Classic /ˈklasik/Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. Ex. “a classic novel”
If you were alive in 1917 when Central Library was built, this is what one of the bookcases in the children’s section might have looked like.
Listed below are 50 books for kids published before 1917 that were on the shelves back then. These books are classics, having stood the test of time. They have been favorites for more than 100 years! Click on any book jacket to read the book right now! You don’t even need to wait to check it out. These books are part of the public domain. Public domain means that since these books were published before 1923, they are not subject to copyright. That means you can read them for free! You can find even MORE classic books for kids to read for free at Read.gov: Classic Books and at The International Children’s Digital Library.
Colonial Voices is a book of poems written in the voice of a different colonist. Each poem is from a different person’s point of view. If you were interviewing people in colonial times, how might the point of view of an English soldier differ from a cabin boy on a ship or a slave or a blacksmith? By reading about an event from the perspective of different people, you can get a more well-rounded idea of what that event or time period was really like. You can do the same thing by reading books that tell you about the different people, customs and events of a certain time period.
Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about the 13 colonies and the colonial period. To give you a start looking at what life was like back then, here are some colonial items that are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
“The purse was made in the late 1700s. 18th century women didn’t carry purses like women of today do—they didn’t carry much in the way of toiletries or money, so they didn’t need to. The woman who owned this would have kept a variety of small objects in this pocketbook, which she could have carried in her pocket (a separate bag worn under her skirt.)”
“This kind of infant’s shirtwas known as a waistcoat and was probably worn over another shirt for extra warmth. This one is made of block-printed cotton and lined with linen. It was worn by John H. Hardenbergh when he was born in 1798.”
This tankard and plate are made of pewter. “Pewter was a popular material for dishes until the mid 1800s when glass and pottery became more preferred. Pewter dishes were common in Colonial America, but England kept tight control of the import of the raw tin needed for making pewter, so most pieces were made in England or recast from melted down older pieces.”
U.S. History in Context: American Coloniesis a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about the 13 colonies.
NoveList K-8: Stories about the 13 Colonies is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN?Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read set in the time of the 13 colonies. Click on “Check the Library Catalog” to see if IndyPL has the book.
Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?
Before the European conquest, North America was home to more than 300 Native American tribes. Each of them has its own history, art, culture and traditions. This illustrated history book will show you many of them. It includes maps, charts and timelines too to help you with homework questions about particular groups. Listed below are more websites and books to help you do research.
Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about Native Americans. To give you a start looking at what their life was like, you can look at some images like this one of Native American items that are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Cradleboard – “Native American mothers, aunts, and grandmothers demonstrated their love and hope for infants by creating elaborately decorated cradle covers or cradleboards. They used beads, pain, wood, or tacks to make special carriers for their infants. Mothers carried their babies in the cradleboards, like this one, or strapped it to the side of a horse. It was easy to prop the cradleboard with the infant near a tree or dwelling while the mother performed daily chores. Many elders believed cradleboards “socialized” infants when worn because it brought the child to the eye level of the adults.” More Native American Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
U.S. History in Context: Native Americansis a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about Native Americans.
NoveList K-8: Stories about Native Americans is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN?Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read about Native Americans. Click on “Check the Library Catalog” to see if IndyPL has the book.
Indiana Books & Websites:
The Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Mascoutens, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee were some of the Native Americans that lived in Indiana before settlers came here. One of the most well-known Native Americans from Indiana is the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. The websites and books below will help you learn more about Native Americans who lived in Indiana.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was originally published in 1900. When Central Library opened in 1917 this is what the book looked like then. After more than 100 years it is still a favorite! It’s a classic. That means it has stayed popular for a long time. 100 years is definitely a long time! Listed below are 15 classic children’s books that were on the library shelves in 1917 and are still favorites on the library shelves in 2017.
The book covers on the left show you what the books looked like in 1917. Click on one of the old book jackets to read the book online. You don’t even need to wait to check it out. These books are part of the public domain. Public domain means that since these books were published before 1923, they are not subject to copyright. That means you can read them for free!
The book covers on the right show you what the books look like today. Click on one of these newer versions to see it in the computer catalog. You can place a hold there with your library card if you would like to read it. For most of the newer versions just the cover and maybe the illustrations have changed, but for some of them the story has been changed a little to either reflect the times or tell the story in a new way. Try Matt Phelan’s Snow White. It’s a graphic novel version that is really good!
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer– Tells the adventures and pranks of a mischievous boy growing up in a Mississippi River town in the early nineteenth century.
Aesop’s Fables – Aesop’s wise, witty and timeless fables. The version on the right sets the fables in an African setting.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Offers the classic tale about a young girl who goes on a fantastical trip after falling into a deep hole where she meets a cast of weird and wonderful creatures along the way.
Anne of Green Gables – Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.
Cinderella – In her haste to flee the palace before the fairy godmother’s magic loses effect, Cinderella leaves behind a glass slipper.
Heidi – A Swiss orphan is heartbroken when she must leave her beloved grandfather and their happy home in the mountains to go to school and to care for an invalid girl in the city.
The Jungle Book– An anthology of stories chronicles the adventures of Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves, as he learns the ways of the jungle from Baloo the bear and matches wits with his archenemy, Shere Khan, in a collection that also includes the tale of Rikki-tikki-tavi.
