Book Review

Black History & Stories in Your Homeschool Pre-K-12th

Black History & Stories Prek-12th

Learn about Achievements and History of Black Americans by snuggling up with some great books!

Encourage your new reader to REVIEW the Books they read by downloading our FREE REVIEW and READING LOG SHEET (pdf). Also, Celebrate the life and legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with these Easy NO-PREP MLK, Jr. Activity Ideas. Learn more about Teaching Black History All Year Long on Episode 062.

Ages 4-9

Ticktock Banneker’s Clock by Shana Keller

This is a gorgeously illustrated biography of colonial era math and science expert Benjamin Banneker. He was born free at a time in America when most African Americans were slaves. Inspired by a pocket watch he had seen, he built a strike clock based on his own drawings and using a pocket-knife. But even when he was born in Maryland in 1731, he was already an extraordinary person for that time period. He was born free at a time in America when most African Americans were slaves. Though he only briefly attended school and was largely self-taught, at a young age Benjamin displayed a keen aptitude for mathematics and science. Inspired by a pocket watch he had seen, at the age of 22 he built a strike clock based on his own drawings and using a pocket-knife. Ages 6-9

Ticktock Banneker’s Clock is a perfect book for your little engineers. Throughout his life, Benjamin Banneker was known and admired for his work in science, mathematics, and astronomy.

Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack

There’s a place in this 1950s southern town where all are welcome, no matter what their skin color…and ’Tricia Ann knows exactly how to get there. To her, it’s someplace special and she’s bursting to go by herself. But when she catches the bus heading downtown, unlike the white passengers, she must sit in the back behind the Jim Crow sign and wonder why life’s so unfair.
Still, for each hurtful sign seen and painful comment heard, there’s a friend around the corner reminding ’Tricia Ann that she’s not alone. And her grandmother’s words—“You are somebody, a human being—no better, no worse than anybody else in this world”—echo in her head, lifting her spirits and pushing her forward. Ages 4-8

Goin Someplace Special is a beautiful story and illustrations. It sparked a good discussion about inner strength and personality and also about segregation.

Brick by Brick by Charles R. Smith Jr.

The home of the United States president was built by many hands, including those of slaves, who undertook this amazing achievement long before there were machines to do those same jobs.

Stirring and emotional, Floyd Cooper’s stunning illustrations bring to life the faces of those who endured hard, brutal work when the profit of their labor was paid to the master, not the slave. The fact that many were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade speaks to the strength of those individuals. They created this iconic emblem of America, brick by brick. Ages 4-8

Brick by Brick is a compelling true story behind the building of the White House, a powerful part of history rarely taught.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine

Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday — his first day of freedom. Ages 6-9

Henry’s Freedom Box is a true story telling the tale of the pain of growing up as a slave.

More Books for Young Children (ages 4-9):

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell
Sit-In How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling
Follow The Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez
Brown Boy Brown Boy What Can You Be? by Ameshia Arthur
Skin Like Mine by LaTashia Perry
Moses When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini
Great Black Heros Series:
> 5 Notable Black Inventors
> 5 Bold Black Freedom Fighters
> 5 Brilliant Black Scientists

Download your FREE Reading Book Planner! Includes Book Wish List, Reading List, Book Review, Favorite Quotes, and Summary.

Ages 10-14

The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and
Clark Expedition by Hasan Davis

Thomas Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery included Captains Lewis and Clark and a crew of 28 men to chart a route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. All the crew but one volunteered for the mission. York, the enslaved man taken on the journey, did not choose to go. Slaves did not have choices. York’s contributions to the expedition, however, were invaluable. The captains came to rely on York’s judgement, determination, and peacemaking role with the American Indian nations they encountered. But as York’s independence and status rose on the journey, the question remained what status he would carry once the expedition was over. This is his story. Ages 10+

The Journey of York was written in the style of journal entries as penned by York, a real person who was an enslaved individual accompanying the Lewis and Clark expedition.

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

New to Homeschooling>>>

Apple – Spotify – Google Play – Amazon – Others

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

This is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners, racial discrimination, and international sportsmanship, of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball. Ages 8-12

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball is written in an inviting first-person voice. Kadir Nelson shares the engaging story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its evolution, until after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947.

More Books for Middle Children (ages 10-14):

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden
How to Build A Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture by Tony Bolden
March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
The Gold Cadillac by Mildred Taylor
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Who Was Series:
> Maya Angelou
> Martin Luther King, Jr.
> Lois Armstrong
> George Washington Carver
> Sojourner Truth
> Harriet Tubman
> Jackie Robinson
> Muhammad Ali
> Nelson Mandela
> Jesse Owens
> Rosa Parks
> Roberto Clemente
> Barack Obama
> Michelle Obama
> Frederick Douglass

Ages 15-18+

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. Ages 15+

The Hate U Give is told from the point of view of Star Carter, a 16 year old black girl who is trying to live in two different worlds: one being the all black crime-ridden neighborhood where she lives and grew up in — and the other being the predominately white upper middle-class high school to which her parents send her and her two brothers.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. Ages 15+

Becoming is the story of Michelle Obama’s life from the time she was a young girl growing up on the Southside of Chicago as part of a poor black family.

More Books for High School and beyond (ages 15-18+):

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Home Going by Yaa Gyasi
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup Roots by Alex Haley

Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer

BTDT Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer

Introducing the BTDT Homeshool Lesson Planner & Ultimate Organizer – the essential tool for every homeschooling family! This 187-page planner is all about tailoring it to your unique needs and making your homeschooling journey a breeze.

A homeschool planner is a tool designed specifically for homeschooling families to help them stay organized and track their progress. It typically includes various sections and features to assist with lesson planning, scheduling, record-keeping, and tracking academic goals. 

Whether you have one child or a bustling homeschooling household, this organizer is here to keep you super organized and on top of things. It’s like having your personal homeschooling assistant! Completely customized and flexible planner that adapts effortlessly to your homeschooling needs. Say goodbye to scattered records and hello to an all-in-one solution! With everything in one place, you can easily access all your information as you move through the school year.  

