Recently, I noticed an increase in the number of books for second and third graders with a focus on history. Here are two series that provide information and facts with a twist.
Secrets of American History: The Founding Fathers Were Spies!: Revolutionary War by Patricia Lakin, Illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti (Simon & Schuster, July 4, 2017)
Description from GoodReads: Discover the thrilling side of history—starting with how spies helped during the Revolutionary War—in this fact-tastic, nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a new series about the secrets of American History!
Secrets of American History is an action-packed nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read series that lets beginning readers in on a little secret: history is full of surprises! Want to know what invisible ink has to do with the American Revolution? Or why shark repellant and inflatable army tanks were used in World War II? Find out in this fact-filled series of fascinating true tales, wild adventures, and spy missions, and discover the secret side of American history!
Before he was the President of the United States, George Washington was a spy! It’s true…and he wasn’t the only one! During the American Revolution, founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin sent secret messages rolled up in quill pens, used invisible ink, and wrote in secret codes to keep important information from getting into British hands. In George Washington’s top-secret spy ring, a woman named Anna Strong sent secret messages to other spies by hanging laundry on a clothesline!
Without spies, Americans might still speak with British accents: find out how and why it happened in this book that includes a special extend-the-learning section with activities about the science behind invisible ink, how to make a secret code, and more!
Quick thoughts on the series:
I tend to be a fan of the Ready-to-Read series. There are many great topics and the illustrations support the text. In this latest Ready-to-Read series, young readers are introduced to the Revolutionary War from the point of reference of the American Founding Fathers being spies.
Though the text does not provide a significant number of text features. Readers are exposed to information divided into chapters and written more in the style of a longer text but instead comes in at 48 pages.
At the end of the book, readers learn more about creating invisible ink, secret messages and a short quiz. This interactive section of the book can provide parents and teachers with ideas for extending the concepts in the book.
Don't miss Secrets of American History: Secret Agents! Sharks! Ghost Armies! World War II by Laurie Calkhoven; Illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti (Simon & Schuster, July 4, 2017).
As with the other book in the series, this one also includes a section at the end that provides readers with some additional facts and activities.
For the same age group but with a totally different twist and format, Dan Gutman has created a series of FAST FACTS in the style of his MY WEIRD SCHOOL series.
Explorers, Presidents, and Toilets (My Weird School Fast Facts) by Dan Gutman (HarperCollins, June 2017)
Description from GoodReads: Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!
Did you know that the word “independence” never appears in the Declaration of Independence? Did you know that soldiers in World War I collected thousands of glowworms in jars to help them see at night?!
Learn more weird-but-true U.S. history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.
Whether you're a kid who wants to learn more about our country's history or simply someone who wants to know how many Americans are involved in toilet-related injuries each year, this is the book for you!
Quick thoughts on the book: This 12+ chapter book series uses humor and back and forth banter between A.J. and Andrea in his FAST FACT series. These books may be significantly longer than the SECRETS OF AMERICAN HISTORY, but provide readers with the next step up in reading levels but still maintaining humor and accessibility to the books.
Don't miss out on other books in the My Weird School Fast Facts series.
Look for these and other titles at your local indie bookstore or community library.
Each week, Michele Knott and I post about new early readers and transitional chapter books. Don't forget to pop over to Michele's blog to check out her post as well.