My Summer Treasure Hunt

By Kristi Grubaugh, Featured Teacher –


Summer means the opportunity to read for leisure. There is a basket of cozy mystery paperback waiting for me right now. Many very admirable teachers create book lists for themselves to complete between Memorial and Labor Days. My goal each summer is to find a couple new treasures to add to my class library. Books that will interest, inform and inspire my students to dig deeper into history.

Many of my best treasures have been found at resale shops, secondhand book stores and from other teachers. For sheer fun and an amusing visual treat, We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States with illustrations and foreword by David Catrow totally fills the bill. Three young friends and their dog set the Preamble to images as they take a camping adventure. My fifth graders adore the book, whether I read it to them, it is a choral reading or they get to read it to classes in the lower grades. I also think that eighth graders would find it humorous.

Words That Built a Nation: Young Person’s Collection of Historic American Documents by Marilyn Miller has been very informative for me as well as my students. Contained are 37 pivotal historical documents that we mention, read or memorize in U. S. history classes. Each entry includes information about the author and the public response to the document. There are also many images and pictures not typically found in textbooks. My students use the book for a reference tool and we have many stirring readings of the various documents.


Phillip M. Hoose wrote We Were There, Too!: Young People in U. S. History to provide students with a peer’s eye view of historical events. Primary source accounts and vivid images help the students step into the history. The book is organized into nine different time periods with multiple selections in each section. The accounts work both as read-aloud moments by the teacher and small group act-it-outs. The author followed up this book with It’s Our World, Too!: Young People Who Are Making a difference: How They Do It – How You Can, Too! This second book contains 14 accounts of young people working to make change in their world. It also is a handbook for social action. If your campus is actively involving students in community service and social change, this book can guide the course.

I look forward to scouring the shelves and stalls in search of a new treasure. And, yes, now a days I even go online looking for new additions to my class library.

There are so many wonderful books available for use in the classroom. What are some books you would recommend? How do you and/or your students utilize the book?


Kristi Grubaugh has 32 years of teaching experience in both self-contained and departmentalized classrooms. She taught ELA and Life Skills for five years at 6th and 7th grades in Kilmarnock, Virginia. In Weatherford, Texas, she taught 14 years at 4th grade and 12 years at 5th grade, focusing on U.S. history and science. The one year at 1st grade still gives her bad flashbacks.

Kristi graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School, home of the Headless Horsemen, in Tarrytown, New York, a long time ago. She earned her B.S. in Education at Madison College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Kristi lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where she was born, a very long time ago.

Kristi has been a national trainer for TCI, maker of History Alive! and Social Studies Alive! since 2001. She also writes and trains for Accelerated Learning Inc., maker of STEMscopes, since 2012.

Kristi currently has three cats and red hair, reads mystery books and binges on Netflix and uses water aerobics as an excuse to get off the couch.

Kristi has started posting her science lab activities and Texas history products at

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