The Top 100 Children's


Social Studies

Compiled by The Children's Literature Nook

Click Title to go to Amazon for details on specific books


Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin. Holiday House, 1990.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank.
Taking refuge in an attic hideaway for two years, Anne Frank and her family attempt to escape Nazi

Freedman, Russell. Lincoln: A Photobiography. Clarion, 1987.
This story about the 16th President is a Newbery winner. Other Freedman biographies include: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery, and Children of the Wild West.

Hurwitz, Johanna. Anne Frank: Life in Hiding. Beech Tree, 1988.
A nonfiction introduction for children to the Holocaust.

Winter, Jeanette. Diego. Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
This is the story of the life of Diego Rivera, a great muralist of Mexico, beautifully told through pictures and simple text. Diego was a boy who loved to draw and he grew up to use his talent to celebrate and tell the story of the Mexican people. Includes "A Note About Diego Rivera" at the back of the book.


Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus

Bourne, Russell. The Big Golden Book of Christopher Columbus and Other Early Adventures

De Kay, James T. and Edens, John. Meet Christopher Columbus

Fritz, Jean. Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan

Fritz, Jean. Brendan the Navigator: A History Mystery About the Discovery of America

Fritz, Jean. Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus?

Gleiter, Jan and Thompson, Kathleen. Christopher Columbus

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere's Ride. Dutton Childrens Books, 1990.

Mason, Antony. The Children's Atlas of Exploration: Follow in the Footsteps of the Great Explorers


Bates, Katherine Lee. America the Beautiful.
In this book the words to "America the Beautiful" are illustrated with drawings of some of the most
beautiful places around the U.S.A. The music for the song is also included along with brief descriptions of each of the monuments used in the book.

Clouse, Nancy. Puzzle Maps USA. Henry Holt, 1990.

Goodman, Beth. A Picture Book of the USA. Scholastic, 1991.
Take a pictorial trip across the USA in this informative book; each section includes outline maps of various regions.

Houston, Gloria. My Great Aunt Arizona. Harpercollins, 1992.
This is a touching story of Arizona, a wonderful woman who devoted her life to teaching children in a one-room schoolhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains; Arizona dreams of travel.

Mitsumasa, Anno. Anno's USA. Philomel, 1983.

Seibert, Diane. Heartland. Thomas Y. Crowell, 1989.
Through poetic text and realistic paintings, this book tells of the Midwest. It is a joyful celebration of
America's heartland.

History General

Precek, Katherine. Penny in the Road. Macmillan, 1989.

World Cultures

Spier, Peter. People. Doubleday, 1980.
There are over 4 billion people on earth, and they are all different. This book describes the
differences among people and how those differences contribute to an interesting world.

Nonfictional Books About Countries

Count Your Way Through...the Arab World, China, Japan, Mexico.
Author: Jim Haskins
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books, 1987, 1987, 1989, 1991
Summary: This series of books for various countries uses the numerals one through ten to introduce
concepts about that country and its culture.


Behrens, June. Gung Hay Fat Choy Happy New Year. Children's Press, 1982.

Brown, Tricia. Chinese New Year. Henry Holt and Co., 1987.


Greene, Carol. Enchantment of the World: Japan. Children's Press, 1983.


Bulmer-Thomas, Barbara. Journey Through Mexico. Troll Associates, 1991.

Marcus, Rebecca B. and Judith. Fiesta Time in Mexico. Garrard Publishing, 1974.

Reilly, Mary Jo. Cultures of the World: Mexico. Marshall Cavendish Corp., 1991.

Picture Books and Novels That Take Place in Other Lands

Dayrell, Elphinstone. Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky. Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
Country: Africa
Sun and Moon build a very large house for their friend, Water, to come and visit with all his people.
However, Water's people were so numerous that they took up all the space and forced Sun and Moon into the sky, where they have remained ever since.

de Paola, Tomie. The Lady of Guadalupe. Holiday House, 1980.
Country: Mexico
This book tells of how the Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an Aztec Indian farmer, Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531. This appearance led to the building of a church at the foot of the hill called Tepeyac. Her image still remains on the original cloth tilma that belonged to Juan Diego and hangs in that church.

