10 books like The Children's Civil War

By James Marten,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Children's Civil War. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Racial Innocence

By Robin Bernstein,

Book cover of Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights

Who gets to claim “childhood innocence” and the protections that come with this designation? Certainly not Black children in nineteenth-century America, according to Robin Bernstein. They were instead pictured as “pickaninnies”—comic figures who felt no pain, whatever mischief befell them. This book won a slew of awards for good reason: reading the racial ‘scripts’ in seemingly innocuous cultural products like children’s picture books, dolls, and knickknacks, Bernstein reveals how race-making hides in plain sight.

Racial Innocence

By Robin Bernstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Racial Innocence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2013 Book Award Winner from the International Research Society in Children's Literature
2012 Outstanding Book Award Winner from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education
2012 Winner of the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize presented by the New England American Studies Association
2012 Runner-Up, John Hope Franklin Publication Prize presented by the American Studies Association
2012 Honorable Mention, Distinguished Book Award presented by the Society for the Study of American Women Writers

Dissects how "innocence" became the exclusive province of white children, covering slavery to the Civil Rights era
Beginning in the mid nineteenth century in America, childhood became synonymous…


The Virgin Vote

By Jon Grinspan,

Book cover of The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century

This book has been one of the most interesting and enjoyable ones I have read recently. Grinspan looks at how political parties tried to cement voters’ loyalty for a lifetime by courting their first (or virgin) vote. He also discusses the importance of voting and political parties in shaping the lives of young people. Young people are often overlooked in traditional historical scholarship, but Grinspan treats them seriously.  

The Virgin Vote

By Jon Grinspan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Virgin Vote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century--as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks--young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be "violent little partisans," while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their "virgin votes"-the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood. In schoolhouses, saloons, and squares, young men and women proved that democracy is social and politics is personal, earning their adulthood by participating in public life.

Drawing on hundreds of diaries and letters of diverse young Americans--from…


Intimate Reconstructions

By Catherine A. Jones,

Book cover of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia

This inspired, award-winning study looks at how black and white households were reshaped in Virginia after the Civil War. It’s full of captivating stories: Black parents trying to wrest their children away from former enslavers; once-privileged White families having to send their boys or girls into the job market to compensate for the loss of enslaved laborers; or officials coping with masses of orphaned children. It also shows the different ways that adults used ideas of childhood for political ends, as well as how children themselves fared in the aftermath of war.

Intimate Reconstructions

By Catherine A. Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intimate Reconstructions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Intimate Reconstructions, Catherine Jones considers how children shaped, and were shaped by, Virginia's Reconstruction. Jones argues that questions of how to define, treat, reform, or protect children were never far from the surface of public debate and private concern in post-Civil War Virginia. Through careful examination of governmental, institutional, and private records, the author traces the unpredictable paths black and white children traveled through this tumultuous period. Putting children at the center of the narrative reveals the unevenness of the transitions that defined Virginia in the wake of the Civil War: from slavery to freedom, from war to peace,…


Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood

By Crystal Lynn Webster,

Book cover of Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North

Historians have charted the long, slow process of emancipation in Northern states. But no one has looked before at how children fared during this process. Webster’s ground-breaking work shows that it was virtually impossible for Black children in ostensibly free states to escape politics: as individuals living in a racist society, and as symbols of African Americans’ future, whatever they did or said was invariably surveilled, dissected, and judged. Racist thinking and racialised structures also severely curtailed freedom for the young.

Many Black Northern children were indentured or bound out, often in exploitative labor arrangements that restricted future possibilities. Others were confined to institutions like reformatories or orphanages, usually segregated based on pseudoscientific understandings of race that marked Black children as deviant, violent, or inferior. Circumventing the way Black suffering has been obscured in historical records, Webster manages to piece together archival fragments that show widespread victimization of Black children…

Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood

By Crystal Lynn Webster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For all that is known about the depth and breadth of African American history, we still understand surprisingly little about the lives of African American children, particularly those affected by northern emancipation. But hidden in institutional records, school primers and penmanship books, biographical sketches, and unpublished documents is a rich archive that reveals the social and affective worlds of northern Black children. Drawing evidence from the urban centers of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, Crystal Webster's innovative research yields a powerful new history of African American childhood before the Civil War. Webster argues that young African Americans were frequently left…


Who are You?

