Westward Ho!

April 21, 2015


My last post described how the theme of California history and westward expansion can be turned into a vibrant, eclectic homeschool curriculum.


Here, I want to offer an extended booklist on the topic of westward expansion. I think most of the books on the list are suited to the elementary years, either as readers or read-alouds, depending on your student’s reading level.


Two things to keep in mind: 1) this list is not totally comprehensive; you are bound to find other great books on the westward expansion, both fiction and non-fiction, by browsing the library’s shelves and searching online. Use this list just to get you started. 2) You don’t have to read every book on the list!


Start with the titles that are available through your local library system or the titles that sound most interesting to you. If you start one and decide you just don’t like it…that’s ok! Skip it and look for another that better suits your taste. Flexibility is the name of the game.

  • Little House in the Big Woods (and other titles in this Laura Ingalls Wilder series. Don’t forget Farmer Boy!)

  • Caddie Woodlawn (Brink)

  • The Great Turkey Walk (Karr)

  • The Matchlock Gun (Edmonds)

  • The Great Wheel (Lawson)

  • Minn of the Mississippi (Holling)

  • Paddle to the Sea (Holling)

  • Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark (Karwoski)

  • Pioneer California: Tales of Explorers, Indians, and Settlers (Roberts)

  • Riding the Pony Express (Bulla)

  • Buffalo Bill (D’aulaire)

  • Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems (Hall)

  • Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (Jeffers, illustrator)

  • Hiawatha (Jeffers, illustrator)

  • American Tall Tales (Mary Pope Osborne)










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