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A Classroom Guide to the ★ ★




Written by authorities on American history and experienced children’s nonfiction authors, this series will be a welcome addition to social studies classrooms.

About the Authors Sally Senzell Isaacs grew up in Evansville, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University. She served as Editorial Director of Reader’s Digest Educational Division before becoming a professional writer. She has written over forty books for children about American history and other social studies topics.

Hilarie N. Staton has been writing children’s books for many years. She has worked for historical museums and has written state history textbooks and tests. Although she grew up in the west, she now lives in the heart of Colonial America, New York’s Hudson Valley.

Ellen H. Todras is a freelance writer and editor who has written parts of many social studies textbooks. She is the author of a young-adult biography, Angelina Grimke: Voice of Abolition and The Gettysburg Battlefield. She lives with her husband in Eugene, Oregon.

Paul Robert Walker has written more than tweny-five books for adults and younger readers, with a special emphasis on the American West. His work has garnered many awards, including School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and June Franklin Naylor Award. Walker lives in Escondido, California. Discussion guide written by Edward T. Sullivan, a librarian and author of many articles, books, and reviews about children’s and young adult literature. Visit him at

Dear educator, Travel back in time with The All About America series and give your students the opportunity to become first-hand witnesses to the exciting and inspiring events that shaped America. Confront the redcoats, catch gold fever, journey West, and ride the trails with your lasso at your side. Immersive, action-packed, and full-color page spreads feature historical artifacts, cutaway illustrations, and archival images from each period that let you live the thrilling history of our burgeoning nation. Age-appropriate text incorporates the primary source material in an accessible, engaging narrative that will easily appeal to your students. Finally, each book in the series includes a glossary, a timeline, an index, and suggestions for further research. This classroom guide is designed to support the books and extend students’ reading skills. The discussion questions and extended activities for each individual book encourage greater comprehension, as well as providing readers with the tools they need to construct and examine the story of America. We know you and your students will feel the history of America come alive with the All About America books, and find yourselves reliving history many times over.

COLONISTS AND INDEPENDENCE From the Pilgrim’s journey and the Mayflower Compact, to the dayto-day life in the early colonies, the role of slavery in building the nation and the political crisis which led to the Revolution, Colonists and Independence paints the picture of America’s beginnings. The story starts with Europe’s increasing interest in North America in the 1600’s and covers pivotal events leading up to ratification of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

★ Immersive Discussion Questions ★ 1. What were the reasons people left Europe to start a new life in America? 2. What other Europeans besides the English established settlements in America? 3. In what ways did the Powhatan help the colonists survive in Jamestown? 4. What were the reasons for the creation and signing of “The Mayflower Compact”? 5. How did the Mayflower end up landing in present-day Massachusetts? What was its original destination? 6. Why was the Wampanoag village the Pilgrims found empty of inhabitants? 7. Why did so many Pilgrims die during the first winter? 8. What notorious event occurred in Salem, Massachusetts? 9. What do you think would have been worst about living in early Colonial times? 10. What was the most important export from the colonies? What else was exported to Europe? 11. What goods were imported to the colonies? 12. Why were slaves from Africa brought to the colonies? 13. What events led the colonies to break with Great Britain? 14. Who were the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, and what did they do to resist the British government? 15. What led to the forming of the First Continental Congress? 16. How did war break out between the colonies and Great Britain? 17. What were the obstacles George Washington faced in building the Continental Army? 18. How were the British finally defeated? 19. Why did the Articles of Confederation fail? What was the purpose of the Constitutional Convention? 20. What are some things the United States Constitution established? 21. What is the Bill of Rights?


★ Exciting Extension Activities ★ 1. Read “The Mayflower Compact” together and discuss the meaning of the words in the document. What is the significance of this document? Why do you think “The Mayflower Compact” is cited by historians as one of the foundations of the United States Constitution? 2. The first English settlement in America was the Roanoke Colony, now known as the “Lost Colony” because all of its inhabitants mysteriously disappeared. Have students use print and electronic resources to learn facts about the colony and theories on what happened to colonists. Ask students to share what they have learned with the class when they complete their research. 3. Learn more about the Salem Witch Trials by visiting National Geographic Salem Witch-Hunt Interactive at 4. Visit the Have Fun with History web site at where you can view brief videos and find activities on subjects relating to Colonial America and the American Revolution. 5. Explore slavery in Colonial America in further depth at Africans in America, Part 1 at 6. Research one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 7. Read the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States to compare and contrast how each addresses the structure of the U.S. Government. What weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation are addressed in the Constitution? You can find the complete text of both documents at

★ Suggestions for Further Reading ★ Arenstam, Peter and John Kemp. Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage. National Geographic, 2003.

