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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom


Agriculture-Related Books

Cotton, Wool and Other Textiles

Dia's Story Cloth
Cha, Dia
Lee and Low, 1996
Grades K-5
A Laos woman recounts her family's wartime displacement, during which she was forced to flee to a refugee camp in Thailand and remain away from her home for four years, in a story that is illustrated by a lavish Vietnamese story cloth.
The Quilt Block History of Pioneer Days
Cobb, Mary
Philbrook, 1995
Grades K-3
Easy-to-make papercraft quilt projects show how the daily lives and experiences of the pioneers came to be reflected in the quilts they made.
So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscol, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell Massachusetts, 1847
Denenberg, Barry
Scholastic, 1996
Grades 4-7
Fourteen-year-old Mary Driscoll and her family have lived in terrible poverty in the Irish countryside every since the potato famine began several years ago. When Mary is offered a chance to join her aunt and older sister in America, she jumps at the chance to seek a better life for herself. But after a long, stormy, and miserable ocean voyage, Mary arrives in America to find that it is nothing like she expected. She takes a job in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, where she is scorned by most of the American workers and expected to work long hours under terrible, unsafe conditions. There are few bright spots in this account of the life faced by many girls in New England cities during the mid-nineteenth century, and most of what happened to the fictional character of Mary happened to various girls who lived back then and worked in factories and mills.
Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt
Ernst Lisa C.
Morrow, 1992
Grades K-3
When Sam Johnson inadvertently discovers how much fun sewing can be, he tries to join the Rosedale Women's Quilting Club. "Don't be silly," the club president says. "We can't have a man here bungling everything!" But Sam Johnson won't take no for an answer. He organizes a rival sewing circle-- and no women need apply.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Hospkinson, Deborah
Knopf, 1993
Grades K-3
As a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams of a reunion with her Momma, who lives on another plantation - and even of running away to freedom. Then she overhears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad. In a flash of inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the cloth in her scrap bag to make a map of the land - a freedom quilt - that no master will ever suspect.
Unraveling Fibers
Keeler, Patricia A., and Francis X. McCall, Jr.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995
Grades 4-7
From general remarks about fibers and how they are spun, then woven or knitted into cloth, this book proceeds to more detailed discussions of natural fibers from plants (flax, cotton, jute) and animals (wool, cashmere, silk), and synthetic fibers (rayon, polyester, Kevlar). Throughout the book, small full-color photographs provide clear views of the fibers in many stages of growth and production. The last page speculates about possible fibers of the future. The clarity of both text and illustration makes this a useful introduction to fibers, their production, and their uses.
The Bobbin Girl
McCully, Emily Arnold
Dial, 1996
Grades K-3
When her mother's income from the boardinghouse no longer covers their expenses, 10-year-old Rebecca helps out by working as a bobbin girl at the local textile mill. The young women who board with Mrs. Putney endure the mill's bad air, loud machinery, high injury rate, and low wages in the hope of improving their lot, but when the mill owners threaten to lower their wages, the mill workers stage a "turnout," refusing to work. Although the protest fails, young Rebecca is proud of doing the right thing and vows to carry on the struggle. A Lowell, Massachusetts, textile mill in the 1830s may be an unlikely setting for a picture book, even one for older readers, but McCully weaves historical facts and fictional characters into an intriguing story. The author's note details the background, incidents, and people who inspired the book. Beautifully composed watercolor paintings give a vivid impression of America in the 1830s and bring the period to life. A useful book for history units.
Secret Life of the Underwear Champ
Miles, Betty
Knopf, 1999
Grades 4-7
To be 'discovered' by an ad agency looking for the perfect kid for a TV commercial - A Dream Come True. To find that shooting will conflict with baseball practices - A Big Worry. But, to discover the TV commercial is for underwear - A Social Disaster!
A Symphony for the Sheep
Millen, C.M., and Mary Azarian
Houghton Mifflin, 1996
Grades 1-3
Set in Ireland, this story follows the steps by which a sheep's woolly coat is transformed into cloth and sweaters.
From Cotton to T-Shirt (Start to Finish)
Nelson, Robin
Lerner, 2003
Grades 1-5
Shows how T-shirts are made and includes several stages in the manufacturing process, such as close-ups of thread making, mechanical weaving, dyeing and cutting.
From Sheep to Sweater (Start to Finish)
Nelson, Robin
Lerner, 2003
Grades 1-5
Paterson, Katherine
Lodestar, 1994
Young Adult
Lyddie Worthen must decide whether to risk losing her job running a loom at a dusty Massachusetts factory--a job she has taken to earn enough money to reunite her family--by protesting the poor working conditions.
The Keeping Quilt
Polacco, Patricia
Aladdin, 2001
Grades PreK-2
Polacco's first-person voice moves her narrative forward gracefully from the time when her Great-Gramma Anna came to America during the last century to the present. Richly detailed charcoal drawings fill the pages. Particularly striking are the faces of the Russian Jewish immigrant families who people the pages. The only color used is in the babushka and dress of Great-Gramma Anna, which become part of a brightly hued quilt. Following that quilt through four generations is the basis of this account. Customs and fashions change, but family is constant, visually linked by the "keeping quilt."
Mary Lincoln's Dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley's Remarkable Rise from Slave to White House Confidante
Rutberg, Becky
Walker, 1995
Young Adult
Born a slave in 1818, Mary Keckley endured 37 years of abuse, including forced sexual relations (and a resulting pregnancy) before buying freedom for herself and her son. Once free, she used her sewing skills to become one of Washington D.C.'s most successful dressmakers. Then she closed her dress shop to care for the first lady after Lincoln's assassination.
Warm as Wool
Sanders, Scott R.
Bradbury, 1992
Grades K-3
Living in the Ohio wilderness in 1804, Betsy Ward sets out to build a flock of sheep and, despite predation, illness, and death, manages to create warm clothing for her children.
Quilt for Elizabeth
Tiffault, Benette W.
Centering, 1992
When Elizabeth is eight years old, her father dies. She displays anger over his illness and denial when she hears of his death. Gradually, with the help of her mother and grandmother, she comes to accept his absence. She learns to sew, and she and her grandmother piece together patches of favorite clothing saved over time, clothing that holds treasured memories of her father. When the quilt is finished, Elizabeth wraps herself inside, enters the tree house her father built for her, and feels better knowing that she holds him deep within her.
Working Cotton, Harcourt
Williams, Sherley Anna
Brace, Jovanovich, 1992
Grades preK-3
Shelan, the young child of two migrant workers, follows her parents into the fields to help them pick cotton during a long day of work, in a dramatically illustrated study of migrant family life.
Show Way
Woodson, Jacqueline, and Hudson Talbott
Putnam, 2005
Grades K-5
A Show Way is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both history and metaphor in this picture book. Based on Woodson's own history, the story is of African American women across generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to the present. Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina, Soonie learns from Big Mama about children "growing up and getting themselves free," and also how to sew quilts with signs that show the way to freedom.