Category Archives: American History

5 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., Day!


Every January, many Americans have a day off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday allows us to honor the birthday of one of our most famous and influential Civil Rights leaders.

Born in Georgia in 1929, King fought for equality and justice throughout his life. He believed in peaceful protest as a way to bring about social change. Legal racial segregation in the U.S. ended in large part due to his work. With this holiday, we celebrate his life, his work, and take the time to reflect and honor his legacy.

This is also a great time to talk about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. While King was an important leader, there were many people who contributed to the cause including Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and many others. In addition, this is a great time to talk about what those people fought for and the events in our history that made the movement important.

A review of the movement could start with the slave trade and the devastating effects of slavery in the South. Discuss the many heroes in the abolitionist movement including those who helped many escape from the South. The Civil War resulted in freedom for the slaves and Reconstruction provided many opportunities cut short by segregationist policies. The Great Migration saw many flee to opportunities in the North and was the impetus for the Harlem Renaissance and the flowering of African American art and music. Today there continue to be setbacks and struggle within our communities and King’s birthday can be a time to talk about how far we have come, and how far we still have to go.

Finally, while children living abroad are exposed to a wide variety of world history, geography, and language experiences unavailable in the U.S., sometimes our own history is given short shrift. Families can incorporate books, stories, and activities into home life to ensure children know about their own holidays and historical leaders as well as those in the host country.

Here are five ideas for learning about King and celebrating his birthday with the family.

  1. Create a timeline of Civil Rights history after reading books about the topic or watching videos. is a great place to find educational videos.
  2. Celebrate his birthday with a cake and make cards thanking him for his work!
  3. Learn about his “I have a Dream” speech and then make lists of personal and family dreams and goals.
  4. Talk about diversity and equality in the United States and in the country in which you are living. Compare and contrast the history of equality in the U.S. and in other countries.
  5. Give back and honor King’s commitment to service. Volunteer at a local shelter, arrange a neighborhood trash pick-up, or make a donation to a favorite charity.

Our favorite books about King include:

  • For all children, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport, is a Caldecott award winner that tells the story of his life using his original writing.
  • For elementary children, I Have a Dream, by Dr. Martin Luther King and Kadir Nelson, pairs King’s most famous speech with beautiful pictures
  • Middle school children will enjoy Free at Last, by Angela Bull, which is a thorough biography with illustrations.

Martin Luther King, Jr., fought to end racial segregation and inspired, and continues to inspire, many Americans. This holiday is perfect for discussing the Civil Rights Movement and the impact of one of the movement’s most famous leaders.


American-History-in-a-Box coordinates with Twiga Tutors

We are thrilled to be coordinating with fellow EFM business owner Christianna Pangalos of Twiga Tutors ( in the upcoming year to expand our offerings. We have combined forces to provide a history box and tutoring package for all K – 8 students at post. U.S. certified teachers will guide your child as they learn about American history through the books, games, and activity book included in the American-History-Box. Each package includes the history box plus three months of email and online sessions designed to motivate and encourage your child’s learning.

When you order your tutoring and history box package, we connect you with your tutor and coordinate a schedule that works for everyone. Each package will include a mid-box review and a final test. After taking the exam, a final session will explore areas for improvement or additional exploration.

We are so excited to coordinate with a fellow EFM committed to education, interested in history, and working to improve the expat experience for all children. Together we hope to improve your experience and expand on the opportunities your child has while living and learning abroad.

For more information, you can email Leah at or Christianna at You can also request an invoice from either of us or pay through paypal here:

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New: Add a tutoring package through Twiga Tutors to your American History in a Box! Each course will include nine email check-ins and three Skype sessions with a certified American teacher over a three month period. Your teacher will review the activities with your child, answer any questions they might have, and encourage learning and excitement about the topics in the box.

Click here to order: Any history box plus a 3 month tutoring package: $749 screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-18-25-pm

To order multiple boxes or tutoring packages click here and request an invoice.



American History Videos to Complement your American-History-in-a-Box!

Our American History boxes include books, games, puzzles, and activities to learn the major concepts in our history. We recommend starting each topic with a quick video to learn background information before reading the books included in the box. We love the videos found on because they are short, engaging, and full of great information.

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Another great option is to listen to the free Khan Academy lectures on each time period. You can find them here:

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Including a variety of resources when learning history helps kids to internalize the major concepts and ideas in our history. We recommend watching a short video for each topic, then read the books in your box, and finally complete the activities in the workbook. We encourage families to talk about the topics and to try to:

  1. Put the concept in the context of the time period. What else was happening in the U.S. at that time?
  2. Put the concept in the context of today. How do we look back on that person, event, or idea? How do we think about it now?
  3. Put the concept in the context of the country in which you are currently living (if possible). What was going on in your host country during this time period?

For additional materials or resources, write to us at

Resources to use with your “American History in a Box”

Short Movies about History

U.S. History: Crash Course These short videos that take you through the major time periods in American History. This is a great way to start any history lesson. Let your child watch the video for background, then read the book in your box on that topic. Finally, complete the activity for that time period in your activity book.

Watch Know Learn You will find a variety of short videos about every topic in American history. After reading about a concept, explore this site for more information!

Video Series

This is America, Charlie Brown This series covers most major events in our history and is great fun to watch!

