Dear America Book Series - Unit Study

The Dear America, My Name Is America, My America, and The Royal Diaries are series that lend themselves quite well to many activities. This unit helps divide the books up by time era and also lists places to gather activities for many of the books with clickable links.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

Dear America and My Name Is America books that include Immigration issues and themes:
A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple
The Journal of Jaspar Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy
So Far from Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl
The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner
The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi
A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska
Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady


Dear America and My Name Is America books that include a Westward Expansion theme:
A Line in the Sand: The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl
The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker
The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West
The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi


Dear America and My Name Is America Books that include a Native American Experience theme:
Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl
The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker
The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West
My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi


Dear America and My Name Is America Books that address prejudice as a theme:
African American
A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl
A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin
The Journal of James Edmond Pease: A Civil War Union Soldier
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl
The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy
Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love
Native American
Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl
My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl
European Immigrants
So Far from Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl
The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady
Other Immigrants
The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner
The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West
Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl
The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp


Dear America and My Name Is America Books that include War as a theme:
The Journal of William Thomas Emerson: A Revolutionary War Patriot
The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart
A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin
The Journal of James Edmond Pease: A Civil War Union Soldier
When Will This Cruel War Be Over? The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl
The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier


WEB RESOURCES:

Use some of these links to study the Colonial Era books in the Dear America/My Name is America series: http://atozteacherstuff.com/themes/ColonialAmerica.shtml

The following links are to the scholastic.com site where the you can find the Dear America homepage. These discussion guides are wonderful in helping to plan a unit study using these series of books. There are synopsis of the stories themselves, discussion questions, and other activities. But they still leave plenty of room for you to add activities of your own.

Discussion Guides for the Dear America series:
http://www.scholastic.com/dearamerica/books/guides/index.htm
Discussion Guides for the My Name is America series: http://www.scholastic.com/titles/mynameisamerica/discussguide/index.htm
Discussion Guides for My America series: http://www.scholastic.com/titles/myamerica/discussguide/index.htm
Discussion Guides for Royal Diaries series:
http://www.scholastic.com/titles/royaldiaries/discguide.htm

ACTIVITIES:

1. A Journey to the New World occurs during the era of the pilgrim. This book would go along with the holiday Thanksgiving. Also, any of the same activities that you used with a unit on Thanksgiving or with a study on Native Americans would do well to go along with this book.

2. Take a virtual tour of the Plymouth Plantation: http://www.plimoth.org/index.html

3. Learn about Pilgrim era clothing and maybe make a costume. Costume patterns are available at many of the fabric stores such as JoAnne Fabrics and Mae’s. You can also follow some of the activities at this site: http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/TLresources/longterm/LessonPlans/Byrnes/Thanksgiving.html

4. Notice what Mem writes about in her journal in A Journey to the New World. She writes about her everyday life, the same as we would if we kept a diary today. What are some of the similarities and differences in her life and in the life we lead today. Here’s a prepared lesson plan that you might find useful with this activity: http://www.libsci.sc.edu/miller/Colony.htm

5. The Winter of the Red Snow occurs during the American Revolution. There are several activities and other resources listed at this site that would go very well with this book: http://www.themestream.com/articles/304709

6. Here’s another interesting lesson to incorporate into a study of the American Revolution: http://people2.clarityconnect.com/webpages4/kcarsons/oconunit/index.htm

7. A Picture of Freedom, A Light in the Storm, The Journal of James Edmund Pease, and When Will This Cruel War Be Over all occur during the US Civil War. Here is an already prepared lesson plan to go along with the study of the Civil War: http://www.themestream.com/articles/309240

8. There are several books in the series that take place or deal with the westward expansion in the US. To go along with these books you could add some activities from this article: http://www.themestream.com/articles/305854

The Dear America, My Name Is America, My America, and The Royal Diaries are series that lend themselves quite well to many activities. If you are looking for something particular to do, think about the timeframe that the book takes place in and that should lead to lots of fun.

