Beautiful Feet History of California offers a literature approach on the history of the Golden State. I'm using the guide this year as part of our 1800-1865 American History study, more particularly while studying the settlement of the western region of the United States. Books used in the guide are:
Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
The Cruise of the Arctic Circle by Scott O'Dell
Zia by Scott O'Dell
Patty Reed's Doll by Rachel Laurgaard
Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody
Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer by Marguerite Higgins
By the Great Horned Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
Blue Willow by Doris Gates
Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi
I do not plan to read all the books recommended in the study this year. We've read Columbus in the past and did not reread it. Some of the early exploration material covered in The Cruise of the Arctic Circle we've also covered in the past so we will not be reading it at this time, though possibly in the future. In the interest of time and ages of the kiddos, I'll be saving Riders of the Pony Express for our second rotation of this time period. I'm looking instead at substituting other options regarding the Pony Express. I will also hold off on Blue Willow since it's set in the 1930's and is beyond our time period for this year.
History of California was designed for use with 4th through 6th graders, though I could see easily adapting it to older grades. This guide meshes nicely with Beautiful Feet The Western Expansion, which I am also pulling from as part of our history study this year. It too uses a plethora of wonderful literature.
Whether you're looking for an in depth study of California or just supplements to your American history westward expansion study, I recommend Beautiful Feet History of California. I trust Beautiful Feet's literature choices as they've proven to be some of the highest quality literature. Many of the books recommended by Beautiful Feet are also included in the TruthQuest History guides. In addition, some of them are Sonlight, WinterPromise, Heart of Dakota, and Veritas Press suggestions.