Tag Archives: Social Studies

Refugees: Their Stories

Refugees: Their Stories

An immigrant is a person who leaves his or her home country to work, study or live in a new country. Sometimes people are immigrants to get an education that is not available in their home country. Sometimes people immigrate to do a particular job or to live in a country whose customs and laws are different than their home country.

A special kind of immigrant is a refugee. Their reasons for leaving their home country are different. A refugee is a person who is fleeing his or her home country to escape danger, like a war, or to escape persecution. Persecution is being hurt based on your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group or having a particular political opinion. The United States welcomes many immigrants each year to live and work and study, as well as giving refuge to people who have fled their home country for their own safety. 

The Journey is a story that will help you understand what it is like to have to leave everything you know behind to start over somewhere new.  Below are more books written by, or about, refugees. By reading these books you can live for just a little while, in their experience. I did not grow up afraid. I did not have to worry about living in a war zone, being hurt or being persecuted. I also didn’t want to think about having to move and change schools, let alone thinking about starting a whole new life somewhere and having to learn a new language and new customs and meet all new people. I don’t know what that’s like because I never had to do it. These stories help me see the challenges that refugees face starting a new life – kids facing anxiety and fear and danger with courage. Sometimes you meet new friends in person. Sometimes you meet them in books. Here are some kids I think you will be proud to know.


adrift-at-seaAdrift at Sea: a Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival – Tuan and his family survive bullets, a broken motor, and a leaking boat in the long days they spend at sea after fleeing Vietnam. A true story as told to the author by Tuan Ho. Includes family photographs and a historical note about the Vietnamese crisis.

immigrants-and-refugeesImmigrants and Refugees – Describes current patterns of migration around the world, including the causes and effects of immigration and emigration.

the-journey-that-saved-curious-georgeThe Journey That Saved Curious George: the True Wartime Ecape of Margret and H.A. Rey – In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children’s book manuscripts, including what would become the international sensation “Curious George,” among their few possessions. This is their dramatic story.

out-of-iraqOut of Iraq Refugees’ Stories in Words, Paintings & Music – Out of Iraq tells the stories of a number of Iraqi refugee families that have made Syria their home over the 5 years since the war in Iraq began. This book tells the stories of their flight from Iraq, the memories of home in the ‘good old days’ and their continued courage living as refugees.

a-song-for-cambodiaA Song for Cambodia – A biography of Arn Chorn-Pond who, as a young boy in 1970s Cambodia, survived the Khmer Rouge killing fields because of his skill on the khim, a traditional instrument, and later went on to help heal others and revive Cambodian music and culture.


josephs-big-rideJoseph’s Big Ride – A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.

teacupTeacup – A boy travels across the sea in a rowboat in search of a new home, making a journey that is long and difficult–but also filled with beauty and hope.

calling-the-water-drumCalling the Water Drum – A young boy loses both parents as they attempt to flee Haiti for a better life, and afterward is only able to process his grief and communicate with the outside world through playing the drums.


Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
– Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.

four-feet-two-sandalsFour Feet Two Sandals – Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers.

the-color-of-homeThe Color of Home – Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.

how-i-learned-geographyHow I Learned Geography – As he spends hours studying his father’s world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author’s childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II. Newbery Honor Book

when-i-get-olderWhen I Get Older – A Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer and songwriter tells his own story about leaving war-torn Somalia as a child, growing up in Canada and creating a hit song that touched millions of people around the world with its powerful message of hope.

how-many-days-to-america-a-thanksgiving-storyHow Many Days to America: a Thanksgiving Story – Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.


Oskar and the Eight Blessings – A young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany arrives in New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah and receives small acts of kindness while exploring the city.

the-journeyThe Journey – What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and is two brothers away to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation. But when the boys get to Miami, they are thrust into a world where bullies seem to run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.

refugeRefuge – A retelling of the nativity story from a perspective emphasizing the struggle of Mary and Joseph as refugee.

stepping-stonesStepping Stones – In this picture book, a young girl and her family are forced to flee their village to escape the civil war that has engulfed Syria and make their way toward freedom in Europe.

bamboo-peopleBamboo People – Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.

home-of-the-braveHome of the Brave – Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee.

inside-out-and-back-againInside Out and Back Again – Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. National Book Award Winner; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee; Newbery Honor Book

a-long-walk-to-waterA Long Walk to Water – When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.

the-only-roadThe Only Road – Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.

the-red-pencilThe Red Pencil – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.

serafinas-promiseSerafina’s Promise – In a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Serafina works hard to help her family, but dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor–then the earthquake hits and Serafina must summon all her courage to find her father and still get medicine for her sick baby brother as she promisedYoung Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.

shooting-kabulShooting Kabul – Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind. Cybil Award for Middle Grade Nomination 2010.