VIDEOS:

A Journey to the New World The Story of Remember Patience Whipple, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620 Twelve year old Remember Patience Whipple ("Mem," for short) has just arrived with her parents in the New World after a grueling 65 day journey on the Mayflower. Mem has an irrepressible spirit, and leaps headfirst into life in her new home. Despite harsh conditions, Mem is fearless. She helps to care for the sick and wants more than anything to meet and befriend an Indian. Her wish comes true when she meets Squanto, who helps Mem and her family face a year of trial, tragedy and thanksgiving.

Standing in the Light The Captive Story of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, PA, 1763 Caty Logan has always lived a quiet life with her Quaker family. But one day Caty's world is changed forever. The Lenape Indians, who have been viciously attacked by white settlers, retaliate by kidnapping Caty and her brother. Terrified and angry, Caty rejects the Lenape family that tries to raise her as their own. A handsome warrior named Snow Hunter teaches Caty to respect Lenape traditions...and captures her heart. Now caught between two worlds, Caty wonders if she will ever be able to return to her old life.

The Winter of Red Snow The Revolutionary War Story of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, PA, 1777 When General George Washington's troops first set up camp near Abigail Stewart's home, Abby believes war is exciting and glamorous. Abby works at Washington's headquarters, where she finds a special friend in Martha Washington, the future first lady. But during the long winter Abby sees for herself the hardships of war, as soldiers are starving, wounded, or dying. Abby must summon a new-found strength to help the soldiers and their loved ones carry on.

So Far from Home The Story of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 With the potato famine devastating her homeland in Ireland, Mary Driscoll must leave her parents to seek out a better life in America. Mary finds work in a mill, where working conditions are dreadful. Although her new friends encourage her to join the union, Mary hesitates to speak out for fear of losing her job. When her dear friend, Sean, is falsely accused of murder, Mary must decide if she is ready to face her fears and sacrifice everything to save him.

A Picture of Freedom The Story of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859 F-R-E-E-D-O-M. Clotee, a twelve year-old slave, is teaching herself to spell a word she's never been able to understand. But no one can find out she can read and write---she could be beaten, sold, or worse. Her friends Spicey and Hince are in love, and when the master decides to tear them apart, Clotee knows she must come up with a plan. She risks everything to help her friends and family, and learns that freedom is more than just a word---it's an entire world.

Dreams in the Golden Country The Story of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903

Zipporah (Zippy) Feldman is a Russian Jewish immigrant living in a crowded tenement on Manhattan's Lower East Side. While Zippy faces the challenge of learning English and making new friends, her older sister Tovah fights to improve the working conditions at her sweatshop and struggles to hide her forbidden romance with a handsome Irish boy. When old traditions clash with modern ideals, family tensions escalate. To save her family, Zippy must find a way to respect their heritage while following her own dreams of the future.

Color Me Dark The Story of Nellie Lee Love, Chicago, 1919 Nellie Lee Love moves north with her family to Chicago — the land of opportunity — hoping to escape the racism of the rural south. Mamma believes a new start will help Nellie Lee's sister Erma Jean, who stopped speaking after a mysterious but horrifying event only she witnessed. Though life in this northern city is exciting, Nellie Lee sees that racism knows no boundaries. When a group of boys threaten Nellie Lee, Erma Jean finds her voice just in time to fend them off. Through the love of their family, both sisters learn that they possess the strength to triumph.

Cleopatra VII Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. Princess Cleopatra is caught in a spiral of intrigue at the Egyptian court. Assassination attempts are made against her father, the Pharaoh, and she suspects her own sister of betrayal. Moving in disguise among the common people, Cleopatra witnesses their poverty and feels their anger towards the Pharaoh. Fearful for her father's life, she flees with him to Rome. There, her intelligence and charm win the support of Julius Ceasar. Cleopatra triumphantly returns to Egypt, knowing that while the Romans can help win back her country, only compassion will win the hearts of the people.

