Kansas State Librarian Joanne Budler recently announced the 2010 Kansas Notable Book List. The list of 15 fiction, nonfiction and children’s books are the best books published by Kansas authors or about Kansas in the last year.

Some interesting ones for history and social studies people:

book jacket for Addie of the Flint Hills Addie of the Flint Hills: A Prairie Child During the Depression by Adaline Sorace as told to Deborah Sorace Prutzman (both New York, NY)

Adaline Sorace’s vivid memories are the basis for this autobiography of a small-town girl whose life is played out against the turbulent economic times of the 1920s and 1930s. Addie’s hardscrabble life was typical for her generation; her struggles transcend time and are similar to modern family situations and current economic times.

book jacket for One Kansas Farmer One Kansas Farmer: A Kansas Number Book by Devin & Corey Scillian (Grosse Point, MI), illustrated by Doug Bowles (Lenexa)

An entertaining and educational travelogue of Kansas history, geography, famous people and places provides the backdrop for this elementary number book, including dancing prairie chickens, hot air balloons, and the invention of the microchip.

book jacket for Our Boys Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape (New York, NY)

Holders of the nation’s longest high-school winning streak can be found in Smith Center, Kansas. This book embraces the philosophy of life taught by their legendary coach, Roger Barta. New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape moved his family across the country to discover the inspiration of the Smith Center Redmen.

book jacket for Years of Dust Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin (Riverdale, NY)

In the 1930s, dangerous black storms swept through the Great Plains. The results of reckless farming and drought, these lethal storms were an environmental, economic, and human catastrophe that changed the course of American history. An acclaimed historian explains for young people, the causes behind the disaster and explores the Dust Bowl’s impact.

If these don’t do it for you, head over to the National Council for the Social Studies site for their yearly list of Notable Books. Every year, the NCSS selects a wide range of books that are aligned to NCSS social studies standards and creates a handy-dandy list in PDF format for easy download.

Books selected for the list are written primarily for children in grades K-8 but can be used K-12, especially for those kids reading below grade level. The NCSS looks for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality and have a pleasing format and illustrations that enrich the text. Each book is read by several reviewers and books are included on the list by committee assent.

So . . . it’s a pretty good list. If you’re a NCSS member, you can download the most current list but there are ten years worth of great lists going back to 2000 for non-members. All the lists include info on grade level, standards alignment, content, length and a brief overview.

It’s a great way to quickly browse through a lot of books that you might want to use as part of your instruction.

Have fun!

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