You probably already know that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he watched a play at the Ford Theater and that the man who shot him was John Wilke’s Booth. Did you know, though, that Booth made a run for it? Did you know he had helpers? And some of them were women? This is the story of how the law tracked each of these people down. At the time of Lincoln’s death, there was no such thing as DNA fingerprinting or ballistics tests for firearms. The lawmen had to piece together what happened and who was involved by interviewing people, following hunches and figuring out who was telling the truth. I like history books that make history interesting by telling a story with real live characters in it. This book is like that.
Amelia Earhart was a female airlane pilot in the days when women just didn’t do things like that. What’s so great about Amelia Earhart is that she thought everybody should think for themselves, whether that person was a boy or a girl. Her advice was that you should figure out what you want to do and then go out and do it. She didn’t think being a boy or a girl mattered at all.
“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” Amelia was made famous all over the world when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. When she failed to return from her attempt to fly around the world, she became a legend. Author: Shelley Tanaka Illustrator: David Craig
Wangari is a little girl growing up in a forest at the base of a mountain in Kenya, Africa. When she grows up, she earns a scholarship to come to the US to study. Returning to Kenya after 6 years, she discovers that her forest is gone! Wangari decides to do something, she starts in her own backyard by planting 9 trees. She encourages other people to do the same, and then something remarkable happens – she inspires so many people that more than 30 million trees have been planted! Author & Illustrator: Jeanette Winter
Robert Smalls was born a slave in South Carolina in 1839. Robert’s owner sent him to Charleston work. He waited tables, made deliveries, loaded and unloaded the cargo from ships – and all of the money he earned went to his master. What Robert could keep, was what he learned working on the docks. He eventually became a wheelman – the person who steers a boat. One night, Robert and his crew – all of them slaves – sneak their families aboard the ship Planter, stealing the ship and sailing North towards freedom. This is the story of an extraordinary man, a man who eventually bought his master’s plantation and was elected to the United States Congress in 1875! Author: Janet Halfmann Illustrator: Duane Smith
This reads more like a story than like a timeline of George Washington Carver’s Life. I liked the way the author told about what was going on around Mr. Carver at the times he made important decisions about himself. He did some really interesting things, but the road to how he got there is even MORE interesting. In this book you hear about his family, friends and co-workers, other African-Americans scientists and educators whose presence and thoughts influenced him. These people are characters in his life story, because to understand him, it’s good to understand everything and everone around him. I would read this one for fun – not just for homework. Author & Illustrator: Cheryl Harness