Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African Americans, by Kadir Nelson

Summary:  An simple introduction to African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama.

Balzer + Bray

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The War to End All Wars: World War I, by Russell Freedman

Summary: An introduction to World War I explains its relevance as a conflict that involved many nations and casualties while introducing modern weaponry and military strategies that have shaped all subsequent wars. 176 p., Clarion Books.

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Lafayette and the American Revolution, by Russell Freedman

Summary: Playing a pivotal role in the Revolution, Lafayette convinced the French government to send troops, made crucial pacts with Native Americans, and lead his men to victory at Yorktown. This thrilling account of a daring soldier will fascinate young historians. Source notes, bibliography, time line, index. 88 p., Holiday House.

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The Battle of Nashville, by Benson Bobrick

Summary: A profile of General George H. Thomas, an overlooked scion of the Civil War,  and the military choices that saved the Union.  Also examined are President Lincoln, the causes of the war, and the various personalities who have shaped our understanding of the war today.  144 p., Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia

savingSummary:  A pale, spotted, almost cloud-like coat makes the snow leopard uncannily invisible in its rocky mountain habitat. Author Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop accompany conservationist Tom McCarthy and his team as they travel to Mongolia’s Altai Mountains to gather data about snow leopard populations in an attempt to save this endangered species.  48 p., Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

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A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom by Jim Murphy

thunderSummary: In September 1862, two great armies faced each other across Antietam Creek. The outnumbered Confederate forces were led by General Robert E. Lee. The Union army was led by General George B. McClellan. Jim Murphy uses archival photographs, maps, and firsthand accounts to recreate one of America’s most important battles. 103 p., Margaret K. McElderry Books.

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Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

moonshotSummary: Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines. 48 p., Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner

frogSummary: Tyrone Hayes works to discover the effects pesticides have on frogs and, in turn, us. 58 p., Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

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Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Sly

carsSummary: Follow the course of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers Mission. Learn how scientists determined that there was once water on Mars and how they resolved problems with the rovers in order to prolong the mission. 57 p., Charlesbridge.

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Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon by Andrew Chaikin

apolloSummary: Discusses the historic moment in 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the major events that led up to this missiion, and the advancements that have been made in space exploration from the Mercury missions to the present day. 114 p., Viking.

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Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy

truceSummary: With World War I raging on the battlefields of Europe, an unexpected and miraculous event unfolded one Christmas evening; in defiance of their commanding officers’ orders, a truce was declared by soldiers on opposing sides, who stopped fighting to engage in a spontaneous Christmas celebration with their “enemies.” By a two-time Newbery Honor-winning author. 144 p., Scholastic Press.

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Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Eileen Spinelli and Jerry Spinelli

todaySummary: Daily verses of inspiration, advice, and hope are compiled in this lively book for middle readers designed to help develop self-esteem and other important values needed to live a meaningful life.  384 p., Alfred A. Knopf.

Marching for Freedom, by Elizabeth Partridge

marching for freedom_Summary:  Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge leads you straight into the chaotic, passionate, and deadly three months of protests that culminated in the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Focusing on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence in order to march alongside King, this is an inspiring look at their fight for the vote. Stunningly emotional black-and-white photos accompany the text.


Years of Dust : the Story of the Dust Bowl, by Albert Marrin

years of dustSummary: In the 1930s, dangerous black storms swept through the Great Plains. Created by drought and reckless farming, these lethal storms were part of an environmental, economic, and human catastrophe that changed the course of American history. In riveting, accessible prose, an acclaimed historian explains the causes behind the disaster and explores the Dust Bowl’s impact and the visionary conservation that would finally offer hope to the Plains.


Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li-Marcus

Summary: In front of Baba’s eyes, they flung book after book onto the stone floor. One of them reached into a lower shelf for Baba’s rare books. Dragging them out by their silk strings, he yanked them open. “Please,” Baba pleaded, trying to free himself from the hands of his guard.”Don’t touch those.” The guard pulled Baba’s arms back and tied a rope around them. Then the soldiers dumped all our books into large hemp sacks that they pulled from the back of the truck. “The paper factory will turn this trash into pulp in no time,” they announced. When Lao Lao tried to plead with them, a soldier just pushed her away. Dragging the sacks through our gate, they flung them, one after another, onto the open truck. Then, hurling Baba on top of the bulging bags, the soldiers drove away in a cloud of dust, leaving my grandmother filled with sorrow . . 176 p., Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

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