Planning your homeschool lessons has never been easier. Our user-friendly design makes planning a breeze, allowing you to map out your curriculum with efficiency and precision- whether you are a child-led unschooler or a scheduled parent, the flexibility will work for you and your kids.  

Stay on top of your homeschooling schedule effortlessly, empowering you to focus on what truly matters – educating your children.  

Our planner empowers you to track anything and everything related to your homeschooling journey. From attendance and grades to extracurricular activities and field trips, you’ll have a comprehensive overview of your children’s progress.  

Page by Page view of the BTDT Homeschool Lesson Planner & Ultimate Organizer

What is included in this planner?

We’ve taken the time to include detailed instructions on how to use this planner effectively, but let me give you a friendly overview of how it’s organized: 


  • Resources list from BTDT Homeschool- Including: BTDT Homeschool podcast, getting started in homeschooling, tips, free downloads, and more to help in your homechool journey.  
  • Password Tracker 
  • Membership/Subscription Tracker 
  • Field Trip Tracker 
  • Attendance Tracker 

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

New to Homeschooling>>>


  • Curriculum & Resources Brainstorm 
  • Literature Selections and Rating 
  • Planning For the Year Ahead 
  • Monthly Goals and Accomplishments 
  • Quarterly Term Goals 


As parents research how to get started homeschooling, budgeting is a top concern. Families want to know how much it will cost to homeschool. Preparation for the costs will minimize the stress that can affect your homeschool efforts and overall success.  

Several factors determine how much it will cost to homeschool. These include the number of children, the grade level, the type of curriculum you select. Each family will have different homeschool requirements, so providing a dollar figure before evaluating your family’s needs is difficult. Your Homeschool Budget is listed in an organized way so you can stay on track and not bust the bank:  

  • Curriculum Budget by Subject  
  • Outsourced Classes/Workshops/Etc.  
  • Summary Budget  
  • Annual Household Bill Tracker  


  • Monthly Focus Dashboard 
  • Monthly Schedule 
  • Weekly Lesson Planner for 12 Months 
  • Grade Tracker/Student Checklist 


  • Year-End Reflections 
  • Year In Review 
  • Notes 

Get yours today!

Transform your homeschooling journey by staying organized and on track with the ultimate organizer! With 187 pages, staying on top of your schedule has never been easier, giving you the freedom to focus on what truly matters – educating your children.

Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer


LGBTQ+ History


LGBTQ+ History

Teaching LGBTQ+ history, inclusion, and celebrating differences in your Homeschool

Brand New to Homeschooling?
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

The LGBTQ+ population is often left out of history curricula. It’s a fact that LGBTQ+ History is documented as far back as 9,000 BCE!

World History Timeline of LGBTQ+ History

LGBTQ+ people are everywhere and it’s important that children grow up seeing them as normal people. As homeschool parents, we have a responsibility to give our children a full and inclusive education. There are almost 8 billion people in the world so different and diverse in so many ways: in skin color, language, culture, and life experiences. With so many types of individuals, its essential to give our children the knowledge and vocabulary to understand others.

It’s vital to embrace differences in others. Exposing young children to diversity teaches them about kindness and inclusivity. This can be a natural part of everyday living as children develop relationships outside their family. Another way to ensure diversity in children’s lives is to choose toys, books and media that reflect all types of people. Be sure to include images of people with a variety of backgrounds, ages, abilities, and characters that break stereotypes race, culture, men and women. Also, be sure to use art supplies in a wide range of skin, eye and hair colors.

Incorporating toys like this Inclusive Doll Set help children become more aware of differences from an early age:

It’s disappointing that the LGBTQ+ community is often overlooked in educational curricula. But as parents, we have a wonderful opportunity to teach our children about this essential topic in a warm and age-appropriate way. Inclusivity, diversity, and respect are values that can shape the next generation. Join us as we explore simple ways to help your child become a world citizen and LGBTQ+ ally.

Open and Honest Conversations: Let’s create a safe space where your child feels free to ask questions about differences openly and honestly as they come up. Answer honestly and if you don’t know the answers, seek them out. Use language and relatable examples that suit their age. Above all, emphasize the importance of treating everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Introduce LGBTQ+ Inclusive Books: Books hold incredible power to foster empathy and understanding. We’ve created an extensive and diverse selection of literature that features LGBTQ+ characters or highlights themes of inclusivity and acceptance. Below, you’ll find age-appropriate recommendations, including both fiction and nonfiction and historical resources.

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.
Podcasts, Blog posts, Daily Inspiration, and a wide range of Free Resources

New Episode every Thursday!

Latest Episode:

  • 065. History Timelines in Your Homeschool
    There are so many creative methods to make history timelines a fun and enriching part of your homeschool curriculum.
    Check out the Book of Centuries and Timeline Figures

Celebrate LGBTQ+ History and Achievements: While LGBTQ+ History is often overlooked, we can bring its stories to life for your child. From LGBTQ activists, artists, and leaders who have made a positive impact on our world. For older children, we have LGBTQ history reference books that offer valuable insights and can even serve as references for research projects.

Encourage Active Support and Allyship: Empower your child to become an active ally. Teach them to challenge stereotypes, stand up against discrimination, and be supportive of their LGBTQ+ peers. Emphasize the importance of embracing diversity, fostering inclusivity, and creating a world where everyone feels valued and accepted.

You have the power to guide your children to become compassionate and informed global citizens. Help them to shape a future where everyone is embraced and respected for exactly who they are.

The following collection of books will help your children learn about the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community. They help to teach about bias and prejudice, promote respect for diversity, and encourage social action.

But most importantly, theses books teach your kids that:


Ages 4-8 fiction and nonfiction
Ages 9-12 fiction and nonfiction
Ages 13+ fiction and nonfiction
LGBTQ+ History Books and References

Ages 4-8

This is the perfect age to normalize LGBTQ+ people and relationships. Consider how you speak about relationships with your kids as well. Use neutral and inclusive language as much as possible. This way your kids are accepting of other people they will meet, but it will also help them accept themselves if they are LGBTQ+.

