Judy Alter on Will Howard in Dallas Morning News

Last Sunday Judy Alter wrote in one of her occasional Dallas Morning News "Texas Letters" column about Will Howard, publisher of Will's Texana Monthy and host of the Texas Parlor etc.  Her kindness and generosity are exposed.  Thanks to Judy.  Hmm, she surely knows how to put the carrot out in front of this bibliographer.  Read more at



Keep up with Judy at http://judys-stew.blogspot.com/


Zoe, the Earless Kitten - Webb

The SF Gate: Home of the San Francisco Chronicle carries a delightful story and review of a Kingsville cat and book.

Earless cat changes Texas mom, daughter's lives


Archeology Lessons

Archeology Month is October.  But the Texas Historical Commission has some material for teachers who can use them throughout the year.  Their information sheet begins with this:
"How to Plan and Manage an Archeology Fair

Archeology fairs emphasize hands-on activities, displays and interactive exhibits. This manual contains a step-by-step checklist for planning a fair and ideas for activities including spear toss with atlatl, demonstration dig, flintknapping, wild-plant use, pottery making, rock-art painting, basket making, storytelling, tipi life, traditional foods and weaving. Also included are handouts to be used with various activities, as well as forms for scheduling volunteers and requesting publicity. About 40 pages long, the manual is intended for three-hole punching and placement in a notebook so you can add information, forms and other activity ideas of your own.


Texas Archeology in the Classroom: A Unit for Teachers

You can use this valuable classroom resource throughout the year. The four-part unit includes the following:

• Background sections that explain how archeologists work and provide overviews of archeological sites and Native Americans in Texas from Paleoindian through historical times.

• More than 20 activities or lesson plans using archeological topics for learning across the curriculum."
Read more about it at


Houston Texana Activities

Some interesting options are noticed in March newsletter of Young Audiences of Houston


Music in our Schools Month, Women's History Month, and Texas Independence Day

For the full schedule see  http://www.ya.houston.org  


From their  several fine options are threee clearly Texana


InterActive Theater  - The Story of the Lone Star State

Performance, Grades 1-7

This original production by Houston 's award-winning children's theater takes a bite out of Texas history. From the Native Americans to NASA astronauts, 600 years of Texas tales are told in 45 minutes. Audiences learn about Indian folklore, Spanish exploration, Hispanic heritage, and the many cultures and peoples that have shaped our state. Four actors play more than 50 roles, bringing to life such colorful characters as Sam Houston, Santa Anna, and James Bowie. Students experience a fantastic performance and become part of history, as the unique InterActive Theater Company allows them to volunteer on stage, answer questions, and offer suggestions to the actors. Teachers and educators find Texas history curriculum enhanced by a production that is at once educational and entertaining. So saddle up for the ride of your life – and don't worry, we'll remember the Alamo !

Single performance $760  Back to back $885  Audience limit 450  Performance length 45 minutes


John M. Keahey - Soldiers of the Texas Revolution, 1835 to 1836

Performance, Grades 2-12

The epic of Texas ' struggle for independence from Mexico is brought to life through the motley clothing and equipment of typical Texan settlers and Texan Army volunteers. The Texan diversity of clothing is then contrasted with the elaborate European-style uniform of a Mexican foot soldier.

Single performance $200  Same day performances $100 for each additional  Audience limit 60  Performance length 45 minutes


Paragon Brass Ensemble  - Texas, Alive with Music

Performance, Grades 3-12

View the sweeping pageantry of Texas history through music. From early Spanish exploration and the first settlement by American frontiersmen to the Battle for Independence and the Civil War, music has given voice to the land of Texas . Listen and learn as Paragon Brass traces this epic saga with musical selections relating Texas ' journey from colonization to independent nation to the Lone Star State .

Single performance $695 / Back to back $800 / Audience limit 300 / Performance length 45 minutes


Texas Master Naturalists

Logo 8_08_logo
Texas Master Naturalist Chapters are often helpful for acquainting youngsters with the flora and fauna of Texas.  Their mission is self-described
"The Mission: To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Many communities and organizations rely on such citizen volunteers for implementing youth education programs; for operating parks, nature centers, and natural areas; and for providing leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts. In fact, a short supply of dedicated and well-informed volunteers is often cited as a limiting factor for community-based conservation efforts."
Some of the chapters are
Members may be aware of books applicable to your locale.


Kids Page - Texas Parks & Widllife

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department logo The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides on-line booklets suitable for young readers as part of their many services.

