Young Readers—American colonies

1492 to 1883
Voyage of Columbus to Revolutionary War

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Era Summary—American colonies

The American Colonies division of the Young Readers collection focuses on Colonial History of the British settlements in the Americas, but also includes Stories of Discovery of the new world undertaken by Spanish and French explorers.

Squanto and the Pilgrims
Young students enjoy stories from the earliest colonies, including the adventures of Colonists in Jamestown and the dramatic events of the Pilgrim Settlers of Plymouth colony. Students should also be familiar with stories of other notable colonies such as William Penn of Pennsylvania, the Dutch founders of New York, Roger Williams of Rhode Island, and James Oglethorpe of Georgia. James Otis Colonial Children includes several volumes that feature stories of early settlers and are an excellent introduction to the period.

Many of the conflicts covered in the American Colonial division are wars between early settlers and American Indians. The Young Readers collection includes stories of several well-known American Indians, such as Squanto, Pocahontas, and Pontiac, but it does not include books that present a broader view of American Indian history. Most books that specifically address Indian history are included in the Early America Academy Couse, intended for slightly older readers.

Other important conflicts, such as the Revolutionary War, and the French-Indian War that preceded it are covered by several books in the Young Readers collection. The Revolutionary War period is one of the most interesting periods of American History to many children because it features stories about well-known American heroes, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and dozens of other early patriots.

Most of the Young Reader Study Questions that relate to the colonial period of Early American history are taken from America First by Evans, and the first two volumes of the American History Stories series by Pratt.

Characters—American colonies

Character/Date Short Biography


Leif Ericsson
Discovered Newfoundland and explored the seacoast of North America. Son of Erik the Red.
Christopher Columbus
Genoan sailor, sponsored by Isabela of Spain, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas.
Ponce de Leon
First Spanish governor of Puerto Rico. Explored inland regions of Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
Hernando De Soto
Adventurer who aided in conquest of Peru, then explored Southwestern United States. Discovered Mississippi river.


Daughter of an Indian Chieftain who helped the early settlers in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
John Smith
Adventurer, leader and early settler at Jamestown. Befriended Pocahontas.
William Brewster
One of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the Mayflower. Elder in Congressional Church.
Miles Standish
Military advisor to the Plymouth colony. Arrived on the Mayflower.
William Penn
Quaker, and founder of the colony of Pennsylvania.
Notorious pirate of the Spanish Main who haunted the Coast of North Carolina and the West Indies.
James Oglethorpe
Founder of Georgia as buffer state between English and Spanish Colonies . Opposed Slavery.


Benjamin Franklin
Statesman, publisher, inventor, and non-conformist. Founding father, and benefactor of Philadelphia.
Paul Revere
Paul Revere is famous for his ride from through Lexington-Concord, warning of the British attack.
George Washington
Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
Patrick Henry
American Patriot, active in inciting the rebellion against Britain. First Governor of Virginia.
French soldier who fought in American Revolution, and early leader of French Revolution.
Benedict Arnold
Hero of the Revolutionary War, but tragically turned traitor. He escaped to the British before discovery.
John Paul Jones
American Revolution Naval Hero. Famous for the sea fight Bon Homme Richard vs. Serapis.
Leader of a Great Lakes tribe who planned a rebellion. His attempt to take fort Detroit was thwarted by an Indian who warned the garrison.

Timeline—American colonies

AD YearEvent
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America
1492 Ponce de Leon discovers Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
1607 John Smith helps establish Jamestown, the first British colony in America.
1608 French explorers establish the city of Quebec, the capital of Canada.
1620 The Pilgrims cross the Atlantic in the Mayflower, and arrive in Plymouth Massachusetts
1634 Lord Baltimore sends British colonists settle in Maryland.
1664 The British conquer the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and turn it into New York.
1677 William Penn establishes a Quaker colony in Pennsylvania.
1732 Oglethorpe settles Georgia, the last of the 13 colonies.
1759 Quebec, the French capital in America, falls to the British.
1773 Boston Tea Party. Patriots protest against the British Tea tax.
1773 American Revolutionary War begins. Midnight ride of Paul Revere and the Battle of Lexington.
1776 Birth of the United States. The Declaration of Independence is signed.

Recommended Reading—American colonies

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)
Eggleston - Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans   The First Governor in Boston to Clark and His Men (21)
Evans - America First   Leif, the Lucky to Benjamin Franklin (50)
Eggleston - Stories of American Life and Adventure   A White Boy Among Indians to Elizabeth Zane (27)
Hutchinson - Men Who Found America    entire book
Imlach - Story of Columbus    entire book
Pratt - American History Stories—Volume I    entire book
Pratt - American History Stories—Volume II    entire book
Pumphrey - Stories of the Pilgrims    entire book
Perkins - Puritan Twins    entire book
Otis Kaler - Ruth of Boston    entire book
Otis Kaler - Richard of Jamestown    entire book
Otis Kaler - Stephen of Philadelphia    entire book
Otis Kaler - Peter of New Amsterdam    entire book
Otis Kaler - Mary of Plymouth    entire book
Otis Kaler - Calvert of Maryland    entire book
Stockton - Buccaneers and Pirates of our Coasts    entire book