What better way to learn about pioneers than by reading a bunch of books about the pioneers? After our covered wagon craft, Strawberry has been excited to read books about covered wagons. Raisin has also learned a lot from these picture books about covered wagon pioneers.
Books about the Oregon Trail
Some of the best books about the Oregon Trail bring the experience of traveling along the Oregeon Trial to life. For younger kids, you could also act it out using your own little red wagon.
- Covered Wagon, Bumpy Trails by Verla Kay and S.D. Schindler. (rhyming picture book)*My favorite
- Wagons Ho! by George Hallowell and Joan Holub. (picture book with then and now pages of two kids moving to Oregon, 1846 and today)* Strawberry’s favorite
- Pioneer Cat by William Hooks. (Early chapter book)
- Dandelions by Eve Bunting and Greg Shed. (picture book story)
- Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner. (early chapter book)
- Voices from the Oregon Trail by Kay Winters and Larry Day. (Fictionalized stories in the voice of travelers on the Oregon trail)
- Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson and Don Andreason. (lengthy picture book biography)
- Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter. (Folktale about the first fruit trees taken to Oregon)
- Roughing It on the Oregon Trail by Diane Stanley and Holly Berry. (Time-traveling kids picture book)
- If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon by Ellen Levine and Elroy Freem (information-packed nonfiction)* Most often referenced by Raisin
- If You Were a Pioneer on the Prairie by Anne Kamma and James Watling (information-packed nonfiction)
- You Wouldn’t Want to Be An American Pioneer by Jacqueline Morley and David Antram (information-packed nonfiction)
Gathering Information about the Oregon Trail
One thing I realized is that, given the abundance of information about the pioneers and the many different books available, we would not be able to cover it all. I decided it would most beneficial to encourage my son to find answers to questions that he may have. I can’t always predict his questions, so I must help him learn how to find his own answers.
To do this, I created a “scavenger hunt” in a book, which requires my son to use the Table of Contents and Index to gather information from If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon! Not only did Raisin get practice in writing complete sentences, he learned about the Oregon Trail and he learned how to use a Table of Contents and Index to find answers. These basic skills are essential for learning how to research. This simple activity was great for beginning a pioneer research project.
Want more Oregon Trail activities? See what we’ve done in the past.