Hi! It’s Thursday, August 16, 2012 and time for Social Sciences at ClickSchooling!
Age Range: 10 and up (with parental supervision)
The Library of Congress has a current exhibition called “Books That Shaped America” that highlights books that have had an historical impact on the lives of Americans through the ages. The titles featured are by American authors and as the website explains, ” Some of the titles on display have been the source of great controversy, even derision, yet they nevertheless shaped Americans’ views of their world and often the world’s view of the United States.” The Library of Congress encourages visitors to read the books exhibited to explore the breadth and depth of America’s literary tradition.
This online exhibit presents a unique opportunity to identify books of historical importance by era. When you get to the site, you’ll see a menu of featured “Themes” or periods of time, with icon images of a few of the book titles. Click on the link that says “View all items…” under each era including:
1750 to 1800 – Find book titles such as, Experiments and Observations on Electricity by Benjamin Franklin, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, and even the first American cookbook.
1800 to 1850 – You’ll find Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a book featuring papers written by Lewis & Clark about their great expedition, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas. You’ll discover why these books were of great historical importance
1850 to 1900 – The titles here will most likely be much more familiar and include,The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and many more.
1900 to 1950 – Book titles you’ll recognize include The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Jack London’s Call of the Wild, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and more.
1950 to 2000 – Discover Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, The Double Helix by James D. Watson, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, etc.
Click on any book image and a new page opens that explains what the book is about and why it is historically significant. Some of the explanations are thought provoking – and could stimulate lots of discussion.
You might want to copy the titles and use them as a guide the next time you head to the library for a good read.