The Ultimate List of Books about South Carolina for Children
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Books About South Carolina
Hey, Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Colin Bootman
In 1891, a paster of Charleston, South Carolina got the idea to start a musical band at the church orphanage. Using hand-me-down instruments that came from the Civil War (including Confederate instruments), the children of the orphanage became skilled musicians, perfecting a rhythm called rag. That would become ragtime, a lead-in to the development of modern jazz music.
Palmetto: Symbol of Courage, by Kate Sally Palmer
The Battle of Fort Moultrie during the American Revolution in 1776, which took place on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. In that battle, Fort Moultrie held strong despite having a half-finished fort of wooden logs from Palmetto trees. During the 1860s, Fort Moultrie was abandoned for Fort Sumter nearby.
Circle Unbroken, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Discussing the West African heritage, basketweaving, and Gullah culture.
Dave the Potter: Poet, Artist, Slave, by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier
An excellent biography about a man who made contributions in his art while enslaved in South Carolina. For young children, also up to 6th grade.
Princess and the Peas, by Rachel Himes
This take on the fairy tale The Princess and teh Pea is set in South Carolina, with a serving of black-eyed peas. The story is about a mama, helping her son find a woman to marry who would make a good match for him. The book is set in the 1950s, and one of the themes is young women having a voice, having the power to decide for themselves if they will accept a marriage offer. There is a lot of cooking featured in the book.
Ron’s Big Mission, by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden, illustrated by Don Tate
An astronaut tells his childhood story of being denied a library card in the Lake City, South Carolina library. He integrated the local library to get the books on aeronatics he wanted.
My Trip to St. Helena Island: Discovering Gullah Geechee Culture, by CM White
This children’s book takes a look at the Gullah cultural community on the islands of South Carolina.
Growing Up Gullah in the Low Country, by Josie A Olswig
The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie’s Coin, by Fran Hawk, illustrated by Dan Nance
Trying to sink Union ships, this Confederate fishing boat sank itself. After over a hundred years underwater, the H.L. Hunley was found and its onboard treasures revealed.
Books about South Carolina for Older Children
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 (Dear America series), by Joyce Hansen.
This book about South Carolina takes place right at the conclusion of the Civil War. Patsy has been a servant in the household of the plantation, and an aide to the master’s young son. This has allowed her to learn to read, something that is forbidden in South Carolina state law. However, the family she works for (or is enslaved by, more accurately) thinks Patsy is “stupid” and tells her so. By the end of the novel, Patsy has gained courage, found power in her changing circumstances, and becomes a teacher to others in the area. She joins the Freedman’s Bureau as an educator. Children’s book for 4 to 7th grade.
This book won the Newbery Honor and the National Book Award. It is a memoir of the life of Jacqueline Woodson, who grew up splitting time between South Carolina and New York. The many poems in this book will touch adults and younger readers alike. Visit Greenville, South Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s through these thoughtful pages. For 5th grade up.
South Carolina and the Civil War – Analysis of Primary Documents:
These are the charges that were laid against the US Government and the Northern States when South Carolina formed the Confederacy:
“We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes“
deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions – South Carolina thinks that it should be able to have the institution of slavery, with full support of Northern states, since the Constitution allowed and mentioned slavery.
denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States –Rights of Property, meaning owning slaves. This is saying that 15 states have slavery in the United States, and the other states have ‘denied the rights of property’ by refusing to return them under the Fugitive Slave Law.
they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery – Which side’s beliefs do you agree with? Is slavery sinful, or not?
They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes – Is South Carolina saying this is a good thing, or a bad thing, for which they will declare war on the United States?
Passed on December 24, 1860, The Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union was clear that the reason why South Carolina left the Union was because the state was enraged that other states did not uphold their bargain in re-capturing South Carolina’s slaves and return them into slavery. Paragraph after paragraph, South Carolina talks about its property rights, the institution of slavery, fugitive slave laws for the return of humans who escaped slavery, and the Constitution’s agreement to tax enslaved persons counting as 3/5ths of persons all as moral positives.
The Articles of Secession are documents that every American should read, at least once, to see WHY the South seceded from the Union.
South Carolina’s, Mississippi’s, and Texas’s Declaration of Causes have the strongest language. Most readers, even young readers, would spot their disagreement with the documents’ statement of beliefs. (One of them mimics the opening of the Declaration of Independence, but says that all men are not created equal. Ummm… that’s uncomfortable language, in a statement of values that was passed by an entire state legislature as a valid idea.)
Read the Declarations of Causes because they express the states’ strong feelings, in their own words. Primary sources are a vital part of history, because why invent a reason of why the Civil War started when you could hear the real reason for yourself, written by the people making the decision at the time.
South Carolina Vocabulary to Highlight:
Secession from the Union (Declaration of Causes/Articles of Secession)
Attack of Fort Sumter
Gullah language and Gullah Geechee culture
Children’s Books about South Carolina and all 50 states. Which state will you read about next!