Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: the story behind an American friendship, by Russell Freedman

Summary:  Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominence–Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery.


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Someday Dancer, by Sarah Rubin

Summary: In South Carolina in 1959 Casey Quinn dreams of being a ballerina, and though she has never had the money for lessons, she follows her dream to New York City and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.


We’ve Got a Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, by Cynthia Levinson

Summary: Discusses the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963.


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The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis

Summary:  With love and determination befitting the “world’s greatest family,” twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.

Wendy Lamb Books

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Flesh and Blood So Cheap: the Triangle Fire and its Legacy, by Albert Marrin

Summary:  Provides a detailed account of the disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 garment workers in 1911, and examines the impact of this event on the nation’s working conditions and labor laws.

Alfred A Knopf

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Great Migration: Journey to the North, by Eloise Greenfield

Summary:  Describes the period of the 20th century when many African Americans left the South to make better lives for themselves in the northern states.


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Small Acts of Amazing Courage, by Gloria Whelan

Summary: In 1919, independent-minded fifteen-year-old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent “home” to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.

Simon & Schuster

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The Star Maker, by Laurence Yep

Summary:  With the help of his popular Uncle Chester, a young Chinese American boy tries hard to fulfill a promise to have firecrackers for everyone on the Chinese New Year in 1954. Includes an afterword with information about the Chinese customs portrayed in the story.


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The Trouble with May Amelia, by Jennifer Holm

Summary:  Living with seven brothers and her father, who thinks girls are useless, a thirteen-year-old Finnish American farm girl is determined to prove her worth when a enterprising gentleman tries to purchase their cash-strapped family settlement in Washington State in 1900.


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Your Friend in Fashion, by Abby Shapiro

Summary: Beginning in 1959, Abby, nearly eleven, writes a series of letters to Jackie Kennedy, each with sketches of outfits she has designed, as she faces family problems, concerns about neighbors, and her own desperate desire for both her first bra and a Barbie doll.

Holiday House

The Wonder of Charlie Anne, by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Summary:  In a 1930s Massachusetts farm town torn by the Depression, racial tension, and other hardships, Charlie Anne and her black next-door neighbor Phoebe form a friendship that begins to transform their community. 266 p., Alfred A. Knopf.

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Mamba Point, by Kurtis Scaletta

Summary:  After moving with his family to Liberia, twelve-year-old Linus discovers that he has a mystical connection with the black mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in Africa, which he is told will give him some of the snake’s characteristics. Includes facts about the author’s experiences as a thirteen-year-old American living in Liberia in 1982. 268 p., Alfred A. Knopf.

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The Legend of the King, by Gerald Morris

Summary:  Sir Dinadan and his friend Sir Palomides, Sir Gaheris, Sir Terence, and other knights of the Round Table and their associates try to stop Mordred and his White Horsemen from ending King Arthur’s rule of Great Britain. 295 p., Houghton Mifflin.

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The Everlasting Now, by Sara H. Banks

Summary: In 1937 Alabama, eleven-year-old Brother helps with his mother’s boardinghouse, gains insight into prejudice when he befriends the nephew of the family’s maid, and dreams of riding a train one day with the railroadmen who serve as his substitute fathers. 157 p., Peachtree

Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus

Summary: In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. 301 p., Amulet Books.

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