By Joan and Roger Bradfield, Melanie Fitch (illustrator),

Book cover of Who are You?

An oldie but a goodie. This is a lovely book about every child being unique and interesting. It builds in that each child is special and only that child can live the life they are given – nobody else. It involves school, names, playing, food, as well as self-image. A great book for younger children with a fantastic message.

Who are You?

By Joan and Roger Bradfield, Melanie Fitch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who are You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Nicholas

By René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé (illustrator),

Book cover of Nicholas

Although there are some parts of the Nicholas series that don’t hold up quite as well today – Nicholas and his friends attempt to smoke a discarded cigar, and their game of cowboys is extremely dated – these everyday adventures perfectly capture the feeling of being a kid looking out at a world that doesn’t make sense, because the world is run by grownups. Narrated by Nicholas himself, each chapter is a self-contained story full of the hilarious ups and downs of childhood. Sometimes when you’re a kid, no matter how hard you try to do good, you still get in trouble, and sometimes, your parents are endlessly frustrated, while you remain happily oblivious.

Nicholas

By René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nicholas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nicholas is the first in a series of five books, that bring to life the day-to-day adventures of a young school boy - amusing, endearing and always in trouble. An only child, Nicholas appears older at school than he does at home; his touchingly naive reactions to different situations cut through the preconceptions of adults to result in a formidable sequence of escapades.

This first book in the series contains a collection of 19 individual stories in which, despite trying to be good, Nicholas and his friends always seem to end up in some sort of mischief. In the school…


Who Loves Me?

By Jennifer Dewing, Maria Carluccio (illustrator),

Book cover of Who Loves Me?

This personalized storybook is soothing to young children because it shares the names of everyone who loves the child. When you order the book, you’ll provide the names of family members, relatives, and even the family pet, and the book will feature rhymes about how much those people adore your child. 

Who Loves Me?

By Jennifer Dewing, Maria Carluccio (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Loves Me? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Nini Here and There

By Anita Lobel,

Book cover of Nini Here and There

What child doesn’t like a cuddly kitty-kat? Nini is all cozy in her city apartment, when one day her owner surprises her by taking her on a far-away trip. As Nini settles into her travel black bag she enters a sleep of many dreams. She awakens into a mystifying and incredible reality. An outstanding story that any child would love. Helpful for children going through transitions too. Nini, in her eloquent and lovely illustrated silence, understands.

Nini Here and There

By Anita Lobel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nini Here and There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nini the cat is very, very worried. She loves her comfortable windowsill perch in her sunny home in the city. But the clues are clear: Nini's people are going away. Will they take her? Or will they leave her? And if they take her (and, oh, she hopes they do), will she like wherever it is they are going? Will it feel like home?

Anita Lobel's masterful picture book is for anyone who adores cats and for anyone who has ever moved to a new place. But most of all, it is for anyone who loves coming home.


Confidence is my Superpower

By Alicia Ortego,

Book cover of Confidence is my Superpower

This story really instills the importance of putting forth genuine effort and trying your best. 

I also love how it challenges you to adjust your viewpoint on things that may initially seem daunting, with a more positive perspective. 

It brilliantly illustrates that with the proper encouragement & support, you can truly do amazing things.

Confidence is my Superpower

By Alicia Ortego,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confidence is my Superpower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want your kid(s) to feel more confident and capable?

Every child faces low self-esteem and poor self-confidence at least once in their life. Children are often ready to give up on their goals, especially if they encounter obstacles and challenges. We must support them and teach them to believe in themselves. Failure is the key to success.

After a series of failures at school, little Leonardo feels sad and disappointed. But, by interacting with his parents, he soon realizes that his superpower is, in fact, his self-confidence.

“I am loved! I can choose! I am brave! I am…


Big Dog and Little Dog

By Dav Pilkey,

Book cover of Big Dog and Little Dog

This very easy early reader is a good choice for launching a child into reading. It follows Big Dog and Little Dog through their day as they eat, play, and – finally – sleep cuddled up together at night. This oh-so-simple story with its oh-so-simple illustrations provides a charming plot and a sense of reading mastery for the oh-so-very early young reader.

Big Dog and Little Dog

By Dav Pilkey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Big Dog and Little Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Big Dog and Little Dog are canine companions who stick together through thick and thin. In this, their first adventure, Big Dog and Little Dog are hungry! And as any good dog knows, friends who chow down together nap together.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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