Books by Theme
Introduce young readers 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
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
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 May’s Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women
Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most — her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work, including Little Women, which was one of the first novels to be set during the Civil War.
Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott
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.
Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl
She was born free in New York City during slavery and turmoil in the United States and went on to graduate from an all-white high school. Maritcha Lyon’s story is drawn from her memoir, augmented by primary source material to bring a girl and the time in which she lived into focus for contemporary readers.
Nettie’s Trip South
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.
The Apple Pie Tree
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
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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