Spread the Word About OurStory

Two pages of a reading guide PDF

Each reading guide includes background information and specific ideas for active reading.

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OurStory activities are designed to help children (grades K-4) and adults explore American history through outstanding children's books. Each of the over 15 themes uses an illustrated children's book as the introduction to the theme's historical content, along with a guide full of targetted ideas for actively reading the book. Then each theme includes two to four related activities that provide additional opportunities to extend the learning through local field trips, hands-on activities, technology-based explorations, and looking at museum objects. See all OurStory activities »

Voices of Bull Run

a printable card with a Civil War uniform cap

Trading card from Voices of Bull Run

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Co-developed with a librarian-turned-5th-grade-teacher, Voices of Bull Run is a suite of short activities focused on the first major clash of the Civil War--the Battle of Bull Run. The activities are based on the award-winning young adult novel Bull Run by Paul Fleischman, which tells the story of the battle through the perspectives of ordinary citizens of the North and the South. From reading questions to an artifact trading game, this suite of activities is a flexible and fun way to integrate social studies and reading skills. Download the teacher overview PDF »

Book Tab

view of the History Explorer Books Tab

Visit the books tab on History Explorer for an easy-to-use search of about 300 nonfiction and historical fiction recommendations.

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Smithsonian's History Explorer now features an easy-to-search list of nearly 300 books that can be used to teach American history to learners ages 4 to adult. Each book includes a brief description, related History Explorer resouces, and bibliographic infromation to help you find the book in your library. This search is an upgraded version of the OurStory book list. Browse the books tab on History Explorer »

Smithsonian's History Explorer