Houghton Mifflin Social Studies

California Studies

Unit 5 Bibliography: Modern California

The books listed below may be available through publishers, distributors such as bookstores or online retailers, or library systems.

Books for Independent Reading

Extra Support

Fly High, Fly Low
by Don Freeman
Viking, 2004
In the reissue of this Caldecott classic, pigeons Sid and Midge live in the “B” of the Bay Hotel sign, and when the building is destroyed, they seek a new home, giving the reader wonderful views of San Francisco in the 1950s.

Amelia's Road
by Linda Jacobs Altman
Lee & Low, 1993
Amelia, who must travel with her migrant-worker parents, longs for a permanent home. Available in Spanish as El camino de Amelia.

Meet My Grandmother: She's a United States Senator
by Lisa Tucker McElroy
Millbrook, 2000
The author profiles California's Senator Diane Feinstein, with the aid of the Senator's 6-year-old granddaughter.

On Level

Weaving a California Tradition: A Native American Basketmaker
by Linda Yamane
Lerner, 1997
Carly Tex, a Mono Indian from Dunlap, California, gathers redbud and sedge and learns to weave baskets in her family's tradition.

Grandfather's Journey
by Allen Say
Houghton Mifflin, 1993
Like his grandfather before him, Say feels cross-cultural ties to both his native Japan and his adopted California.

City Hall: The Heart of Los Angeles
by Debbie Bertram
Tallfellow Press, 2003
The author traces the history of City Hall from 1926 to its renovation following the 1994 earthquake.


The Journal of Ben Uchida, Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp, California, 1942
by Barry Denenberg
Scholastic, 1999
Twelve-year-old Ben tells how he survived in an internment camp during World War II.

Any Small Goodness: a Novel of the Barrio
by Tony Johnston
Scholastic, 2003
Eleven-year-old Arturo, newly arrived with his family from Mexico to Los Angeles, tells of his life at home, in school, and in the barrio.

Julia Butterfly Hill: Saving the Redwoods
by Dawn FitzGerald
Millbrook, 2002
Julia climbed a 189-foot redwood tree and lived there for two years to defend the redwood forests from loggers.

Read Aloud and Reference

Read Aloud Books

San Francisco Earthquake, 1989
by Victoria Sherrow
Enslow, 1998
The author details the earthquake that struck San Francisco and its aftermath.

Summer on Wheels
by Gary Soto
Scholastic, 1995
Hector and Mando have wonderful adventures on a six-day bike journey from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

Reference Books

The Will and the Way: Paul R. Williams, Architect
by Karen E. Hudson
Rizzoli, 1994
Williams's granddaughter tells the story of the African American architect who designed over 3,000 structures, including many movie star residences and the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Tunnels, Tracks, and Trains: Building a Subway
by Joan Hewett and Richard Hewett
Lodestar, 1995
The authors follow the construction of the Red Line in Los Angeles.

Give Me Liberty: The Story of the Declaration of Independence
by Russell Freedman
Holiday, 2000
Using numerous primary sources, Freedman relates events leading to the creation of this important historical document.

Free and Inexpensive Materials

The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, D.C. 20540
Phone: (202) 707-5000

The Library of Congress
The library's website includes the “California History Collection.” It also includes a feature that allows you to ask questions of a Library of Congress librarian.