CurriConnects Book List - 20th Century America, Part 2 (1945-2000)

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20th Century America, Part 2 (1945-2000)
Most students don't know about 2000, let alone 1950! Explore America after World War II with this list. Read nonfiction and fiction describing both happy and sad decades in American History. This list includes books on famous presidents such as JFK, Clinton, and others. Learn about the tumultuous 60s, the decade of Woodstock, the Civil Rights movement, and Vietnam. Follow the first footsteps into cyberspace and the exploding digital era of the final decades of this incredible century. The list includes books for all ages, though, there are slightly more titles for middle and high school students. Allow students to choose books that relate to a time period or event they have heard their parents discuss or one they are interested in learning more about. For a fun timeline, share the Song "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel (lyrics here).

Preschool and Picture Books

The Lonely Typewriter - Peter Ackerman, (978-1567925180), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
When the family computer freezes, the discarded typewriter in the attic is brought back into usage.

The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble - Jan Berenstain, (978-0060573942), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1
The Berenstain Bears' family changes greatly after they procure a computer for their home.

Franklin and the Computer - Sharon Jennings, (978-1553373636), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1
Franklin enjoys his friend Beaver's new video game a lot, and maybe too much, as he stops playing soccer and hanging out with friends.

Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly - Carolyn Parkhurst, (978-1421540740), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Henry and his little sister enjoy playing pretend TV cooking shows.

Chicken Clicking - Jeanne Willis, (978-1783440528), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1
Even chickens have started shopping on the internet; see their concerns with it in this book.

Doug Unplugged! - Dan Yaccarino, (978-0375966439), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
A robot finds exploring a city after he unplugs himself much more enlightening than downloading facts about them.

Early Elementary Books

Glory Be - Scattergood Augusta, (978-0545331807), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 680
A town in Mississippi chooses to close its public pool rather than follow the new desegregation law, and Glory feels the injustice in that choice.

Yellow Submarine - Beatles, (978-0763624408), Fiction
Interest level: 0-12
The Beatles take the yellow submarine to assist the residents of Pepperland who are being besieged by the Blue Meanies.

The Wall - Eve Bunting, (978-0395629772), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 270
A young boy has strong reactions to visiting the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.

Satchel Paige - Lesa Cline-Ransome, (978-0689856815), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-5
Follow Satchel Paige's amazing career in mainstream baseball.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power - Suzanne Collins, (978-0142408575), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Charlie's limited interest in only playing computer games leads him to beg his little sister for replacement batteries.

Year of the Jungle - Suzanne Collins, (978-0545425162), Fiction
Interest level: 0-12, Lexile: 450
Suzy is troubled when her soldier father's postcards from Vietnam do not come anymore.

Motordog - Kurt Cyrus, (978-1423168225), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4
Flip's dog which he bought online does not respond to the remote control button that came with him after the dog spots a cat.

Return of the Library Dragon - Carmen Agra Deedy, (978-1561456215), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 470
Miss Lotty, the school librarian, finds she cannot retire until she is sure that her beloved books will not be replaced by computers.

Guinea Pigs Online - Jennifer Gray, (978-1623650377), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4
Coco uses the computer to perform an online search for her buddy Fuzzy and finds out he is in danger; the guinea pigs then band together to form a hilarious rescue team.

Mr. Bump: Lights, Camera, Bump - John Hardman, (978-1421540740), Fiction
Interest level: 2-3
Mr. Bump ends up on all TV programs after he gets stuck inside his own set.

Internet Safety - Lisa Herrington, (978-0531292730), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5
This book provides answers to the 20th century problem of how children can stay safe using the internet.

A Sweet Smell of Roses - Angela Johnson, (978-1416953616), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Two girls attend a parade and hear Dr. Martin Luther King speak of freedom for all.

The Boy Who Invented TV - Kathleen Krull, (978-0385755573), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 860
Philo Farnsworth's interest in tinkering with machines and electricity led to his inventing many things, including modern television.

Hillary Rodham Clinton - Kathleen Krull, (978-1416971290), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Although Hillary Clinton was a President's wife, she was and is a lot more than that, having been ambitious, determined, and popular her entire life.

Faux Paw's Adventures in the Internet - Jacalyn Leavitt, (978-0470051375), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-5
Parents can find answers to concerns about internet safety and how to keep up with new related developments here.

Boycott Blues - Andrea Davis Pinkney, (978-0060821180), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 560
The author describes Rosa Park's experience with riding in the front of the bus and her role in supporting the civil rights movement.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Doreen Rappaport, (978-1423106357), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 410
This simple biography appeals to readers of all ages by relating information about the life and accomplishments of MLK, using his own words to show the power of his rhetoric.

Octopus's Garden - Ringo Starr, (978-1481403627), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Enjoy dancing and singing with the Octopus of Beatle fame.

