An Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Literature-Based Instruction
Meredith J. McGowan and James H. Powell
After deciding to incorporate trade books into your social studies program, you face the challenge of locating the best trade books for each lesson or unit. Literature-based teaching depends on this selection process. A myriad of potential titles await you. But remember a crucial point: The right book is not just an add-on to enhance a lesson or unit; it provides the energy for the instructional process. Coles, in his Call of Stories (1989), described the educational power that stories can generate. A story is "what's happening to you right here, right now ... So it goes, this immediacy that a story can possess, as it connects so persuasively with human experience" (204-205). How do you go about finding those trade books that are not only appropriate to the learning experiences you have planned, but have this power to lift students to a life of civic competence?
As you have discovered throughout this issue, literature-based teaching, like any educational method, begins when you start planning to meet your goals for social studies. During this preparation stage, you might develop a lesson based on your favorite book, or a title recommended by a colleague or student, that fits your plan perfectly. It is much more probable, however, that you will have a lesson for which you need to locate a particular trade book, and, inevitably, your old favorites may need replacing. Your search will yield better results with assistance from a helpful librarian or a bibliographic reference like the "Notable Children's Tradebooks" feature that appears in every April/May issue of Social Education.
Once your selections are located, the planning process continues. You must devise a way to share these stories with young citizens that engages their interest and curiosity. Although you must never trivialize or demean the power of a good story, you may want to generate teaching activities from a trade book or set of trade books that meet your social studies goals.
The following resources can help you with all phases of this planning process. The first section presents bibliographies of trade books dealing with social studies issues. The second offers resources to help you find the perfect strategy for sharing the stories with your students. Finally, the third contains activity books and articles that provide literature-based teaching ideas. Planning quality units and lessons that involve trade books is rarely an easy process. Still, these resources should make it a much more rewarding one. Good luck and good reading!
Choosing Quality Trade Books
Association for Library Service to Children. The Newbery & Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books. Chicago: American Library Association, 1995. This regularly updated resource provides short annotations for the winners and runners-up of these prestigious ALA-sponsored awards.Blair, B. A Guide to Children's Books about Asian Americans. Aldershot, Hants, England: Scolar Press, 1995."Books for Youth Special Lists and Features." Booklist (August 1994). A list of bibliographies that appeared in Booklist issues from 1990-1994, including many featuring specific citizenship themes.Children's Books: Awards and Prizes. New York: The Children's Book Council, 1993. This publication lists award-winning titles as well as state "Children's Choice" awards for exemplary trade books.Friedberg, J. B. Portraying Persons with Disabilities: An Annotated Bibliography of Non-Fiction for Children and Teenagers. 2d ed. New Providence, N.J.: Bowker, 1992. This reference provides comprehensive listings of nonfiction dealing with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.Galda, L., and S. Cox. "Books for Cross-Cultural Understanding." The Reading Teacher (April 1991): 580-86. Extensive bibliographic essay describing books that promote cross-cultural understanding, grouped by geographic region or cultural group.Helbig, A., and A. R. Perkins. This Land is your Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1994. An extensive, critical listing of titles featuring African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.International Reading Association. "Children's Choices." A list of exemplary, "reader-friendly" children's literature, published every October in The Reading Teacher.Kobrin, B. Eyeopeners II! New York: Scholastic, 1995. Annotated listings of many nonfiction books with brief commentary on their instructional possibilities.Lewis, V., and M. Holmes. "Best Books for Teaching with Themes." Instructor (August 1991): 36-39. Representative of a growing number of features on literature-based teaching that Instructor publishes regularly.Miller-Lachmann, L. Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers. New Providence, N.J.: Bowker, 1992. Provides annotated bibliographies of related literature for studying about cultures within our society and around the world.National Council for the Social Studies. "Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies." Published annually in the April/May issue of Social Education.Robertson, D. Portraying Persons with Disabilities: An Annotated Bibliography of Fiction for Children and Teenagers. 3d ed. New Providence, N.J.: Bowker, 1992. A companion to Friedberg's book that provides comprehensive listings of fiction dealing with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.Rollock, B. Black Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books: A Biographical Dictionary. 2d ed. New York: Garland, 1992. Up-to-date background information about Black authors and their work.Rudman, M. K. Children's Literature. 3d ed. New York: Longman, 1995. Includes extensive annotated bibliographies of books that promote children's understanding of sensitive issues (e.g., divorce, death, siblings, heritage).Slapin, B., and D. Seale. Through Indian Eyes: The Native American Experience in Books for Children. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992. Critical reviews of literature about Native Americans from an Indian perspective.Tipton Sharp, P. Exploring the Southwest States through Literature. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1994. Part of the publisher's "Exploring the US through Literature" series.Totten, H. L., and R. W. Brown. Culturally Diverse Library Collections for Children. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1995. A useful source that includes titles about Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans.Van Meter, V. American History for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliographic Index. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1990.---. World History for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliographic Index. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1992. Annotated listings of trade books that personalize and familiarize the past.Williams, Helen E. Books by African-American Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. Chicago: American Library Association, 1991. Useful tool providing biographical information and summaries of quality literature.