General Information

Outdoor Kids Journal

Arts and Crafts Animal Masks

Color Texas Animals

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers dozens of images that they encourage you to print-out and supply to children to color.  For example, prairie dogs.
There's also a supply of state symbols, e.g., a setting of chili and jalapeƱo peppers.
food: chili 

Texas Studies - Birdville ISD

The Birdville ISD site is rich with Texas instruction aidsSeems the folks at Birdville ISD take good steps to aid their Texana teachers. 
The Social Studies Curriculum can be explored at
Their posted version of the 6-page 7th grade Texas History: Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
is augmented with correlations with
TAKS Correlations (Grades 8, 10, 11)

 and  Correlations Tested on TAAS, not on TAKS
Among the 4th grade documents is the basic TEKS Texas history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, and science and social studies annotated bibliography by Dr. Donna Norton, offered by TEA:
One of BISD's 2nd grade documents for  State and Local Community awareness is at
Their kindergarten charts demonstrate keen detail and assistance. At present I'm not sure whether the K TEKS charts were developed by BISD or whether they are provided by the State.  For example, see http://www.birdville.k12.tx.us/Instruction/ss2/Scope%20&%20Sequence%20Documents/00K/5th%20six%20weeks%20Kinder.doc
Kudos to all those in and around Halton City, home of BISD.

Texas Culinary Lesson

The Elisharose News reports an interesting option for student field trips. 
Go to a "Texas" themed or fooded restaurant.  In this case they went to "The Taste of Texas" in Houston.  There, the ever bountiful Nina Hendee extended the students learning with her own presentation.


123 Texas

123texas.jpgMike Merschal at the Dallas News' "Texas Pages" blog must have need a  breather from his usual national commentary of grown-up books.  He's mentions 123 Texas: A Cool Counting Book, a board book.


Evolultion of Calpurnia Tate - Kelly

The Goddess of YA Literature" reveiws "The Evolution of Callpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly.  Set on the San Marcos River.

Bubba - Ketteman

LS 5603 Literature for Children and Young Adults

Review of Ketteman, Helen.  BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE: A Fractured Texas Tale. Ill by James Warhola.


Sam Houston - Mary Wade

Sam Houston:  Standing Firm (Texas Heroes For Young Readers) Sam Houston: Standing Firm by Mary Dodson Wade and illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein.  Albany and Houston: Bright Sky Press, 2009. 24 pages.  http://brightskypress.com/   Large picture book, colored drawings.  ISBN 978-1-933979-3-7.   $16.95 Hardback.   Reading level ages 5-7, grades k-2.


Mary Wade, author of many children's books, inaugurates Bright Sky's new series, Texas Heroes for Young Readers.  Joy Fisher has also illustrated Miss Ladybird's Wildflowers.

Here's the life of Houston in a hundred sentences, most quite short, spread over the two dozen pages, each of which is illustrated in four color form.


The work steadily develops Sam's trait of standing firm, aka aloofness or  stubbornness or arrogance or blindness, as may have been alleged over time by Sam's non-supporters.  But for the youngest kids Mary gracefully tends toward the positive adjective "firm."  Houston leaves school, home, traditional culture for the Cherokee ways, etc.  He goes into teaching, soldiering, and politics.  In Texas he signs the Declaration of Independence (although unnamed in the book), retreats from the Alamo trap, and wins at San Jacinto.  The presidency prepares him for another try at matrimony.  Then it's the Senate and the Governor's chair which is taken from him for his "refusal to be loyal to a new country."  He dies after moving into his Huntsville Steamboat House.  Most of the illustrations depict the out-of-doors, and most of the sentences use active verbs.  Pronunciation aids follow some words.

http://www.wadeco.com/author.htm   http://www.joyfisherhein.com/




Homeschool recommendations

"Semicolon" blog files a dozen or so recommendations for students.

Coach Eubanks & 7th Grade history

Coach Eubanks has a blog to aid his instruction of his 7th grade Texas history class.


Lisa Waller Rogers

Lisa Waller Rogers has a blog.  Very interesting, but little Texana.  However, in her "About Lisa Waller Rogers" notes she shows her several books of Texana for young readers.
  • A Texas Sampler: Historical Recollections (primary source material/all levels, Texas Tech University Press, 199 8) was a 1999 finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Best Book for Children/Young People Award. It is endorsed by First Lady Laura Bush.


  • Angel of the Alamo: A True Story of Texas (middle grade biography, W.S. Benson & Co., 2000) was a 2005 nominee for the Texas State Reading Association Golden Spur Award.

  • Get Along, Little Dogies: The Chisholm Trail Diary of Hallie Lou Wells (middle grade historical fiction, TTUP, 2001) was a finalist for the 2003-2004 Lamplighter Award.

·       The Great Storm: The Hurricane Diary of J.T. King, Galveston, 1900 (middle grade historical fiction, TTUP, 2002) won the 2002 Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Juvenile Book and was a 2004-2005 Lamplighter Award Finalist. In acknowledgment, the Texas House of Representatives adopted House Resolution No. 995 stating that "Ms. Rogers has distinguished herself as one of the premier storytellers of our time."


· With the publication of Remember the Alamo: The Runaway Scrape Diary of Belle Wood (middle grade historical fiction, TTUP, 2003), "Lisa Waller Rogers has created a new children's classic of Texas literature," wrote Deborah Hardin in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (October 2004), the oldest continuously published scholarly journal in Texas.


All books are available for order online at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble