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13 Books IEW Recommends for Students in U.S. History-Based Writing

Are you a parent concerned about providing a well-rounded English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for your middle schooler? Look no further! By introducing a carefully selected collection of books, we'll not only enhance their reading skills but also foster creativity, critical thinking, and a deeper understanding of language and storytelling.

Listed below are the captivating books suggested by the Institute for Excellence in Writing for U.S. History-Based Writing students to enrich their educational experience and create a well-rounded ELA curriculum. This writing program is for students reading at a 6th- 8th grade level. Adding these books along with the literature companions to your list can help make the writing program a full ELA credit for the year.

1. Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla Description: This book tells the true story of Squanto, a Native American from the Patuxet tribe, who played a vital role in helping the Pilgrims survive in the New World. He acted as a translator and mediator between the Pilgrims and the Native American tribes, ensuring their peaceful coexistence. The book highlights the important historical figure and his friendship with the Pilgrims.

2. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla Description: Set in the 17th century, this historical novel follows the journey of three children who embark on a perilous voyage from England to Jamestown, Virginia, in search of their father. Facing various challenges and dangers, they demonstrate courage and determination as they strive to reunite with their father.

3. Night Journeys by Avi (Edward Irving Wortis) Description: This gripping historical fiction is set during the American Revolution. The story revolves around a young boy named Peter who becomes a witness to a murder. Fearing that the real culprits will come after him, Peter sets off on a dangerous journey to find safety and justice. The book delves into themes of loyalty, trust, and bravery.

4. Ben and Me by Robert Lawson Description: This charming children's novel presents an amusing twist on the life of Benjamin Franklin. The story is narrated by a clever mouse named Amos, who claims to have been Benjamin Franklin's close companion and advisor throughout his life. Through Amos's perspective, young readers gain insights into Franklin's achievements and contributions to history.

5. Give Me Liberty by L. M. Elliott Description: Set in 1773 during the time leading up to the American Revolution, this novel follows the journey of a young indentured servant named Nathaniel Dunn. Nathaniel finds himself entangled in the events of the Boston Tea Party and other revolutionary acts. The book offers an engaging and educational exploration of the American struggle for independence.

Tell me when literature companions are available for these books.

6. Tolliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady Description: In this heartwarming historical tale, young Tolliver believes he has a secret about his family's history that he must uncover to save their farm. Set in the late 1700s, the story takes readers on a journey filled with mystery, courage, and the bonds of family.

7. Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit Description: This historical novel is based on true events from the American Revolution. It tells the story of a group of young patriots who embark on a dangerous mission to transport much-needed cannons to General George Washington's army during the harsh winter of 1775-1776. Their determination and bravery in the face of adversity make this an inspiring read.

8. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman Description: Set during the California Gold Rush, this delightful adventure follows the escapades of a young boy named Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy. In search of gold to save his family's estate, Jack and Praiseworthy head west to seek their fortune. The book offers an engaging and humorous portrayal of life during the Gold Rush era.

9. Mr. Lincoln's Drummer by G. Clifton Wisler Description: This historical novel is set during the American Civil War and follows the story of a young drummer boy named Willie Johnston. Through Willie's eyes, readers gain insight into the harsh realities of war, the camaraderie among soldiers, and the influence of President Abraham Lincoln's leadership.

10. Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit Description: Based on a true story, this compelling non-fiction book recounts the daring exploits of Emma Edmonds, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to join the Union army during the Civil War. Emma's courage and determination in the face of danger make her an inspirational figure.

11. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson Description: This historical fiction novel is set in 1918 and follows the story of sixteen-year-old Hattie, who inherits a homestead in Montana. Determined to prove herself and make the land her own, Hattie faces the challenges of frontier life while discovering her place in the world. The book received the Newbery Honor in 2007.

12. Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida Description: This powerful novel, based on true events, deals with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It follows the story of a young girl named Yuki and her family as they are forced to leave their home and endure life in an internment camp called Topaz. The book provides an important perspective on the impact of war and discrimination on innocent lives.

13. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey Description: This heartwarming and humorous memoir follows the adventures of the Gilbreth family, led by efficiency experts and parents Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. With twelve children, the family's daily life is filled with chaos, laughter, and love. The book provides a delightful glimpse into a large, unconventional family's experiences.

Indulge in this diverse compilation of tales, each one offering its own unique blend of adventure, discovery, and the power of stories. From historical triumphs to heartwarming family stories, this collection is sure to captivate readers of all ages and ignite a love for literature and history alike.

Mrs. Brown


Tell me when literature companions are available for these books!

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