Book Review: Major Events in American History by Megan DuVarney Forbes

50 important events that shaped American history for kids 8 to 12

Learning about US history can help us understand why things are the way they are today—and how we can make them better. From the founding of the city of Cahokia and the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the modern Black Lives Matter movement, this kid-friendly journey takes young learners through nearly 1000 years of American history, one key event at a time.

Go beyond other American history books with:

  • 50 key events—Kids will learn about Indigenous peoples, colonial life, the rise of the United States on the world stage, amazing inventions, and more.
  • History revealed—This book helps young readers gain more perspective on events with direct quotes from people who actually lived through them.
  • Ways to learn more—Each of these defining moments comes with suggestions for other books to read or museums to visit.

Help children discover America’s incredible legacy with this top choice in kids’ history books.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Callisto Publisher’s Club. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This book is divided into sections: Early America (1050-1600), Colonial America (1600-1763), American Revolution (1963-1787), National Expansion (1803-1857), Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877), Industrial America (1876-1896), Progressive Era (1903-1930), The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945), Post-War America (1945-1991), America in the 21st Century (2001-present). There’s a lot of history contained in these sections, and I’m sure it was a daunting task to decide which 50 events to include.

After the table of contents is a brief summary of each time period. I learned a lot about early America that I didn’t know. Did you know that 1000 years ago there was a city of about 20,000 people in North America near where St. Louis is now? At the end of each section is “Explore More” which lists museums, books, etc., where more information can be found about that time period.

While there are a lot of interesting facts in this book, it is not “just the facts.” The book is swayed by the author’s beliefs. In books for adults that wouldn’t bother me as much, but children are impressionable and children’s nonfiction books should be straightforward without the author’s viewpoint.

About the Author

Megan DuVarney Forbes is a historian and middle school teacher in Southern California. She received her master’s degree in US history from California State University, Fullerton, where she specialized in the history of the US Virgin Islands. Megan is a frequent presenter on empowering students in their own identities through social justice, history, and literature. She loves to share ideas with other educators around the world on YouTube and Instagram and through her blog, Too Cool for Middle School. She loves to read, design, and spend time with her husband and five-year-old son. She is currently enjoying her 10th year of teaching middle school history and English. You can follow her on Instagram @TooCoolForMiddleSchool.