This Month in History: April

picture of a globe, books

History is being made every day. So it makes sense to do a blog looking back at major events in history every month. "But I'm not the biggest fan of history", you say. Never fear! For each historical moment that's covered, I'm also including related topics that aren't all about history. (Admittedly this one still may be a bit history heavy, but I've started planning out blogs for future months and have tried to pick events that have good related topics).


picture of a corner of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine

He was searching for the "Fountain of Youth" - which would supposedly grant eternal youth.


a picture of Juan Ponce De Leon If you'd like to read about Ponce de Leon:

A Journey with Juan Ponce de Leon by Laura Hamilton Waxman - In 1493 Juan Ponce de León joined Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. Thus began a lifetime of exploration for Ponce de León, who traveled to Puerto Rico in 1506, the island of Bimini in 1512, Florida in 1513. He died in Florida, fighting against the area's indigenous people. How can we know what Ponce de León's explorations were like, or what effect his actions had on the Native peoples he encountered? By studying maps, journal excerpts, and other artifacts from Ponce de León's time, we can learn about his impact on history. - (Baker & Taylor)

Ponce de Leon: Juan Ponce de Leon Searches for the Fountain of Youth by Ann Heinrichs - A biography of the Spanish explorer who first came to the New World with Columbus, went on to become governor of Puerto Rico, and later came to Florida looking for the Fountain of Youth. - (Baker & Taylor)


picture of a corner of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. AugustineIf you'd like to read about St. Augustine:

The Old Fort at St. Augustine by Keli Sipperly - While reading The Old Fort at St. Augustine, students will learn about the fort that has undergone many battles, victories, and restorations. This 32-page title uses a variety of teaching components to help young readers strengthen their reading comprehension skills. - (Carson Dellosa Pub Co Inc)

The Settling of St. Augustine by Janet Riehecky - Traces the history of St. Augustine, Florida, from its development as a Spanish colony and military outpost in 1565 through the early eighteenth century, and discusses the impact of colonialization on the native Timucuan Indians. - (Baker & Taylor)




picture of two men riding horses

illustration of a man on a horse in a Western townIf you'd like to read about the Pony Express:

The Pony Express by Amy C. Rea - Examines the origins and brief history of the Pony Express in historical context and describes key points on the trail and the adventures of the riders. - (Baker & Taylor)

The Pony Express by Jean Kinney Williams - Provides background information about the need for mail delivery in the West in the mid-1800s, and discusses how the Pony Express was created to fulfill this need. - (Baker & Taylor)





picture of horsesIf you'd like to read about horses:

Horses by K.M. Peyton -Introduces the horse, discussing the physical characteristics and behavior of wild horses, horse training, horses as work animals before the rise of modern technology, and such different types as the Arab, the thoroughbred, and the pony. - (Baker & Taylor)

Wild Horses by Karie Marsico - An introduction to wild horses discusses their physical and behavioral characteristics, habitat, diet, history, population decline, and conservation efforts. - (Baker & Taylor)

The World According to Horses: How They Run, See, and Think by Stephen Budiansky - What do horses mean when they neigh, nicker, and snort? When a horse refuses to jump a fence, what is it seeing? How can a horse's bones tell us whether people rode it or ate it? In clear, engaging prose, Stephen Budiansky takes us inside the world as horses experience it and explains how we came to these insights. A horse lover's treat and a great introduction to science in one exciting read, illustrated with ten black and white photographs and ten line drawings. - (McMillan Palgrave)



Olympic rings statue near Portland, England

Get a jump on everyone who will want to read about the Olympics this summer (when it's held in Tokyo) and learn about it now!


close up of a runner in the start position If you'd like to read about the Olympics:

Great Olympic Moments by Michael Hurley - Looks at great Olympic moments through the history of the modern Olympics and reasons why these moments were so memorable and made such an impact. - (Baker & Taylor)

Olympics by Richard Platt - A chronological tour of the historical and social events that shaped the Olympics dedicates spreads to specific locations and how the beliefs of participating cultures impacted various competitions, in a volume complemented by a listing of modern records and finely detailed, cross-section artwork. - (Baker & Taylor)

