Comet, Earthquake and Fire Canoe [4th grade ELA]


Comet, Earthquake and Fire Canoe is the most recent TN History for Kids booklet, released in mid-February 2022. It features 15 original stories about topics ranging from Betsy Ross to Harriet Tubman; from the Lincoln assassination to the Robert Fulton’s first steamboat ride; from Shay’s Rebellion to Dred Scott.

Some of the stories take a fascinating look at a subject that may seem boring in the textbook. For example:


The murder of an 11-year-old boy may have led to the Boston Massacre.

Contrary to what people have been told, Betsy Ross may not have made the first American flag.


Far more Americans died on British prisoner of war ships than in all of the battles of the Revolutionary War combined.

Today we associated Daniel Shays with a rebellion. But was he a bad guy, or a hero? After all, he was a decorated Revolutionary War veteran who was unhappy about the fact that he was never paid for his military service!


We all know about Samuel Morse’s first telegraph message. But what was the first telegraph message ever received in Tennessee?

How was it that Harriet Tubman made so many trips back into slave territory without being captured.

Comet, Earthquake and Fire Canoe is intended to make eager readers out of all fourth graders, many of whom are under the bizarre impression that reading (and history) is boring. It’s meant to help students learn to deal with different types of sentence structure and different types of writing. It is meant to increase the vocabulary of fourth graders, and send them home with anecdotes that will dumbfound their parents.


Along the way, we hope the readers of Comet, Earthquake and Fire Canoe learn a bit about U.S. history between 1750 and 1880.