Grateful American Kids

Lesson Plans and On-line Resources

by L. M. Elliott

Looking for readymade lesson plans and on-line resources for your home-bound students? The following are compiled by New York Times best-selling author of historical novels for young adults, L. M. Elliott, a writer known for thoroughly-researched material. Designed for students and teachers who want to learn more about the time periods covered in her works, her website provides wide-ranging general information. Familiarity with the novels are NOT necessary. There are general lesson plans and resource lists per time period, many generated with WETA and other educational organizations, as well as publisher HarperCollins.


The American Revolution
The webpage for HAMILTON AND PEGGY! A Revolutionary Friendship (a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year 2019, Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention) has links to resources (including a wonderfully accessible Yale lecture series on the American Revolution by expert Dr. Joanne Freeman); biographies (including all Hamilton personas, but also GW’s staff, double agents, British invaders, female poets, and Iroquois allies); battles; general life during the Revolution; and multiple lesson plans (for English/writing, Social Studies, French).

  Elliott has another Revolutionary War book about a young fifer in the VA 2nd Regiment titled GIVE ME LIBERTY with similar resources, and Common Core Aligned Curriculum. Boy protagonist and perspective if you are looking to amuse a 10 to 12-year-old Revolutionary War buff.


McCarthyism and the Red Scare
SUSPECT RED, a NCSS/CBC Notable (National Council of Social Studies/Children’s Book Council), Winner of the Grateful American Book Prize, Bank Street College Best, TX Library Assoc.’s Tayshas Recommended Reading List, and on multiple state Battle of the Books list. Two 15-year-old boys in Washington, DC contend with the impact of the Red Scare on their lives and friendship. Full of local D.C. references and personalities. Resources and lesson plans on McCarthy, Hoover, Edward R. Murrow, Banned Books/Censorship, music and culture of the 1950s.


A trilogy of books: UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY, A TROUBLED PEACE, ACROSS A WAR-TOSSED SEA. (Used in WWII curriculum in middle schools across the country.) The saga of a downed B-24 bomber pilot who evades capture by the Nazis with the help of the French Resistance and civilians. The sequel goes back to post-liberation France to find those who had helped him escape, and the companion novel to the VA home-front, featuring the war effort in the Tidewater and two preteen British evacuees taken in by the hometown girlfriend’s Richmond family.

Many resources and publisher/educator designed lesson plans about WWII’s European Theatre, the American Air Corps, France, and the home-front on the East Coast. Special feature: podcasts and lessons plans created with WETA. (NCSS/CBC Notables, Jefferson Cup Historical Fiction Honor Books, Bank Street Bests, and state awards like MD Black-Eyed Susan finalist.)

The Renaissance
The National Gallery of Art contains the only work by Leonardo da Vinci permanently housed in all of the Americas–his portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, a young poet, whose family was close to the Medici. A biographical novel, DA VINCI’S TIGER (the title comes from the only remaining line of her poetry: “I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger”) depicts the portrait’s making during Florence’s time as THE mecca for art. Older YA to adult.

Resources include biographies, information on the Medici, Leonardo and his mentor Verrocchio, the Renaissance in general, discussion of art. Lesson plans including STEM to STEAM worksheets inspired by the inventive mind of Leonardo.

Two of her five award-winning picture books also have multiple lesson plans, some created with WETA’s Reading Rockets website: HUNTER’S BEST FRIEND (theme: peer pressure) A STRING OF HEART (theme is Valentines, but Reading Rockets mostly talks about poetry and its elements in child-friendly terminology. Guidance on how to make Valentines at home–good craft activity and valentines you can save to send in February!)

If you would like copies of any of these books or others you can help local bookstores by purchasing audio editions through and choosing them to benefit from the sale. Use the hashtag #ShopBookstoresNow for discounts. Or you can purchase e-books from authors’ publishers.

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