  1. This Day in June
  2. When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community
  3. Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (also download the FREE Pride discussion guide pdf)
  4. Sewing the Rainbow
  5. Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution
  6. Who Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity
  7. It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
  8. I Am Jazz

Many parents want to raise children who are LGBTQ+ allies, but it isn’t always clear how to do that, particularly for non-LGBTQ+ families. This can feel difficult, especially if you weren’t taught that in your own household growing up. This age-appropriate booklist will help your child gain the tools they will need. Teaching your children to be an effective ally is about teaching them to listen to others.

Raising Allies!


  1. Heather Has Two Mommies
  2. Love Makes a Family
  3. And Tango Makes Three
  4. Stella Brings the Family
  5. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding
  6. Papa, Daddy, and Riley
  7. Prince & Knight
  8. Maiden & Princess
  9. King & King
  10. When Aidan Became a Brother
  11. Red: A Crayon’s Story
  12. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
  13. A Day of Pride
  14. From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea
  15. Sparkle Boy
  16. Julian is a Mermaid
  17. Love is Love
  18. Rainbow: A First Book of Pride
  19. A Family is a Family is a Family
  20. In Our Mother’s House
  21. We Are Family
  22. The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived
  23. Promised Land Tales Series

Ages 9-12

Ages 9 to 12 is the time when lots of people start to realize they are part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s so important to continue to provide your kids with stories with diverse characters.


  1. Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities
  2. Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes from Past & Present!
  3. Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History
  4. The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets
  5. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community
  6. You Be You! The Kid’s Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family


  1. Rick
  2. They She He Me: Free to Be!
  3. George
  4. Better Nate Than Ever
  5. Drama
  6. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
  7. The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
  8. Star Crossed
  9. The Whispers
  10. Drum Roll, Please
  11. Gracefully Grayson
  12. Lily and Dunkin
  13. King and the Dragonflies
  14. Lumberjanes
  15. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
  16. The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island
  17. This Would Make a Good Story Someday
  18. Middle School’s a Drag, You Better Werk!
  19. The Misfits Series
  20. Hurricane Child
  21. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World
  22. The Parker Inheritance
  23. Witch Boy Graphic Novel Series
  24. Snapdragon
  25. The Tea Dragon Society
  26. The Moon Within

Ages 13+


  1. This Book Is Gay
  2. LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens
  3. Beyond the Gender Binary
  4. The New Queer Conscience
  5. Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games
  6. Out!: How to be Your Authentic Self
  7. David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music


  1. How to Make a Wish
  2. Darius the Great Series
  3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  4. Simon Snow Trilogy
  5. Cemetery Boys
  6. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  7. The House in the Cerulean Sea
  8. I Wish You All the Best
  9. If I Was Your Girl
  10. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
  11. Leah on the Offbeat
  12. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
  13. Odd One Out
  14. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
  15. Yesterday is History
  16. History is All You Left Me
  17. Juliet Takes a Breath
  18. Like a Love Story
  19. We Are Totally Normal
  20. The Dangerous Art of Blending In
  21. The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy
  22. The Miseducation of Cameron Post
  23. As The Crow Flies
  24. Not Your Sidekick
  25. Anger Is a Gift: A Novel
  26. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
  27. You Should See Me in a Crown
  28. Like Water
  29. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
  30. The Stars Beneath Our Feet
  31. The Priory of the Orange Tree
  32. Elatsoe
  33. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  34. The Black Flamingo
  35. Heartstopper Series

LGBTQ+ History Books

  1. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle
  2. Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights
  3. The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government
  4. Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality Movement – you’ll want a hard copy of this. It’s very visual and the ebook just doesn’t work quite right.
  5. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights
  6. We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation
  7. Our Gay History in Fifty States
  8. The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World
  9. A Queer History of the United States for Young People
  10. Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities
  11. A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World
  12. Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History  (for teaching high school)
  13. Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality
  14. Transgender History, second edition: The Roots of Today’s Revolution
  15. The Stonewall Reader
  16. A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America

Timeline of LGBTQ+ milestones in the United States

1924 – The Society for Human Rights is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. It is the first documented gay rights organization.

1950 – The Mattachine Society is formed by activist Harry Hay and is one of the first sustained gay rights groups in the United States. The Society focuses on social acceptance and other support for homosexuals.

April 1952 – The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance.

April 27, 1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order that bans homosexuals from working for the federal government, saying they are a security risk.

September 1955 – The first known lesbian rights organization in the United States forms in San Francisco. Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). They host private social functions, fearing police raids, threats of violence and discrimination in bars and clubs.

July 1961 – Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexuality by repealing their sodomy laws.

September 11, 1961 – The first US-televised documentary about homosexuality airs on a local station in California.

June 28, 1969 – Police raid the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Protests and demonstrations begin, and it later becomes known as the impetus for the gay civil rights movement in the United States.

1969 – The “Los Angeles Advocate,” founded in 1967, is renamed “The Advocate.” It is considered the oldest continuing LGBTQ publication that began as a newsletter published by the activist group Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE) in 1966.

June 28, 1970 – Community members in New York City march through the local streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This event is named Christopher Street Liberation Day and is now considered the first gay pride parade.

1973 – Lambda Legal becomes the first legal organization established to fight for the equal rights of gays and lesbians. Lambda also becomes their own first client after being denied non-profit status; the New York Supreme Court eventually rules that Lambda Legal can exist as a non-profit.

January 1, 1973 – Maryland becomes the first state to statutorily ban same-sex marriage.

March 26, 1973 – First meeting of “Parents and Friends of Gays,” which goes national as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1982.

December 15, 1973 – By a vote of 5,854 to 3,810, the American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the DSM-II Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

1974 – Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly LGBTQ American elected to any public office when she wins a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council.

