Children's Read-Aloud Books for the 1900s

 

Here is a chronological list of children's picture books and historical fiction chapter books for learning about modern history - the time period between 1900 and the present. Most of these children's books are picture book biographies. I hope to add more chapter books in the future.


September 14, 1901:  Theodore Roosevelt becomes President of the United States.

To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt, by Doreen Rappaport

To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by C. E. Payne


December 17, 1903 - Orville and Wilbur Wright pilot the first sustained flight of a heavier-than-air airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

To Fly: The Story of the Wright Btothers, by Wendie Old, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

To Fly: The Story of the Wright Btothers, by Wendie Old, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker


September 27, 1905 - Albert Einstein publishes his paper: “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” which introduces the equation  E = mc2.

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein, by Don Brown

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein, by Don Brown


1908 - Henry Ford starts producing Model T cars.

Henry Ford, by Jonatha A. Brown

Henry Ford, by Jonatha A. Brown


February 12, 1912 - Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, is forced to give up his throne.

The Last Emperor, by Jeremy Smith

The Last Emperor, by Jeremy Smith, illustrated by Anthony Lewis


April 15, 1912 - The Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean two and a half hours after hitting an iceberg.

The Sinking of the Titanic, by Louise Park

If You Were a Kid Aboard the Titanic, by Josh Gregory, illustrated by Sebastià Serra


July 28, 1914 - World War I begins when the the Austro-Hungarians declare war on Serbia.

See Inside The First World War; (An Usborne Flap Book), by Rob Lloyd Jones

See Inside The First World War (An Usborne Flap Book), by Rob Lloyd Jones, illustrated by Maria Cristina Pritelli


December 25, 1914 - The Christmas Truce - German and Allied Soldiers on the Western Front cease firing at each other and sing carols, exchange gifts, and bury their dead in No Man's Land.

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914;, by John Hendrix

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914, by John Hendrix


1918 -  The Spanish Flu infects an estimated 500 million people worldwide.

Hero Over Here, by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Hero Over Here: A Story of World War I, by Kathleen V. Kudlinski (Chapter Book)


January 7, 1918 -  Harry Houdini performs his "Vanishing Elephant" illusion at New York's Hippodrome Theater.

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini;, by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini, by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler, illustrated by Matt Collins


1922  - Louis Armstrong  joins Joe "King" Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in Chicago.

Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong, by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome


May 21, 1927 - Charles Lindbergh lands his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, near Paris, successfully completing the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Flight, by Robert Burleigh

Flight, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer


November 9 and 10, 1928 - The Night of Broken Glass (“Kristallnacht”) - German Nazis ransack and demolish Jewish homes, hospitals, schools, and synagogues throughout the German Reich.

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, by Meg Wiviott

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, by Meg Wiviott, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon


August 11, 1929  - Babe Ruth hits his 500th home run.

Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth, by Robert Burleigh

Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer


1929 to late 1930s - The Great Depression

Born and Bred in the Great Depression, by Jonah Winter and Kimberly Bulcken Root

Born and Bred in the Great Depression, by Jonah Winter and Kimberly Bulcken Root

Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression

Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression, by Kate Lied, illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst


March 12, 1930 - Mahatma Gandhi and group of supporters begin marching over 240 miles across western India to peacefully protest British rule in India.

A Taste of Freedom: Gandhi and the Great Salt March, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

A Taste of Freedom: Gandhi and the Great Salt March, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri


1931 to 1939 - The Dust Bowl - Oklahoma, Kansas, and northern Texas are affected by severe soil erosion caused by drought and windstorms.

The Dust Bowl, by David Booth

The Dust Bowl, by David Booth, illustrated by Karen Reczuch


November 8, 1932 - Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected as the 32nd president of the United States.

A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America, by Kathleen Krull

A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America, by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher


1936 - J.R.R. Tolkien begins writing The Hobbit.

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien, by Caroline McAlister

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien, written by Caroline McAlister, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler


May 6, 1937 - The Hindenburg explodes in New Jersey

You Wouldn't Want to Be on the Hindenburg!: A Transatlantic Trip You'd Rather Skip, by Ian Graham

You Wouldn't Want to Be on the Hindenburg!: A Transatlantic Trip You'd Rather Skip, by Ian Graham, illustrated by David Antram


May 27, 1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge opens.

Pop's Bridge, by Eve Bunting

Pop's Bridge, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by C. F. Payne


July 2, 1937 - Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, disappears with her navigator Frederick Noonan  while flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic, by Robert Burleigh

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor


September 1, 1939 - Hitler invades Poland.  World War II begins.

Hitler Invades Poland: September 1, 1939</em>, by John Malam

Hitler Invades Poland: September 1, 1939, by John Malam


May 10, 1940 - Hitler invades Holland and Belgium. On this day, Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The Lily Cupboard, by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim, illustrated by Ronald Himler

The Lily Cupboard, by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim, illustrated by Ronald Himler


May 26 - June 4, 1940 - The Battle of Dunkirk -  Fishing boats, yachts, lifeboats, and other civilian ships race to Dunkirk and rescue 338,000  Allied troops stranded at Dunkirk.

The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II, by Louis Borden

The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II, by Louis Borden, illustrated by Michael Foreman


June 14, 1940 - German troops enter and occupy Paris. France signs its official surrender to Germany on June 22.

