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Freedom Bookshelf

These classic books on freedom explore a central idea of our nation’s history, culture, and legacy.  Such stories remind us how precious freedom truly is. 
—Bruce Cole, Chairman of the NEH

Grades k-3

Sam the Minuteman by Nathanial Benchley (E BENCH) 
As the Revolutionary War begins, a father and son must fight to defend their liberty.

The Girl Who Loved Horses by Paul Goble (E GOBLE)
A young American Indian girl realizes her dream to live free among the horses she loves.

Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry W. Longfellow (J 811.3 LONGF)
A patriot races to warn his countrymen of danger at the onset of the American Revolution.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (E POTTE)
A little rabbit tests the limits of his freedom.

Grades 4-6

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton (YA FIC HAMIL) 
A ghostly mystery surrounds a house that was a way station on the Underground Railroad.

Ben and Me by Robert Lawson (J FIC LAWSO)
Benjamin Franklin’s times and achievements are recounted by his mouse, Amos.

To Be A Slave by Julius Lester (J 326 LESTE)
Powerful ex-slave testimony of life without freedom.

Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (J FIC LEWIS)
Stories of an imaginary land convey lessons about the struggle against oppression.

Grades 7-8

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (FIC BRADB)
A discovery of the liberating power of the written word.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (YA FIC HUNT) 
A boy comes of age as his brothers fight on opposing sides of the Civil War.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare (YA FIC SPEAR) 
A teen girl clashes with the way of life in Colonial CT.

Grades 9-12

Miracle at Philadelphia by Catherine Bowen (342.73 BOWEN)
Remarkable people unite to create the Constitution.

My Antonia by Willa Cather (FIC CATHE)
An independent woman shows the strength of the immigrants who settled the Great Plains.

Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell (FIC ORWEL)
Absolute power destroys the promise of an animal revolution and stifle’s one man’s existence.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (FIC SOLZH)
Inmates of a Soviet prison camp struggle for survival.