Bill Clinton - Mike Venezia, (978-0516226460), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-8, Lexile: 890
Find out all about Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the U.S. in one book of a series about the Presidents (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents).

Dot - Randi Zuckerberg, (978-0062287519), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Dot explores the world like other young girls, but she experiences it through texting, typing, and swiping.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

The Computer's Nerd - W. Royce Adams, (978-0971220645), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6
Arthur tries to use a computer program to get back at his harrassers, but the game starts to take control of his life.

The Return of Gabriel - John Armistead, (978-1571316387), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 700
The Baptist pastor in a town polarized by pro and con civil rights believers must decide which side he will take while voter registration is being encouraged by civil rights leaders.

Through My Eyes: Ruby Bridges - Ruby Bridges, (978-0590189231), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 860
Ruby Bridges tells the story of her elementary years in her own words, focusing on her leadership in integrating New Orleans schools.

The Moves Make the Man - Bruce Brooks, (978-0064470223), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Jerome, an African American student at a white school, easily finds a friend in Bix, and they share their love of baseball.

Lauren Ipsum: A Story about Computer Science and Other Improbable Things - Carlos Bueno, (978-1593275747), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-9
Take a journey with Lauren to learn more about computer science as she travels to whimsical places.

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion - Loree Griffin Burns, (978-0618581313), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1200

Thank You Jackie Robinson - Barbara Cohen, (978-0688152932), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Sam makes an unlikely friend in Davy, with whom, despite their racial and educational differences, he shares a great love of baseball, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming - Laurie David, (978-0439024945), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 1090
This book is a great introduction to the contributing factors and problems resulting from global warming for middle school kids.

Vietnam War - DKPublishing, (978-0756611668), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Read about this to learn details about the U.S. military involvement in the war in Vietnam.

March on! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World - Christine King Farris, (978-0545035378), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 860
Dr. King's sister describes the great Freedom March in Washington DC and her brother's famous speech.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: America's Youngest President - Lucy Post Frisbee, (978-0020419907), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 840
Learn about John Kennedy's childhood and upbringing (Childhood of Famous Americans series).

Built for Success: The Story of Facebook - Sara Gilbert, (978-0898127614), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 1240
Learn about how Facebook became the symbol of successful social media.

Rosa - Nikki Giovanni, (978-0312376024), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 900
The author pays tribute to Rosa Park and her role in supporting the civil rights movement.

Recycle This Book - Dan Gutman, (978-0385737210), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-9
This collection of essays by children's authors stresses the importance of conservation and recycling.

Comfort - Joyce Moyer Hostetter, (978-1590788950), Fiction
Interest level: 6-9, Lexile: 680
Ann's disability resulting from her case of polio and her father's inability to procure employment because of the effects of being in the war cause her to grow up quickly.

John F. Kennedy - Howard Kaplan, (978-0756603403), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1090
This photographic essay portrays the life of assassinated President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (DK Biography series).

Schooled - Gordon Korman, (978-1423105169), Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 740
After a homeschooled teen's grandmother ends up in the hospital, he learns all about American culture, including TV, pizza, and school politics.

We've Got a Job - Cynthia Levinson, (978-1561456277), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 1020
Learn about over 4,000 African American children who ended up in jail after participating in a nation-shaking children's march for equal rights.

Casualties of War - Chris Lynch, (978-0545270243), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9
Beck joins up to fight in the war in Vietnam with his three friends; he learns to be a mechanic as well as a soldier, and comes to admire the country of Vietnam (series: Vietnam).

The Rock and the River - Kekla Magoon, (978-1416978039), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 550
Sam feels conflicted between his father's peaceful approach to civil rights in Chicago in the late 1960's and his brother's interest in the Black Panthers there.

Who Was John Kennedy? - Yona McDonough, (978-0448437439), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 790
Learn about the life and lasting legacy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (series about many American Presidents:Who Was?).

A Dream of Freedom - Diane McWhorter, (978-0439576789), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 1220
This book is a comprehensive and well-written history of the development of the American civil rights movement between 1954 and 1968.

Presidential Power on Trial: From Watergate to All the President's Men - William Noble, (978-0766030589), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
The author compares the real events of the Watergate Scandal with the popular movie All the President's Men in this fascinating series (Famous Court Cases That Became Movies).

Media Meltdown - Liam O'Donnell, (978-1554690657), Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 590
Three friends try to stop a huge corporation from squeezing out a small fruit farm by using media publicity including newspapers, the internet and movies.

Marching for Freedom - Elizabeth Partridge, (978-0670011896), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-10, Lexile: 560
This book details protests and marches that occurred in Selma, Alabama as Dr. King's non-violence was combatted by the white establishment.