Ginsburg, Mirra. The Chinese Mirror. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.
Country: Korea
The Chinese Mirror is an old folktale in which a Korean traveler brings a mirror from China. Since
mirrors were unknown to his people at that time, it causes much misunderstanding and humorous reactions.

Heide, Florence Parry and Judith Heide Gilliland. The Day of Ahmed's Secret. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1990.
Audience: Primary (Picture Book)
Country: Egypt
Ahmed is a young boy who lives in Cairo. On this special day of Ahmed's secret, we follow him through the sights and sounds of his city until he reveals his wonderful secret.

Leaf, Margaret. Eyes of the Dragon. Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987.
Country: China
Ch'en Jung, a great dragon painter, has been asked to paint a dragon on the wall surrounding a little Chinese village. He stipulates that the people must accept the dragon as he paints him and that he is to receive payment for his work to be donated to the Taoist temple. However, the magistrate of the village breaks his promise and demands that Ch'en Jung add eyes to the dragon before payment. Although Ch'en Jung reluctantly agrees, it turns out to be a terrible mistake.

Lee, Jeanne M. Ba-Nam. Holt, 1987.
Audience: Primary (Picture Book)
Country: Vietnam
Thanh-Minh Day in Vietnam is a special day set aside for honoring one's ancestors. This year, Nan is old enough to go with the family to the graveyard to present offerings and meet with relatives. When they arrive, Nan is frightened by the appearance of Ba-Nam, the old woman graveskeeper. However, she learns that one cannot always judge people by their outward appearance.

Lewis, Thomas P. Hill of Fire. Harper & Row, 1971.
Audience: 2-4
Country: Mexico
Hill of Fire is the true story of the eruption of Paricutin volcano in Mexico which occured in 1943. It is a unique story about a farmer who was unhappy because nothing exciting ever happened in his life. One day, everything changed when the ground opened up and a volcano started right in the middle of his cornfield. His home and the small, quiet village were soon covered by the lava and ash. Luckily, everyone had enough time to reach safety. The people built a new village and made new homes at safe distances from the volcano, and the farmer was quite content with his life from then on.

Morimoto, Junko. The Inch Boy. Puffin Books, 1988.
Country: Japan
The Little Inch Boy's dream is to become a great Samurai warrior. He uses his sewing needle sword to protect the princess from the giant Red Demon. Because he is able to defeat the Red Demon, he is magically changed into General Horikawa, a great Samurai warrior and marries the princess.

Morimoto, Junko. Kenju's Forest. Collins Publishers Australia, 1989.
Audience: 2-6 (Picture Book)
Country: Japan
Kenju, a young Japanese boy, finds such happiness in nature that he wants to plant and grow his own field of trees. He diligently and lovingly cares for his seedlings, and they grow into a fine forest, in spite of the disapproval and teasing of the villagers. The children of the village discover Kenju's forest and the trees become a playground for them. Their laughter and singing bring even greater joy to Kenju. Unfortunately, sickness takes Kenju's life early, but his trees remain to bring happiness to generations of children just as they did for Kenju.

Sonneborn, Ruth A. Friday Night is Papa Night. Puffin Books, 1970.
Audience: Primary (Picture Book)
Country: Puerto Rico
Every Friday night Papa comes home from work and Pedro and his family eagerly await his arrival. This night when Papa finally arrives much later than expected, the family makes the homecoming a warm and wonderful event.

Wyndham, Robert. Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes. Passport Books, 1987.
Country: China
Traditional rhymes and riddles for young children to enjoy. A simple and delightful introduction to the Chinese culture.

Yashima, Taro. Crow Boy. Puffin Books, 1983.
Audience: K-6 (Picture Book)
Country: Japan
A small, shy boy who was nicknamed Chibi, Tiny Boy, was always ignored throughout hos early school years because he was afraid and the other children did not understand him. Finally, in the sixth grade, a teacher, Mr. Isobe, takes time to get to know him and learn about his talents. Mr. Isobe helps everyone else to understand Chibi, and Chibi earns their respect.

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