The Wonderful World of Books!

The Wonderful World of Books!
Lucy Hayes: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Several class periods


When Lucy Webb was growing up, there was no electricity—no TV, no videos, no CDs.  So what did young people do?  Well, some of them read!   Today we are going to explore some of the books, stories, and poetry that date from Lucy’s lifetime.  Using the timeline below, we’ll list these nineteenth century “classics” (the best-sellers of that time for young people!) and read some of them too.


The purpose of this lesson is for students to explore and, to some degree, participate in a principal activity in which Lucy took part and with some of the actual books, stories, or poetry of the period of Lucy’s life.  Students will read a piece of literature from the period and will create a story board of major plot events or will design and produce an advertisement poster for the literary work or design and develop a book cover for a new printing of the work. 

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet Storyboard materials: tag board, markers, paint, colored pencils Access to school or public library


1.  Using the timeline, have students list the major pieces of young peoples’ literature from 1830 to 1890. 
2.  Working in pairs (or trios—or singly, depending on teacher’s preference), select one of these classics to read.
3.  After reading the book, the students will:

  • Select 6 major events from the story and illustrate them on the Story Board, or
  • Design a book jacket for a new edition of the literary work, being sure to include a short biography of the author, or
  • Create a poster to advertise a new release of the classic work 

4.  Time should be allocated for students to share their work.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson can be extended by having students research the authors of the books they chose, write papers about them, or write a formal review of the book they read.  Or, students can compare these books with contemporary books for young readers;  what are the similarities and differences?

Sources & Resources:


If this lesson is extended, research on authors and books can be done, in part, on the Internet.

This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.