As someone with a history degree, I know all of the excuses in the book on why people don’t bother with learning history – it is boring, it is too complex, there’s no point to it, etc. etc. etc. But one thing I noticed working in my elementary school library is that kids are actually really interested in history. They enjoy learning about it and completing projects and libraries, but there are just no good tools and materials for history for students to really engage with.
I was in elementary school when those Dear America books first began to be published. We loved them. They were so cool – you were right there in the action and you learned a lot. Today, those books are still really popular. I’ve begun to encourage my students to check them out with a nonfiction pairing – a nonfiction book on the same subject. Oftentimes, though, they just don’t connect with the nonfiction material.
Then I came across this new history series from Scholastic, called ‘If I Were a Kid’. Here is the website description:
Life today is a lot different than it was in the past. Think of the things you have today. The clothes you wear. The kind of home you live in. The foods you eat. Many of these probably wouldn’t be the same if you were living in a different period of time. Through the stories of the If You Were a Kid series, readers are transported to some of the most important moments in U.S. history.