The first book we read was John Henry by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. You can listen to the traditional ballad. (My kids were more interested in the book than the music, but perhaps that has something to do with me trying to interrupt their play once I found it online.)
Anna, Grandpa, and the Big Storm by Carla Stevens. My mom found this book at a thrift store and I'm always a fan of using what you have. I spread the reading over two days and enjoyed it myself quite a lot. First Son's favorite part was when they were saved by the firemen. Otherwise, he wasn't overly interested. It's too bad it didn't coincide with a big winter storm here. It would be interesting to talk about how blizzards can still bring everything to a standstill. At least we have more warning these days.
The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Betsy and Guilo Maestro was a favorite here on the Range. First Son read it himself many times (before and after I read it) and now wants to see the Statue of Liberty himself. (I'm not sure he believed me when I told him he'd seen it many times when we lived in New York. We'd often take the Staten Island ferry across and back again. It was free and offered fabulous views of Lady Liberty.)
Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner, illustrated by Don Bolognese. This is a wonderful little early reader following a black family moving to Kansas. The father leaves his three boys in Nicodemus and then sends a map for them to come find an even newer home. It's really wonderful, with lots of exciting stories and the love of a family, based on a true story. We loved the illustrations as well.
Klara's New World by Jeannette Winter is the story of an immigrant family from Sweden in the 1860s. I am trying to include immigration tales each month, as I feel it's an important part of American history (and current events). The kids were not very interested in this particular story, and it's not one of my favorites, either, though I can't exactly say why. Just as a warning, an infant dies on the trip over and his coffin is shown being dropped into the sea. First Son and First Daughter didn't blink an eye.
Keep the Lights Burning Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop. We own this book, but I wasn't sure how the kids would like it. On the recommendation of a friend, I scheduled it for this month and Kansas Dad said they enjoyed it. (He's doing some of our readings on Wednesday afternoons now, when I'm working.)
Buffalo Music by Tracey Fern, illustrated by Lauren Castillo. The kids found this book in the library pile and requested it even before I'd scheduled it. Based on the true story of a Texas woman who took in buffalo calves and helped build the wild herds that remain today, it's nicely illustrated and not too preachy. We love reading about buffalo. I think First Son's favorite picture was one that showed all the buffalo skulls piled up.
Moving now into the Progressive Era!