Westward Expansion Children’s Booklist

Westward Expansion Children’s Booklist

This year my family studied the historical time period from 1800-1900. There are so many interesting events, people, and topics to study that we only got through the Westward Expansion portion. When we revisit this time period in four years we’ll focus on the topics we didn’t study, like the Civil War.

I recommend reading a spine as a family, or at least by forms, and then allowing your child to choose a biography and historical fiction that interests them. For form 1(6-9 years old) children you can either read the spine or simply read a selection of picture books.

I’ve put an asterisk by the books that we read this year and personally recommend. Others are on the list for future years


Which Way to The Wild West? by Steve Sheinkin (good for forms 1 and 2)

We really enjoyed this summary of westward expansion. It was meant for my oldest who is in form 2 (10-12 years old), but my younger boys enjoyed listening. I could have just read this aloud to all my boys and it would have given them an excellent coverage of this time period without any picture books.


Lewis + Clark

  • *Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson’s Mammoth by Candance Ransom
  • A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler
  • *Sacagawea by Lise Erdrich
  • *Bad River Boys by Virginia Haw Sneve and Bill Farnsworth
  • *The Great Expedition of Lewis and Clark by Private Reubin Field (Member of the Corps of Discovery)
  • Seaman’s Journal by Patricia Reeder Eubank
  • *The Journey of York by Hasan Davis and Alleana Davis

Mexican-American War

  • *Susanna of the Alamo by John Jakes (contains violence, parents should preread)
  • A Picture Book of Davy Crockett by John and Alexandra Wallner
  • A Picture Book of Sam Houston by David Collins
  • Voices of the Alamo by Sherry Garland
  • *Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars: A Texas Tale by Nathan Hale

Westward Expansion

  • Erie Canal by Peter Spiers
  • Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harkness
  • *Sequoyah by James Rumford
  • *Buffalo Bird Woman by S.D. Nelson
  • Daniel Boone’s Great Escape by Michael P. Spradlin
  • *John Deere, that’s Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer
  • *Samuel Morse, That’s Who! By Tracy Nelson Maurer
  • *A Boy Called Slow by Joseph Bruchac (Sitting Bull)
  • Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss
  • *Gold! Gold from an American River: 1848 The Day the Gold Rush Began by Don Brown

Oregon Trail and Settlers

  • *Dandelions by Eve Bunting (historical fiction)
  • *Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner (historical fiction)
  • *Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson (historical fiction)
  • Stagecoach Sal by Deborah Hopkinson (historical fiction)

Wild West and Railroad

  • Pony Express! by Steven Kroll
  • *They’re Off!: The Story of the Pony Express by Cheryl Harness
  • Off Like the Wind! The First Ride of the Pony Express by Michael P. Spradlin
  • Ride On, Will Cody! A Legend of the Pony Express by Caroline Starr Rose
  • *Buffalo Bill by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
  • *Down the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer by Deborah Kogan Ray
  • *Nathan Hale Hazardous Tale: Major Impossible: A Grand Canyon Tale by Nathan Hale (John Wesley Powell)
  • Bill Pickett: Rodeo Ridin’ Cowboy by Andrea Davis Pickney
  • *Fearless Mary by Tami Charles
  • *Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • *The Real McCoy: The Life of an African American Inventor by Wil Clay
  • *Locomotive by Brian Floca
  • Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express by Margaret K. Wetterer
  • A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero
  • *Coolies by Yin (historical fiction)
  • The Iron Dragon Never Sleeps by Stephen Krensky (historical fiction)


  • *Thomas Jefferson by Landmark Series
  • The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Latham
  • The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith
  • Sacagawea by Joseph Bruchac
  • I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen
  • I Sailed to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen
  • Growing Up in Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen
  • Trail Blazer of the Seas by Jean Lee Latham
  • Make Way for Sam Houston by Jean Fritz
  • Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People by S.D. Nelson
  • Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of Wat and Surrender by S.D. Nelson
  • Black Elk’s Vision: A Lakota Story by S.D. Nelson
  • Stonewall by Jean Fritz
  • On the Trail of Grant and Lee by Frederick Trevor Hill
  • Only the Name Remains: The Cherokee and the Trail of Tears by Alex W. Bealer
  • The True Adventures of Grizzly Adams by Robert McClung


  • Little House on the Prairie Series (historical fiction)
  • Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (historical fiction)
  • Mary and the Trail of Tears: A Cherokee Removal Survivor Story (Girls Survive) by Andrea L. Rogers (historical fiction)
  • Kirsten: American Girl Series (historical fiction)
  • Josefina: American Girl Series
  • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (historical fiction)
  • The Great Brain Series
  • Little Briches

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