Isabel Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 Princess Isabel has a terrible decision to make: Should she submit to the tyrannical rule of her elder brother, King Enrique of Spain, and marry a man she does not love, just because it will further his political agenda? Her younger brother, Alfonso, has rebelled against the King, but will Isabel have the courage to follow? When Enrique goes against his every promise to her, Isabel listens to her own heart. She marries the Prince of Aragon — her one true love and a powerful political ally who will help her assume the throne as queen.

Elizabeth I Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 Young Elizabeth yearns for the love of her father, King Henry VIII. And yet, this king is responsible for the beheading of her mother. How can she reconcile her desire for her father's attention with his violent nature? And how will she, the Invisible Princess, gain his favor, when her half-sister Mary foils her every move? As the king starts to turn against Elizabeth's only ally, Queen Catherine, Elizabeth knows she must do anything to save the queen's life. Join the noble princess in the most perilous of royal courts.

FICTION/NON-FICTION:

Colonial Period:
A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, the Mayflower, 1620 by Kathryn Lasky (ISBN 0-590-50214-X)
The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce, A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620 by Ann Rinaldi (ISBN 0-590-51078-9)


Revolutionary War:
The Journal of William Thomas Emerson: A Revolutionary War Patriot, Boston, Massachusetts, 1774 by Barry Denenberg (ISBN 0-590-31350-9)
The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 by Kristiana Gregory (ISBN 0-590-22653-3)


Slavery:
A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859 by Patricia C. McKissack (ISBN 0-590-25988-1)

Civil War:
A Light in the Storm: The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861by Karen Hesse (ISBN 0-590-56733-0)
The Journal of James Edmond Pease: A Civil War Union Soldier, Virginia, 1863 by Jim Murphy (ISBN 0-590-43814-X)
When Will This Cruel War Be Over? The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 by Barry Denenberg (ISBN 0-590-22862-5)

Reconstruction:
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 by Joyce Hansen (ISBN 0-590-84913-1)

Westward Expansion:
A Line in the Sand: The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence, Gonzales, Texas, 1835 by Sherry Garland (ISBN 0-590-39466-5)
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847 by Kristiana Gregory (ISBN 0-590-2265107)
The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker, Nebraska and Points West, 1867 by William Durbin (ISBN 0-439-04994-6)
The Great Railroad Race: The Diary of Libby West, Utah Territory, 1868 by Kristiana Gregory (ISBN 0-590-10991-X)
The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy, The Chisholm Trail, 1871by Walter Dean Myers (ISBN 0-590-02691-7)
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi, New York to Idaho Territory, 1883 by Jim Murphy (ISBN 0-590-73888-7)


Native American Experience:
Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 by Mary Pope Osborne (ISBN 0-590-13462-0)
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The DiarY of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864 by Ann Turner (ISBN 0-590-97216-2)
My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880 by Ann Rinaldi (ISBN 0-590-14922-9)


Immigration:
So Far from Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847 by Barry Denenberg (ISBN 0-590-92667-5)
The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung, A Chinese Miner, California, 1852 by Laurence Yep (ISBN 0-590-38607-7)
A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (ISBN 0-439-05386-2)
Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903 by Kathryn Lasky (ISBN 0-590-02973-8)
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, RMS Titanic, 1912 by Ellen Emerson White (ISBN 0-590-96273-6)


The Great Migration:
Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, The Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919 by Patricia C. McKissack (ISBN 0-590-51159-9)

World War II:
The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp, California, 1942 by Barry Denenberg (ISBN 0-590-48531-8)
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier, Normandy, France, 1944 by Walter Dean Myers (ISBN 0-439-05013-8)


World History:
Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. by Kristiana Gregory (ISBN 0-590-81975-5)
Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 by Carolyn Meyer (ISBN 0-439-07805-9)
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 by Kathryn Lasky (ISBN 0-590-68484-1)
Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria-France, 1769 by Kathryn Lasky (ISBN 0-439-07666-8)



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