Freedman, Russell. Give Me Liberty! The Story of the Declaration of Independence. Holiday House, 2000.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. The Mayflower & the Pilgrims’ New World. Putnam, 2008.

Bial, Raymond. The Strength of These Arms: Life in the Slave Quarters. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Freedman, Russell. In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights. Holiday House, 2003.

Rinaldi, Ann. A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials. Graphia, 2003.

Blair, Margaret Whitman. Liberty or Death: The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided with the British during the American Revolution.

Fritz, Jean. The Lost Colony of Roanoke. Illus. Hudson Talbott. Putnam, 2004.

Schnazer, Rosalyn. George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen by Both Sides. National Geographic, 2004.

National Geographic, 2010.

Harness, Cheryl. The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish and the Amazing-but-True Survival Story of Plymouth Colony. National Geographic, 2006.

Sheinkin, Steve. King George: What Was His Problem? Roaring Brook, 2008.

Bruchac, Joseph. Pocahontas. Harcourt, 2003. Carbone, Elisa. Blood on the River: James Town, 1607. Delacorte, 2006 Colman, Penny. Thanksgiving: The True Story. Holt, 2008. Cooper, Michael L. Jamestown 1607. Holiday House, 2007. Decker, Timothy. For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, 2009. Fradin, Dennis Brindell. The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution. Walker, 2005. Fradin, Dennis Brindell. The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence. Walker, 2003.

Klein, Lisa. Cate of the Lost Colony. Bloomsbury, 2010. Lange, Karen. 1602: A New Look at Jamestown. National Geographic, 2007. Miller, Lee. Roanoke: The Mystery of the Lost Colony. Scholastic, 2007. Murphy, Jim. The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution. Scholastic, 2010. Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy. Clarion, 1996.


Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Sandpiper, 2011. Walker, Sally M. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Carolrhoda, 2009. Winters, Kay. Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak. Illus. Larry Day. Dutton, 2008. Yero, Judith Lloyd. The Mayflower Compact. National Geographic, 2006. Yolen, Jane. The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History. Illus. Roger Roth. Simon & Schuster, 2004.

WAGON TRAINS AND SETTLERS With all of the transportation options available today, it is difficult for young readers to appreciate how tricky and dangerous it was to set out by wagon to settle the West during the great migration of the 1800’s. From daily life on the wagon train, resupplying basic essentials at forts, confrontations with Indians, to treacherous mountain crossings, and constant struggle, Wagon Trains and Settlers gives contemporary readers a glimpse of the enormous challenges of America’s Westward Expansion.

★ Immersive Discussion Questions ★ 1. Why was the expedition of Lewis and Clark so important to the settlement of the West? 2. What was the idea called “Manifest Destiny”? 3. Who were the “mountain men”? What role did they play in westward expansion? 4. Why is John C. Fremont known as “the Pathfinder”? 5. What were the reasons people moved to Oregon and California in the 1840s? 6. Why were rivers so important to pioneers moving west? 7. How were wagons used by pioneers moving west? 8. What equipment and resources would a family of settlers need to make their journey? 9. What were the daily chores of men, women, and children traveling on the trail? 10. What did forts and trading posts scattered along trails provide for settlers? 11. What were some of the dangers and hazards that settlers faced? 12. How did the Homestead Act of 1862 create conflict with Native Americans? 13. Why did Mormons leave Illinois and settle out west in what eventually became the state of Utah? 14. What became of most settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail? 15. Who were the “Exodusters”?


