Students are required in the Ohio Academic Content Standards for social studies, specifically in the 4th grade, to “use materials drawn from the diversity of human experience to analyze and interpret significant events, patterns and themes in the history, politics, economics, geography, government, and social issues of Ohio.” The books listed below are particularly useful for this purpose, keeping in mind that each of these books may also be used to teach multiple standards at other grade levels as well.

Aurora Means Dawn
Scott Russell Sanders (1989). Bradbury Press.
In the 1800’s, the Sheldon’s travel from Connecticut to Ohio to start a new life in the settlement of Aurora. Many things along the way, from the weather to the trees, surprise them about this new land. When they arrive they find that they are not coming to an established community as they were led to believe. They discover instead that they are the first family there and will be starting this new community by themselves.

B is for Buckeye: An Ohio Alphabet
Marcia Schonberg, Bruce Langton (2000). Sleeping Bear Press.
Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted with events and people from Ohio that begin with that letter. With A through Z connections to Ohio all wonderfully illustrated, this book is fun to read, and brings Ohio history and information to life for all ages.

Cardinal Numbers: An Ohio Counting Book
Marcia Schonberg (2002). Sleeping Bear Press
In this book, Ohio’s “cardinal” numbers are told in a unique way. Numbers 1-14 are represented, and a poem tells the story of something important in Ohio’s history that corresponds with each number. Interesting facts are given about Ohio, telling readers about the state’s animals, including the state bird, state reptile, and state tree.

Flatboats on the Ohio
Catherine E. Chambers and John Lawn. (1996) Troll Communications.
The story of a family decision to take a flatboat from Pennsylvania to the Ohio River is related. The adventures and successes of the family are presented in a way to involve young learners in Ohio history.

The Floating House
Scott Russel Sanders (1995). Macmillan. Helen Coganchery, illustrator.
In 1815, the McClure family floats down the Ohio River in a flatboat loaded with all their worldly possessions. They are looking for Jeffersonville, Indiana, where they will build their new home. As they get closer, the children, Mary and Jonathan, wonder the timeless question—"when will we get there?"

Here Comes the Mystery Man
Scott Russell Sanders (1993) Bradbury Press New York
This book, while set in southeastern Indiana, describes a time and place very similar to those found in southwest Ohio. The story is of a traveling peddler who visits the Goodwin family’s pioneer home and brings wondrous things and amazing tales from far away.

The Legend of Ohio
Dandi Daley Mackall (2005). Sleeping Bear Press.
Dikewamis, an Iroquois girl, tells the story of how her family moves from place to place. Eventually they establish themselves in the plentiful land of Ohio. What a great journey it turns out to be!

Ann Heinrichs (2005). The Child’s World, Inc.
This book is perfect for taking a trip through Ohio. This book describes the history, people, culture, government, geography, and attractions of Ohio. This book features a timeline of Ohio, interesting facts, state symbols, Ohio recipes, and the words to the state song.

Ohio: Facts and Symbols
Emily McAuliffe (1999). Capstone Press.
This book also provides places to visit, fun facts, and vocabulary – all in and around Ohio.

Ohio Timeline: A Chronology of Ohio History, Mystery, Trivia, Legend, Lore and More
Carole Marsh (1994). Gallopade International.
In this book, a timeline of Ohio is given in order for readers to get a further understanding of how Ohio began, and describes how Ohio developed. Many other interesting facts are given about Ohio.

Mary Kay Kroeger and Louis Borden (1996). Ted Lewin, illustrator.
Willie Brinkman is proud to be helping his family with the money he earns as a paperboy. The setting is in Cincinnati in 1927, the major story of the day is the Jack Demsey/Gene Tunney heavyweight fight, and the story is of a young boy who knows the value of an honest effort despite any disappointments one might encounter.

The Story of Johnny Appleseed
LaVere Anderson (1974). Garrard Publishing Company.
Johnny Appleseed was born during apple picking season. Johnny Appleseed grew up working in his father’s orchard. As soon as he was old enough Johnny went to the Ohio Valley and planted apple seeds. Johnny took no money for his work, making friends with Native American’s and white settlers. Johnny Appleseed had no worldly possessions, but he did exhibit passion for his work.

A Street Called Home
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (1997). Harcourt Brace & Company.
An accordion style flap-book written about African American life at the turn of the century. This story takes place in a shantytown called the Blackberry Patch in Columbus, Ohio. Look inside the figure flaps to learn about the Chickenfoot Woman, the Vegetable Man, the Rag Man, and all the others who were merchants on Mount Vernon Avenue at that time.

Peter Golenbock (1990). Gulliver Books. Paul Bacon, illustrator.
Tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s difficult first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as he had to endure being the first African-American to play professional baseball. The strength and perseverance of Jackie Robinson is retold as well as the courage of Pee Wee Reese, a southern-born white teammate, who was among the first to publicly support his friend.

Walk Two Moons
Sharon Creech (2006). Harper Trophy.
Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle is proud of her country roots and the "Indian-ness in her blood." In order to learn more, she travels from Ohio to Idaho with her unusual grandparents.

Warm as Wool
Scott Russell Sanders, Helen Cogancherry (1992). Bradbury Press.
The hardships of one of the early pioneer families to Northwest Ohio are told in this story. A vivid picture of life on the frontier is described as well as the strength of the love of a mother, who works to keep her family warm.

Welcome to Kit’s World, 1934: Growing Up During America’s Great Depression
Harriet Brown (2002). Pleasant Company Publications
In this book, a young girl is giving an account of her life during the 1930’s. The book starts out in the “Roaring ‘20’s” before talking about the “crash” and how everything changed from that point on in day-to-day life for many people. Accounts are also given about the people who made a difference during this “down” time for America including Amelia Earhart, Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, as well as, Langston Hughes. This book tells of the country during the Great Depression and how everyone’s life was impacted due to the “crash.”

The Wright Brothers
Pamela Duncan Edwards (2003). Hyperion Books for Children
This book describes the Wright brothers’ attempts at flying the first powered airplane. The information is repetitive in a way that will help children remember it.
The text is informative, and there are mice characters who give additional information in captions and who make the story more enjoyable for younger students. The book also contains an extensive timeline of the history of airplanes.

© The Ohio Council for the Social Studies 2008