Teaching History With Children’s Literature: How We Crossed the West


Using quotes from the explorers’ journals, Rosalyn Schanzer, writer and illustrator of How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark, brings to life the “hair-raising adventures and narrow escapes” of Lewis and Clark.

The journal excerpts and illustrations provide students with thrilling and intriguing accounts of the expedition.  It can be used as informative piece or expand on it by discussing how the Lewis and Clark expedition impacted America’s history.

“On October 24, 1804, we saw one of the Grand Chiefs of the Mandans out hunting.  With great cordiality we smoked the pipe.  Every day curious men, women, and children flocked down to see us.  These are the most friendly Indians inhabiting the Missouri.”

“The bear was so close that the men threw aside their guns and threw them into the river, though the bank was 20 feet high.  The animal plunged into the water a few feet behind the second man.”

Curriculum Connections
Use this book to discuss the Lewis and Clark expedition, westward expansion, American Indians, geography, and life sciences.  Themes in this book correlate with Virginia SOLs USI.1, USI.2, and USI.8.

Additional Resources .

Book: How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark
Author/ Illustrator:
Rosalyn Schanzer
National Geographic Society
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 48 pages
Grade Range: 2-6
ISBN:   0792267265