★ Exciting Extension Activities ★ 1. Read together “Manifest Destiny” by John L. O’ Sullivan, published in 1839. The full-text is available at Civics Online, Engage students in close textual reading and analysis of the document. Establish the historical context and purpose of the document. Help students identify any socio-political bias in the text and recognize what issues are at stake. Ask students to identify key words in the document and characterize the author’s tone and intent. 2. Learn more about John C. Fremont and his expeditions in the West by visiting 3. Explore the web site Oregon Trail,, to find further information and learn about historic sites on the trail, about traveling in covered wagons, and about excerpts from diaries, letters, and other primary source documents. 4. After exploring the contents on the Oregon Trail web site, have students pretend they are pioneers on the trail, writing letters back home to family/ friends who did not make the journey. Challenge them to keep the same tone as the entries they’ve read. Students could talk about key experiences and imagine how they might describe the journey to those who stayed home. 5. Visit the Santa Fe Trail Association web site to learn more about the Santa Fe Trail at 6. An excellent complement to Wagon Trains and Settlers is a learning module located at Digital History, The module includes background information, links to primary sources, animated maps, images, fact sheets, and lesson plans. 7. Horace Greeley, a nineteenth century journalist, politician, and reformer, is credited with coining the popular saying: “Go West, young man; go West and grow up with the country.” Have students pair up and use electronic and print resources to research facts about Horace Greeley: his life, career, politics, influence, causes championed, etc. Have them share the information found with the rest of the class when the research is completed.

★ Suggestions for Further Reading ★ Bertozzi, Nick. Lewis & Clark. First Second, 2011. Bial, Raymond. Frontier Home. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Blumberg, Rhoda. What’s the Deal?: Jefferson, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase. National Geographic, 1998. Blumberg, Rhoda. York’s Adventures with Lewis and Clark: An African-American’s Part in the Great Expedition. Harper, 2003.

Harness, Cheryl. The Tragic Tale of Narcissa Whitman and a Faithful History of the Oregon Trail. National Geographic, 2006.

Schnazer, Rosalyn. How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark. National Geographic, 1997.

Herb, Angela M. Beyond the Mississippi: Early Westward Expansion. Dutton, 1996.

Sonneborn, Liz. The American West: An Illustrated History. Scholastic, 2002.

Jones, Charlotte Foltz. Westward Ho!: Eleven Explorers of the West. Holiday House, 2005.

Wadsworth, Ginger. Words West: Voices of Young Pioneers. Clarion, 2003.

Lavender, David. The Santa Fe Trail. Holiday House, 1995.

Warren, Andrea. Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie. Bison, 2009.

Calabro, Marian. The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party. Clarion, 1999.

Lavender, David. Snowbound: The Tragic Story of the Donner Party. Holiday House, 1996.

Duncan, Dayton. People of the West. Little, Brown, 1996.

Nardo, Don. The Mexican-American War. Greenhaven, 1999.

Duncan, Dayton. The West: An Illustrated History for Children. Little, Brown, 1996.

Olson, Ted. How to Get Rich on the Oregon Trail. Illus. Scott Allred and Gregory Proch. National Geographic, 2009.


Wolf, Allan. New Found Land: Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery. Candlewick, 2004.

GOLD RUSH AND RICHES In 1848, carpenter James Marshall discovered a few shiny flakes of gold in a riverbed where he was digging. Within a year, that chance discovery brought 800,000 people to California. Gold Rush and Riches chronicles the entire period of the boom-and-bust of one of the greatest expansion periods in U.S. history, including the Klondike Gold Rush—from the dangers of the journey, the rough and tumble of the mining settlements, the day-to-day life of a miner and those who provided services to him, to the easy-come-easy-go fortunes and the Boomtowns that turned to Ghost Towns when the rush was over.

★ Immersive Discussion Questions ★ 1. How did the California Gold Rush begin? 2. What were the travel options for gold-seekers going to California? 3. What were the obstacles and dangers faced by settlers who traveled overland? 4. Why were miners called “49ers”? What supplies did they need to begin seeking their fortunes? 5. What sort of work was required for prospectors to mine for gold? 6. How did the discovery of gold in California affect Chinese immigration to America? 7. What is a “Mother Lode”? 8. What was everyday life like in mining camps and towns? Why was gambling so popular with miners? 9. What obstacles and dangers were unique to large-scale mining operations? 10. What affect did gold discoveries have upon Native Americans? 11. How was gold discovered in the Yukon? 12. Who was Jack London? How did he use his experiences living in Alaska and looking for gold? 13. How did the “Klondike Stampede” compare to the California Gold Rush? 14. What natural resources other than gold became the object of intense mining in the late 19th century and early 20 th centuries?