Lost in Cyberspace - Richard Peck, (978-0140378566), Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 550
Josh and Aaron find their school's computer can help them travel through time to learn about the past and improve the future.

Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star - Rachel Renee Russell, (978-1442487673), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 710
Nikki's life is suddenly on TV as a reality TV crew follows her everywhere in this new episode of the "Dork Diaries" series.

Tangled Threads: A Hmong Girl's Story - Pegi Deitz Shea, (978-0618247486), Fiction
Interest level: 4-9, Lexile: 630
A young Hmong teen travels from Thailand with her traditional grandmother to Rhode Island to start a new life, but she finds the American customs she wants to adopt conflict with the values of her family.

Inside Out and Back Again - Lai Thanhha, (978-0061962783), Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 800
A Vietnamese immigrant writes a series of poems reflecting her experiences in Vietnam during the war and her resettlement in Alabama.

Countdown - Deborah Wiles, (978-0545106054), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 800
Franny's involvement with the Cold War includes her corresponding with Krushchev, reading about people building bomb shelters, feeling stress about the possibility of nuclear war and living through the Russian missile crisis.

Revolution - Deborah Wiles, (978-0545106078), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 840
This gripping novel tells the story of two young people of opposite races in the American south during the dawn of the civil rights era.

Bat 6 - Virginia Euwer Wolff, (978-0590898003), Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 930
Prejudice appears as 6th grade girls share their versions of a post-war softball game.

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson, (978-0399252518), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9
Author Jacqueline Woodson's autobiography gives an inside look of the life of an intelligent and aware African American child in both South Carolina and New York in this series of poems.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

The 60's - Robert Altman, (978-1595800244), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Photographer Robert Altman documents the 60's with his award-winning photographs.

The Impossible Knife of Memory - Laurie Halse Anderson, (978-0670012091), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 720
Hayley's father finds it difficult to return to a normal life after the war due to post traumatic stress.

Watergate - Jules Archer, (978-1632206060), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-10
This book carefully examines the events that led to the famous Watergate break in of 1972.

Growing Up Simple: An Irreverent Look at Kids in the 1950's - George Arnold, (978-1571680716), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Follow five children as they grow up in the 1950's in the U.S.

Reality Chick - Lauren Barnholdt, (978-1435284906), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Ally's selection as a member of a reality TV cast teaches her about how fickle love can be and how relationships may not be what they first appear to be.

Karma for Beginners - Jessica Blank, (142-3117514), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 730
Tessa meets an attractive boy in the ashram her hippie mother takes her to in this book for mature teens.

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet - Andrew Blum, (978-0061994951), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This fascinating, well-written book describes the impact of the internet on modern life and other technological developments.

American Counterculture of the 1960's - Richard Brownell, (978-1420502633), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
The counterculture period during the 1960's comes alive in this easy-to-read, well-documented book.

Reality Check - Jen Calonita, (316-045543), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 690
Charlie and her friends' lives are never the same after they are selected to be stars of a new reality series.

Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless - Melody Carlson, (978-1600069482), Fiction
Interest level: 10-12
Adele finds herself homeless after her mother disappears; she tries to keep up a brave front at high school, but with no money and no support, her life deteriorates.

The Killing Woods - Lucy Christopher, (978-0545461009), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 660
Emily tries to help her father, an ex-soldier with PTSD, but her efforts lead her into a dangerous and violent game.

Net Force 07: Cyberspy - Tom Clancy, (978-0425171912), Fiction
Interest level: 7-9
David Gray uncovers a dangerous group of cyberspies who are changing people's thought patterns with their advanced technology as well as revealing business secrets.

My Life: The Presidential Years - Bill Clinton, (978-1400096732), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Bill Clinton writes about his years in the White House.

Living History - Hillary Rodham Clinton, (978-0743222259), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Hillary's autobiography details the development of her ambition and confidence.

The Eternity Code - Eoin Colfer, (978-1423124535), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 620
Evil but brilliant, Artemis Fowl develops a supercomputer in the hope of blackmailing a corrupt businessman.

Flight 116 is Down - Caroline Cooney, (978-0590444798), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 710
After a 747 crashes, a young woman overcomes her anxiety and sets about helping as well as she can.

The Eye of Minds - James Dashner, (978-0385741408), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 790
Michael's internet gaming skills are put to the test when there is a cyber-terrorist threat.

Fire From the Rock - Sharon Draper, (978-0142411995), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Sylvia must decide if she will be one of the students to attempt to desegregate an all white high school.

The Spoken Word Revolution - Mark Eleveld, ed., (978-1402202469), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
This book, written by many poets, and its accompanying CD show how today's oral poetry represents today's youth.

Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World - Mike Evans, (978-1402766237), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
This in-depth analysis of the phenomenon of the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 includes information from musicians and organizers, photographs, graphic illustrations, and more.