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Kids Changing the World, Like You!

Kids Changing the World, Like You!

Kids Who Are Changing the World

Kids Who Are Changing the World tells the stories of forty-five children around the world who are taking steps to help the environment. Some of them are raising money, some of them are organizing peaceful protests, and some of them are raising awareness by doing art projects or speaking.

Listed below are books about more ways you can give back to your community as well as books about kids, both real and imagined, who have made a real difference.

Super Deeds – Be a Force for Good! This summer, you can be one of those kids. You can get started taking action right now! Help the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Department of Child Services and IndyPL provide children in foster care with a backpack filled with 25 books. Use your reading points to select and donate prize books, or donate new and gently used books from home.

Social Action Guides for Kids:

Do Something a Handbook for Young ActivistsDo Something! A Handbook for Young Activists – Describes projects for the young activist, such as fighting hunger, ending poverty, and saving the environment.

It's Your WorldIt’s Your World – In a book for young people, Chelsea Clinton informs readers about issues facing our world and what kids can do to help solve them.

The Kids' Guide to Service ProjectsThe Kids’ Guide to Service Proects – Over 500 service ideas for young people who want to make a difference.

The Power of ChildrenThe Power of Children – The Power of Children Awards program (POCA) was established in 2005. In ten years of its existence, it has recognized fifty young people who have made enormous positive impacts on their communities and the world. The Power of Children offers profiles of these fifty young trailblazers, educators, and helpers, describing the projects that led to their awards.

Pay It Forward KidsPay It Forward Kids – Meet ordinary kids from across North America who have done extraordinary things, all on their own initiatives. They have set out to pay it forward to someone else, with astonishing results. The ripple effect of their deeds have inspired others to join their causes, and in some cases, to start missions of their own. These powerful stories demonstrate that you are never too young to make a difference or to improve the life of another. Kindness can be done by anyone, you just need to step up and start.

PhilanthropartiesPhilanthroparties – Why just party when you can party with a purpose? Seventeen-year-old Lulu Cerone shows teens how to bring social activism into their daily lives—and have fun while doing it—with this colorful DIY party planning guide perfect for every socially conscious kid!

Real Kids Who Made a Difference:

Painting for Peace in FergusonPainting for Ferguson – Painting for peace in Ferguson is the story of a community coming together, hundreds of artists and volunteers, black and white, young and old, to bring hope and healing to their community using the simplest of all tools- a paintbrush. Written in child-friendly verse, the actual artwork painted on hundreds of boarded up windows in Ferguson, South Grand and surrounding areas illustrates the story.

Luna and MeLuna and Me: the True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest – Social activism combines with environmentalism in this picture book bio of Julia Butterfly Hill and Luna, the thousand-year-old redwood tree whose life she saved.

Malala Activist for Girls' EducationMalala Activist for Girls’ Education – Describes how a young Pakistani activist was violently targeted by the Taliban for her efforts to secure educational rights for girls.

Our Heroes How Kids Are Making a DifferenceOur Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference – Biographies of ten children from around the world who never set out to be heroes or to be famous, but whose actions have made the world a better place.

The Youngest MarcherThe Young Marcher – Presents the life of nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks who became the youngest known child to be arrested for picketing against Birmingham segregation practices in 1963.

We Will Not Be SilentWe Will Not Be Silent: the White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler – A carefully researched portrait of Hans and Sophie Scholl describes how they questioned the beliefs of Austria’s Hitler Youth and risked their freedom and lives to organize a resistance campaign with other students.

We've Got a JobWe’ve Got the Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March – Discusses the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963.

The Boys Who Challenged HitlerThe Boys Who Challenged Hitler – Presents the story of a group of Danish boys who formed a resistance organization against the Nazi occupation of their country.

Stories About Kids Who Made a Difference:

The End of the WildThe End of the Wild – Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family’s livelihood could be threatened.