 Liberty’s Kids This video does a great job of teaching children about Colonial America. Then, visit for games and activities to reinforce that learning!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? This fun video series helps children learn about geography and major sights around the world. Use the atlas in your history box to pinpoint where she is!

Primary Documents  The Library of Congress shares many important documents in our history. Explore their website and check out their book lists for adults and children!

American History Music                                                                                                                  Songs for Teaching You will find many wonderful songs from all time periods in history with this website. After learning about a time period, check out some of the songs that were being sung, played, or composed!

Schoolhouse Rock Many parents will remember these catchy songs including “This is a Bill,” and “Mother Necessity!”

American History Crafts                                                                                                                         A Book in Time: Search for crafts by time period. After completing your activity for the time period you are studying, see if you can find a fun craft to do with your family!

Families Love “American-History-in-a-Box!”

We are excited to share some of our more recent comments about our “American-History-in-a-Box” program. We are always so happy to hear from our customers! Thank you for sharing! If you want to read previous comments, click here.


I was worried that my kids didn’t know much about American history. Thanks to your boxes, they now have a good foundation for future classes! The books are fun and interesting and the activity book is really great.

Love the box! We are going to order another for our younger son!

Hey – we just got your box and it’s awesome! Just wanted to let you know that you have another fan!

Thanks again very much — we just received our reimbursement payment from FSC, and our kids are loving the program.

Studying all the awesome contents of the “American History in a Box” – what an excellent model for kids living outside of the US to learn about American History! Thank you Leah Moorefield Evans – now we have books and activities to keep us busy!

My daughter loves her box! She is working her way through it and sharing what she learns with me. Thanks so much for putting this together!

We got the boxes yesterday and my kids are already playing the games and reading the books. Thanks for helping us figure out the reimbursement process.

My kids love their boxes!


Thanks again to everyone who has supported our business. We are thrilled that the history boxes help bring the story of America to children living abroad. If you have any suggestions or ideas, or have any questions about the boxes, please email us at Happy holidays!

American History Through Music

Like most human beings, my kids love to listen to music. I enjoy watching them zone out and sing, sway, and feel music with every ounce of their being. They love to learn songs, to sing, and to dance. They see music as a treat, a joy, and an integral part of life. Many teachers use this love of music to inspire kids, and history teachers are no exception. If you are talking about American History at home, do it with a few songs that kids are sure to love. These are a few of our suggestions although you can find many more fine options with a quick Internet search. Search for these songs on YouTube. Please preview the songs before sharing them with your children. Some, especially the songs about war, are only appropriate for older kids.

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General Learning

The 50 States and Capitals Song, Tim Pacific

The 43 Presidents Song, Tim Pacific

America the Beautiful

Proud to be an American

The Star Spangled Banner

The Declaration of Independence, Learning by Song

In the Constitution, Learning by Song

Government, Jim Thompson

Exploration and Discovery

Age of Exploration, Learning by Song

Christopher Columbus, Kathleen Wiley


The First Thanksgiving, Learning by Song

When I First Came to This Land

Native Americans

Sacajawea, Kathleen Wiley

Squanto, Kathleen Wiley


Free at Last, Linda Brown and Dr. Thomas Moore

Freedom Riders Got to Ride, Vitamin L

Civil War

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Band

Westward Expansion

Echo Canyon (Building the Railroads)

World War I

Over There, Billy Murray

When This Lousy War is Over

The Roaring Twenties
Louis Armstrong

Duke Ellington

Ella Fitzgerald

Civil Rights

Rise Up, Martin Luther King Day, Jack Hartmann

Rosa Parks, Andy Glockenspiel

World War II

Sing, Sing, Sing, Benny Goodman

The White Cliffs of Dover

Cold War

Masters of War, Bob Dylan

Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself), Oingo Boingo

Memorial Day

Memorial day is the American holiday for remembering people who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces. After the Civil War, Decoration Day was among one several days marked to honor the fallen but they all eventually merged into what we know as Memorial Day. This holiday is held on the last Monday in May and is often celebrated with parades, parties, and moments of silence. Cemeteries will be decorated with flags, flowers, and personal mementos by family members.

For more information, visit:

Many schools in the U.S. require that students know the meaning and history of national holidays. To share more information about this holiday with your elementary children, read them these books:

  • Let’s Get Ready for Memorial Day, Lloyd G. Douglas
  • Memorial Day Surprise, Teresa Golding
  • The Wall, Eve Bunting
  • Memorial Day, Christin Ditchfield

Looking for an activity to celebrate the holiday and learn a bit more about the history? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Write a letter to a thank you letter to someone currently serving in the armed forces.
  2. Research the U.S. military and the different ways in which a soldier can serve. Create an organizational chart with a brief description of each branch and then list some of the jobs available in each section.
  3. Visit a nursing home or neighbor and ask what they remember about our countries wars. Write down their responses. Then, write a thank you letter thanking them for their time.
  4. Make a list of each war and the dates. Then, visit a cemetery and try to find someone who fought or died in each war. Leave flowers at three graves (if allowed by the cemetery.
  5. Flag activities! Make a flag out of tissue paper balls, construction paper, or fabric. Research the history of our flag. Read a book about Betsy Ross. Learn a new song about the flag. Go out as a family and buy an American flag for your front door.Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 3.15.50 PM