1974 – Elaine Noble is the first openly gay candidate elected to a state office when she is elected to the Massachusetts State legislature.

January 14, 1975 – The first federal gay rights bill is introduced to address discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill later goes to the Judiciary Committee but is never brought for consideration.

March 1975 – Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich reveals his sexual orientation to his commanding officer and is forcibly discharged from the Air Force six months later. Matlovich is a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In 1980, the Court of Appeals rules that the dismissal was improper. Matlovich is awarded his back pay and a retroactive promotion.

1976 – After undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1975, ophthalmologist and professional tennis player Renee Richards is banned from competing in the women’s US Open because of a “women-born-women” rule. Richards challenges the decision and in 1977 and the New York Supreme Court rules in her favor. Richards competes in the 1977 US Open but is defeated in the first round by Virginia Wade.

January 9, 1978 – Harvey Milk is inaugurated as San Francisco city supervisor, and is the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California. In November, Milk and Mayor George Moscone are murdered by Dan White, who had recently resigned from his San Francisco board position and wanted Moscone to reappoint him. White later serves just over five years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

1978 – Inspired by Milk to develop a symbol of pride and hope for the LGBTQ community, Gilbert Baker designs and stitches together the first rainbow flag.

October 14, 1979 – The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights takes place. It draws an estimated 75,000 to 125,000 individuals marching for LGBTQ rights.

March 2, 1982 – Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1983 – Lambda Legal wins People v. West 12 Tenants Corp., the first HIV/AIDS discrimination lawsuit. Neighbors attempted to evict Dr. Joseph Sonnabend from the building because he was treating HIV-positive patients.

October 11, 1988 – The first National Coming Out Day is observed.

November 30, 1993 – President Bill Clinton signs a military policy directive that prohibits openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, but also prohibits the harassment of “closeted” homosexuals. The policy is known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

November 1995 – The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act goes into effect as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The law allows a judge to impose harsher sentences if there is evidence showing that a victim was selected because of the “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.”

September 21, 1996 – President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage and defining marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

December 3, 1996 – Hawaii’s Judge Chang rules that the state does not have a legal right to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry, making Hawaii the first state to recognize that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to the same privileges as heterosexual married couples.

April 1997 – Comedian Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the cover of Time magazine, stating, “Yep, I’m Gay.”

April 30, 1997 – DeGeneres’ character, Ellen Morgan, on her self-titled TV series “Ellen,” becomes the first leading character to come out on a prime-time network television show.

April 1, 1998 – Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, asks the civil rights community to help in the effort to extinguish homophobia.

October 6-7, 1998 – Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence and beaten near Laramie, Wyoming. He is eventually found by a cyclist, who initially mistakes him for a scarecrow. He later dies due to his injuries sustained in the beating.

October 9, 1998 – Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney from Laramie, Wyoming, make their first court appearance after being arrested for the attempted murder of Shepard. Eventually, they each receive two life sentences for killing Shepard.

June 2003 – The US Supreme Court strikes down the “homosexual conduct” law, which decriminalizes same-sex sexual conduct, with their opinion in Lawrence v. Texas. The decision also reverses Bowers v. Hardwick, a 1986 US Supreme Court ruling that upheld Georgia’s sodomy law.

May 17, 2004 – The first legal same-sex marriage in the United States takes place in Massachusetts.

September 6, 2005 – The California legislature becomes the first to pass a bill allowing marriage between same-sex couples. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes the bill.

October 25, 2006 – The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

May 15, 2008 – The California Supreme Court rules in re: Marriage Cases that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional.

November 4, 2008 – Voters approve Proposition 8 in California, which makes same-sex marriage illegal. The proposition is later found to be unconstitutional by a federal judge.

August 12, 2009 – Milk is posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

October 28, 2009 – Obama signs the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

September 20, 2011 – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed, ending a ban on gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

May 9, 2012 – In an ABC interview, Obama becomes the first sitting US president to publicly support the freedom for LGBTQ couples to marry.

September 4, 2012 – The Democratic Party becomes the first major US political party in history to publicly support same-sex marriage on a national platform at the Democratic National Convention.

November 6, 2012 – Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly gay politician and the first Wisconsin woman to be elected to the US Senate.

June 26, 2013 – In United States v. Windsor, the US Supreme Court strikes down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. The high court also dismisses a case involving California’s proposition 8.

October 6, 2014 – The United States Supreme Court denies review in five different marriage cases, allowing lower court rulings to stand, and therefore allowing same-sex couples to marry in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin. The decision opens the door for the right to marry in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

June 9, 2015 – Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces that the Military Equal Opportunity policy has been adjusted to include gay and lesbian military members.

April 28, 2015 – The US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. On June 26 the Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. The 5-4 ruling had Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority. Each of the four conservative justices writes their own dissent.

July 27, 2015 – Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates announces, “the national executive board ratified a resolution removing the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees.”

May 17, 2016 – The Senate confirms Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay secretary of a US military branch. Fanning previously served as Defense Secretary Carter’s chief of staff, and also served as undersecretary of the Air Force and deputy undersecretary of the Navy.

June 24, 2016 – Obama announces the designation of the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) rights. The Stonewall National Monument will encompass Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the sites of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

June 30, 2016 – Secretary of Defense Carter announces that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military.

August 5-21, 2016 – A record number of “out” athletes compete in the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Human Rights Campaign estimates that there are at least 41 openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Olympians – up from 23 that participated in London 2012.

November 9, 2016 – Kate Brown is sworn in as governor of Oregon, a day after she was officially elected to the office. Brown becomes the highest-ranking LGBTQ person elected to office in the United States. Brown took over the governorship in February 2016 (without an election), after Democrat John Kitzhaber resigned amidst a criminal investigation.

April 4, 2017 – The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees, after Kimberly Hively sues Ivy Tech Community College for violating Title VII of the act by denying her employment.