The Butterfly, by Patricia Polacco

The Butterfly, by Patricia Polacco

Twenty and Ten, by Claire Huchet Bishop

Twenty and Ten, by Claire Huchet Bishop (chapter book)


July 10, 1940 - The Battle of Britain begins as the Germans begin bombing raids against Great Britain.

Battle in the Air, by Rupert Matthews

Battle in the Air, by Rupert Matthews


May 27, 1941 -  The British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic Ocean near France.

Exploring the Bismarck, by Robert D. Ballard

Exploring the Bismarck, by Robert D. Ballard


December 7, 1941 - Japanese fighter planes attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  President Franklin Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan the next day.

Voices of Pearl Harbor, by Sherry Garland

Voices of Pearl Harbor, by Sherry Garland, illustrated by Layne Johnson


December 22, 1941 - Weeks after the American entrance into World War II,  Winston Churchill arrives at the White House for a wartime conference with Franklin D. Roosevelt and his military advisers.

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World, by Douglas Wood

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World, by Douglas W0od, illustrated by Barry Moser


February 19, 1942 - Ten weeks after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, which states that all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast of the United States must be placed in relocation camps. Most of the people who were sent to the camps were American citizens.

So far from the Sea, bu Eve Bunting, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet

So Far from the Sea, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet


December 28, 1942 - President Roosevelt authorizes the formation of the Manhattan Project to research and develop nuclear weapons. The Manhattan Project was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.

Bomb: The Race to Build - And Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin

Bomb: The Race to Build - And Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin


June 6, 1944 - D-Day: Over 156,000 Allied soldiers attack German forces on the coast of Normandy, France.

What Was D-Day? by Patricia Brennan Demuth

What Was D-Day? by Patricia Brennan Demuth


May 5, 1945 - The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria is liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the U.S. Army.

The Flag with Fifty-six Stars: A Gift from the Survivors of Mauthausen, by Susan Goldman Rubin

The Flag with Fifty-six Stars: A Gift from the Survivors of Mauthausen, by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth


August 6, 1945 - The United States drops an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, it drops another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Japan announces its surrender to the Allies on August 15.

The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story, by Sandra Moore

The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story, by Sandra Moore, illustrated by Kazumi Wilds


September, 1945 - After World War II ends, the Soviet Union fortifies the borders around most of Eastern Europe and eventually builds a wall that cuts the city of Berlin in half. The boundary which separates the Eastern Bloc from the Western Bloc becomes known as the "Iron Curtain."

The Wall: Growning Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis


June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949 - The Berlin Airlift - Western Allies deliver food and other needed supplies by air to the people of West Berlin after the Soviets blockade the city.

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, by Margot Theis Raven

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenbuyzen


1950-1953 - The Korean War

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero, by Patricia McCormick

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero, by Patricia McCormick, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno


June 2, 1953 -  Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, by Jennifer Zeiger

Queen Elizabeth II, by Jennifer Zeiger


September 28, 1955 - Jackie Robinson steals home during Game 1 of the World Series.

Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson: Against the Odds, by Robert Burleigh

Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson: Against the Odds, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer


December 1, 1955 - Rosa Parks is arrested for civil disobedience for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery city bus.

Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni

Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier


November 14, 1960 - Ruby Bridges is escorted to school in New Orleans, Louisiana by four federal marshalls. She becomes the first black student to attend an all-white school.

The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles, illustrated by George Ford

The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Cole, illustrated by George Ford


August 28, 1963 - Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier


March 8, 1965 - The first U.S. combat troops are deployed in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War on the Front Lines, by Tim Cooke

The Vietnam War on the Front Lines, by Tim Cooke

My Grandfather's War, by Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper

My Grandfather's War, by Glyn Harper & Jenny Cooper

The Wall, by Eve Bunting

The Wall, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler


May, 1966 - Mao Zedong, China’s Communist leader, launches the Cultural Revolution in order to reassert his authority over the Chinese government.

Mao and Me, by Chen Jiang Hong

Mao and Me, by Chen Jiang Hong

The Red Scarf Girl, by Ji-Li Jiang


July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong is the first man to walk on the moon.

One Giant Leap, by Robert Burleigh

One Giant Leap, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca


April 13, 1970 - "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here...." An explosion on Apollo 13 blows up an oxygen tank and damages equipment two days after it launches into space on a mission to the moon. The crew makes it back safely.

You Wouldn't Want to be on Apollo 13! A Mission You's Rather Not Go On, by Ian Graham

You Wouldn't Want to be on Apollo 13! A Mission You'd Rather Not Go On, by Iam Graham, illustrated by David Amtram


November 9, 1989 - Officials in East Germany open the Berlin Wall, allowing people to travel from East Germany to West Germany.

Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, by Molly Smith

Border Breakdown: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, by Molly Smith, illustrated by David Opie


May 10, 1994 - After 27 years of imprisonment for protesting against the system of apartheid, Nelson Mandela becomes the first black president of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela: From Prisoner to President, by Suzy Capozzi

Nelson Mandela: From Prisoner to President (Step into Reading, Level 4), by Suzy Capozzi, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

Who Was Nelson Mandela?, by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi


September 11, 2001 - A group of Islamic terrorists hijack four commercial airliners in midair and deliberately crash them into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. One jet crashes into a field after the passengers fight with the hijackers. About three thousand people are killed.

September 11,2001, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

September 11, 2001. by Dennis Brindell Fradin


 

Children's Books for Modern History