Books for Teaching Family Stories
- Grades: 3–5
From Unit Plan: We Are History: Family Stories
The following books are available in the Teacher Store.
Dreaming of America by Eve Bunting
This is a story of a young girls immigration from Ireland on the SS Nevada. It tells of life on the ship, the ways the crowd welcomes the immigrants to Ellis Island and the emotion that goes into traveling to a new country.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: This one was great because it was from a child's point of view.
Pink and Say by Patricia Pollaco
The heart-wrenching true story of Civil War valor in which a 15-year-old Yankee soldier, Say, alone and bleeding, is dragged to safety by a fellow Union soldier from the Forty-eighth colored regiment. They are ultimately captured and separated, and Say survives to pass the story down through the author's family.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: Based on a true story from the Civil War era.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
When Esperanza and Mama are forced to flee from their home in Mexico to a Mexican farm labor camp in California, they must adjust to a life without the fancy dresses and servants to which they were accustomed on Rancho de las Rosas. Now they must confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: This is a good book to use if you want to extend this topic into a novel study.
Teaching Memoir Writing by Perdita Finn
Deepen your students' thinking, broaden their vision, and help them become better writers. Includes mini-lessons on making connections, developing metaphors, and searching for themes in remembered events.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: We used a page from this for our interview sheet.
The following books may be found in your school library.
Picnic in October by Eve Bunting
This is a heartwarming story about an Italian boy's journey to the Statue of Liberty on Lady Liberty's "birthday." You watch the young boy as he grows and changes throughout the story. In the beginning of the book he does not understand the pride his grandmother shows to lady liberty, and in the end he starts to understand all that lady liberty stands for when he views a family of immigrants that are very grateful to be in America.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: I loved this one because it is a current family story.
The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff
A story of a family who is forced to migrate to the United States when Russian soldiers started rounding up Jewish people. It tells of Rachel's experience at Ellis Island and how her cousin's special jacket helped him pass the tests at Ellis Island when the doctors found a cut above his eye that should have prevented him from entering the United States.
Quick Tip for Using Book in Classroom: Wonderful for those students with ancestors that came in through Ellis Island