Ancient Places, American Spaces, and Famous Faces | History & Landmarks Series Nonfiction

U.S. topics range from landmarks and historic locations, coverage of World War II or the Harlem Renaissance, and even the details of infamous prison escapes.

U.S. topics range from landmarks and historic locations, coverage of World War II or the Harlem Renaissance, and even the details of infamous prison escapes. Those interested in world history can dive into the relics of ancient civilizations or even a complete survey of democracy through time. Crisp clear photos make information more accessible, as do timelines, maps, and diagrams. And for those that want to know even more, there are suggested reading lists, weblinks, and even video clips to expand on the text. From simple introductions to the Liberty Bell to a detailed evolution of Europe from the earliest tribal groups, this season covers the globe.



Bowman, Chris. Glacier National Park. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781644877524.
––––. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781644877548.
––––. Yellowstone National Park. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781644877562.
––––. Zion National Park. Bk. 8. ISBN 9781644877586.
Leaf, Christina. Acadia National Park. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781644877517.
––––. Grand Canyon National Park. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781644877531.
––––. Rocky Mountain National Park. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781644877555.
––––. Yosemite National Park. Bk. 7. ISBN 9781644877579.
ea vol: 32p. (U.S. National Parks). Bellwether/Blastoff! Discovery. Aug. 2022. Tr. $27.95.
Gr 3-4 –Large photos and smaller inset images showcase the wonders of each park in this series. The text begins with a description of a popular park experience, then describes the history of the park, its top sites, human impact, and other details. Two animal species from the area are highlighted, such as the black bear and red salamander of the Great Smoky Mountains. A diagram in each book explains a geological process related to the park and a map highlights the park’s location. A final spread shares “Park Facts” like the number of annual visitors and a sample food web; there is also a timeline of major events in the park’s history. Recommended books and FactSurfer links offer further opportunities to explore. VERDICT A recommended purchase to update collections and support research into famous sites around the U.S.

Earley, Christina. Bald Eagle. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781039659810.
––––. Liberty Bell. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781039659841.
––––. National Anthem. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781039659858.
––––. Pledge of Allegiance. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781039659865.
––––. Presidential Seal. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781039659834.
––––. U.S. Capitol. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781039659827.
––––. U.S. Flag. Bk. 7. ISBN 9781039659803.
ea vol: 24p. (Symbols of America). Crabtree/Crabtree Seedlings. Sept. 2022. Tr. $27.93.
K-Gr 2 –This series introduces a different national symbol in each volume. The dates of when each symbol was created or put into use are included, as well as details about what the symbol represents. Descriptions of where the symbols may be found are also provided, whether that is a display in a museum or a performance before a sporting event. Large scale images, many with helpful captions, make it easy to identify the featured symbol. Terms in bold print appear in a glossary along with thumbnails to help refer back to the page in the text where the term appears. These books also have before, during, and after reading suggestions for teachers and caregivers. VERDICT This series of clearly written introductions will be useful for primary grade social studies lessons.

