We regularly hear from educators, parents, and scholars how challenging it can be to teach the Civil War era and its legacies. From gulfs between the academic scholarship and public understanding of the history, to a politicization of the history, to heated public conversations about Confederate iconography, the Civil War era can be a difficult topic to understand and discuss, let alone teach. Yet, as those who think about this period on a daily basis, the topics feel more relevant than ever.
There is always more to explore when it comes to history--historians ask new questions and find new sources every day. If you’re new to teaching the Civil War era or approaching it with your own children and feel unprepared, here are some great books that provide information about slavery, the Civil War, and its legacies, as well as how to talk about these complicated topics with children.