Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Black History: Cowboys, Pioneers & the West

Black History: Cowboys, Pioneers & the West

Bad News for Outlaws

Bass Reeves grew up as a slave in Texas. Even as a young boy he was good with a gun. His master used to take him to shooting contests to show him off. One night though, when Bass was a young man, he and his master got in a fight and Bass punched his owner. Hitting a white man was punishable by death – so Bass ran, and he ran as a fast and as far as he could – all the way to Indian Territory in the West.

The frontier wasn’t called the Wild West for nothing. It was rough country with outlaws roaming around. The West was a great place for bad guys to hide. In 1875 the government hired 200 deputy marshals to help bring order to the frontier and Bass Reeves was one of them. He was also the best one. He could fight and he could shoot when he had too, but mostly, he was smart. He was also known for his honesty and integrity. One time, he had to arrest his own son! Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

The Legend of Bass Reeves

Another great book about Bass is The Legend of Bass Reeves. Gary Paulsen, the author of this book, calls it “the true and fictional account of the most valiant marshal in the West.” Mr. Paulsen adds a little here and there to fill in the places where history left gaps…but for the most part, this is the story of Bass the real guy – the first African-American U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi – and this was in the 1870s! Bass became a legend, even in his own time. Some outlaws turned themselves in once they heard it was Bass that would be looking for them! Bass Reeves – an American original! Look at the websites and books below to learn more about other African-Americans and the roles they played settling the American West.


Pinterest Logo 25 IndyPL Kids Pinterest Board: Black History – Cowboys & Pioneers


Nat Love BlackIndians BestShot Pickett
Nothing Thunder Buffalo Hurry
OldWest Nicodemus Frontiers

More Info Guides about Black History:

Print This Post Print This Post

Black History: The Civil Rights Movement

Black History: The Civil Rights Movement

Claudette ColvinFeatured Civil Rights Activist: Claudette Colvin grew up in Alabama in the 1940s and 1950s. At that time, Jim Crow rules dominated her life. Jim Crow rules were designed to keep black people and white people separated. These are the rules that said black people could not eat in certain restaurants or sit in certain seats on a city bus. When Claudette was 15 years old she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, so she was arrested. You’re probably thinking, no, that was Rosa Parks. It’s true, Rosa Parks did the same thing, but Claudette did it too! A lawsuit was filed on behalf of several people, including Claudette and Rosa, to end bus segregation, and eventually, they won. Rosa is more well known, but Claudette was right there too, and she was just a kid! Reading her story helps you understand that it took lots of people, young and old, to change the Jim Crow rules. A lot of people were brave enough to stand up and say, “no more!”

This book includes interviews with Claudette herself, so you get the story straight from her. She talks about what it felt like to live with Jim Crow; to constantly be told, “you can’t”. When you hear a real person talking about it, it seems much more real than reading a plain description. Claudette was there and she can speak for herself. If you like reading about Claudette, try Marching For Freedom. That one tells the story of kids who marched in Selma, Alabama to help win black people the right to vote. It’s really good too and includes interviews with people who were kids back then and were actually there.

Indiana History and Civil Rights:


If you like Claudette’s story you might like finding out about a strong Hoosier woman who fought for her rights. When Indiana became a state in 1816, the constitution stated, “there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude.” In early 1816, Mary Bateman Clark, a slave in Kentucky, was sold and brought to Knox County, Indiana, as an “indentured servant.” In 1821 Clark filed suit for her freedom. The Knox County Circuit Court ruled against Clark’s petition to end her indentured servitude. Clark appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled that Clark’s status was clearly not voluntary. The court awarded Clark her freedom and in doing so set a precedent for freedom for other indentured blacks held in Indiana.




More ore about these Civil Rights Movement Events and People:

More Info Guides about Black History:

Print This Post Print This Post

Black History: Athletes

Black History: Athletes
Marshall Featured Athlete Marshall “Major” Taylor: This is the story of a young African-American boy who grew up in Indianapolis over a hundred years ago. Despite living at a time when African-Americans were often denied basic rights, Marshall Taylor became a world champion cyclist. Marshall earned the nickname “Major” when he performed bicycle tricks as a very young boy dressed in a military style costume. When he was a teenager he stopped performing tricks and moved on to bicycle racing – and he was really, really good – world champion good! His story is inspiring because he persevered even when there were many people who didn’t want him to even be in a race, let alone win, just because he was African-American. Sometimes he rode fast just to get away from angry people chasing him! Author: Marlene Targ Brill
In Indianapolis, we have the Major Taylor Velodrome, a world-class bicycle racing track named for this cycling great. You can ride your bike and also use inline skates at the Velodrome. If you want to try riding there, it’s best if you are at least 10 years old. Call ahead and see if you can arrange a time to go try it out. And don’t forget your helmet! 3649 Cold Spring Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46222 Velodrome Phone: 317-327-8356.