★ Exciting Extension Activities ★ 1. To learn more about the involvement of African Americans, Native Americans, and Chinese immigrants in the California and Alaska gold rushes, visit The Gold Rushes of North America (1847-1900), 2. Visit Gold Rush! California’s Untold Stories,, and Gold Rush Sesquicentennial,, to learn more about the California Gold Rush. 3. To learn more about the Klondike Gold Rush, visit Klondike—The Rush for Gold,, and Gold Rush Facts,

★ Suggestions for Further Reading ★ Avi. I Witness: Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West. Hyperion, 2008.

Jones, Charlotte Foltz. Yukon Gold: The Story of the Klondike Gold Rush. Holiday House, 1999.

Atheneum 2001.

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Growing Up in Coal Country. Houghton Mifflin,

Ketchum, Liza. The Gold Rush. Little, Brown, 1996.

Bial, Raymond. Ghost Towns of the American West. Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Marrin, Albert. Sitting Bull and His World. Dutton, 2000.

Stanley, Jerry. Digger: The Tragic Fate of the California Indians from the Missions to the Gold Rush. Knopf, 1997.

Cadnum, Michael. Blood Gold. Vking, 2004.

Meltzer, Milton. Gold: The True Story of Why People Search for It, Mine It, Trade It, Steal It, Mint It, Hoard It, Shape It, Wear It, Fight and Kill for It. Harper, 1993.

Cushman, Karen. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Clarion, 1996.

Schanzer, Roslayn. Gold Rush!: Tales from the California Gold Rush. National Geographic, 1999.

Stanley, Jerry. Hurry Freedom: African Americans in Gold Rush California. Crown, 2000. Waldorf, Mary. The Gold Rush Kid. Clarion, 2008.

Freedman, Russell. The Life and Death of Crazy Horse. Holiday House, 1996.

Olson, Ted. How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush. Illus. Scott Allred. National Geographic, 2008.

Walker, Paul Robert. Remember the Little Bighorn: Indians, Soldiers, and Scouts Tell Their Stories. National Geographic, 2006.

Hobbs, Will. Down the Yukon. Harper, 2001.

Nelson, S.D. Black Elk’s Vision: A Lakota Story. Abrams, 2010.

Hobbs, Will. Jason’s Gold. Harper, 1999.

Provensen, Alice. Klondike Gold. Simon & Schuster, 2005.

Yep, Laurence. The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner, California, 1852. Scholastic, 2000.

Rau, Margaret. The Wells Fargo Book of the Gold Rush.


COWBOYS AND THE WILD WEST No period of American history seems to be as romanticized and mythologized as that of the days of cowboys and cattle drives and the Wild West. Cowboys and the Wild West offers readers an engagingly written examination of cowboy history that brings the frontier to life, from the danger of the stampede, to rustlers, outlaws, the coming of the Iron Horse, and the end of the open plains as ranchers fought for control of the land. Along with the familiar aspects of cowboy life such as guns and saddles and long tedious cattle drives, this book also covers lesser known subjects such as the important roles of women, African Americans and Mexican immigrants.

★ Immersive Discussion Questions ★ 1. How did the buffalo almost become extinct? 2. What impact did the railroads have on cattle ranching? 3. When was “the golden era of the cowboy”? 4. How was the actual life of the cowboy different from how it was portrayed in stories and films? 5. What was unique about Texas cattle? 6. Who were the vaqueros? 7. What kind of work did cowboys do on a ranch? 8. What skills and possessions did a cowboy need? 9. What sorts of jobs could a cowboy have on a cattle drive? 10. What dangers did cowboys face “on the trail”? 11. How did “cowpokes” get their name? 12. How did cowboys celebrate at the end of the trail? 13. How did improved guns and rifles change western life? 14. Why was Dodge City, Kansas, known as “the most wicked town”? 15. Why were people in cow towns reluctant to enforce laws? What did new settlers in these towns do to try to address lawlessness? 16. What sorts of crimes did outlaws commit in the West? Why was it sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a lawman and an outlaw? 17. What were the causes of “range wars”? 18. How did the cattle industry change in the late 19th century? 19. How did popular culture shape the image of cowboys and the Old West? How did this image differ from reality? 10

