Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Oldies But Goodies:The American Revolution, 1775-1783 by Mary Louise Sanchez

The American Revolution encompasses many individuals, groups, ideas, and themes in North American history.
Google Images


However, students can't drink from a fire hose just like they can't read everything about the American Revolution; but they can read about a few topics in well written historical fiction books.
Google Images

Each year the National History Day Project suggests a theme for study; and they also advise that students narrow their topics within the theme. 

Here are some narrow topic ideas suggested for the 2012 National History Day Theme: Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History.

Reforms before the war: Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Intolerable Acts
Reactions before the war: Boston Tea Party, Sons of Liberty
Reforms after the war: Constitution replaces Articles of Confederation
Reactions after the war: Shays' Rebellion, British reaction to loss

The "Oldie But Goodie" historical fiction books below also narrow the scope of the American Revolution into manageable bites. Students can learn causes and effects of a singular event. They can learn what led to the revolution (politically, socially, economically, and militarily), and what the effect was on its participants. They could also learn why the event was revolutionary.

Because the American Revolution is studied in school, many book rooms have multiple copies of various books about the American Revolution. Since students like to delve into subjects where they have some choice, perhaps the school librarian or classroom teacher could present the topics included in the books, and let the students choose the topics that most interest them about the American Revolution.

 What topic about the American Revolution would you most like to explore in an historical fiction book?

Avi. The Fighting Ground. Harper Collins,1984. 160 pages.  ISBN 0-397-32074. Grades 4 and up.

Thirteen-year-old Jonathon has a romantic image of the war taking place near his New Jersey home in 1778. He disobeys his father and joins some townspeople to fight for the patriot cause. The fight lasts one day and minute by minute we see Jonathon's reaction to war from his problems carrying and loading the heavy gun; getting captured by the Hessians; and encountering a murdered husband and wife who have left their young son orphaned. Jonathon later learns the family was French and that makes him question who was responsible for the murder. Scott O'Dell Award (1985); NCSS/CBC Notable 1984 Children's Trade Book in Social Studies.
Goodreads Image

Collier, James Lincoln and Christopher Collier. My Brother Sam is Dead. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1984. Newbery Honor (1974). Tim Meeker's brother Sam has joined the American Revolution and Tim's father supports the British. Now Tim must make a choice between the Revolutionaries and the Red Coats.
Goodreads Image

Fast, Howard. April Morning. Crown, 1961. 

A fifteen-year-old boy joins his town's militia when his father is killed and the British are marching on his town. April 18, 1775, The Battle of Lexington changes one boy's life and a nation's history. 
Goodreads Image

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Houghton, 1943. Dell, 1995. ISBN 0-440-44250-8. 272 pages. Grades 5 and up.

Johnny Tremain is a silversmith's apprentice in Boston. Another apprentice, jealous of Johnny's skill, causes him to be terribly burned by molten silver. Because of his shriveled hand, Johnny must find other work. As a rider for the Boston Observer, Johnny becomes interested in the Revolution and participates in the Boston Tea Party and other revolutionary acts. He also learns to accept himself, wounds and all.
Goodreads Image


  1. Another great book set in this time period: Daniel and the Siege of Boston, by Laurie Calkhoven.

    This is great information, Mary Louise. Thank you for it.

  2. I don't know that book, but thanks, Jennifer.

  3. The American Revolution has always fascinated me. April Morning and Johnny Tremain are a couple of my classic favorites. There is another one I loved that I remembered titled Drums, but I think it was actually Ann Rinaldi's Time Enough For Drums. It makes me feel old that a book published in the 1980s could be considered an oldie!

    Deb Watley