Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


The purpose of this study was to analyze the treatment of complex issues of the American Civil War in a fifth grade social studies textbook and historical fiction novels, written for upper elementary readers. The study focused on slavery and racial issues, the stresses of war on families, and the aftermath of war.

A content analysis was conducted, using the fifth grade textbook information as a baseline for concepts to be learned. A sample of American Civil War historical fiction books was gathered using the following method: the H W Wilson's Middle School & Junior High Core Collection database was searched using the advanced option. The key words entered were United States Civil War, history, and fiction. The recommendation level chosen was Core Collection. Books with a publication year of 1999 or newer were selected. The grade levels criteria used were grades 3-8, which allowed for a variety of reading levels in upper elementary. Twenty-two books met the criteria; however one was removed because it lacked American Civil War details.

The study found that historical novels provide more details of the complexity of slavery and racial issues and the complexity of the stresses of war on families. However, the historical novels did not provide more details of the complexity of the aftermath of the war than the textbook.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Department of Library Science

First Advisor

Jean Donham


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this graduate research paper and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 52 pages)