Swifter, Higher, Stronger: a Photographic History of the Summer Olympics by Sue Macy - Celebrates those dedicated athletes who have achieved their dreams on the world stage, including Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens, while exploring the social, political, and cultural history and impact of these games throughout the years. - (Baker & Taylor)


picture of a pagoda, with a sakura tree, and Mt. Fuji in the backgroundIf you'd like to read about Japan:

Japan by Ruth Bjorklund - Consisting of a long island chain in East Asia, Japan is a country of towering mountains, beautiful farmland, and huge cities. Despite its relatively small size, it is home to one of the world's most powerful economies and plays a major role in global politics. Readers will learn all about Japan's rich history, culture, and traditions. They will also find out how the country is governed, which plants and animals can be found there, what it is like to live there today, and much more. - (Scholastic)

Tokyo Friends by Betty Reynolds - Introduces the Japanese words for familiar objects and activities, compares the way of life of Katie, an American girl living in Tokyo, with that of her Japanese friends, Keiko and Kenji, and describes Japanese holidays for each month of the year. - (Baker & Taylor)

Welcome to Japan by Caryn Jenner - Find out all about Japan with this nonfiction reading book for children. Packed with facts, DK's Welcome to Japan will make learning to read fun and engaging for kids. Children will discover all about Japanese calligraphy, the cherry blossom festival, and Mount Fuji. These amazing facts are paired with incredible images of the Japanese landscape, providing an ideal balance of words and images for young learners. Welcome to Japan is a new Level 1 title in the four-level DK Readers series, aimed at children who are beginning to learn to read. - (Penguin Putnam)



picture of earth from space

This spurred on the space race between American and Russia. The first American in space came 23 days later. 


illustration of earth surrounded by Russian and American space ships and satellitesIf you'd like to read about the space race:

Race into Space by Eric Arnold -Presents a short history of space exploration, from the earliest pioneers to present and future space efforts, with discussions on the first animals in space, the International Space Station, and the exploration of Mars. - (Baker & Taylor)

The Race to Space by Clive Gifford - You know that man has walked on the Moon, but do you know the story of how he got there? This book celebrates the Space Race rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Readers will learn about the neck-and-neck race between the two superpowers, through an illustrated story of the rivalry that gripped the world. From Russia's first satellite, Sputnik, to Neil Armstrong planting a U.S. a flag on the moon, discover the events that unfolded through amazing nostalgic illustrations and engaging text. Explore, too, how these two space agencies now work together, and how the monumental achievements of the space race have created world-changing technology that we all use and benefit from today. - (Grand Central Pub)


photos of Jupiter, an astronaut in a space suit, and a satelliteIf you'd like to read about space:

The Awesome Night Sky by Kay Barnham - Learn all about the constellations, shooting stars, and satellites you can see when you look up into the night sky. - (Baker & Taylor)

Space by Joan Marie Galat - Ready to go on an out-of-this world adventure? Travel across the Milky Way and into new galaxies to explore every corner of space so YOU can become an absolute expert. Get up close to the sun and moon, asteroids and comets. Learn about the Oort Cloud, supernovas, black holes, and rockets and other spacecraft. Discover the incredible work of astronauts, astronomers, physicists, and other cool space scientists. On this journey across the universe, you'll make your way from our familiar home here on Earth to planets and solar systems that are many light-years away. Rub elbows with the stars on this cosmic adventure complete with special features, sidebars, wacky trivia, and more! - (Baker & Taylor)

Space: a Visual Encyclopedia by DK Publishing - A revised and updated edition of a space entry in the award-winning children’s encyclopedia series provides highly visual coverage of subjects ranging from the solar system and dark matter to black holes and the Apollo moon landings. - (Baker & Taylor)



picture of Paul Revere statue

illustration of Paul Revere on horseback, riding through town at nightIf you'd like to read about Paul Revere:

Who Was Paul Revere? by Roberta Edwards - In 1775, Paul Revere of Boston made his now-famous horseback ride warning colonists of an impending attack by the British. This event went largely unnoticed in history until Longfellow celebrated it in a poem in 1861. So who was Paul Revere? In addition to being an American patriot, he was a skilled silversmith and made false teeth from hippo tusks! This biography, with black-and-white illustrations throughout, brings to life Paul Revere's thrilling ride as well as the personal side of the man and the exciting times in which he lived. - (Penguin Putnam)

Paul Revere's Ride by Shana Corey - Tells of the roles Paul Revere played during the American Revolution and how his ride into the night to warn the New England colonists that the British were coming was made famous by a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. - (Baker & Taylor)



silhouette of colonial man If you'd like to read about the American Revolution:

A Kids' Guide to the American Revolution by Kathleen Krull - Packed with anecdotes, sidebars and timelines, a comprehensive introduction to the American Revolution features coverage of subjects ranging from the reasons colonists sought independence and the motivations behind the Boston Tea Party to the impact of the Declaration of Independence on women and slaves to the election of George Washington. 30,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Spies of the American Revolution: an Interactive Espionage Adventure by Elizabeth Raum - Everyone has a secret. But in the war between the colonies and the king, keeping a secret is a dangerous thing. The first American spies belonged to secret societies and rebel organizations. The British collect information against these spies. Tension is mounting. Will you: Spy on the British in Boston at the start of the war? Gather information about George Washington for the British? Balance the dangerous life of a double agent? You Choose offers multiple perspectives on history, supporting Common Core reading standards and providing readers a front-row seat to the past. - (Capstone Press)



painting of George Washington

cartoon illustration of George WashingtonIf you'd like to read about George Washington:

Action Presidents: George Washington by Fred Van Lente - We all know that George Washington was our first president and a hero of the American Revolution, but did you also know that he didn't want to be president and had teeth so bad that he hated to smile? The first Action Presidents book will turn even the most reluctant reader into a history buff. George Washington, ultimate founding father and awesome American, practically jumps off the page. -(HarperCollins)

George Washington's Spies by Claudia Friddell - An account of General George Washington's Revolutionary War leadership of the Culper Ring spy network describes how his team used secret names, codes, invisible ink, and other measures to collect and share important information. - (Baker & Taylor)

I Am George Washington by Brad Meltzer - George Washington was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was never afraid to be the first to try something, from exploring the woods around his childhood home to founding a brand new nation, the United States of America. With his faith in the American people and tremendous bravery, he helped win the Revolutionary War and became the country's first president.


illustration of Black enslaved woman If you'd like to read about the people enslaved by George Washington:

Buried Lives: the Enslaved People of George Washington's Mount Vernon by Carla Killough McClafferty - When he was eleven years old, George Washington inherited ten human beings. His own life has been well chronicled, but the lives of the people he owned--the people who supported his plantation and were buried in unmarked graves there--have not. Using fascinating primary source material and photographs of historical artifacts, Carla McClafferty sheds light on the lives of several people George Washington owned; the property laws of the day that complicated his decision to free them; and the Cemetery Survey, an archeological dig that is shaping our understanding of Mount Vernon's Slave Cemetery. Poignant and thought-provoking, Buried Lives blends the past with the present in a forward-looking account of a haunting piece of American history. - (Random House, Inc.)

Master George's People by Marfe Ferguson Delano - As the first President of the United States of America and the Commander in Chief who led a rebel army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington was a legendary leader of men. He had high expectations of his soldiers, employees, and associates. At his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, his expectations of his workers were no different: "I expect such labor as they ought to render" he wrote. Except there was a big difference. The workers who kept Mount Vernon operating were enslaved. And although Washington called them "my people," by law they were his property. But the people of Mount Vernon were so much more, and they each have compelling stories to tell. These are fascinating portraits of cooks, overseers, valets, farm hands, and more- essential people nearly lost in the shadows of the past- interwoven with an extraordinary examination of the conscience of the Father of Our Country. - (Random House, Inc.)

Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar - Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington's "favored" dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington's granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, along with Kathleen Van Cleve, shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country. - (Simon and Schuster)