Family History: Supplementing Natalie Kinsey-Warnock’s Visit

Ms. Kinsey-Warnock is going to be bringing along a bevy of her own materials along with access to a number of incredible websites for her workshop “Storykeepers.” I am trying to gather some more materials that would be appropriate for younger students to be introduced to the idea of family history and genealogy and for older students to see some of the concepts in action.

Here is what I have in the library so far:

  • Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne.

This picture book tells the story of seven of the author’s ancestors, interesting and courageous women who had a variety of professions and experiences.

  • Strudel Stories by Joanne Rocklin

This is a longer book but would be great for read-aloud. This book tells the story of seven generations of one fictional Jewish family. The book has a family tree in the back and the author discusses her methods for writing the book and creating a family history.

  • Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees by Cynthia Rylant

I borrowed this book from Newport City Elementary and would be perfect for kindergarten. Henry and Mudge attend a family reunion and meet lots of new people- cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. This is perfect for talking about different types of family members and for kids to start creating a mental family tree.

  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

I also borrowed this from Newport City. This 2011 Newbery winner tells the story of Abilene, a girl sent to her father’s childhood town of Manifest, Kansas while he works on the railroad during the Great Depression. Abilene uses a box of mementos and other town sources to uncover her own family history and town history.

—Books I Will Buy or Borrow—

I am either going to borrow or buy the following books to have available in the library. I will let you know when they are here.

  • All the Mamas
  • Lucy’s Family Tree
  • Search for Shadowman

I will get others if I find they are relevant.

I do have some archival experience (that’s what my Master’s was going to be in) so let me know if you need any help with primary vs. secondary sources, reading old hand-writing, etc.

This is going to be a great program!


Women’s History Month: Some Suggestions for Younger Readers

Since 1987 there have been congressional and presidential proclamations every year that designate the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” There are numerous websites that deal with this very important celebration of women’s history, but these two are the most useful:

Just as I mentioned in my Black History Month post, you will inevitably get questions from students asking, “Why is there a Women’s History Month but no Men’s History Month?”

And just as you responded to them in February, tell them again that these special months are meant to highlight marginalized, underrepresented groups of people. Ask them who they usually see in their history books. Ask them who comes to mind when they think of a famous person from history. They will be surprised when white men are usually the people they see and name.

Tell them history was made by all types of people, and that their contributions were just as (and sometimes even more) important. Hence, Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

When you put together a list of books for Women’s History Month, make sure that you include books about all types of women that represent many races, religions, colors, ages, etc. If you have any books about transgender women, this would be a great opportunity to introduce them.

Here is a sample of list of books that are available in my library that you may find useful! Most of these are for younger students, as that is the population I serve. It is easy to find a chaptered biography in a library, but introducing these people to younger readers can be a challenge. Hopefully, these help!

  • When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan — (Marian Anderson, jazz singer)
  • The Daring Nelly Bly by Bonnie Christensen — (Nellie Bly, reporter)
  • America’s Champion Swimmer by David A. Adler — (Gertrude Ederle, swimmer and activist)
  • Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming — (Amelia Earhart, pilot)
  • Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone — (Elizabeth Blackwell, doctor)
  • Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull — (Wilma Rudolph, Olympic runner)

Happy Women’s History Month!