Looking for Books: A Treasure Hunt
Lucy Hayes: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas
Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: One to two class periods
During Lucy Hayes’s life, people in the United States began the shift from a rural, agricultural way of life to a more urban, manufacturing way of life. Many aspects of this shift were reflected in children’s books of the period. These books became part of the life of childhood in the middle and later years of the nineteenth century, and some are still favorites today. Using a simple worksheet, this lesson will ask children to use the Timeline on the First Ladies Library Website to find “treasures”—children’s books published during the lifetime of Lucy Hayes. They will then discuss what they found, paying special attention to whether or not they, themselves, have also encountered some of these books.
1. Place the children in small groups of 3 or 4. Give each child some time on the website listed below to research the publication of children’s books from 1831 to 1889. Suggestion: the years can be divided among all the children so that no one is looking up more than three or four years. 2. Ask each group to report on what book “treasures” it has found. 3. Have the class make a “timeline” of its own, listing the books in the order in which they were written.
4. Discuss these books with the children in terms of what they’re about, whether or not the children are familiar with them; whether or not they’ve seen these stories on TV or in the movies; and what they’ve learned from these stories about the past and the present.
This lesson plan was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.