June 27, 2017 – District of Columbia residents can now choose a gender-neutral option of their driver’s license. DC residents become the first people in the United States to be able to choose X as their gender marker instead of male or female on driver’s licenses and identification cards. Similar policies exist in Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

June 30, 2017 – The US Department of Defense announces a six-month delay in allowing transgendered individuals to enlist in the United States military. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis writes that they “will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.” Approximately a month later, President Donald Trump announces via Twitter that the “United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military…”

November 7, 2017 – Virginia voters elect the state’s first openly transgender candidate to the Virginia House of Delegates. Danica Roem unseats incumbent delegate Bob Marshall, who had been elected 13 times over 26 years. Roem becomes the first openly transgender candidate elected to a state legislature in American history.

February 26, 2018 – The Pentagon confirms that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US military.

March 4, 2018 – Daniela Vega, the star of Oscar-winning foreign film “A Fantastic Woman,” becomes the first openly transgender presenter in Academy Awards history when she introduces a performance by Sufjan Stevens, whose song “Mystery of Love” from the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack, is nominated for best original song.

March 23, 2018 – The Trump administration announces a new policy that bans most transgender people from serving in military. After several court battles, the Supreme Court allows the ban to go into effect in January 2019.

November 6, 2018 – Democratic US Representative Jared Polis wins the Colorado governor’s race, becoming the nation’s first openly gay man to be elected governor.

June 30, 2019 – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a law banning the use of the so-called gay and trans panic legal defense strategy. The tactic asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction. New York follows California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Nevada and Connecticut as the sixth state to pass such a law.

September 22, 2019 – Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay Black man to win the Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series.

February 10, 2020 – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a ruling that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for Adree Edmo, an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. The ruling marks the first time a federal appeals court has ruled that a state must provide gender assignment surgery to an incarcerated person. According to the court opinion, “the gender confirmation surgery (GCS) was medically necessary for Edmo, and ordered the State to provide the surgery.” In July 2020, Edmo receives her gender confirmation surgery and a May 2020 appeal by Attorney General of Idaho, Lawrence Wasden, is denied as moot by the US Supreme Court in October 2020.

June 15, 2020 – The Supreme Court rules that federal law protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination. The landmark ruling extends protections to millions of workers nationwide and is a defeat for the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation.

August 26, 2020 – The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of former student, Gavin Grimm in a more than four-year fight over restroom policies for transgender students. The ruling states that policies segregating transgender students from their peers is unconstitutional and violate federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education. The decision relies in part on the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2020, stating that discrimination against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2021, the Supreme Court chooses not to review the opinion by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

November 3-4, 2020 – The general election results in three legislative firsts. Sarah McBride wins the Senate race for Delaware District 1, and will become the nation’s first person who identifies as transgender to serve as a state senator. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, elected to serve New York’s 15th and 17th districts, will become the first Black men elected to Congress who identify as gay. Mauree Turner wins the race for Oklahoma state House for District 88, and will become the first nonbinary state legislator in US history and first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma.

January 25, 2021 – President Joe Biden signs an executive order repealing the 2019 Trump-era ban on most transgender Americans joining the military. “This is reinstating a position that the previous commanders and, as well as the secretaries, have supported. And what I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform,” Biden said, speaking from the Oval Office just before signing the executive order.

February 2, 2021 – Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg becomes the first openly gay Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate.

March 24, 2021 – Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services becomes the first out transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

June 21, 2021 – Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders, becomes the first active NFL player in league history to announce that he is gay.

June 30, 2021 – The State Department announces it will be updating its procedures to allow applicants to self-select their sex marker for passports and that it “will no longer require medical certification” if an applicant’s self-selected sex marker doesn’t match the sex listed on other official identity documents.

October 27, 2021 – The State Department announces that the US has issued the first US passport with an X gender marker. “As the Secretary announced in June, the Department is moving towards adding an X gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a U.S. passport or CRBA,” State spokesperson Ned Price says in a statement.

October 19, 2022 – The Social Security Administration announces that people can now choose their gender marker in their Social Security records.

LGBTQ is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. The term sometimes is extended to LGBTQIA, to include intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal, or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don’t experience sexual attraction.

For more information about teaching inclusivity in your homeschool or becoming more politically active, visit HRC (Human Rights Campaign)

Top 50 Books for New Readers

Top 50 Books for New Readers
Top 50 Books for New Readers

Finding the right book is essential to help ignite young readers and set them up for a life-long love of literature. We want to guide them successfully as they make the leap into their first chapter books. On this book list, we have picked a selection of short, illustrated books that were our family favorites and are perfect for children launching into independent reading.

This collection of early reader books – with colorful illustrations, shorter length and clear formatting – has been picked with those readers in mind who need something to bridge the gap between reading board books and lengthier chapter books.

We talk about all this wonderful literature in Episode 024. Favorite Books For New Readers.

Some of these titles might be too much for your new reader. Reading skill development will vary from child to child. For those titles, we encourage you to read those selections to your child. Reading rich stories to your children is proven to enrich their vocabulary and instill a lifelong love for literature. We have enjoyed all of these stories with our own children. Feel free to share reading time by alternating pages or have them read one page per chapter. Whatever works for you! If they are resistant, they may not be ready and just want to cuddle up and enjoy the story and that is perfectly ok too!
Also, if you are struggling with a new reader and new to teaching your child to read, be sure to check out Episode 015. How Do You Teach Your Child To Read? where we give a lot of tips and tricks to set your child up for success!

Download our FREE REVIEW and READING LOG SHEET (pdf)

Click each title or book image below to read reviews or add to your wish list

1. Elephant & Piggie Series by Mo Williams

We love elephant and piggie. So funny! Lots of laughs for new readers, few difficult words, fun to read, and not so long that kids get burnt out from effort when starting to read. 

2. Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman

This is an awesome book for young readers. It is masterful at showing relationships that can be very abstract to little ones—in and out, up and down, over and under. The car goes on green and stops on red. Dogs play and dogs work. “It’s a dog party!

