When I was in college I took a children’s literature class. One of the assignments was to read books from all different genres. One of the assigned genres was historical books. I distinctly remember reading Pink and Say (one of the books I’m gonna mention in a few lines). I remember crying at one part, and how poignant the ending was.
That is the power of a well-written story. It made the Civil War come to life in a way no textbook ever will. So while we read our lessons in the Mystery of History 4*, I also check out about 20 or so Civil War picture books for my kids to read as a bit of extra history lessons for them.
(All Amazon links are affiliate links as well as any links with an asterisk)
Civil War picture books from a soldier’s point of view
Pink and Say– This is the story of two Union soldiers separated from their regiments. Pink is an escaped slave, and Say is a Yankee. They form a unique friendship as they travel behind enemy lines. Telling you more gives away the story, but I love it so much.
Dadblamed Union Cow– The poor soldiers tasked with caring for this cow have no end of troubles, but the cow also encourages them in ways they don’t expect. When I looked at the publisher I wasn’t surprised to see Candlewick Press, they always have great historical fiction (I’ve got an entire unit about WW1 in March planned from their books).
From Slave to Soldier: A True Story– This is one of those early chapter books that are really an exalted picture book, but it’s a great story
The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale– Two buglers meet one day on the battlefield of Gettysburg. They’re both too young to be in this conflict, and yet here they are. They talk and part ways friends, but they are on opposite sides. I LOVE this book. It’s probably my favorite after Pink and Say.
Picture books that are only tangentially related to the Civil War
Alec’s Primer– this is the story of a young slave boy taught to read by his owner’s granddaughter, and while it’s only tangentially related to the Civil War, I love the story.
Hope’s Story– Hope’s father is a slave who left to fight with the Union army. She is left wondering if he’ll come home…… Great incorporation of the slaves who fought AND the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln Tells a Joke– President Lincoln faces a tough time as president, and it’s hard to make speeches to keep moral up in the middle of war, and yet this one joke did just that.
The Blue and the Gray– This is a look back as two modern boys (African-American and White) explore a Civil War battlefield and reflect on the war. Interesting, it was checked out of the library when I went to get it, but I like Eve Bunting books.
When Harriet Met Sojourner– These two ladies were great voices for abolition and reform before and after the Civil War.
With Books and Bricks; How Booker T. Washington Built a School– I think this book technically happens after the Civil War (the problem with writing this AFTER I’ve returned the books), but it’s pretty awesome all the same.
Civil War nonfiction books
Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself– I love this series and the projects they suggest, I always get inspiration from them.
Civil War with Kids: 21 projects– This is another series that I always find immensely interesting to look through.
A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee– It’s David Adler, so of course I love it, but I learned so much about Lee from this book.
Want some more US history ideas? Check out my EPIC US history lessons.
Check out more great reading lists over at iHomeschool Network Must Read books (this link goes live Janary 23, but I know I’ll forget to put it in later, because I’m forgetful like that)