When I was in college Scholastic started an amazing book series called Dear America (it’s on my History Books to read list). One of my favorite books from that series was an Oregon Trail diary, and it’s one of the books I kept to give my future child to read someday. My daughter is slowly working her way through the Dear America books, but for those of you about to cover the Oregon Trail in your American History lessons, then this post is for you. It’s my most recommended Oregon Trail picture books.
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Oregon Trail Picture books
- The Buffalo Storm– Hallie isn’t scared of anything but storms, and when she is stuck out during a storm, she has to muster her courage to rescue a lost buffalo calf
- Wagons West!– This story follows the traditional path of a wagon train in a rhyming poem with very stylized illustrations
- Wagons Ho!– This story follows the story of 2 girls heading west, one in the modern day, and one in 1846 comparing their journeys
- Apples to Oregon– based loosely on the true story of a family traveling to Oregon with a wagon full of fruit trees, it’s highly whimsical, and a great story to use with figurative language lesson
- Roughing it on the Oregon Trail– This reminds me a bit of the Magic Treehouse Books with how they bring modern era kids into the past
- Papa and the Pioneer Quilt– Rebecca collects bits of cloth scraps to make a quilt to remind her of their journey West, super cute book
- Minnow and Rose: an Oregon Trail story– this is the brief friendship of a pioneer, Rose, and the native girl, Minnow, she met along the way
- A Book for Black-Eyed Susan– preview this one first, because there’s some tragedy in the book. That being said, it’s a great story about hope in the midst of trials (and trails which I mistyped first)
Oregon Trail Nonfiction books
These are great for giving a bit of extra info and to give you more tidbits to share as you read the picture books. They’re also the perfect level for elementary and middle school kids doing research. As a general rule I don’t have much to add, so I’m just going to include the ones my library had I liked
- Westward Expansion and The Oregon Trail– nice general books for info
- Journey of a Pioneer
- Oregon Trail Cooking– Apparently this is part of a series, I must look into it more
- The Tragic Tale of Narcissa Whitman and a faithful history of the Oregon Trail– interesting book, but be warned this does not have a happy ending (as indicated by “tragic”)
- Your Life as a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail– In the style of the “You Wouldn’t Want to Be…” books
- How to Get Rich on the Oregon Trail– This book assumes you are planning on heading West and need tips and tricks to get rich, it’s rather amusing to me
Oregon Trail Chapter books
What started this all, my love of Oregon Trail chapter books
- Across the Wide and Lonesome Prarie– My inspiration for this post, it’s currently sitting upstairs on my shelf
- A Perfect Place: Joshua’s Oregon Trail Diary– the younger kid, and boy version of the Dear America series
- Westward to home: Joshua’s Diary– the boy version of Dear America, called My America
- The Journal of Jedediah Barstow: an immigrant on the Oregon Trail– I need to read this one
- Bound for Oregon– based on actual diaries and letters, this look interesting, but I haven’t read it yet
- Dear Levi: letters from the Overland Trail– I think I’ve read others in this series…
My kids have been playing the game on our iPad, so this post is perfect for us!
I just got a post up today about the card game version of the Oregon Trail game.
Are these chapter books? Does it have pictures?
Most of them are picture books.