Websites – Marshall Taylor:

Featured Athlete Oscar RobertsonHave you ever heard of Indiana’s own Olympian Oscar Robertson? In 1955 Oscar went to Crispus Attucks High School. Oscar’s team won the Indiana State Championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Robertson led Crispus Attucks to another championship in 1956. Oscar was so good he played in College and went on to win a gold medal with the US Basketball team at the 1960 Olympic Games. During his NBA career with the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks, Robertson became one of the top-scoring guards of all time, scoring 26,710 points.

Websites – Oscar Robertson:

Websites – African-American Athletes:

Books – African-American Athletes:

Sports Athletes2 Ship Fair
Touch Jesse Hope Jump
Trouble Satchel Champ Queen
Henry Jackie Lebron gabby-douglas


More Info Guides about Black History:

Print This Post Print This Post

Around the World: Religion

Around the World: Religion


There are about 7.5 billion people alive on earth today. A billion is one thousand millions, so the population of the earth is 7,500 million people!

The population of Indianapolis is 852,866. If we round up to make the math easy and say that is about 1 million…7.5 billion people is Indianapolis 7,500 times!

The total land area of Earth is about 57,308,738 square miles. That is a lot of people spread out over a very large space! It is no wonder that we speak different languages, eat different foods, sing different songs and play different games! We are all human though, so it is also no wonder we are a lot alike!

Religion is the belief in a supernatural power. On this page, you can learn about the beliefs of some of the world’s most common religions, your own, as well as someone else’s. It is interesting to learn about the ways these religions are different and the way these religions are the same.


Faith Five Religions and What They ShareSacred StoriesIn the House of HappinessThe Story of World ReligionsThe Lion Encyclopedia of World ReligionsEyewitness ReligionReligious CelebrationsOut of the ArkSacred Places


Followers: Buddhists
Sacred Book: Tripitaka
Gathering Space: Stupa
Holy Places: Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace)

BuddhismThe Buddha's Apprentice at BedtimeBuddhaDalai LamaBuddha StoriesA Handful of QuietShantideva How to Wake Up a HeroBecoming Buddha the Story of SiddharthaTibetan Tales for Little Buddhas


Followers: Christians
Sacred Book: The Bible
Gathering Space: Church, Chapel, Cathedral
Holy Places: Jerusalem, Bethlehem
Holidays: Christmas, Easter

Angels in the Bible StorybookCelebrate EasterPope FrancisStories of the SaintsCreations First LightSaint FrancisNoah's ArkGiving ThanksJesusMaryMother TeresaB is for Bethlehem


Followers: Hindus
Sacred Book: Vedas, Upanishads
Gathering Space: Mandir
Holy Places: River Ganges
Holidays: Diwali, Holi

A Day to Remember an Indian WeddingFacts about HinduismHinduism Babu's StoryManu's Ark India's Tale of the Great FloodGandhiBe the ChangeGrandfather GandhiThe Fantastic Adventures of KrishnaKrishna Steals the Butter and Other StoriesGanesh's Sweet ToothGandhi March to the SeaDiwaliHappy DiwaliThe Diwali GiftHoli


Followers: Muslims
Sacred Book: The Qur’an
Gathering Space: Mosque
Holy Places: Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem
Holidays: Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr

Islam Hambali's StoryThe Genius of IslamUnder the Ramadan MoonRamadanMuhammadRumiThe Grand Mosque of ParisDeep in the SaharaMy Mum is a WonderGolden Domes and Silver LanternsHassan and Madrasa Go to MadrasaHassan and Aneesa Go To Masjid


Followers: Jews
Sacred Book: The TeNaCh (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim
Gathering Space: Synagogue
Holy Places: Jerusalem
Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Sukkot

Eyewitness JudaismJudaism Yoni's StoryHere is the World a Year of Jewish HolidaysHanukkah Around the WorldHershel and the Hanukkah GoblinsHanukkah BearHanukkah Cookies with SprinklesSammy Spider's First MitzvahMore Than Enough a Passover StoryA Place for ElijahMazel TovIs It Sukkot Yet?Oskar and the Eight BlessingsI Say ShehechiyanuRabbi Benjamin's ButtonsHow It's Made a Torah Scroll
Print This Post Print This Post

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disquise is a finalist in the non-fiction category for the CYBILS Awards, 2016! More Finalists


If you are interested in animals at all or have studied them at school, you are probably familiar with animal camouflage – the ability for an animal to hide itself because its coloring makes it blend in to its environment. Sometimes, this also involves actively changing color to match the environment, like a chameleon.

Masters of Disguise is about some animals that take camouflage to the next level. They wear disguises or act like other things – they are great fakers! One spider makes a fake spider bigger than itself, and then moves it like a puppet to scare predators away. Amazing animal tricksters is right!

One question I always have is, “how do they do that?” This book answers that question. The amazing ability of each animal to disguise itself is described, but then you can also read the science behind the story. You also get to meet the scientists and see how they studied the animals to figure out how their disguises worked. Fascinating. Cool pictures too. Written and Illustrated by Rebecca L. Johnson.


More Books About Animal Camouflage:

Print This Post Print This Post
1 3 4 5 6 7 33