Archive for Social Studies

The Stone Cutter & The Navajo Maiden

Written by Vee F. Browne
Illustrated by Johnson Yazzie

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The Stone Cutter & The Navajo Maiden is a heartwarming children’s picture book written for the second and third grade level reader about a young Navajo girl who sets out to mend the precious family heirloom, the family cutting stone which has broken while grinding corn into flour.The plot takes the third grade reader on a realistic journey to meet a Moccasin Maker, a Potter, and the Stone Cutter as she seeks help in repairing the stone.

The book is beautifully illustrated which serves to enhance the meaning of the text, but what is so unique about this story is this – it also gives the Navajo translation of each paragraph below the English version. How cool is that? Teachers and parents alike will enjoy this introduction into another culture and another language beginning with the word metate- an ancient grinding stone that has been passed down in the family of Cinnibah, the ancient Navajo maiden. As Cinnibah visits with others in her village trying to find someone to fix the stone, she learns the importance of family, a concept that many third grade level readers will comprehend. She also learns that some things cannot be fixed, but must be replaced, as she begins to deal with all she has learned.
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Tough! (Book 3: The Weird Series)

Written by Erin Frankel

Illustrated by Paula Heaphy

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Tough! pulls off the difficult feat of being an engaging story for young readers and an effective discussion starter.It is part of a trilogy — the other two in the series are Weird! and Dare!. The three books are written from different viewpoints; Tough is Sam’s (the bully) story. Weird! is written from the perspective of the bullied, and Dare! is the bystander’s viewpoint.
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Ben Franklin His Wit And Wisdom From A – Z

By Alan Schroeder

Illustrated by  John O’Brien

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If you are contemplating reading this book or have it in hand, it tells two things about you. You are a reader, and you want to learn about Ben Franklin. It does not matter that you are a third grade reader or an adult. The strength of the book lies in the fact that all ages will enjoy it.

The illustrations add such verve to the text. “Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today” is one of Ben Franklin’s aphorisms. Well, guess what? Even an animal takes it to mind. Multi-tasking farmer, multi-tasking horse chomping on an apple TODAY.
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The Boy and His Mud Horses and other stories from the Tipi

Written and Illustrated by Paul Goble

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At first glance, this lovely story collection is a bunch of random myths and legends that have nothing in common.  On closer inspection, magic is the common theme.  The foreword and introduction written by a tribal leader, Albert White Hat, and the author, Paul Goble, talk about the role that storytelling played for Native Americans.  White Hat emphasizes how stories teach about life, both the good and the bad.  Goble talks about how stories teach in a symbolic way that is meaningful in different ways during different times of a listener or reader’s life.  Goble urges readers to allow time to let the stories take hold in the imagination.  At the heart of all the stories, there is a mystical happening, an ever-present knowledge that there is more than what we humans can see.
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A History of Voting Rights

By Tamra Orr

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The early settlers to this land left their old countries in search for freedom. They wanted a place where they could live as they pleased and make their own decisions. The author, Tamra Orr, makes a very profound point in the first chapter of the book “The right to vote is the right to have a voice in all kinds of decisions, big and small, local and national.”
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Susan B. Anthony

Written and Illustrated by Alexandra Wallner

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We may all have heard of the women’s suffrage movement, but how many of us really know about its leader Susan B. Anthony? Alexandra Wallner does an excellent job of presenting the details of Anthony’s life to young readers.

Anthony’s parents were strict. Early in life she learned to find entertainment by herself, because the children were not allowed to play games, sing songs or paint pictures. But they were fair. Third grade readers may find it hard to believe that there was a time when girls were not required to go to school. Anthony’s parents believed in educating both girls and boys.
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Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad

Written and Illustrated by Nathan Hale

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This graphic novel tells the true story of the Battle of the Hampton Roads. It was the most important naval battle of the American Civil war, between the Confederates (the rebels) and the Union (the north). This story for third graders was the first meeting of the ironclad warship, the Virginia (built from part of the famous Merrimack) and the Monitor (built by the Union and designed by John Ericsson).

Third grade students will enjoy reading this book. This book will be specially appealing to boys, who love an exciting, but true story.  They will learn about the events leading up to the final showdown of the two ships and the other ships involved.  It is an exciting way to learn about this event in American history.

This graphic novel also includes some very funny characters besides the people who were in involved in the preparation of the ships and crew for the battle. The illustrations add a lot of information and are fun to read.  Third grade students will enjoy reading this book more than once because of the details included in the both the illustrations and the text.  A fun book for all ages, this could also be used as a center for students who are reading for comprehension. The teacher could ask for facts to be written from each chapter.

In the back pages there are facts about each person involved in the battle. There is a time line and a bibliography.

For more information on author, Nathan Hale, go to his website: [learn_more caption=”Bibliographic Information”]

  • Nathan HaleTitle:  Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad
  • Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
  • Publisher:  Amululet Books, 2012
  • Reviewer:  Susan Couture
  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-0395-9
  • Genre: Graphic Novel, History
  • Lexile: 280GN

Today on Election Day

By Catherine Stier
Illustrated by David Leonard

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Today on Election Day, a book for third graders gives information about what happens on election day. It’s a very exciting time for Bailey and her classmates as they explain what goes on at their school and homes for the elections.  During election time, Bailey’s school is being used as a polling location for the national and local elections. Readers will learn what goes on during the election time and how elections are used to determine who will be the next President, the next Senator, or even just the city mayor.
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Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President

By Ann Malaspina
Illustrations by Steve James

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   The incident in Susan B. Anthony’s life when she was arrested and tried for the act of voting is highly dramatic and perfect for this lovely picture book biography. Congress passed the 14th Amendment with the intention of giving African-Americans citizenship but the wording is vague and had no reference to gender. » Read more

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