CurriConnects Book List - Civil War and Slavery

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Civil War and Slavery
As you study the Civil War and slavery, let students select books from this collection of fiction and historical fiction. As we honor the 150th anniversary of many Civil War events, what better way for students to make a more personal connection to the people who lived during those tumultuous times.

Preschool and Picture Books

Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky - Faith Ringgold, (978-0517885437) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 760, ESL level: 4
Cassie follows Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad to get to freedom and her brother.

Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad - Pamela Duncan Edwards, (978-0064435192) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 640, ESL level: 2 - 3
Animals in the forest guide an escaped slave to safety and freedom.

Follow the Drinking Gourd - Jeanette Winter, (978-0394896946) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 630, ESL level: 2 - 3
A group of runaway slaves follows the directions in a traditional song to escape from slavery using the Underground Railroad.

Henry's Freedom Box - Ellen Levine, (978-0439777339) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 380, ESL level: 2
Henry Brown escapes from slavery in Virginia by shipping himself in a wooden box to Pennsylvania.

I Want to be Free - Joseph Slate, (978-0399243424) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 150, ESL level: 2
A slave who is fleeing the chains of his masters saves an abandoned baby from a fate similar to his own.

Most Loved in All the World - Tonya Cherie Hegamin, (618-419039) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 530, ESL level: 2 - 3
Mama sacrifices her own personal freedom to help others to safety while working as an agent on the Underground Railroad.

Early Elementary Books

Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln - Jen Bryant, (140-2762526) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 580, ESL level: 2 - 3
A. Lincoln shares a fish he has just caught with a soldier instead of bringing it home for his family's dinner.

Abraham Lincoln Crosses a Creek - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-0375837685) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 600, ESL level:
A. Lincoln gets rescued from a fall into a stream by his best friend in Kentucky during their growing up years.

Almost to Freedom - Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, (978-1575053424) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 530, ESL level: 2 - 3
A young girl's rag doll narrates this tale of her escape from the American South to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

Big Jabe - Jerdine Nolen, (978-0060540616) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 610, ESL level: 3 - 4
Addy finds a miracle baby floating in a basket near a cotton field. After he reaches manhood in just a few months, the miracles he helps take place continue including changing an old horse into a racer, and helping slaves escape to freedom.

Billy and the Rebel - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-0689833960) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 490, ESL level: 2 - 3
A mother and son try to protect a Southern deserter during the Civil War.

Civil War on Sunday - Mary Pope Osborne, (978-0679890676) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-5, Lexile: 340, ESL level: 2 - 3
Jack and Annie go through their magic tree house to meet Clara Barton during the Civil War.

The Escape of Oney Judge - Emily Arnold McCully, (978-0374322250) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 4
A young black woman escapes from her life as a slave in the household of the first President of the U.S., George Washington.

F is for Freedom - Roni Schotter, (978-1463753603) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-6, Lexile: 740, ESL level: 4
Manda accidentally learns about the Underground Railroad support in her household and starts to help her parents shelter escaping slaves.

From Slave to Soldier - Deborah Hopkinson, (978-0689839665) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 460, ESL level: 2 - 3
An escaped slave signs up to fight with the Union army during the Civil War.

Honest Abe Lincoln - David Adler, (978-0823420575) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 450, ESL level: 2 - 3
These short stories tell the life of A. Lincoln and his careers as lawyer, politician and President.

Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret - Freddi Williams Evans, (978-0822579656) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 760, ESL level: 4
Slaves create a church in the wild while a member guards their safety from a high perch in a tree.

Nettie's Trip South - Ann Turner, (978-0689801174) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-6, Lexile: 860, ESL level: 4
A northern young woman, traveling to Virginia, sees the grimness of the slave trade when she sees slaves for sale in Richmond.

Walking Home with Rosie Lee - A. LaFaye, (978-1933693972) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 910, ESL level: 4
Young Gabe sets off after the Civil War ends to locate his mother, a former slave whom he was separated from when she was sold.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Abner & Me - Dan Gutman, (978-0756979201) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-8, Lexile: 680, ESL level: 2 - 3
Joe's time travel adventure gets messed up when he lands in the Battle of Gettysburg rather than at Abner Doubleday's home; he wanted to find out who invented baseball!

Annie, Between the States - L.M. Elliot, (978-0060012137) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 4
Annie chooses to spend her time helping soldiers and running her Virginia household during the Civil War.

Escape by Night - Laurie Myers, (978-0805088250) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 520, ESL level: 2 - 3
A minister's son is torn between helping a Yankee soldier escape and telling the authorities.

Ghost Soldier - Elaine Marie Alphin, (978-0805061581) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 3
Alexander helps a Civil War soldier ghost; he helps the confederate locate his lost family.

Hear the Wind Blow - Mary Downing Hahn, (618-181903) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, Lexile: 700, ESL level: 4
A young teen boy and his sister must search for family members on their own after their house burns and their mother dies.

Iron Thunder - NA Avi, (978-1423105183) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 620, ESL level: 3 - 4
Teen Tom has to work at the ironworks facory and unintentionally becomes the target of dangerous enemies since he is working on constructing the ironclad Monitor.

The Mostly True Adventures of Home P. Figg - Rodman Philbrick, (978-0439668187) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 950, ESL level: 4
Homer sets off to rescue his soldier brother during the Civil War.