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott - Russell Freedman, (978-0823420315), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-10
This book describes the events that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and its impact on the civil rights movement.

The Watergate Scandal in United States History - David K. Fremon, (978-0766061071), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Learn about the people and events that led to the demise of Richard Nixon's presidency and his eventual resignation.

If I Ever Get out of Here - Eric Gansworth, (978-0545417303), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 870
Lewis wants to trust his new friendship with George, but he remains cautious as a Native American, aware of the discrimination between his people and whites.

Google - Susan Hamen, (978-1617148088), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Learn about how Google came to be one of the primary search engines of the 20th centure and beyond (Technology Pioneers series).

Don't Call Me Baby - Gwendolyn Heasley, (978-0062208521), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Imogene's mother blogs about Imogene's entire life during her freshman year of highschool, to Imogene's great mortification.

lol. . . OMG! - Matt Ivester, (978-1466242074), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
Learn how to protect yourself online and become a respectable computer/internet user: for older teens.

Evil Genius - Catherine Jinks, (978-0152061852), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 720
Cadel finds himself among other brilliant Hackers at his new school, a crime academy.

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row - Susan Kuklin, (978-1250044457), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Prisoners speak about their experiences waiting on death row.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon - Jennifer Landau, (978-1448869145), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This biography details the development of Amazon.com as the definitive e-super store in this interesting series (Internet Biographies) about people who have changed people's lives through technology.

My Beautiful Hippie - Janet Nichols Lynch, (978-0823426034), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 780
An overly protected teen leaps into the California counterculture of the 1960's after finding a hippy boyfriend.

McCarthy Era - Ann Malaspina, (978-1604137651), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Learn about the forces that led to Joseph McCarthy's rise to power and influence in U.S. history.

As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950's - Karal Ann Marling, (978-0674048836), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This book explores the visual offerings of culture in the 1950's, including TV, paint by number hobbies, clothing, and automotive design.

Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web - Stephanie Sammartino McPherson, (978-0822572732), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Read about Tim Berner-Lee's remarkable vision of the future of computer technology, specifically that of the information super highway.

Fallen Angels - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0545055765), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 650
A recent high school graduate finds his enlistment in the Army to fight in Vietnam devastating.

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard - Leslea Newman, (978-0763658076), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This fictionalized version of the murder of a young gay man tells the story from multiple view points.

Killing Kennedy - Bill O'Reilly, (978-0805096668), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
This enthralling book about Kennedy's assassination holds a reader's attention as well as any fictional mystery.

The Car - Gary Paulsen, (978-0756966850), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 900
Two friends find their road trip more than they expected when they meet two Vietnam veterans with plenty of stories.

The Haight-Ashbury - Charles Perry, (978-0394741444), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
Learn how the Haight-Ashbury hippy area of San Francisco in the 1960's proved to be the growing ground for the massive cultural revolution that changed American life forever.

The Things a Brother Knows - Dana Reinhardt, (978-0375844560), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 650
Levi accompanies Boaz, his older veteran brother, on a walking tour along the East Coast hoping to discover what ghosts Boaz has brought back from the war with him.

Satellite Communications - Dennis Roddy, (978-0071462983), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
Find out everything you need to know about 20th and 21st century developments in satellite communication, including global wireless communications, satellite internet access, and digital television.

The Outside of a Horse - Ginny Rorby, (978-0803734784), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 720
Hannah's work with rescued horses turns out to be therapeutic for her war-disabled father.

History of the Internet and the Digital Future - Johnny Ryan, (978-1780231129), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Learn about the impact of the development of the internet on political history, questions of intellectual freedom, censorship, and more.

Living with the Internet and Online Dangers - Corey Sandler, (978-0816078752), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12
This book has a good discussion of online dangers and offers advice to vulnerable teens.

Purple Daze - Sherry Shahan, (978-0762440719), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
The story of six teens in LA are told against the backdrop of a country involved in the Vietnam war and the explosion of drug use among the young.

How Are Online Activities Affecting Society - Bonnie Szumski, (978-1601525468), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
This non-fiction book examines all aspects of the internet's effects on lives in the 20th and 21st centuries

Badd - Tim Tharp, (978-0375864018), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 780
In this book for mature teens, a girl's brother returns from the Iraq War and begins to engage in risky behaviors.

No Man's Land - S.T. Underdahl, (978-0738733050), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Brian's brother is very understanding about Brians' questionable actions after he returns from fighting in Afghanistan.

Unfriended - Rachel Vail, (978-0670013074), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12
The effect of social media in Truly's middle school keeps her from enjoying her promotion to the "Popular Table" in the lunch room.

Cyber Safe Kids, Cyber Savvy Teens - Nancy Willard, (978-0787994174), Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12
Learn responsible and safe use of the Internet.