History was one of my favorite subjects in school. I love the drama, the action, the learning about other people, backgrounds, and cultures. The celebration of overcoming the impossible, and the mourning over what has been lost. One thing is certain, history is constantly in the making and it is never dull. A great way to get your kid interested in history is by taking a topic they already obsess over and finding them a story that delves a little deeper! Here are just a few of our favorites to get you started:
by Julie Leung
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
As an adventuresome scaredy-cat, I love living vicariously through inspiring, valiant women, and Hazel Ying Lee is the absolute definition of fearless.
Discover an inspiring picture book biography about Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.
Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn't take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.
This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.
Illustrated by Don Tate
If you or your little one is a basketball fan, Swish! will become your newest nightly read! I played elementary and middle school basketball and, despite my best efforts, never could master any of the Harlem Globetrotters impressive tricks.
The true story of the high-flying Harlem Globetrotters — the team that changed basketball forever.
In this book you will find one-finger ball-spinning, rapid-fire mini-dribbling, and a ricochet head shot!
You will find skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers — all rolled into one!
You will find nonstop, give-it-all-you’ve-got, out-to-win-it, sky’s-the-limit BASKETBALL!
You will find The Harlem Globetrotters, who played the most groundbreaking, breathtaking ball the world had ever seen. With rhythmic writing and dynamic illustrations, Swish! is a celebration of the greatness, goodness, and grit of this remarkable team.
by Debbie Loren Dunn
Illustrated by Francesca Sanna
If purple is your favorite color, why not learn a bit more about how it was discovered? A perfect read for future scientists, artists, and all those who like to get a little messy.
The fascinating true story of groundbreaking chemist William Perkin, who used the scientific method to invent a new way for creating the color purple.
Many years ago, the color purple was available only to a privileged few. Making purple was tricky. The dye was concocted from a certain snail, and later, from plants, bugs, and rocks. Then it had to be soaked in minerals and . . . urine! The process was very complicated and expensive (not to mention smelly!).
Until 1856, when a boy named William Henry Perkin invented a new way. While testing a hypothesis about a cure for malaria, he found that his experiment resulted in something else — something vivid and rare for the times: synthetic PURPLE. Perkin, a pioneer of the modern scientific method, made numerous advances possible, including canned food and chemotherapy. But it was his creation of purple that started it all.
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Bessie Colman’s path to becoming the first Black female pilot is nothing short of inspiring. Flying Free is the book for all the little explorers whose feet can’t seem to stay on the ground!
Based on Karyn Parson’s critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot’s license.
Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane . . . Before she performed in death-defying flying shows that would earn her fame as “Queen Bess” . . . Before she traveled the country speaking out against discrimination, Bessie was a little girl with a big imagination that took her to the sky, through the clouds, and past the birds.
Knocking down barriers one by one, Bessie endured racism and grueling training to become the first black female pilot and an inspiration to Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, and many more influential people of color for years to come.
Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
While I cannot outright condone rule-breaking, sometimes a bit of trouble is a must to get things done. If you and your young reader are like me and know all the Hamilton lyrics by heart, it’s probably time to learn some more U.S. history!
John Hancock and Samuel Adams were an unlikely pair of troublemakers. Hancock was young and dashing. Adams was old and stodgy. But working together, they rallied the people of Boston against the unfair policies of Great Britain and inspired American resistance. And to King George, they became a royal pain.
When the British army began marching toward Lexington and Concord, sending Hancock and Adams fleeing into the woods, the two men couldn’t help but worry–this time, had they gone too far?
Rich with historical detail and primary sources, this spirited tale takes readers through ten years of taxes and tea-tossing, tyranny and town hall meetings. The team behind Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word reunites for a lively look at the origins of the American Revolution told through the powerful partnership of two legendary founders.
Between these inspiring she-roes and Vashti Harrison’s adorable illustrations, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is sure to land a prime display spot on the bookcase!
Among these women, you’ll find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them.
The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.
And if you love this book, there’s more! Check out Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History.
by Mona Golabek
by Lee Cohen
Adapted by Emil Sher
Illustrated by Sonia Possentini
Coming from a family impacted by the Holocaust, this topic was introduced at home at a very young age. And while the horror of what happened is a difficult subject to broach, Hold On To Your Music is a triumphant story of one girl’s survival that is sure to uplift and inspire.
In pre-World War II Vienna, Lisa Jura was a musical prodigy who dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. But when enemy forces threatened the city—particularly the Jewish people that lived there—Lisa's parents were forced to make a difficult decision. They chose to send Lisa to London for safety through the Kindertransport—a rescue effort that relocated Jewish children. As Lisa yearned to be reunited with her family while living in a home for refugee children on Willesden Lane, her music became a beacon of hope for those around her.
A true story of courage, survival, and determination, this compelling tribute to a gifted young girl has already touched the lives of many around the world. Originally published in 2017 for older readers, The Children of Willesden Lane has sold hundreds of thousands of copies globally; now this picture book retelling will inspire a new generation.