3. Fred and Ted Go Camping by Peter Eastman

Our family loves outdoors and camping! This book helps illustrate the concept of opposites and is great for children learning to read as well as toddlers that enjoy being read to. The word choices draw in their attention and gets them to rhyming and learning sounds and colors. Teach your child about sharing in camping and outdoor activities. An absolute favorite in our house!

4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

A simple story, few characters, and a lot of imagination. You’ll love it so much you’ll want to eat it up!

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5. I am enough by Grace Byers

“Like the sun, I am here to shine”. This is such a beautiful book – from the beautiful black princess on the cover, to all the beautiful and colorful pictures inside. Grace Byers did an awesome job telling a story of being proud of who you are, respectful of others, and loving others as they are, and acceptance. Your budding reader will love the illustrations too!

6. Fred and Ted Like to Fly by Peter Eastman

Another adorable Fred and Ted book for new readers. I got this for my kids right before their first time to travel on an airplane. It was really cute, and we read it over and over again getting them ready for their big trip in the sky!

7. What Do People Do all Day by Richard Scarry

Fantastically detailed drawings & answers to many a child’s questions to how the world works. From building roads & houses, how trains and planes and the postal service works, electricity, paper-making, farming, and baking bread. It does have stereotyped gender roles, but it ignited conversations with my children about that topic. These are teaching moments!

8. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is one of those rare and gifted children’s book authors who truly understands the odd, amazing and ever-so-fleeting world that children inhabit. His writing speaks directly to children with incredible wit, hilarity, wisdom and absurdity. You can’t go wrong with any of Silverstein’s books -his poems are so funny and entertaining for the entire family!

9. Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

This series is absolutely delightful! These stories are full of adventures with Jack and Annie, two siblings and likeable characters that kids can relate to. These books really ignited my children’s love of literature. They are also fun to read aloud with lots of description and dialogue. These are wonderful stories with real facts and bits of history woven into each one. Your children will learn about of all the places they visit and you can even get the non-fiction companion books to read more on each topic and make it a unit study. Mary Pope Osborne does a phenomenal job at keeping every book educational and yet magical!

10. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

Fun read and keeps their attention and gets their thinkers thinking! This was a favorite in our house and always made us laugh. Who can forget the funny, “And you don’t have to stop. You can think about SCHLOPP. Schlopp. Schlopp. Beautiful schlopp. Beautiful schlopp with a cherry on top.”

11. Corduroy by Don Freeman

This is a classic heartwarming tale of finding your place, being broken and getting fixed, finding love and comfort. The story is adorable and filled with a little mystery and a very happy ending. The illustrations look vintage and beautiful which definitely add to the reading experience. Everyone in your family will fall in love with this sweet little bear!

12. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Wonderful story of a little boy who wakes up on a snow day and makes his first encounters with the snow, by creating different traces on the ground and keeping a snowball in his pocket to play with the next day. 

13. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

This is such a precious book! Full of adventure, humor, and lovely language. Not only is the story classic and wonderful, but this particular copy is also wonderful as a reprint first edition – just adorable. Winnie the Pooh is such a great classic piece of child-like innocence and sweet humor in literature. It isn’t just for young children to enjoy!

14. Frog and Toad Books by Arnold Lobel

Excellent stories with simple but powerful life lessons. Frog and Toad books are simple, gentle stories with just enough everyday mayhem to make kids laugh. Everyone will fall in love with these two silly characters. You cannot beat the simplistic friendship of Frog and Toad!

15. Buzzy The Bumblebee

My children and I absolutely love this book! It’s fun and sends a powerful message to children about trusting your heart and not letting fear get in the way of doing things you know in your heart you can do. The imagery is cute, the wording and length makes for perfect book for a new reader. We hope you and your family love Buzzy as much as we did!

16. But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

All Sandra Boynton books are so silly, cute and fun to read. These books aren’t just for babies, new readers will love to read them on their own. They are clever and adorably illustrated. Follow along as this shy hippo observes spirited animals cavort in a bog, try on new hats, and go for a jog, all while longing to join in the fun.

17. The Mitten by Jan Brett

This beautiful pictorial book is based on a Ukrainian folktale. It is a wondrous winter tale, and the story with delights your young reader. The text is written with almost a poetic cadence with lovely sounding words and the illustrations are so sweet. The story tickles the imaginations and offers a grand platform for talking about animals who might or might not fit into a mitten. My kids love to read this story during the cold winter days!

18. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

This is a very sweet story about the power of imagination and childhood. The children in this story find endless uses for what most people would call trash – and the story is told in such a way as to excite children to use their imaginations with the things they find lying around. I loved watching my kids mimicking the story while playing outside with their friends!

19. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

It’s a great story good for lots of laughs! Even though this is a story about going to school, we really enjoyed it in our homeschool. Teaches a great lesson but the main character Lilly maintains her strong personality throughout the highs and the lows. Lilly receives a purple plastic purse containing her many treasures from her grandmother and brings it to school to share with her teacher and her friends. It’s really adorable!

20. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is a sweet and unforgettable story about mouse with, according to her parents, an absolutely perfect name. When she starts school however, she is teased about her long name. This book teaches kids about kindness and embracing everyone’s unique differences. Another one that the character goes to school but we still adored this book in our homeschool.

21. Little Bear Books by Else Homelund Minarik

Little Bear’s adventures with his various family members and friends are great fun and teach important lessons without being preachy. The stories are simple, easy to understand, and creatively illustrated. We have loved every single Little Bear book and your young reader will too!

22. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love Henry and Mudge. Henry is a sweet kid from a nice family, and he has the kinds of interests and adventures you hope any kid might have. Mudge is his adorable 180lb English Mastiff dog. They do everything together – walking to school, exploring, and even sleeping.

23. Mr. Putter & Tabby Books by Cynthia Rylant

These books are so cute! Cynthia Rylant is a genius with these “easy reader” books—the words are relatively simple and few, but she weaves them in such a way that you are still completely drawn into the story. The accompanying illustrations are so charming, sweet and humorous–a perfect match to the text! Mr. Putter and Tabby the cat have great adventures together that will make you fall in love with them.

24. Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo, the mouse and newspaper reporter will have you giggling alongside your child. The Geronimo Stilton Series have fun illustrations, and the added graphic kick applied to the text throughout makes this a good choice for those transitioning from early chapter books to more advanced ones. The entire book series is full of tongue-in-cheek cheese humor with all the mouse and cheese puns!

25. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

Every week, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. It finds beauty in unexpected places, explores the difference between what’s fleeting and what lasts, acknowledges inequality, and testifies to the love shared a little boy and his grandmother.

26. Katie Woo and Pedro Mysteries by Fran Manushkin

These are adorable simple first chapter books with dialogue and a few sentences per page. The gorgeous illustrations bring this series to life and add to the storyline. They are so sweet with simple enough dialogue for a budding reader. Your child will fall in love with these kind characters and be so proud for reading a real chapter book!

27. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

A childhood classic that is fun to read and lets children know that not every day is going to be a perfect day. This is an excellent book that can be used as a springboard for discussions. This is a great book. Alexander definitely is NOT having a good day. It helps kids learn to laugh at misfortune, to know they’re not alone in feeling misunderstood and unfairly treated sometimes, and that running away from their problems to magical far-off places probably won’t solve anything, and sometimes you just have to get through the bad stuff and hope tomorrow will be better. It’s a cute, funny book!

28. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

This creative series follows Flat Stanley — a boy who was flattened when his bulletin board fell on him. In the set of four books, children will learn more about Stanley and read about his adventures with becoming invisible, catching bank robbers, traveling to space, and more.

29. Narwhal and Jelly Books by Ben Clanton

Narwhal and Jelly books introduce children to the fun and friendly characters as they go through various adventures under the sea. The books are laid out like a simple graphic novel, with multiple images and text boxes on each page. Your kids will be laughing at this one!

30. Diary of Pug Series by Kyla May

Diary of the Pug series follows Bub, formally known as Baron von Bubbles. The chapters were short, making it a good book for that in-between stage of being too old for picture books but not ready to read most chapter books alone yet. I love it because it is funny and also recommended for dog lovers!

31. Dragon Masters Series by Tracey West

Drake, an 8-year-old boy is taken from his home and trained to be a Dragon Master. During his training, he must learn about training his dragon and discovering his special powers!  The chapters are a manageable size and there isn’t too much text on each page so isn’t too intimidating for children who haven’t read a chapter book before. The story manages to be really engaging without using vocabulary that is beyond a 5-year old’s understanding. Let the adventure begin!

32. Nate The Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Join the world’s greatest detective, Nate the Great, as he solves the mystery of the lost picture! Perfect for beginning readers and the Common Core, this long-running chapter book series will encourage children to problem-solve with Nate, using logical thinking to solve mysteries! This is the first in this wonderful series.

33. The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature by Stan Berenstain

I grew up reading these books – everyone loves the Berenstain Bears! In this treasure, your children can learn more about various scientific concepts. The collection includes an almanac, nature guide, story about the science fair, and more. It’s a great introduction to many science topics with a lot of good pictures.

34. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

 In retelling her migration story, the Yuyi Morales celebrates the gifts immigrants bring to America and the wonder of public libraries. It’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we roam. Such a beautiful book and a great conversation starter for children.

35. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

This is a beautiful book and story. Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. A welcome celebration of girls of color, an important lesson for all kids (and grownups), and a necessary message for any child who has been made to feel unworthy of love on account of their looks. It’s so heart felt and perfect for any new reader but especially those who can truly relate to the story.

36. The Ramona Collection by Beverly Clearly

The appeal of Beverly Cleary’s stories about the wonderful, blunderful Ramona Quimby has never faded. Ramona has a unique way of looking at the world as she tries to adjust to new teachers, feels jealous about Susan’s curls, and is secretly pleased by Yard Ape’s teasing. These books are funny and heartwarming, and sometimes embarrassing. No matter what, Ramona’s lively, curious spirit shines through!

37. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand-new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. This is an inspiring story about identity, visibility, and confidence. This book warmed our hearts!

38. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Little ones who love Milne’s classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear’s real-life origins. The story is full of wonderful Lighthouse facts as discussed briefly in the informative afterward. This book inspired me and my children to learn more about the history of lighthouses.

39. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

This is a heartwarming series about four siblings that are orphaned but looking for their grandfather. They are always loving and caring for each other and have a lot of adventures. They are perfect for children who are just beginning to show interest in reading chapter books, or for younger children who are being read toThere are a few topics within the books that may be culturally outdated, but that is a great opportunity to discuss these things with your kids. They are a very simple read but have more of a story than a typical level 1 or 2 books. My 6-year-old loved that he could read these almost independently!

40. Half Magic by Edward Eager

We love this series with the four children discovering the magic in the various places they find themselves, and then figuring out how to use it as they face various challenges. Fun and imaginative. A laugh a loud funny story that we all loved. The chapters are a bit long so it may be a good book to share reading with your young new reader.

41. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

 It’s a wonderful story about a little brown Mouse taking a walk through a deep dark wood and not getting eaten by bigger animals by convincing them of the existence of a terrible creature, the Gruffalo. All is going well for our Mouse, until he meets the Gruffalo face to face! Then he has to convince the Gruffalo that he’s actually a big scary creature. We love this book because of the repetitive rhyming scheme and it’s easy to jump in words at the end of sentences for even your youngest pre-readers.

42. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Great illustrations and a funny take on the somewhat familiar story of an animal or animals who for some reason do not make the sounds they are supposed to make. So cleverly comical. A genuinely funny story that will have everyone if your family laughing out loud!

43. Ivy and Bean Book Series

The fun book series about 2 girls that are best friends and appeals to curious, adventurous, and imaginative spirits. This is not like other “girl-oriented” chapter books that focus on fairy bunnies, or the mystery of the disappearing dolls, or other really girly plotlines. Short chapters with simple illustrations. Let the adventure begin!

