What history do you remember? Speare's Witch of Blackbird Pond (Houghton Mifflin, 1958), the Collier's My Brother Sam is Dead (Simon & Schuster, 1974), Russell Freedman's biographies--or your history textbook? Adamson's purpose for this project was to link "good reads" for librarians and teachers actively seeking topnotch resources, and she succeeds. Materials covered include 2,486 books: historical fiction, biographies, collective biographies, and history trade books; 33 CD-ROMs; and 460 video tapes. All the materials have received at least one favorable review, are well written, or fit a category for which there are few resources. Adamson has broadened the definition of historical fiction to include books outside the reader's memory, hence the category "Since 1975." The book is very easy to use. From the table of contents, readers can pick one of the time periods in American History, go to the appropriate grade level, choose the category, and skim the list. Annotations for all the materials appear in the second part of the volume. All books are grouped together, followed by CD-ROMS, then videos. Entries include: author, title, publisher, price, ISBN, paper imprint, and grade levels. Availability and price, current at time of publication, is based on publisher catalogs and library buying sources such as Books in Print and Baker and Taylor. Annotations are descriptive, including story lines and facts about nonfiction subjects, not critiques of style. Award winners and special features are noted. Titles are listed in each appropriate grade level or historical period. Grade levels, determined from review sources and publisher catalogs, were adjusted after examination. Three indexes--Author/Illustrator, Title, and Subject--lead to the numbered annotations. This volume is highly recommended for junior and high school libraries and public libraries. Those who need materials for younger students or lower reading levels should seek out Adamson's companion volume Literature Connections to American History, K-6: Resources to Enhance and Entice (Libraries Unlimited, 1998). Index.
It is rare that an author of professional materials understands a need so precisely and fulfills it so completely. These useful selection and reference tools help librarians and teachers sort through the abundance of literature for children and young adults and choose and organize appropriate materials for social studies classrooms. Each volume has the same format. The first section contains a series of book lists organized by historical periods from "North America Before 1600" to "Since 1975." The materials for each time period are divided into single grade levels (kindergarten through 2nd-grade books are clustered together, as are those for grades 11 and 12). Grade level lists are further broken into genres: historical fiction (including time-slip fantasy), biography, history, and multimedia (CD-ROM and video). The second and major section is an annotated bibliography of materials divided by format. The numerous entries are arranged alphabetically by author and sequentially numbered. The annotations are headed by full bibliographic information and include recommended age ranges, brief descriptive synopses, and any awards received. Author/illustrator, title, and subject indexes make up the third section. The subject index is especially notable because it uses common language and familiar terms, both specific and general, and it organizes the numbered entries by genre. As promised, these volumes "enhance and entice" the exploration of American history.Sue Burgess, Framingham State College, MA