Voices from History: Bring History Alive with Narrative and Poetry

This certainly isn’t the first, and most definitely will not be the last time you hear me talk about historical fiction. In my mind, there is no better way to make history intriguing and emotional. Without interest and emotion we do not engage, and thus plain history books with facts and excerpts fall short in engaging our children to learn and seek out more.

Voices from History: Bring History Alive with Narrative and Poetry from Starts At Eight- This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Here I have created a full immersion history unit study around historical fiction, and first (or close second) hand accounts of people, places, and events in history. Adding in additional resources such as movies, field trip ideas, printables, art, and more!

Voices from History: Bring History Alive with Narrative and Poetry

I have discovered a little gem of a resource for quality books in Candlewick Press! Check out all the great horse stories we used last year! They were both fiction and non-fiction selections that I used at home and with my 4-H group!

{I received free copies of these books and was compensated for my time in writing this review.  All views are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Now I have a collection of history books, but not just any history books, these are some fun and creative books that really step outside the box to get kids engaged in learning about history! There are multiple anthologies where authors have collaborated to you bring you some unusual stories of women in history, as well as a collection of stories of World War II as told to children of today, and even a book written entirely in verse, a picture book, and an engaging historical fiction novel! PLUS I have included specific resources to go along with the topics of each of the books to give your kids a hands on learning experience as well!

The Radical Element  & A Tyranny of Petticoats (Women in History)

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Both The Radical Element and A Tyranny of Petticoats are anthologies consisting of stories of girls of all colors and creeds who stand up for themselves and their beliefs. There are bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, all making their own way in often hostile lands. Each has a story to tell and this collection of authors brings each one of them alive for us in these 2 anthologies.

At the end of each story there is an author’s note which contains historical background, their personal thoughts, and often give insight as to what was fact and what was fiction in their story. I love this because they separate out the fact vs. fiction so your child doesn’t have to wonder.

Extension Activities

This isn’t the first time I have touched on learning history through women in history. You can check out my Teaching History Through the Women in History to find more book resources, websites, and printables.

Teaching History Through The Women in History from Starts At Eight. Teaching History through the Women in History is a wonderful way to learn about important pieces of history as well as showcasing important women! This is a collection of books, websites, and printables to round out a history study based on women!Movie Suggestions

  • Not for Ourselves Alone – The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B Anthony – a PBS Documentary
  • Hidden Figures – a true story about three women at NASA who were instrumental in the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
  • The Miracle Worker – the story of Helen Keller

Field Trip Ideas

Susan B. Anthony House – The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House is located in Rochester< NY. It was the home of the legendary American civil rights leader, and the site of her famous arrest for voting in 1872.

New York Historical Society Museum and Library – has a Center for Women’s History where both online and by visiting in person you can explore women’s history.

Online Exhibits of the National Women’s History Museum – If you can’t get out and visit a location that is representative of women (or a woman) in history, then I highly recommend the Online Exhibits section of the National Women’s History Museum.

Women at NASA – throughout our years of vacationing in Florida we have visited NASA multiple times. If you can’t visit in person be sure to check out their website.

Siege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution (American Revolution)

Siege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution by Roxane Orgill is the story of the siege of Boston that launched the war to defeat the British. It’s told in verse, giving voice to various privates and generals, their wives and city residents to tell the story.

This was one of my favorites! We really enjoyed hearing from the various perspectives. The verse was easy to read, and made for fun curl up on the couch afternoon read alouds.

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Extension Activities

Revolutionary War Recipes – Cook up some Hasty Pudding, Firecake, and HoeCakes/Mushcakes (George Washington’s favorite breakfast!). This also includes additional information about the foods of the period and gives students historical context. This Revolutionary War Recipes is excerpted from COOKING UP SOME AMERICAN HISTORY, which provides 50 authentic recipes from 16 distinct periods of American history.

History Through The Ages-Time Travelers: American Revolution – We have been loving this resource this year as we study Revolutionary American. This offers tons of lapbooks components, as well as hands-on-activities all related to this time period.

American History Timeline Resources: American Revolution from Starts At Eight is a homeschool American history plan based on a timeline of events and people from Revolutionary America.

Timeline Resources for the American Revolution – This is a myriad of resources I have collected and used to study the American Revolution this year with my middle schooler. It includes timeline resources, books, videos, activities and more!

Voices from the Second World War & Cloud and Wallfish (WWII)

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Voices from the Second World War is a collection of stories gathered by children from all over the world who met with people who wanted to share experiences from WWII. I loved how this book combined background information along with the first person accounts. It was awesome to hear their voices and see the photos they had to share. Even my husband is really enjoying this one!