44. The Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole

The Magic School Bus books are filled with fun science facts inserted throughout the fictional stories. The details are great for kids that love science. Miss Frizz takes her class on a lot of adventures on the Magic School Bus. They are loaded with facts and information worked into an entertaining format. They often let to us learning more about the topic in each book. Every homeschooler needs these for budding scientists!

45. The Magic Rocket by Steven Kroll

This is the #1 book that we have loved and adored in our home. It was the first book that my preschooler read to the baby after he was born and unfortunately it is out of print. You can find used copies by clicking the picture. Having two children that were really into science, the toy magic rocket that grows and grows taking Felix on an adventure when his dog is captured by aliens is a fun adventure book that your new reader will love as much as we did!

46. Amelia Bedelia Series

We laughed through all of Amelia’s taking life literally. She is an endearing character and creates love and laughter everywhere she goes. They are perfect books for beginner readers. You may start to hear chuckling from the other room when your child gets a hold of these books!

47. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

The book has a rich storyline, and an uncle instructs her that it is important to do something to make the world a better place. She sows lupine seeds as she walks and her flowers dot the countryside. We need more stories about sweet, older people like Miss Rumphius. We love books that have a deeper meaning and something can be learned from them along side a beautiful (and true) story with lovely illustrations.

48. Annie and Snowball Series by Cynthia Rylant

The stories are simple but have developed and likable characters doing fun things together. The illustrations help tell the story and have their own humor. This Collector’s Set is a wonderful addition to your homeschool library! It comes in a sturdy, magnetic securing, container to help keep the collection together and organized! We all love this collection!

49. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

t is a wonderful charming little tale that is quirky and fun. Strega Nona has a magic pot that makes pasta. It starts with the magic words only she knows and it stops making pasta when she says the ending magic words. A favorite line is, “The pasta will cover our town!” Tomie DePaolo has the warmest and most charming illustrations to accompany this wonderful story. We highly recommend this book!

50. The New Kid on the Block

Jack Prelutsky is one of the best children’s poets out there. Teach your child in the joys of reading poetry. This poetry collection centers around problems children encounter, with a twist. Prelutsky writes amusing poems that still acknowledges how these issues can really affect kids’ lives. The poems vary in length and vocabulary, so your new reader will love to find the ones at their level!

Stamped from the Beginning

Stamped from the Beginning- The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

by: Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi’s book is a powerful read for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the history of racist ideas in America and their continued impact on society today.  This book has helped to open my eyes to what has been happening in the U.S. since the days of slavery and teach that in my homeschool.

“Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi is a comprehensive and insightful examination of the history of racist ideas in America. It boldly explains certain sides of history that much of our society has missed and continues to ignore in our education system. The book explores the origins of these ideas and the ways in which they have evolved over time, from the colonial era to the present day. Kendi provides a thorough examination of key individuals and movements that have shaped the conversation around race and racism in America, including key figures in American history such as Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis, and more.

In addition to being informative and thought-provoking, this book is also highly readable, making it accessible

One of the strengths of this book is Kendi’s ability to connect the past to the present, demonstrating how the racist ideas that have been prevalent in American history continue to impact society today. The book is well-researched and provides a wealth of historical detail, making it an excellent resource for homeschoolers looking to add the history of race and racism in America to their curriculum. It should be the anchor text for every US History class in every high school in America. 

A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong: Celebrating Diversity and Kinship in the Home and Beyond

by: Amber O’Neal Johnston

Amber O’Neal Johnston’s book will help you teach your children to navigate the beauty and challenges of multiculturalism. When I saw that Julie Bogart wrote the forward, I knew it would align with my family and celebrate the culture I want to create for my own children.

This book was first suggested by a close friend that makes activism a big part of her homeschool.
“A Place to Belong: Celebrating Diversity and Kinship in the Home and Beyond” is a family guide to culturally rich living and offers a place for all people to navigate the beauty and challenges of multiculturalism.

The author, Amber O’Neal Johnston, shares her experience as a homeschooling mom and provides insights into how families can engage in activism and community service. Amber provides a multitude of a reflective questions and actionable steps we can take toward building the home culture and community cultures that we genuinely want to be a part of and raise our children. She provides concrete steps and tips for fostering open dialogue, teaching “hard history” in an age-appropriate manner and celebrating cultural heritage in various ways.

This book is thought-provoking, challenging, helpful, and intellectual. Written in an everyday approach that asks the reader to consider their own biases and change their thinking around what it truly means to belong.

March: Book One

March: Book One

by: John Lewis

I bought this book out of admiration for John Lewis’ life and work and got much more out of it. The story of his childhood, family and determination to make a difference is inspiring, and the drawings are first-rate. I literally could not put it down until it was finished and it is a must in your homeschool.

After you read the book, be sure to check out this FREE Activity Guide

“March: Book One” is a graphic novel written by Congressman John Lewis and co-written by Andrew Aydin. The beautiful art was created by Nate Powell. It is the first volume in a trilogy of graphic novels chronicling Lewis’s involvement in the civil rights movement. The book was published in 2013 and won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. 

The book begins with Lewis’s childhood in rural Alabama, growing up on a farm without electricity or running water. It then follows him as he becomes involved in the civil rights movement, starting with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and continuing through the Freedom Rides, the march on Washington, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

One of the strengths of “March: Book One” is the way it personalizes the civil rights movement, showing how one individual’s actions can have a huge impact on history. Lewis’s narrative is engaging and inspiring, and Powell’s art is powerful and emotive. Overall, “March: Book One” is a thought-provoking and moving work.

After you finish the book, then you can work with your children to brainstorm ways they can be an “upstander” and not just a “bystander” in their community. Finish by creating “Upstander Posters” as found in this FREE Activity Guide

I highly recommend this book for your homeschool. The content is sensitive but an important part of our history and the powerful impact that John Lewis made to the civil rights movement. 

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