Reynolds, Donna. Ancient China Revealed. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781502666024.
––––. Ancient Egypt Revealed. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781502665980.
––––. Ancient Greece Revealed. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781502666062.
––––. Ancient India Revealed. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781502666147.
––––. Ancient Mesopotamia Revealed. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781502665959.
––––. Ancient Rome Revealed. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781502666109.
ea vol: 32p. (Unearthing Ancient Civilizations). Cavendish Square. Aug. 2022. Tr. $29.50.
Gr 3-4 –Explore ancient kingdoms from their inception to their ending in these ­detailed histories. Photos such as the Great Wall, the Acropolis, and the tomb of Cyrus the Great support the story of each civilization’s achievements and influence on world history. Readers will learn about ­famous leaders, as well as inventions and lasting legacies such as Buddhism, theater, and even toothpaste. “History Happened Here” features photos and facts about several famous sites for each civilization. There is also a timeline of important events, a glossary, and a list of suggested books and ­websites for ­further reading. VERDICT Just right for exploring highpoints in ancient history and how they still impact civilization today. A useful addition to ­history collections.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Davies, Monika. The U.S. Territories. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781087691008.
––––. Who Solves Issues? Bk. 15. ISBN 9781087691121.
Driggs, Lorin. Amusement Parks Around America. Bk. 16. ISBN 9781087691138.
––––. The Southeast. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781087690995.
Green, Amanda Jackson. Driving Along Route 66. Bk. 11. ISBN 9781087691084.
––––. The Midwest. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781087691022.
Kraus, Stephanie. The West. Bk. 8. ISBN 9781087691053.
Melendez, Alyxx. All Aboard the Interstate. Bk. 12. ISBN 9781087691091.
Perlman, Lisa. State Governments. Bk. 13. ISBN 9781087691107.
Prior, Jennifer. The Appalachians and Other U.S. Mountain Ranges. Bk. 10. ISBN 9781087691077.
––––. The Rocky Mountain States. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781087691039.
Schwartz, Heather. Codes and Zones. Bk. 14. ISBN 9781087691114.
––––. The Northeast. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781087690988.
Scott, David. The Mississippi and Other U.S. Waterways. Bk. 9. ISBN 9781087691060.
––––. The Southwest. Bk. 7. ISBN 9781087691046.
Slepian, Curtis. The Story of Washington DC. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781087691015.
ea vol: 32p. (Social Studies: Explore the United States). Teacher Created Materials. Oct. 2022. Tr. $11.99.
Gr 3-5 –Written by teachers for teachers, these books offer several helpful features. Back matter includes comprehension questions, research ideas to extend learning, and geography practice. The books themselves cover various regions of the United States, as well as special topics such as zip codes and time zones. Plentiful photos, maps, and images break the text up into manageable chunks. VERDICT Class sets of these titles to support curriculum units would be especially helpful for small group or whole class instruction.

Enz, Tammy. Science on the Titanic. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781666334838.
––––. Science on the Underground Railroad. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781666334760.
Golkar, Golriz. Science of Machu Picchu. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781666334906.
Kerry, Isaac. Science on Viking Expeditions. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781666334692.
ea vol: 48p. (The Science of History). Capstone/Capstone Press. Aug. 2022. Tr. $31.99.
Gr 4-6 –Each title explores a wide range of scientific principles that apply to these ­historic locations and events. The incredible stonemasonry of Machu Picchu, the speed and flexibility of Viking longships, and the use of celestial navigation on the Underground Railroad are all explored. ­Cotton gins, telegraphs, and aqueducts played a part in historical events, while DNA analysis, satellite imagery, and submersibles are used to uncover new details. Maps, diagrams, photos, and other images help to bring it all to life for readers. Additional supports include sidebars, captions, a glossary, and suggested books and websites for further reading. VERDICT An excellent way to interest history-lovers in science, or vice versa, and to expand existing collections.

Holdren, Annie C. Building Mount Rushmore. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781681519531.
––––. Building One World Trade Center. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781681519555.
––––. Building the Gateway Arch. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781681519562.
––––. Building the Golden Gate Bridge. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781681519548.
––––. Building the Statue of Liberty. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781681519579.
––––. Building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781681519586.
ea vol: 32p. (Sequence National Landmarks). Amicus/Sequence. Jul. 2022. Tr. $35.70.
Gr 2-5 –Full-page photos alternate with text to tell the story of how each of these famous landmarks was constructed. A running timeline tracks the progress from the first inspiration, through design and planning, to the final dedication ceremony. Readers will learn about problems along the way, such as a lack of funding, ships crashing into bridge trestles, and delays in construction. Images show full-size models of the Statue of Liberty, the earliest days of carving Mount Rushmore, and the more recent opening of One World Trade Center. Captions offer extra details. Glossary terms are shown in a contrasting color for easy identification. The timeline feature offers practice with sequencing skills while readers learn more about famous landmarks. VERDICT Great for class research projects or to prepare social studies fair presentations.

Lewis, Cicely. Focus on Civil Rights Sit-Ins. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781728423500.
Smith, Elliott. Focus on Japanese American Incarceration. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781728423463.
––––. Focus on the Great Depression. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781728423470.
Tyner, Dr. Artika R. Focus on the Great Migration. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781728423494.
––––. Focus on the Harlem Renaissance. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781728423487.
––––. Focus on the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781728423517.
ea vol: 32p. (History in Pictures (Read Woke Books)). Lerner. Aug. 2022. Tr. $29.32.
Gr 4-8 –Each title covers a pivotal period of history and the marginalized group(s) affected. Whether it is the incredible performers and creators of the Harlem Renaissance or the Japanese-American families incarcerated during World War II, photos and images on every spread give a face to those involved and help bring their stories to life. Each book also requests that readers critically consider all the photos, the purpose of the photographer, and who is included in the images. Reflection questions are scattered throughout the books urging readers to consider how they would feel in the circumstances described. VERDICT An excellent purchase for those looking to offer previously overlooked perspectives on historical events.