A Little Princess – Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to make friends at boarding school and settle in. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father again, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for drudgery and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and generosity are all the riches she truly needs?
Pinocchio– The adventures of a talking wooden puppet whose nose grows whenever he tells a lie.
The Secret Garden – A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.
Snow White – The story of a beleaguered girl who finds shelter with seven dwarves after the sudden death of her father and suffering cruelty at the hands of her stepmother.
Three Little Pigs – The three pigs and their narrow escape of the wolf.
Through the Looking Glass – In this sequel to “Alice in Wonderland” Alice goes through the mirror to find a strange world where curious adventures await her.
The Wind in the Willows – The escapades of four animal friends who live along a river in the English countryside–Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger.
To the Mountaintopwas written by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Charlayne was one of the first black students admitted to the University of Georgia in 1961. In this book, Charlayne tells her own story as well as the stories of other people, children and young adults like her, who played very important roles in the Civil Rights Movement. It is an interesting book because she was so young. We can listen to her own story in her own words. Eyewitness accounts help us experience an event firsthand. We can take a moment to walk in someone else’s shoes. By reading the accounts of people who who were alive at the time, we can empathize with their suffering and understand why the Civil Rights Movement was so important to ensure their safety and freedom.
In To the Mountaintop, one of the people Charlayne talks about is Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ruby was in elementary school, Charlayne was in college, both were brave enough to do something first. Ruby, in particular, became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. An icon is a person or thing that represents something bigger. Ruby was a little girl, but became a symbol of the struggle for Civil Rights for all black people in our country. One of the things that helped make Ruby an icon is this painting by American painter Norman Rockwell. The painting shows Ruby being escorted to school by four US Marshals. Four. It took four law enforcement officers to protect her. That is really hard to understand; that a child would need escorted to school like that. The painting is called “The Problem We All Live With“. In 2011 President Barack Obama arranged to borrow the painting from the Norman Rockwell museum. He had it hung outside the Oval Office and invitedRubyto come see it. Watch this video carefully to hear President Obama say something important:
“I think it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here and we wouldn’t be looking at this together.”
He said something very similar during his campaign for President in 2007.
“I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” ~Speech, Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration in Selma, Alabama, March 4, 2007
Listed below is a timeline of important events of the Civil Rights Movement. These events culminated with the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. For each event a few books are listed, both fiction and non-fiction, that bring the events and people to life. Take a book walk through history to learn about these fascinating, determined, brave people who stood together so no one stood alone.
1954: Brown Vs. Board of Education was a landmark United States Supreme Court case. The Court declared state laws allowing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. It was a major victory and important turning point for the Civil Rights Movement. The decision by the Court was unanimous (9–0). Unanimous means all of the supreme court justices agreed.
1955: The Lynching of Emmett Till
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly offending a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were acquitted. The trial and acquittal drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African-Americans in the United States. Emmett’s death became a rallying cry that helped people all over the country realize the critical importance of the Civil Rights Movement.
1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a protest against racially segregated seats on the public buses in Montgomery, Alabama. It sounds very strange today, but back then it was actually illegal for a black person and a white person to sit next to each other on a bus. The bus riding rules up to this point stated that African Americans could not be hired as bus drivers, had to ride in seats at the back of the bus, and had to give up their seat to a white person.The boycott began when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.
1957: Little Rock Central High School Integration
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court had already unanimously said in Brown v. Board of Education that all laws establishing segregated schools were unconstitutional, the students were initially prevented from entering the school. President Eisenhower then sent the 101st Airborne and the Arkansas National Guard to escort the students to school.
1960: Greensboro, North Carolina Sit Ins
The Greensboro Sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests against the segregated seating at lunch counters in restaurants. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four men sat down at the all-white lunch counter but no one would take their order. They sat quietly until the counter closed. The next day, joined by more people, they did the same thing. More people joined each day at more restaurants and in more cities. Sales at the boycotted stores went way down and gradually, the stores abandoned their segregation rules. Similar protests helped change segregation policies at libraries, beaches, parks, swimming pools and museums. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally passed, it ordered desegregation of all public places.
1960: Ruby Bridges New Orleans, Louisiana
Ruby Bridges was the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960. Bridges and her mother were escorted to school by four federal marshals for the entire school year.
1961: Freedom Riders
Freedom Riders were people who rode on buses to protest segregated seating. The United States Supreme Court had already ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional, but the law was not enforced. In protest, mixed racial groups rode the buses together to challenge the rules. The riders drew attention to the states that were not following federal law.
1963: Birmingham Children’s March
Birmingham Children’s March was a march by hundreds of school children in Birmingham, Alabama, May 2–5, 1963. The children left school and walked downtown to talk to the mayor about segregation. Many children were arrested. Fire hoses and police dogs were used to stop the march. This event compelled President Kennedy to publicly support federal civil rights legislation and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
1963: March on Washington
The March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to stand up for civil rights for African Americans. At the march, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The march helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1963: 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb beneath the steps at the church, killing four little girls and injuring 22 others.
1964: Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
1965: Voting Marches & the Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Selma to Montgomery Voting Marches were three protest marches along the 54-mile highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, Alabama. The marches were organized to support African-American citizens who wanted to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The marches contributed to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.
“To get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooks