I am teaching South Carolina History this year and have been compiling a list of some books about South Carolina. I wanted to find some books that will help kids enjoy the history and rich culture of their state. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
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Palmetto: Symbol of Courage
Why is the Palmetto Tree on the South Carolina flag? What is so important about it? This book tells the story of how the Palmetto Trees helped the colonialists during the American Revolution.
Dave the Potter
This is a beautiful story about Dave, who was a poet and craftsman, but also a slave. He would engrave lines of his poetry into his pots, and some are on display at the State Museum.
Let My People Go
This is a longer book, and one that doesn't sugar coat the terrible reality of slavery. Each chapter starts with a story of a freeman and his daughter. As she asks questions about the injustices she sees, and wonders about the way life is, he brings her to the truth found in the Bible. Don't forget to read the author's and illustrator's note on this one. They both offer some valuable background that make you appreciate the story more.
The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie's Coin
After reading this book, be sure to check out the replica of the H.L. Hunley at the State Museum! It starts as a story of how the Hunley was created, but then ends on a more factual note as it shares how the submarine was finally recovered!
While the family in this story is fictional, the story of Robert Smalls daring journey to freedom is very much true! Also check out Seven Miles to Freedom for a story that shares more of Robert Smalls' story!
Listen to the sounds of Charleston street vendors in this wonderful book! A little girl takes a walk around Charleston shares all the sounds and sights.
The true story of Daniel Joseph Jenkins and his orphanage band. These kids helped to start "rag" music and traveled around the US and to Europe sharing their music and helping to raise money for their orphanage!
First, You Explore
The laser display at the State Museum makes so much more sense after reading this story! This story definitely encourages kids to explore their world and ask questions! Charles Townes was always interested in the world around him and inventing new things. His most famous contribution was the laser, which has certainly impacted our lives today!
Let Them Play
Kids who love baseball will especially connect with this story of a group of little league boys. This is an important story that will help kids see the injustice and inequality African American's faced and how terrible it was. But as they make their way to the Little League World Series, they do find support with the fans. This is a story that will help kids see that while laws and decisions in South Carolina were very wrong, they can make a different choice.
A Sweet, Sweet Basket
This is a sweet story that celebrates the impact the African American culture has had on South Carolina and how important it is to learn the traditions and pass them on. Sweet grass baskets are everywhere in Charleston and this story gives a glimpse of the work that goes into them.
This story is set on Sullivan's Island where several boys are digging for buried treasure in their backyard. Instead of treasure they uncover some chains and with the help of their neighbor, learn about the painful truth behind them. It discusses the cruelty of the past, and how we need to combat that with kindness and goodness.
The Pink House
A story that celebrates family and the way South Carolinians like to spend their vacations at the beach! Its a fun read and makes you want to head to the beach immediately!
P is for Palmetto
A great overview of all things South Carolina! You can read the simple rhythmic text, or take time to read the paragraphs on the side that offer more information about each letter.
Count your way through South Carolina and find out lots of interesting facts in the mean time!
Charley's Columbia Backyard
This is a fun book to read to make sure you experience all the fun things Columbia has to offer!
Rosebud Roams Charleston
This is a fun one to learn more about the city of Charleston through a horse's perspective.
Books for Babies:
We can't forget the little ones!
Here are two sweet board books you can read with little and not so little kids!
Little South Carolina
This one is full of fun riddles that teach kids about some of the state symbols.
Good Night South Carolina
Wake up with the shrimp boats and say good night in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Travel around South Carolina in this sweet board book.
If you are looking for chapter books, I would check out Idella Bodie. She wrote a whole series about famous South Carolinians during the Revolutionary War, along with several other books that take place all around the State!