Books for Independent Reading


Chang's Paper Pony
by Eleanor Coerr
Harper 1988 (64p); also paper
The California Gold Rush story of Chang and his dream of owning a pony.
Dakota Dugout
by Ann Turner
(Social Studies)
Macmillan 1985 (32p); also paper
A woman describes her experiences living as a bride in a sod house on the Dakota prairie.
Wagon Wheels
by Barbara Brenner
Harper 1978 (64p); also paper
An African American boy describes the adventures of his family traveling to Kansas.
The Josefina Story Quilt
by Eleanor Coerr
(Social Studies)
Harper 1986 (64p); also paper
A family and their pet chicken head West. Available in Spanish as Josefina y la colcha de retazos.
Red River City
by Raymond Elson
(Social Studies)
Tupelo 1994
A three-dimensional story frieze with punch-out characters that recreates a town of the American frontier.
The Oregon Trail
by R. Conrad Stein
(Social Studies)
Childrens 1994 (32p)
The history of the Oregon Trail and a look at the people who traveled it.
Wagon Train: A Family Goes West in 1865
by Courtni C. Wright
Holiday 1995 (32p)
An African American family's journey from Virginia to California is related by daughter Ginny.
Frontier Home
by Raymond Bial
(Social Studies)
Houghton 1993 (40p)
This boook describes the homes and daily lives of the pioneers.


Joshua's Westward Journal
by Joan Anderson
(Social Studies)
Morrow 1987 (48p)
A photo essay of a contemporary family's trip that mirrors the experiences of early pioneers.
Snowshoe Thompson
by Nancy Levinson
(Social Studies)
Harper 1992 (64p)
John Thompson struggles through the snowbound Sierras to deliver the mail.
My Prairie Year: Based on the Diary of Elenore Plaisted
by Brett Harvey
(Social Studies)
Holiday 1986 (40p)
Based on the author's grandmother's journey to the Dakotas as a young girl.
Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Social Studies)
Harper 1953 (238p); also paper
The classic story of the Ingalls family and their home on the Kansas prairie. Available in Spanish asLa casa de la pradera.
Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story
by Jim McGugan
(Social Studies)
Chronicle 1994 (32p)
An outcast among his peers because of his poor English, immigrant Josepha decides he must leave school and seek work.
If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon
by Ellen Levine
(Social Studies)
Scholastic 1992 (80p)
Describes everyday life on a journey that typically lasted six months.
Log Cabin in the Woods
by Joanne Landers Henry
(Social Studies)
Four Winds 1992 (64p)
A month-by-month account of the life of Oliver Johnson and his family in a log cabin in 1832.
An American Safari: Adventures on the North American Prairie
by Jim Brandenburg
(Social Studies)
Walker 1995 (48p)
The contemporary author/photographer details how adventures on the prairie influenced his life.
Bess's Log Cabin Quilt
by D. Anne Love
(Social Studies)
Holiday 1995 (88p)
Bess Morgan and her mother wait at home while Pa brings more settlers west to Oregon.


The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark
by Rhoda Blumberg
(Social Studies)
Lothrop 1987 (128p)
An account of Lewis and Clark's two-and-a-half-year trip across uncharted territory.
The Great American Gold Rush
by Rhoda Blumberg
(Social Studies)
Bradbury 1989 (144p)
An in-depth look at the consequences of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill.
Tales from Gold Mountain
by Paul Yee
Macmillan 1990 (64p)
Eight original stories based on the experiences of Chinese immigrants.
Jericho's Journey
by C. Clifton Wisler
(Social Studies)
Lodestar 1993 (138p)
Jericho finds his family's move from Tennessee to Texas more than he bargained for.
Bound for Oregon
by Jean Van Leeuwen
(Social Studies)
Dial 1994 (176p)
Nine-year-old Mary Ellen Todd and her family travel from Arkansas to Oregon in 1852.
Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail
by Elvira Woodruff
(Social Studies)
Knopf 1994 (119p)
Letters from twelve-year-old Austin to his younger brother Levi back in Pennsylvania.
Jimmy Spoon and the Pony Express
by Kristiana Gregory
(Social Studies)
Scholastic 1994 (192p)
An ad for “young, skinny fellows; orphans preferred” leads Jimmy Spoon to become a Pony Express rider.
Mr. Misterio y cia (Mr. Mysterious and Company)
by Sid Fleischman
(Social Studies)
Mr. Mysterious and his family travel by covered wagon to California, performing magic acts in towns along the way. Text in Spanish.
Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher
by Pam Conrad
Harper 1991 (96p); also paper
An account of Butcher's fifteen years photographing Nebraska settlers.
Off the Map: The Journals of Lewis and Clark
edited by Peter and Connie Roop
(Social Studies)
Walker 1993 (40p)
Edited entries from the journals of the famous explorers.
Townsend's Warbler
by Paul Fleischman
Harper 1992 (64p)
Parallel accounts of the travels of naturalist John Townsend and the birds he discovered in the Pacific Northwest.
The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the American Gold Rush
by Barthe DeClements
(Social Studies)
Viking 1992 (64p)
Bucky and his father head for Alaska and gold.
America's Prairies
by Frank Staub
(Social Studies)
Carolrhoda 1993
A look at today's prairies and their plant and animal life.


George Catlin: Painter of the Indian West
by Mark Sufrin
Atheneum 1991 (160p)
A biography of the famed artist who painted portraits and scenes of Native American life.
Frontier Living
by Edwin Tunis
(Social Studies)
Harper 1976 (168p)
Portrays the manners and customs of frontier families.
The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers
by Clinton Cox
Scholastic 1993 (192p)
True stories of former slaves recruited to open up the West.
A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840
by Barbara Greenwood
(Social Studies)
Ticknor 1995 (244p)
A blend of fiction and nonfiction recounts the travels of the imaginary Robinson family.

Books for Teachers to Read Aloud

On to Oregon!
by Honoré Morrow
(Social Studies)
Morrow 1926 (240p)
Classic story of the Sager children's covered wagon trip from Missouri to Oregon.
Swamp Angel
by Anne Isaacs
(Social Studies)
Dutton 1994 (54p)
Tall tale about Angelica Longrider, who vanquished Thundering Tarnation, the bear terrorizing Tennessee.
Caddie Woodlawn
by Carol Ryrie Brink
(Social Studies)
Macmillan 1973 (256p)
Describes Caddie's life on the Wisconsin frontier in the 1860s.