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet is the only one of these books that is straight historical fiction.  This one is a page turner for sure! It has even captivated the interest of my 15 year old son!  (I couldn’t even get him to look up for the picture!) This one takes an 11 year old boy, “behind the Iron Curtain” around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Weaved into the story are “Secret Files” that give the reader some historical context which really helps you to understand what is going on.

“Noah Keller has a pretty normal life, until one wild afternoon when his parents pick him up from school and head straight for the airport, telling him on the ride that his name isn’t really Noah and he didn’t really just turn eleven in March. And he can’t even ask them why — not because of his Astonishing Stutter, but because asking questions is against the newly instated rules. (Rule Number Two: Don’t talk about serious things indoors, because Rule Number One: They will always be listening). As Noah—now “Jonah Brown”—and his parents head behind the Iron Curtain into East Berlin, the rules and secrets begin to pile up so quickly that he can hardly keep track of the questions bubbling up inside him: Who, exactly, is listening — and why? When did his mother become fluent in so many languages? And what really happened to the parents of his only friend, Cloud-Claudia, the lonely girl who lives downstairs?”

It would also be useful for readers of this book to check out The History Channel’s page on the Cold War and The Berlin wall. It helps to bring in more facts and images.

Extension Activities

Field Trip Ideas

We have visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. in the past, but while we were reading these books I wanted to be able to visit something tangible and WWII related. That spurred me to do a Google search for WWII Memorials in our area. I was surprised to find a couple I didn’t even know about!

The Veterans Memorial – located at the Rochester Community War Memorial. “The Rochester Community War Memorial was built in 1955 to honor World War II veterans and to host sports, business and entertainment events. The room dedicated to the community’s war dead was one of the nation’s most impressive shrines but unfortunately was closed to the public much of the time due to vandalism. When the War Memorial was reconstructed in 1998, plaques and pieces of inscribed marble that had been in the shrine were relocated to the rear of the main floor.”

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Battle of the Bulge Memorial – “This memorial is dedicated to the soldiers that fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WW2. It is located North of Rochester, NY at the entrance to Ontario Beach Park.”

World War II Memorial – “This World War II memorial is specifically to remember soldiers from Rochester’s 19th Ward. The engraved stone is flanked by two stone planters and a small flower garden has been cultivated in front of it.” This memorial is located on the north side of Elmwood Avenue, across the street from Genesee Valley Park. It is at the intersection of an unnamed park road, which is also a bicycle route and the Genesee Riverway Trail.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph (1958)

Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!

Jazz Day is the story of how this infamous photo came to be. “When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone.”

Written as a collection of poem with beautiful, soft illustrations that bring to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day!

At the end you will also find brief biographies of some of the musicians as well as plethora of extra resources that can be found in the bibliography.

Extension Activities

    • Jazz Unit Study – Jazz has often been called “America’s classical music.” In fact, in 1987, the United States Congress passed a resolution that designated jazz as a national American treasure! Jazz is an art form that has entertained, influenced and inspired people around the world. There are many types of jazz, each one unique in form and structure. Learn more about jazz via vocabulary, styles, instruments, jazz singers and more!
    • Jazz Instrument Art – While I couldn’t find one solid tutorial, I found tons of awesome jazz instrument art using oil pastels, paint, markers, and even tissue paper! Drago Art has great tutorials on drawing instruments and Elementary Art Fun has some awesome kid art as inspiration! Voices from History: Bringing History Alive with Narrative and Poetry - This is a collection of fabulous first hand or retold stories of moments in history such as WWII, jazz music and women in history with corresponding extension activities and field trip ideas. Great for a homeschool unit study!
    • Watch the Documentary

Field Trip Ideas

Attend a Jazz Music Performance – Every year there is a jazz festival near us, “The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (XRIJF) in Rochester, New York,  was founded in 2002 and has quickly become one of the nation’s most popular and respected music festivals. This city-wide music festival attracts visitors from all over the U.S. and the world every summer.”

More from Candlewick

Here is another unit I created from using Candlewick Books. My daughter loves horses and there are tons of horse related books to chose from beyond what we used in this unit, including a new one coming out May 2018 called Racing Manhattan about a girl who has an extraordinary talent for understanding racehorses and riding them like a pro. As well as A Horse’s Haiku, and a series called Ride about a fourteen year old girl at a boarding school in England.

Using Horse Stories and Non-Fiction Books for a Horse Unit Study from Starts At Eight. Using Horse Stories is a great way to foster a love of learning with fun stories and hands on knowledge! Includes FREE Printable Horse Knowledge Worksheets.

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