Photo by Brady: A Picture of the Civil War - Jennifer Armstrong, (978-0689857850) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 1200, ESL level: 4 - 5
Mathew Brady and other photographers chronicled the Civil War soldiers and other images during their travels with the troops.

Pink and Say - Patricia Polacco, (978-0399226717) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 2 - 3
A Union soldier and an African American soldier are captured by the South during the Civil War.

The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane, (978-1619491724) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 340, ESL level: 2 - 3
Henry, a Union soldier, finds himself unsure about the heroic aspects of the Civil War due to its great violence and the high number of deaths he sees.

Red Moon at Sharpsburg - Rosemary Wells, (670-036382) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 760, ESL level: 3 - 4
A young teenaged girl must try and keep her family functional during the Civil War.

Thunder at Gettysburg - Patricia Gauch, (978-1590781807) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, ESL level: 3 - 4
A teenaged girl finds herself in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Chains - Laurie Halsey Anderson, (978-1416905868) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 3 - 4
A slave living a miserable life in NY City manages to help the rebels during the Civil War.

Death on the River - John Wilson, (978-1554691111) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 760, ESL level: 3 - 4
Jake begins his return home after the Civil War ends, but his peace is shattered by memories of all the deaths and violence he had found himself in the middle of.

The Deep Cut - Susan Rosson Spain, (978-0761453161) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, Lexile: 830, ESL level: 4
Lonzo tries to help his household during the Civil War despite his learning difficulties.

Diamonds in the Shadow - Caroline Cooney, (385-732619) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 3 - 4
African refugees, having escaped from a civil war in their own country, bring some of its danger to the U.S.

Guerrilla Season - Pat Hughes, (374-400288) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 520, ESL level: 3 - 4
A guerrilla band during the Civil War challenge teen loyalty when they fight under their own flag.

Leigh Ann's Civil War - Ann Rinaldi, (978-0547549996) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, ESL level: 4
A pre-teen girl must help her ill father after her brothers go to fight in the Civil War.

Letters from a Slave Girl - Mary Lyons, (978-1416936374) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 880, ESL level: 4 - 5
This epistolary novel creates letters famed Harriet Jacobs might have written as she prepared for and escaped from the South during the Civil War.

The River Between Us - Richard Peck, (978-0142403105) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 740, ESL level: 3 - 4
Two strange young "ladies"" come to live with the Pruitts in Illinois during the Civil War."

Sarny - Gary Paulsen, (978-0440219736) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 840, ESL level: 4
After Sarny learns to read following the Civil War, she teaches many other former slaves the same skill.

Steal Away Home - Lois Ruby, (978-0689824357) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-10, Lexile: 890, ESL level: 4
150 years after the Civil War, a young girl finds the skeleton and story of an African American woman who helped the Quakers.

Two Girls of Gettysburg - Lisa Klein, (159-9901056) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 830, ESL level: 4
Two female cousins find themselves on opposite sides during the Civil War.

An Unlikely Friendship: A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley - Ann Rinaldi, (978-0152063986) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, Lexile: 740, ESL level: 3 - 4
Two very different women, upper class Mary Todd Lincoln, and African American Lizzy Keckley, grow up separately in different worlds, but become great friends once Lincoln is in the White House.

With Every Drop of Blood - James Collier, (978-0440219835) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 4
A young Rebel soldier is captured by a former slave, now a Union soldier.

Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Across Five Aprils - Irene Hunt, (978-0425182789) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 1100, ESL level: 4 - 5
Jethro quickly grows up when he has to take care of the farm for his father during the Civil War Years.

How I Found the Strong - Margaret McMullan, (978-0553494921) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 860, ESL level: 4
Frank thought he wanted to be fighting with his brother and father for the Confederacy, but some of experiences change his thinking.

n the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber - Louis Meyer, (978-0152061661) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 1040, ESL level: 5
Jacky and several classmates end up on a slave ship en route to a slave market in Africa.

March Toward the Thunder - Joseph Bruchac, (978-0142414460) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4
Based on a family story, Bruchac tells the story of a Native American who joins the Irish Brigade on the Union side during the Civil War.

New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery - Allan Wolf, (978-0763632885) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4 - 5
The fictionalized letters of Thomas Jefferson and Sacagawea describe a historical trip of discovery.

Nightjohn - Gary Paulsen, (978-0440219361) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 4
Samy's already stressful life in slavery gets added risk when she accepts another slave's offer to teach her to read in this novel for mature audiences.

Picture the Dead - Adele Griffin, (978-1402268342) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 4
Jennie finds a gifted photographer after her fiance dies while fighting as a soldier; she talks to the dead through the photographer's ability to communicate with spirits.

President Lincoln's Secret - Steven Wilson, (978-0758232144) , Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
Colonel Fitz Dunaway helps President Lincoln search out traitors and spies after an ammunition storehouse explodes.

The Slopes of War - Norah Perez, (978-0547016146) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 850, ESL level: 4
Buck fears he might be fighting in the Civil War on the side opposite his two cousins.

Soldier's Heart - Gary Paulsen, (978-0440228387) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1000, ESL level: 4 - 5
After enlisting, Charley views the slaughter and stress of the Civil War in a different way.