Upper Middle School to High School

Dyer, Gwynn. The Shortest History of War: From Hunter-Gatherers to Nuclear Superpowers—A Retelling for Our Times. 256p. Bk. 1. Aug. 2022. ISBN 9781615199303.
Hirst, John. The Shortest History of Europe: How Conquest, Culture, and Religion Forged a
208p. Bk. 3. Nov. 2022. ISBN 9781615199143.
Keane, John. The Shortest History of Democracy: Four Thousand Years of
Self-Government—A Retelling for Our Times.
240p. Bk. 2. Sept. 2022. ISBN 9781615198962.
ea vol: (Shortest History). The Experiment. Tr. $15.95.
HighSchool –Imagine covering the history of democracy, or war, or Europe in just a few hundred pages; that is what this series promises. The development from assembly democracies to today’s governments, the growth of war from skirmishes among hunter-gatherers to nuclear bombs and cyber terrorism, and the slow emergence of modern Europe from ancient civilizations - condensed into books that could be read in a day. This is dense material due to its subject matter and the way it has been distilled. The democracy and ­Europe titles both have timelines and all three books have images (diagrams, maps, artwork, photos) to support the text. That text is written by content specialists who draw parallels with current events as well as explaining what has gone before. VERDICT A useful reference set, or a possible classroom purchase for Honors or A.P. courses.

Ford, Jeanne Marie. Causes of World War II. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781637392812.
Gale, Ryan. The US Home Front During World War II. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781637392836.
––––. World War II in Western Europe. Bk. 8. ISBN 9781637392874.
Herschbach, Elizabeth. Aftermath of World War II. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781637392805.
MacCarald, Clara. The Holocaust. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781637392829.
––––. Weapons of World War II. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781637392843.
Poehlmann, Tristan. World War II in Eastern Europe. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781637392850.
Roberts, Russell. World War II in the Pacific. Bk. 7. ISBN 9781637392867.
ea vol: 48p. (World War II). North Star Editions/Focus Readers. Aug. 2022. Tr. $34.21.
Gr 5-9 –These books focus on aspects of the war such as specific geographic areas or the weapons used. Each title also has two “­Closer Look” features about specific topics such as the use of propaganda or how the black market sprang up in response to wartime rationing. The text is supported by photos, maps, and infographics along with helpful captions. Reflection questions ­appear several times within each book as well as a comprehension quiz in the back matter, along with an answer key. There is also online support for teachers including lesson plans and activities. VERDICT A series that will circulate often and be especially useful for class units on the war and its effects.

Lawson, Carlie. Alcatraz. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781422247143.
––––. El Chapo. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781422247150.
––––. Frank Abagnale. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781422247167.
––––. John Dillinger. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781422247174.
––––. Ted Bundy. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781422247181.
––––. The Texas Seven. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781422247297.
ea vol: 64p. (Infamous Jailbreaks). National Highlights/Mason Crest. Aug. 2022. Tr. $24.95.
HighSchool –This series covers the background of each event; a biographical sketch of each inmate, the crime(s), details of the escape, and the consequences. Photos and computer-generated images of prison cells and execution chambers help readers visualize the conditions the inmates were fleeing from. Sidebars discuss penal codes, prison trustee systems, and other topics that may broaden perspectives about the events. There are also QR codes to access video content such as news coverage, speeches, and interviews. Suggestions for further reading and URLs for the video segments are included in the back matter. VERDICT Useful for criminal justice electives or for individual curiosity about famous escapes.

Many of these titles have strengths that recommend them for library and class collections, but these are two standouts. The goal of “History in Pictures” (Lerner) is to expand the perspectives offered in history texts. This provides a well-rounded coverage of topics in the classroom and encourages students to become involved citizens and link the topics to those of interest today. For a different type of support, online teacher materials make the “World War II” (North Star Editions) series easy to integrate into social studies units. Whichever series is chosen, the publishers have woven back matter, online resources, and textual features together to meet the needs of readers.

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