6 Children’s Books About Family History
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by Anne Shelby, 1995
A Grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of the home she lives in, starting 100 years before with the girl’s 4th great grandfather who built the house. The Jan Brett-like illustrations with lots of farm imagery invoke a very homey, country feeling. Each generation builds onto the “homeplace” and improves the property. Each generation is introduced by saying “ONE of the babies was your…” This book is filled with planting corn, home canning, rocking babies, and building fences. If your ancestors were farmers, this is a great book to shed some light on what their lives were like. If you know of an old family home or cabin you can visit, this book would be a great teaching tool for the kids beforehand.
by Catherine Myler Fruisen, 1995
My Mother’s Pearls is geared toward little girls. It taps into their love for jewelry, beautiful dresses, and getting ready with mom. Going back in time through seven generations, the young narrator shares short anecdotes from her grandmothers and great grandmothers who once wore (or played dress up with) the pearls. See my full review of My Mother’s Pearls here.
by Jane O’Connor, 2010
Nancy introduces readers to the fancy term “ancestors.” She wishes she had famous ancestors like her classmates. Instead, she learns about her great grandpa who was plain and hardworking. She exaggerates his life in her school report but has a change of heart when she realizes she has something in common with her great grandpa.
by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, 1991 and 2001
Sarah and Susan go to visit her great-great aunt Flossie on Sunday. She has boxes and boxes of hats, which Flossie says are her memories. Each hat has a story. Flossie’s stories ignite the girls’ interest in history as they learn about the Great Baltimore Fire and the end of the Great War. They also hear a funny story about Flossie’s dad, a story of kindness, and a story of how the crab cakes tradition began. The 2001 edition of the book has an 8 page afterword including real family photographs of Flossie and her family. Flossie was childless herself, but was a godmother and nurturer to her nieces, nephews, and many students. She and her husband were both teachers. There are lots of fun things you can do with this book! As Howard says in the afterword, “teachers and libraries…use the book for classroom activities: kids are making hats, tasting crab cakes, collecting family memoirs.”
by Betsy Hearne, 1997
This book is about the author’s unique female ancestors, including her grandmother who was a harpist-architectural-historian who passed on many of the stories in the book. The first page says that history books often marks time by the wars that men fought. Then each spread tells about an ancestor in the author’s family who made history by not fighting in wars. We read about a Mennonite woman who immigrated to Philadelphia, a hardworking homemaker, a horse-riding painter, a missionary doctor, a single mother working as a secretary, and a storyteller. The storyteller is the author’s mother, who also told stories about the brave women in their family, keeping alive a rich tradition of women to look up to.
by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, 2013
The Granddaughter Necklace is a charming tale of a sparkling necklace passed down from Frances, the author’s Irish ancestress, through generations of granddaughters. The book was inspired by the oral tradition in the author’s family. She has collected many stories and has traced her family back to Ireland and Africa. After researching and DNA testing, the author found that her African side came from Cameroon. The necklace in the book is a metaphor for the bond of love the author shares with the women in her family. She does have an actual necklace that her grandmother and mother wore. This information is found in the afterword.