Notable Books, Notable Lessons
Putting Social Studies Back in the K-8 Curriculum
by Andrea S. Libresco, Jeannette Balantic, and Mary Battenfeld
September 2017, 231pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-4079-1
$45, £35, 40€, A62
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4080-7
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When the right picture and chapter books are used, they can effectively serve “double duty” to teach both language arts and social studies to elementary and middle school students.

This book provides teachers, librarians, and education methods professors with strategies, lesson plans, and activities that enable them to use literature as a springboard to social studies thematic instruction.

With the amount of time and resources allocated to teaching social studies being significantly reduced, social studies lessons need to be incorporated into other subjects. Notable Books, Notable Lessons: Putting Social Studies Back in the K–8 Curriculum offers the tools to teach students social studies concepts that are increasingly relevant and essential in today’s diverse, globalized world—lessons that are vital in order to prepare students to think critically and participate in our multicultural democracy.

Providing information that elementary and middle school teachers and librarians, district-level curriculum directors and principals, staff developers, and social studies and literacy methods professors will find extremely useful, this book uses the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)/Children’s Book Council (CBC)’s current and past lists of Notable Books at the elementary and middle school levels to offer easy-to-follow lesson plans that integrate social studies instruction with reading and language arts. The lesson plans pose compelling questions to facilitate discussion and critical thinking and suggest engaging activities that are connected to the social studies concepts. The book also includes sample student handouts for the selected pieces of literature.


  • Uses award-winning books to integrate social studies and English language arts
  • Provides engaging, ready-to-use lesson plans that encourage hands-on engagement
  • Suggests activities that connect to the social studies concepts, require thoughtful, active engagement, and foster critical thinking
  • Includes annotated bibliographies, linked to the thematic strands of each chapter, of other books from the lists of Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, selected by the National Council for the Social Studies and Children's Book Council
Andrea S. Libresco is professor of social studies education as well as codirector of elementary education and of the minor in civic education at Hofstra University. She was a high school social studies teacher and lead teacher for elementary social studies in the public schools for 15 years. Her published work includes Exemplary Elementary Social Studies: Case Studies in Practice and Libraries Unlimited's Every Book is a Social Studies Book: How to Meet Standards with Picture Books, K–6. She is past coeditor of Social Studies and the Young Learner and a former member of the Notable Books Selection Committee.

Jeannette Balantic is social studies curriculum coordinator in the Garden City School District in Garden City, NY. She is coauthor of Libraries Unlimited's Every Book is a Social Studies Book: How to Meet Standards with Picture Books, K–6 and past coeditor of Social Studies and the Young Learner.

Mary Battenfeld is associate professor of humanities at Wheelock College in Boston, MA. Her publications include the new edition of Helen Doss's The Family Nobody Wanted (editor) and articles on adoption, African American literature, and public education policy. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and past president of the New England American Studies Association.


"The lesson on families is very strong, and the concept of students as change agents is heartening. This book can help the classroom teacher and school librarian to transcend banal readers and prescriptive reading programs to introduce good, engaging social-studies books. Although the tight lesson structure may seem limiting, especially the worksheets, they are an easy reach for the busy educator."—Booklist Online, January 5, 2018

"Book suggestions are offered at three levels: Primary (picture books that would be adequate for grades K-2), Intermediate (grades 3-6), and Middle (grades 7 & 8). However, high school teachers might find lessons that would supplement their curriculum as well. Recommended."—School Library Connection, March 1, 2018
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