Best Children's Books, Videos, and Free Worksheets on Texas
Are you looking for fun worksheets and lapbook pages, children's books, and YouTube video clips for teaching and/or learning about Texas? Whether you're a school teacher, homeschooling parent, involved parent, librarian, lifelong learner, or a student searching for ideas and books on Texas, look no further! This is part of a series of pages I created while teaching about the fifty states. You can find the links for my pages for each of the 50 states at Teaching the 50 States of America .
I have been to Texas. Have you?
Did you know...
In 1883 America's first rodeo was held in Pecos. Rodeos originated in Spanish cultures and were originally used to show off the skills of vaqueros and cowboys.
Did you know...
Waggoner Ranch and King Ranch are the two biggest ranches in the US, and they are both located in Texas. King Ranch is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
Did you know...
Texas produces more wool than any other state.
Did you know...
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio commemorates the Battle of the Alamo. Only two Texians survived the slaughter by Mexican General Santa Anna. Afterward, the Texian soldiers' repeated cry of, "Remember the Alamo!" helped them to eventually defeat Santa Anna's army.
Did you know...
Texas's capitol building is Austin is the tallest state capitol building in the US. When it was built in 1888, it was considered to be the seventh tallest building in the world. It is seven feet taller than the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. In 2005 the capitol's display of the Ten Commandments was challenged as unconstitutional in the US Supreme Court. The final ruling was that the display was not unconstitutional.
Did you know...
Texas has more varieties of bats, wildflowers, or reptiles than any other state. The state flower, Texas bluebonnets, are a protected wildflower, but that does not stop the thousands of Texans from taking photographs in the beautiful fields of bluebonnets each year.
Did you know...
The San Jacinto Battle Monument, located in Houston, is the tallest monument in America. It is 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
Did you know...
In 1900, the Great Galveston Hurricane hit Galveston with wind speeds estimated to be 145 mph making it a Level 4 hurricane. After leaving almost 12,000 people dead within the course of a few hours, it is considered to be the deadliest natural disaster in America's history and the deadliest single day event in United States history.
Did you know...
The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden in Tyler, Texas is the world's largest public collection of roses, with over 500 varieties.
Our Favorite Children's Books on Texas
Our Favorite Picture Books on Texas
There are so many children's books on individual states. We sorted through quite a number of them before concluding that this series on individual states is the absolute best for my family, with children of multiple ages.
This Is Texas by Miroslav Sasek is one of the best picture books covering Texas. The author describes what he did and saw when touring the entire state in the mid-1960s. He does a wonderful job of describing various aspects of the state (more than just the cowboys and oil wells) but does also include what is stereotypically thought of when people envision Texas. The illustrations are wonderful! This is a reprinting of the original book, and it now includes a section in the back that talks about Texas today.
The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry is about an armadillo in Texas who is curious about where he is. An eagle flies him across the state to see sights. Eventually the armadillo even gets to see Texas from a space shuttle! This does a really nice job of incorporating information about the state with a broader basic study of geography and maps.
Batty About Texas by J. Smith Texas is a cute story told by a Mexican free-tailed bat as he visits the bat populations across the state. Texas actually has 32 different species of bats, which is more than in any other state. Also, watching the bats under the bridge in Austin is one of the city's most popular attractions.
Larry Gets Lost in Texas by John Skewes is part of a cute series about a dog who always wanders off from his owner when on vacation. While searching for his owner he passes through the main cities of Texas and visits the sites of each city. This is a great way to get a nice overview of the state.
Why Cowboys Sleep With Their Boots On (Why Cowboys Series) by Laurie Knowlton is part of a series of clever picture books depicting cowboys working a cattle drive. In this book, a cowboy's clothing keeps getting snached by animals at night, so he finally decides he must wear them to bed. We also enjoyed reading the other books in the series by the same author: Why Cowboys Need a Brand, Why Cowboys Need A Pardner, and Why Cowgirls Are Such Sweet Talkers.
If you have extra time, you can read one of the many other wonderful picture books on Texas we enjoyed including Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett, Round Up: A Texas Number Book by Carol Crane, West Texas Chili Monster by Judy Cox, Texas Zeke and The Longhorn by David Davis, The Wild Texas Stampede! by Margaret Olivia McManis, and Tumbleweed Tom on the Texas Trail by Jackie Mimms Hopkins.
Our Favorite Picture Books on Texas History
Sam Houston: Standing Firm (Texas Heroes For Young Readers) by Mary Dodson Wade was our favorite picture book on Sam Houston. He accomplished quite a bit during his lifetime and this book did a wonderful job of condensing it all and presenting it in a manner that held the interest of all of my children.
Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen by Michael P. Spradlin is a longer picture book about how the Texas Rangers came about in the 1820s to protect the people living on the Texas Frontier, how they captured a number of outlaws during the Wild West Days, and how they continue to patrol the Texas- Mexico border today. Even though it is a longer book, all of my children enjoyed it because of the fascinating stories and nice illustrations.
The Battle of the Alamo (Graphic History) by Matt Doeden was my boys' favorite picture book on the Alamo -- and we read many. They love the comic book style illustrations, and I love how historically accurate it is. We even read a chapter book on the Alamo, and this had about as much information as the chapter book did.
Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story by John Jakes is told from the perspective of Susanna, who was the only survivor of the Alamo (along with her young daughter). She is the person who delivered the message to Sam Houston about what her husband and the other heros experienced at the Alamo. This provides a different perspective on the Battle of the Alamo than the above book and many of the other books as it really personalizes what happened. All of my children enjoyed this book, though more sensitive children might want to avoid this book because of how personal the deaths are in the book.