FlushFlush – With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2007-2008, 6-8 Nomine.

HootHoot – Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.

Judy Moody Saves the WorldJudy Moody Saves the World – When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment- saving project.

Operation RedwoodOperation Redwood – In northern California, Julian Carter-Li and his friends old and new fight to save a grove of redwoods from an investment company that plans to cut them down.

SlackerSlacker – When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video-gaming–but before he knows it other kids are taking it seriously, and soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service, so the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.

Violet Mackerel's Pocket ProtestViolet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest – Violet and Rose organize a protest to save the big oak tree in Clover Park.

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Homework Help – Ancient Cultures

Homework Help – Ancient Cultures

More Homework Help

Ancient Worlds


In Ancient Worlds, discover the ancient ways of old civilization in Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Find out about the everyday life of the including what they ate, how they dressed, what they believed and what they thought was valuable. Listed below are several other books and website that will help you learn about the ancient world. You may be familiar with ancient Egypt because you have heard of King Tut or the pyramids. You may be familiar with Ancient Greece because you have heard the myths or heard about Ancient Rome and its Coliseum. What do you know, thought, about Ancient India or Ancient Africa? There were cultures living all over the world in ancient times.

At The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis you can see and sometimes touch ancient artifacts. Here are some Ancient Egyptian Artifacts from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:

Canopic Jar – “During embalming, the process used to create a mummy, specific internal organs were removed from the body in order to preserve them for the afterlife. Considered to be the most important organs, the lungs, liver, stomach and intestines were carefully stored in special containers called canopic jars.

Mummified Falcon – In Ancient Egypt, “many animals, including falcons and cats, were associated with powerful gods and considered sacred. Once mummfied, they were buried as offerings at temples and shrines dedicated to their associated deities. Falcons were believed to be an animal form taken by the sun god Horus, referred to as the Falcon God.”

Anubis Miniature Statue – “Anubis was the undertaker of the Ancient Egyptian mythological world….his job was to prepare the dead for their journey to eternal life, conduct their funerals, and accompany them to their tombs.”

See more Ancient Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Websites, Activities & Printables

World History in Context LogoWorld History in Context: Ancient History 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? World History in Context will show you magazines, videos and more about ancient civilizations.

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?


Female Pharoahs Wore False Beards Book JacketIf I Were a Kid in Ancient ChinaMagic Treehouse Ancient Greece Book JacketMagic Treehouse Ancient Roome Book JacketPocket Genius Ancient Egypt Book JacketPompeii Buried Alive Book JacketTut's Mummy Lost and Found Book JacketWhere is the Great Wall? Book Jacket

Print Books:

Ancient China Beyond the Great WallAncient CommunicationAncient Eygyptian Gods and GoddessesAncient WorldsBlast Back VikingsBuried Beneath UsCang JieEarly Islamic EmpiresEveryday Life in the Ancient WorldExplore Greek MythsExploring the Life Myth and Art of Ancient RomeEyewitness Bible LandsHeroes of the Night SkyHistoriumLearn to Draw Ancient TimesMachu PicchuNational Geographic Ancient IndiaNational Geographic PyramidsOutrageous Women of Ancient TimesYou Wouldn't Want to Live in PompeiiSeven Wonders of Ancient AfricaThe Ancient PersiansThe First Olympics Ancient GreeceThe Griffin and the DinosaurThe Tomb of Tutankhamun<The Totally Gross History of Ancient MesomotamiaWorld Myths and LegendsTotally Wacky Facts about Ancient History

Library Catalog Searches for more Books:

Ancient Africa
Ancient Aztecs
Ancient China
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Incas
Ancient India
Ancient Indus Valley
Ancient Mayans
Ancient Mesoamerica (Central & South America)
Ancient Mesopotamia (Middle East)
Ancient North America
Ancient Persia
Ancient Rome
Ancient Mythology

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Homework Help: Middle Ages

Homework Help: Middle Ages

More Homework Help

The Totally Gross History of Medieval Europe

The Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. This period is well known for the Bubonic Plague, feudalism (a social structure of knights, nobles & peasants), and castles.