Delivering the Story to Children
Bauer, Caroline Feller. Handbook for Storytellers. Chicago: ALA, 1993. Although Bauer focuses on the art of storytelling, she includes a helpful section on reading books aloud with groups of children.Gallagher, A., ed. Acting Together/Reader's Theater: Excerpts from Children's Literature on Themes from the Constitution. Boulder, Colo.: Social Science Education Consortium, 1991. Eleven ready-to-use "scripts" for Reader's Theater activities.Sierra, J. Cinderella. Illustrated by J. Caroselli. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1992. A collection of read-aloud folktales representing the 1500 "Cinderella stories" told around the world; part of the "Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series."Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook. 4th ed. New York: Penguin, 1995. A classic from a leader in the Read-Aloud Movement.Determining What to Teach and How to Teach It
Abbott, M., and B. J. Polk. Celebrating Our Diversity: Using Multicultural Literature to Promote Cultural Awareness, Grades K-2. Carthage, Ill.: Fearon Teacher Aids, 1993.Allen, R. F., and J. D. Hoge. "Literature Study for Geographic Literacy, Grades 3-6." Social Studies and the Young Learner (March/April 1990): 3-6.Barr, I., and M. McGuire. "Social Studies and Effective Stories." Social Studies and the Young Learner (January/February 1993): 6-8. An introduction to a literature-based planning strategy that reflects the narrative form.Caduto, M., and J. Bruchac. Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum, 1994. Source book for folktales and integrative teaching ideas based on them. See the companion volumes, Keepers of the Earth and Keepers of the Animals.Coles, R. The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989. A powerful rationale for literature-based teaching.Cordier, M. H., and M. A. Perez-Stable. Understanding American History Through Children's Literature: Instructional Units & Activities, Grades K-8. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1994.Egan, K. Teaching as Storytelling: An Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Includes a comprehensive lesson and unit planning model.Fredericks, A. D., and R. Fredericks. Social Studies through Children's Literature: An Integrated Approach. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1991.Fuhler, C. J. "Add Spark and Sizzle to Middle School Social Studies." The Social Studies (November/December 1991): 234-37.Hansen, M., and K. C. Schmidt. "Promoting Global Awareness through Trade Books." The Middle School Journal (September 1989): 34-37."Integrating Language Arts and Social Studies." Social Education (December 1992). Theme issue exploring possibilities for literature, language expression, and social studies.Johnson, L., and S. Smith. Dealing with Diversity through Multicultural Fiction: Library-Classroom Partnerships. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993.Jorgensen-Esmaili, K. "Making the Reading, Writing, Social Studies Connection." Social Studies and the Young Learner (March/April 1990): 20-22.Lamme, L., S. Krogh, and K. Yachmetz. Literature-Based Moral Education: Children's Books and Activities for Teaching Values, Responsibility, and Good Judgment in the Elementary School. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1992.Laughlin, M. K., and P. P. Kardaleff. Literature-Based Social Studies: Children's Books and Activities to Enrich the K-5 Curriculum. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1991.Learning Economics through Children's Stories. 5th ed. New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1986.McElmeel, S. L. Adventures with Social Studies (through Literature). Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1991. Activity ideas for the middle level.McGowan, M., T. McGowan, and P. Wheeler. Appreciating Diversity through Children's Literature: Literature-Based Activities for the Primary Grades. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995.McGowan, T., and M. McGowan. Telling America's Story: Teaching American History through Children's Literature. Hilton Head Island, S.C.: Child Graphics Press, 1989.Ramirez, G., Jr., and J. L. Ramirez. Multiethnic Children's Literature. Delmar Publishers Inc., 1994.Rasinski, T. V., and C. S. Gillespie. Sensitive Issues: An Annotated Guide to Children's Literature, K-6. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1992.Rasinski, T. V., and N. D. Padak. "Multicultural Learning through Children's Literature." Language Arts (October 1990): 576-580.Roberts, P. L. A Green Dinosaur Day: A Guide for Developing Thematic Units in Literature-Based Instruction, K-6. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1993.Smith, J., and D. Dobson. "Teaching with Historical Novels: A Four-Step Approach." Social Studies and the Young Learner (January/February 1993): 19-22.
Meredith J. McGowan is a youth services librarian with the Tempe (Arizona) Public Library. She has written activity books and articles exploring the possibilities for literature-based teaching in the content areas.
James H. Powell is Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. His interests include curriculum and instruction at the middle school level and qualitative research methods.