Books by Theme

Louisa May Alcott

Though the audience for books by this author is older, young readers can be introduced to the spunky Louisa May Alcott. Louisa began to write as a child. Her books, especially Little Women, continue to be read and loved. Louisa lived during changing, often charged times. Meet Louisa May Alcott, learn a bit about the era in which she lived, glimpse what she might have seen around her home called Orchard House, and meet some of her contemporaries in fact and fiction.

Civil War on Sunday

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Louisa May Alcott briefly worked as a nurse during the Civil War before becoming ill herself. In this Magic Tree House fantasy, Jack and Annie travel back to the Civil War, meeting Clara Barton and help nurse the soldiers wounded in battle.

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg

By: D.B. Johnson
Genre: Fiction, Biography
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A dapper brown bear named Henry and his friend decide to visit another town. As Henry hikes, he leisurely soaks in the flora and fauna as he meets a number of his contemporaries (and a sly way to introduce historical figures such as Mrs. Alcott, Mr. Emerson, and Mr. Hawthorne). His friend, however, misses these as he takes the train. Other books about Henry are also inspired by Thoreau and provide a brief introduction to his life and beliefs.

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott

By: Yena Zeldis McDonough
Illustrated by: Bethanne Andersen
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This handsomely illustrated picture book biography glimpses some of the events that shaped the 19th girl who grew into a beloved writer still read today. Several poems written by Louisa as a child are included as are facts about her family and other useful or simply intriguing information.


By: Joan Leotta
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Massachusetts may be best known as the place where Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. This New England state was also home to the Alcott who made their permanent home in the Orchard House family in Concord, Massachusetts.

Nettie's Trip South

By: Ann Turner
Illustrated by: Ronald Himler
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Nettie and her family travel to the South, they see enslaved people. Nettie is literally sickened by it and realizes how wrong slavery is. This fictional story is both realistic and heart wrenching. Readers sense that Nettie will grow into an Abolitionist much like Louisa May Alcott became.

Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

By: William Anderson
Illustrated by: Dan Andreasen
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though born later a bit after Louisa May Alcott and in a different part of the U.S., Laura Ingalls Wilder shared a great deal with Alcott. Like Louisa, Laura and her family moved a great distance and her experiences found their way into her writings — which continue to be read today.

The Apple Pie Tree

By: Zoe Hall
Illustrated by: Shari Halpern
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two sisters describe the changes they see in the apple tree throughout the seasons from bare winter branches to fruit in the fall. A recipe for making apple pie is included with additional information about pollination. American writer Louisa May Alcott must have noticed similar seasonal changes in the trees that grew around their Massachusetts home, named Orchard House for the 40 apple trees planted there.

The Trouble with Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond

By: Deborah O'Neal, Angela Westengard
Illustrated by: S. D. Schindler
Genre: Biography, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Henry David Thoreau moved to Concord, Massachusetts around the same time that the Alcott family did (in 1845). Like the Alcotts, Thoreau had a distinctive philosophy; his involved the conservation of natural places. This handsomely illustrated and informally told glimpse at a particular activity is based on Thoreau's work to prevent a factory being built in Concord. (Walden Pond is now a state park.)

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Book Life
Rachael Walker
September 17, 2018

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