Today, the Bubonic Plague kills about 120 people a year. In the 14th Century, during the Middle Ages, it swept through Europe, Asia and African and killed an estimated 50 million people. 50. Million. The population of Indianapolis is about 865,000. 50 million people is Indianapolis about 60 times. That is A LOT of people. Back then, people did not know about bacteria and how simple hand washing can keep disease from spreading.

In The Totally Gross History of Medieval Europe you can learn about what it would have been like to be alive during this time period. The books and resources below will give you a good look at even more details about life in a castle or on a farm during this time.

Websites, Activities & Printables:

World History in Context LogoWorld History in Context: The Middle Ages 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? World History in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about the Middle Ages.​


Novelist K-8 Logo

NoveList K-8: Stories about the Middle Ages 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. Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read set in the time of the Middle Ages. 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?Overdrive

Crispin The Cross of LeadGood Masters Sweet LadiesGreat Medieval ProjectsThe Inquisitor's TaleKing ARthur Tales from the Round TableFast Tracker Knights and CastlesMerlin the Lost YearsThe Midwife's ApprenticeRedwallRanger's Apprentice The Ruins of GorlanSir Gawain and the Green Knight


Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eAudiobookss. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?Overdrive

The Door in the WallWhittington

Print Books:

A Medieval FeastDK Knights and CastlesIf You Were a Kid in a Medieval CastleKnights Secrets of Medieval WarriorsMedieval LegoMinecraft Medieval FortressThe Adventures of Sir Lancelot the GreatThe Hawk of the Castle a Story of Medieval FalconryYou Wouldn't Want to be in a Medieval DungeonThere's a Rat in My SoupMedieval LifeMedieval Castle Adventures and CraftsMedieval ScienceArchers Alchemists and 98 Other Medieval JobsArts and Crafts Knights and CastlesEyewitness Knight
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Homework Help: U.S. Civil War

Homework Help: U.S. Civil War

Civil War Witness


The U.S. Civil War lasted from 1861-1865. It was between the Northern States (the Union) and the Southern States (the Confederacy). 

Mathew Brady was a photographer during the U.S. Civil War. At that time cameras were very, very new. Beginning with the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 and continuing throughout the entire Civil War, Brady photographed the long, bloody Voices of the Civil Warconflict. Civil War Witness tells his story and shares his photographs that are a valuable historical record. You can look at many of his photographs online at: Library of Congress American Memory: Selected Civil War Photographs.

Looking at the photographs will give you an idea of the time and place. If you read Voices of the Civil War, Brady’s photographs will come to life. In it you can read the diaries or letters of a Confederate soldier, a Union Marine, a Confederate doctor, a Union Colonel, a Confederate Ranger and a slave who was freed after the war.

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 U.S. Civil War.

To give you a start looking at what a soldier’s life was like during the Civil War, here is a Hardee Hat that was authorized for use in 1858, and nicknamed after the future Confederate general who sat on the board to choose the style. The light blue cord signified the wearer as a member of the infantry.

More U.S. Civil War Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana Websites:

Focus on Indiana

Edward Black’s Drum This drum was carried by Edward Black (1853-1871) of Indianapolis. Edward is believed to have been the youngest Civil War soldier. He enlisted as a drummer boy on July 24, 1861 in the 1st Regiment, 21st Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was eight years and almost two months old. He is buried in Crown Hill cemetery in IndianapolisEdward Black’s Cemetery Marker & Biography


U.S. History in Context: U.S. Civil War 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? It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about the U.S. Civil War.​


Novelist K-8 Logo

NoveList K-8: Stories about the U.S. Civil War 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 U.S. Civil War. 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?Overdrive

African-Americans in the Civil WarGuts and Glory the American Civil WarLincoln's Gettysburg AddressOn Enemy SoilSilent ThunderWatcher in the Piney Woods

Print Books History:

Blast Back the Civil WarHarriet Tubman Secret AgentHoopskirts, Union Blues & Confederate GraysLincoln an AutobiographyLincoln Tells a JokeMarching to AppolattoxMary Bowser and the Civil War Spy RingNurse Soldier SpyThe Civil WarYou Wouldn't Want to be a Civil War SoldierSoldier Song a True Story of the Civil War

Print Books Stories:

Across Five AprilsThe Red Badge of CourageThe Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. FiggJohn Lincoln Clem Civil War Drummer BoyPink and SaySilent Witness a True Story of the Civil War

More Books about U.S. Civil War Subjects:

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