Behind the Curtain

Cover: Behind the Curtain



Historical events can look different depending on your perspective. In the Behind the Curtain series, readers will come to understand different viewpoints by stepping into the shoes of central characters as they act out dramatic retellings of history's biggest moments. Written with simplified, considerate text to help struggling readers, this series is made to build confidence as readers engage and read aloud. Books in this series include a table of contents, glossary, index, author biography, sidebars, and timelines.


  • Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Graphics: Full-color photographs, Historical photographs
  • Reinforced book (9781534142640): 7 x 9, 32 pages, © 2019
  • Paperback (9781534139077): 7 x 9, 32 pages, © 2019
  • Hosted ebook (9781534141476): 7 x 9, 32 pages, © 2019
  • Subject: Language Arts, Social Studies
  • Series: Behind the Curtain

BISAC Subjects

  • Compact view
  • Extended view

Individual Titles (8)

Cover: Fighting the Monarchy: Battle of Bunker Hill
Cover: Boycotting the British: Boston Tea Party
Cover: Heading West: Oregon Trail and Westward Expansion
Cover: Women and Children First: Sinking of the Titanic
Cover: Escape North: Underground Railroad
Cover: A Date Which Will Live in Infamy: Attack on Pearl Harbor
Cover: Union Triumph: Battle of Gettysburg
Cover: Famine and Dust: Dust Bowl


Booklist - Behind the Curtain series

Behind the Curtain series takes an atypical approach to history by giving students a chance to act out major events in our country’s past. Designed as a two-act play, each book opens with a succinct historical overview, cast of characters, and “Spotlight Biography” on a noteworthy historical figure. Scripted dialogue, while somewhat stilted, offers various perspectives on the event at hand. Famine and Dust portrays the hardships faced in the drought-plagued Midwest of the 1930s. While Heading West dramatizes the dangers of traveling the Oregon Trail, it also emphasizes the trials faced by Native Americans as settlers moved through their lands. Civilians and soldiers both have their say about the Battle of Gettysburg in Union Triumph. Figures from first through third class promenade through Women and Children First, going from excited to distraught as disaster strikes the Titanic. Visual layouts incorporate vocabulary and “Flash Fact!” bubbles, photos (period and current), artistic renderings, and notes on each event’s setting—not to mention its “bloopers.” Educators will want to take advantage of the time line and further reading section, as these books feature invented dialogue but no source notes.

School Library Journal - Behind the Curtain

Gr 3-5–This series allows children to immerse themselves in the past through a unique and rarely seen approach. An engaging blend of historical events with readers’ theater brings the prose to life. After presenting simplified background information, the books present a cast of characters, all of whom were real individuals, and a two-act script fictionalizing the event. The scripts are written through a modern lens, with the occasional anachronism, even going so far as to predict future repercussions. Despite the heavy nature of some of the topics, the series is accessible to the intended audience. More than just dramatic retellings, anecdotes of marginalized groups are provided, real-world settings and monuments of significance are described, and even historical bloopers are detailed, all of which are accompanied by original and reenacted visuals. VERDICT The unique approach to enlivening history via readers’ theater makes this series a worthy purchase.


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