Houghton Mifflin Social Studies

States and Regions

Unit 5 Bibliography: The West

The books listed below may be available through publishers, distributors such as bookstores or online retailers, or library systems.

Books for Independent Reading

Extra Support

by Jean Craighead George
Harper, 2003
Axel and his family are kayaking on Idaho's Salmon River when they find themselves in the middle of a forest fire.

Grandma and Me at the Flea / Los Meros Meros Remateros
by Juan Felipe Herrera
Children's Book Press, 2002
Juanito and his grandmother sell and trade their goods at a California flea market. Text in both English and Spanish.

Mountain Town
by Bonnie Geisert
Houghton Mifflin, 2000
An exploration of a year in the everyday life of a Rocky Mountain town founded during the Gold Rush.

The Pueblo: Southwestern Potters
by Mary Englar
Capstone, 2003
This book from the First Peoples series focuses on how the Pueblo Indians make and use their traditional pottery.

On Level

by James Rumford
Houghton Mifflin, 2004
Manu, one of five Polynesian brothers who are the first settlers on Hawaii, befriends a strange creature he calls Dog-of-the-Sea-Waves.

Grand Canyon
by Linda Viera
Walker, 2000
As a pack mule trip makes its way from the rim to the floor of the Grand Canyon, readers learn about the canyon's geology and ecology.

Harvesting Hope
by Kathleen Krull
Harcourt, 2003
Cesar Chavez grows from a quiet boy to the civil rights leader who peacefully won improvements for migrant farm workers in California.

Salmon Summer
by Bruce McMillan
Houghton Mifflin, 1998
Just as his ancestors have done for centuries, nine-year-old Alex, a native Aleut, catches salmon on Kodiak Island, Alaska.


The Year of Miss Agnes
by Kirkpatrick Hill
Simon, 2000
In this award-winning book, a ten-year-old Athabascan girl tells how the people in her small Alaskan town are affected when a unique teacher arrives.

The Abernathy Boys
by L.J. Hunt
Harper, 2004
In a story based on true events, two young brothers journey alone from their home in Oklahoma across the southwest to California.

Holding the Reins: A Ride Through Cowgirl Life
by Marc Talbert
Harper, 2003
Readers learn about the lives of four modern cowgirls who live and work on ranches in Utah, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

Looking for Seabirds
by Sophie Webb
Houghton Mifflin, 2004
The author chronicles her voyage to Alaska's Aleutian Islands to study seabirds.

Read Aloud and Reference

Read Aloud Books

Back in the Beforetime
by Jane Louise Curry
Aladdin, 2001
Coyote, Dog, and Weasel are just some of the animal protagonists in these retellings of 22 tales from many California Indian tribes.

Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George
Harper, 1974
In this award-winning classic, a pack of wolves helps Julie to survive in the Alaskan wilderness.

Iguanas in the Snow
by Francisco X. Alarcón
Children's Book Press, 2001
Poems in English and Spanish celebrate people and places in wintertime in northern California.

by Diane Siebert
Houghton Mifflin, 2003
A prose poem recounts the history of a ghost town built near the site of a famous 1904 gold strike in Nevada.

The Wave of the Sea-Wolf
by David Wisniewski
Houghton Mifflin, 1999
This fable, set in the Pacific Northwest, draws on Tlingit myth and accounts of first contact with Europeans.

Reference Books

Ghost Towns of the American West
by Raymond Bial
Houghton Mifflin, 2001
This photo essay explores the history of western abandoned towns and the characters who lived there.

Pueblo People: Ancient Traditions, Modern Lives
by Marcia Keegan
Clear Light, 1999
Striking photographs accompany brief essays that describe the unique culture of 19 different Pueblos.

In the Days of the Vaqueros
by Russell Freedman
Clarion, 2002
The first cowboys were 16th century Mexican ranch hands, who later shared their expertise with inexperienced cowboys of the American West.