Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History

We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose. This book is my go-to resource for teaching students about United States history, and it is one that I returned to again and again throughout the year when I taught fourth grade. Students often begged for "just one more" story from the book, and several chose to read the book themselves during independent reading time.


We Were There, Too! is a collection of biographies about children throughout the course of the history of the United States. Each biography provides a brief historical overview of the period and the child, and then the story is told of a specific event or events through the eyes of that child (third person limited). Many stories conclude with a "What Happened To" section that provides a quick summation of the rest of their life. The chapters also provide additional information about the time period in the form of text boxes, maps, illustrations, and photographs.

This book is important because it shows the impact of individuals in history and how history impacted those individuals. It also appeals to children, because they are learning about other children, rather than experiencing history through the eyes of adults or white men with power. We Were There, Too! gives voice to the Taino visited by Columbus, to young spies in the Revolutionary War, to sweatshop girls and suffragists, and to young Civil Rights leaders. No matter the US history unit, you will find something of value in this book.


Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday Challenge is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and is a weekly roundup of educator blogs that are sharing nonfiction picture books. Though We Were There, Too! is quite a bit longer than your standard picture book, I thought it would be a good fit for those seeking valuable nonfiction resources for students.

10 comments:

  1. This looks great, Katie. We may have it at school, will look! I know there are others about children in history, specifically what they did in wars, like the Civil War. Thanks for sharing such a good book and how much your students enjoyed it!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! This is a great resource because it covers so many topics all in one place. If your library doesn't have a copy, you should definitely request one.

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  2. I wish I had this when I was still a classroom teacher. My students always wanted to know about kids in history. I'm so glad this is finally available. I will have to get it for my homeschool library. Thanks so much for posting about this.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. It really is so much more powerful for kids to learn about history through the eyes of other kids. I hope you find it insightful.

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  3. Fascinating. I'm sure I thought about this but to actually get to read about kids and their stories during different various moments in history!

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    1. Thanks for commenting! It's a great collection - you have your standards like Pocahontas and Sacajawea, but there are so, so many more too.

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  4. This is a new book for me, and I love big compilations b/c you don't have to read the entire book! Thanks for sharing that today!

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  5. Thanks, Michele! I also love that this book is organized by major time periods in history, making it very easy to find biographies that fit what you want. A good way to model that nonfiction is not a cover-to-cover kind of read.

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  6. This looks like a great book, Katie! It's nice to read a collection of biographies of different people. Thank you for sharing this! =)

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    1. Thanks so much! I love this book because it is applicable for so many units and topics - something for everyone. Enjoy!

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