social Studies! The premise of the book is about the European conquest of American Indians. The book however is told from the perspective of a young Native American boy. This book is great for teaching inferring as well as reading like a writer to examine craft. Jane Yolen did her homework and this book contains lots of research even though it's a "fictional" account. The author's note in the back of the book is just as informative as the story! This book also a great "after" Columbus Day read. I feel it's so important to try and get "both" sides of any historical event. My fifth grader's loved debating if Columbus deserves a holiday... I also created a handout to work on inferencing that goes along with the story - there is a quote from the story of what the young American Indian is describing and before showing the pictures, I have students use context clues to make an inference. You can check it out at my TPT store - it's only $1! Click here for my information.
Lastly, if you teach regions of the United States, you need My America! This book is FULL of poems about states & regions of our country. It's a great look at the vast differences and beauty of each region. There are also great maps of region before each section of the book. I borrowed this book from my curriculum leader and after using it for a week, I decided I needed my own copy! It's that good!  I use selected poems to introduce new regions of the United States. Students use the poems to make inferences and predictions about each regions' climate, geography, economy, and wildlife. I've found the poems really help create a picture of each region for the students in a way that is very different from our textbook.

Click the covers to learn more about each book!

Can't wait to see everyone else's favorite Social Studies tradebooks! My library can always use more picture books!


  1. Wow! You have quite the nice collection here. Thanks so much. I added a few to my list. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners
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  2. My America looks like a wonderful book for me to buy! I teach the regions of the USA and I am always looking for new books that fit that category.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. I love Henry's Freedom Box, I agree it is a must have!!

  4. I added Henry's Freedom Box to my Amazon cart. Sounds like a great book for our Abolitionists study.

  5. I love Encounter! And I need to check out the book about regions of America too!

    Thanks so much for linking up!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  6. Have never seen "Henry's Freedom Box." You had me at his cute little face!
    Love all the books!
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  7. Encounter is one of my favorite books! Thanks for sharing this list.

    Life in Room 24

  8. I read the same Henry Box Brown book to my kiddos. This was the first year I had the book and the kids LOVED it. You definitely hit the nail on the head with the theme of hope!

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    Fourth Grade Lemonade


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