The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola is a retelling of a Comanche legend about a girl making a great sacrifice for her tribe during a time of extreme drought and being rewarded with what is now the state flower: the bluebonnets. We also enjoyed reading a similar picture book legend by the same author, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush .
Our Favorite Tall Tales & Texas-Style Fairy Tales (Fractured Tales): Our Top 3 Favorites
Bubba The Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman was my favorite fractured fairy tale that replaces uses the themes of Cinderella in a Texas cowboy setting with Bubba the Cowboy as the main character. It is very cute with great illustrations and does a nice job of covering many stereotypical Texas Ranch aspects.
The Cowboy And The Black-Eyed Pea by Tony Johnston was my children's favorite fractured fairy tale. The daughter of a wealthy Texas rancher uses a black-eyed pea in order to determine which suitor would be best. Just like the above book, it does a good job of including various stereotypical Texas Ranch aspects.
Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg was our favorite version of the Pecos Bill tall tale. We read a number of them! This has nice illustrations and was short enough to hold my children's interest but still covered the main aspects of the tall tale.
More Great Ones We Read and Enjoyed (good to read if you have extra time)
The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires is a version of the Gingerbread Man, but in this version the gingerbread man is a cowboy running away from a Texas Rancher past Texas animals (coyote, javelina, long-horn cattle, etc.). All my children enjoyed this one!
The Great Texas Hamster Drive by Eric A. Kimmel is fun to read whether or not you are trying to learn more about Texas. After you read about Pecos Bill, you can then read about his daughter, who loved hamsters. They of course multiply as is typical with hamsters, and Pecos Bill and his men have to drive hamsters rather than cattle. If you are short on time, you can skip this book, but do try to read it at some point because it is a fun story.
The Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel is a Texas version of "The Three Little Pigs." It is by Eric A. Kimmel, the same author who wrote the above book. We really enjoy his books! This introduces you to to the Tex-Mex culture of tamales, fiestas, etc. All my children enjoyed this book. Again, if you are short on time, you can skip this one, but do try to read it at some point because it is very cute.
Waynetta and the Cornstalk: A Texas Fairy Tale by Helen Ketteman is the Texas version of Jack and the Beanstalk. In this version, a girl trades her longhorn for a magic kernel of corn. It introduces the vocabulary surrounding Texas ranch culture with a cowgirl, lairet, cowboy boots, etc. We thought it was very clever. All my children enjoyed it.
Little Red Cowboy Hat by Susan Lowell, which is a Texas version of "Little Red Riding Hood" and includes lots of Texas cowboy words and ideas.
The Best Board Books for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and Babies
We loved this series of board books that goes through the main landmarks, history, etc. of each state. It has wonderful illustrations and the perfect amount of text to make it ideal for the youngest of listeners. Also look for Good Night Houston and Good Night Dallas/Fort Worth Board book by the same author, Adam Gamble.
Little Texas (Little State) Board book by Carol Crane uses rhymes and riddles to go through the state symbols of Texas (state flower, bird, animal, flower, tree, etc.).
Hello, Texas! (Hello, America!) Board book by Christopher S. Jennings has beautiful illustrations and goes through some of the places and activities that make Texas special: cattle, dolphins, the Alamo, etc.
123 Texas (Cool Counting Books) Board book by Puck counts from 1 to 10 as it goes through some of the features of the state: longhorns, armadillos, the Johnson Space Center, and more.
Chapter Books That Teach About Texas
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (144 pages) is a classic young adult book about a farm boy and his best friend, a dog, as they take care of their family ranch in Texas hill country in the late 1800s while the boy's father is away on a cattle drive. We read this together, and my children loved it (except the ending). This book won a Newbery Honor award.
Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson (127 pages) is part of a cute series about a loveable but not-so-bright cowdog and his adventures as he patrols his ranch. Each story is filled with humor and always has a moral. My children actually listened to the audio versions of these stories and loved them!
Texas Tomboy by Lois Lenski (212 pages) is about a horse-loving ranch girl living in Texas in the early 1900s and how she helps her family during a severe drought.
Our Favorite Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages on Texas
*A Hubpage editor will not feature my page if I have live links to other websites, so I have deactivated the links. You will need to copy and paste the links. I apologize about the inconvenience! *
All About Texas and Texas for Teachers offer links to lots of free worksheets covering Texas. Also included are book suggestions and general information. Here are the links: http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjgeog/a/sustx.htm and http://www.apples4theteacher.com/usa-states/texas/
Armadillo Rodeo Lapbook offers free lapbook pages & activity ideas for Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett. http://www.homeschoolshare.com/armadillorodeo.php
Popcorn at the Palace Lapbook offers free lapbook pages & activity ideas for Popcorn at the Palace by Emily Arnold McCully. http://www.homeschoolshare.com/popcorn_at_the_palace.php
The Legend of Lightning Larry Lapbook offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for The Legend of Lightning Larry by Aaron Shephard. http://www.homeschoolshare.com/legend_of_lightning_larry.php
Cattle Unit & Lapbook provides free lapbook pages & book suggestions related to cattle. http://www.homeschoolshare.com/cattle.php
Texas State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about Texas. At the site, you'll also find helpful worksheets, links, & information. http://www.50states.com/facts/texas.htm
Our Favorite Video Clips Giving an Overview of Texas
We watched many Youtube video clips on Texas. These were our favorite. They are all family-friendly and provide a nice overview of the key aspects of the state. Also go to http://www.havefunwithhistory.com/movies/texas.html for more great movies!
© 2012 Shannon