★ Exciting Extension Activities ★ 1. To contend with the loneliness of the trail, cowboys wrote poems and songs about their lives, many of

which have become well-known. Have students work in small groups to select a song to perform for the class from Cowboys Songs and Poetry, If possible, involve the music teacher in helping the students prepare for their school performance. 2. After reading examples of cowboy poetry at the Cowboy and Western Poetry at Bar-D Ranch web site,, ask students to write their own poems celebrating cowboy life. Invite them to recite their poems to the class. 3. Cowboys are famous for trailside cooking. To experience what it was like to eat on the trail,

have students prepare a dish at home from recipes located at Cowboy Cooking Trail Recipes,, and bring it in for the rest of the class to sample. 4. Have each student select a name from Wild West Outlaws and Lawmen,, and use information on the web site to compile facts about the individual. Have students create a PowerPoint presentation about their subject to present to the class. 5. Until recently, the history of African Americans in the Old West has been mostly ignored. Have

students work in pairs and use print and electronic resources to research one of these African Americans from the Old West: Clara Brown, Isom Dart, Mary “Stagecoach Mary” Fields, Ben Hodges, Bose Ikard, Bob Leavitt, Bob Lemmons, Nat Love, Bill Pickett, Bass Reeves, William Robinson, Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, Moses Speese, Jesse Stahl, and John Ware. Have students share the information they find with the rest of the class.

★ Suggestions for Further Reading ★ Callery, Sean. The Dark History of America’s Old West. Marshall Cavendish, 2010. Fleischman, Sid. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West. Greenwillow, 2008. Freedman, Russell. Children of the Wild West. Clarion, 1983. Freedman, Russell. Cowboys of the Wild West. Clarion, 1985. Freedman, Russell. In the Days of the Vaqueros: America’s First True Cowboys. Clarion, 2001. Hemphill, Helen. The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones. Front Street, 2008.

Hinshaw, Dorothy Patent. The Buffalo and the Indians: A Shared Destiny. Clarion, 2006. Janeczko, Paul B. Home on the Range: Cowboy Poetry. Illus. Bernie Fuchs. Dial, 1997. Macy, Sue. Bull’s-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. National Geographic, Marrin, Albert. Saving the Buffalo. Scholastic, 2006. Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. Illus. R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda, 2009. Olson, Ted. How to Get Rich On a Texas Cattle Drive. Illus. Scott Allred and Gregory Proch. National Geographic, 2010


Paulsen, Gary. The Legend of Bass Reeves. Random House, 2006. Reich, Susanna. Painting the Wild Frontier: The Art and Adventures of George Caitlin. Clarion, 2008. Sheinkin, Steve. Which Way to the Wild West?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You about America’s Westward Expansion. Roaring Brook, 2009. Stanley, Jerry. Cowboys and Longhorns: A Portrait of the Long Drive. Crown, 2003. Swanson, Wayne. Why the West Was Wild. Annick, 2004. Walker, Paul Robert. True Tales of the Wild West. National Geographic, 2002.

Don’t miss out on any

of the action-packed installments of


AMERICAN INDIANS by Paul Robert Walker TP: 978-0-7534-6517-2 RLB: 978-0-7534-6694-0 THE CIVIL WAR by Sally Senzell Isaacs TP: 978-0-7534-6514-1 RLB: 978-0-7534-6693-3


EXPLORERS, TRAPPERS, AND PIONEERS by Ellen H. Todras TP: 978-0-7534-6515-8 RLB: 978-0-7534-6695-7 STAGECOACHES AND RAILROADS by Sally Senzell Isaacs TP: 978-0-7534-6516-5 RLB:978-0-7534-6696-4

February THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION TP: 978-0-7534-6670-4 RLB: 978-0-7534-6712-1 A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS TP: 978-0-7534-6671-1 RLB: 978-0-7534-6713-8


AMERICA For Ages: 9-12 Grades: 4-6 32pp

Trade Paperbacks 7 ½" x 10" • $9.99 Reinforced Library Bin ding 7 7/8" x 10 ¼" • $19.89

All About America  

It's history in action in this dynamic series about the epic events that shaped America

All About America  

It's history in action in this dynamic series about the epic events that shaped America