Every year, my elementary students are captivated by our American Revolution unit. Along with primary sources, I always use high-quality Revolutionary War books as read-alouds, with reading groups, and for research projects. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite books to teach the American Revolution.
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides is a great book to use to teach historical perspectives.
Liberty!: How the Revolutionary War Began helps explain the multiple causes of the American Revolution. I like using a doc cam to project the pages so that students can really see the illustrations.
This illustrated version of Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, is a great one to read with students. I read it once and have students practice the visualization strategy and then read it a second time! It’s also great for identifying author’s choice of language and sensory details.
Another good book for analyzing perspectives is Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak: The Outbreak of the Boston Tea Party Told from Multiple Points-of-View! An engaging activity is to read aloud each snippet and have students infer the speaker’s occupation. This is also a helpful resource to have for a colonial America unit.
For upper elementary students, I also like Let It Begin Here: Lexington and Concord!: First Battles of the American Revolution. This narrative nonfiction book details how the first battles of the Revolutionary War got started. There’s quite a bit of text, and younger students will need some vocabulary support.
The I Survived series is SO popular with kids, and I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 is no exception. If you’re looking for an engaging historical fiction book about the Revolutionary War, this is it. I think students relate so well to the story because it’s told from a child’s point-of-view.
This Magic Tree House nonfiction guide is one of my favorite books to use in small groups to introduce the causes of the Revolutionary War. It helps to break down information into small chunks and has tons of helpful visuals.
For your students that just love to soak up every detail, you might want a copy of the DK Eyewitness book on the American Revolution. The vocab will be challenging for younger readers, but I love the visuals and the inclusion of so many primary source images.
The Declaration is a tough document for elementary students to grasp. The Declaration of Independence in Translation: What It Really Means is helpful for breaking down the language.
Independent Dames: What You Never Knew about the Women and Girls of the American Revolution is a great resource for students to learn about some of the women at the forefront of the revolution.
If you haven’t read Chains before, run, don’t walk, to buy it for your classroom or home library! This award-winning historical fiction novel is a must-have, told from a perspective that is all too often left out of history lessons.
So those are my top 12 favorite American Revolution books to read with elementary-age kids! I hope that this list helps you to get started planning your Revolutionary War lessons!
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