Find Authors

"My students’ primary texts are volumes in History of US by Joy Hakim (1993). I picked this series because it is lively, accurate, beautifully illustrated, packed with information, smart about causes and consequences..... In short, Hakim’s writing style is inviting and accessible"
-Nancie Atwell, Winner, Global Teacher Prize 2015

"Compelling writing makes this series a must."
- Stephanie Harvey, reading specialist and author of Strategies That Work

"In the sorry state of current textbooks the achievement of Joy Hakim's A History of US is all the more impressive. Hakim set out to write a series of books that would combine the best qualities of the earlier narrative histories with modern historical research. Convinced that history is inherently fascinating, she fills her books with anecdotes, quotations, humor, and well-described characters. Instead of talking down to children in simplified language, her books invite children to make an effort."
-The New York Review of Books

"Every child deserves to learn with such material."
-Janet Allen, literacy specialist and author of Words, Words, Words

A HISTORY OF US is a new kind of American history, informed by some of this nation's top historians. It is an upbeat positive history--which seems appropriate for an audience being introduced to the subject--but it also addresses the racial dilemma that has haunted American history. IT INCLUDES SOME NEW HEROES: people from our history who got that racial issue right. But its main purpose is to make reading exciting and thus to help IMPROVE READING SCORES.

So: THESE ARE BOOKS INTENDED TO TEACH READING AND CRITICAL THINKING as well as social studies. They are meant to inspire writing; Joy's informal style seems to do just that. Student writers are expected to research, write, and be themselves when they draw conclusions. That process is impossible without doing some thinking.

Joy Hakim's books use an ancient teaching method: STORYTELLING. Today it is known as narrative nonfiction.

THE VOICE OF AMERICA wanted to see how Joy's books work in classrooms. Here's a link to a story they sent worldwide showing children reading A History of US: A Texas teacher, using the books to teach reading to low achieving students, saw scores soar and was named a teacher of the year.

Cited by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy as an exemplary informational text, A HISTORY OF US also received the first-ever James A. Michener Award for Writing by the National Council for the Social Studies, two Parents Choice Awards, and a bevy of other educational and library awards. The books are constantly updated to include current history.

Joy turned to science with her next books, The Story of Science, books published by the Smithsonian with coordinated "hands on" experiments and activities (from Johns Hopkins and NSTA's former president Juliana Texley). The series begins with stories from ancient Greece and ends with modern theories of the cosmos. The Story of Science won the 2008 Benjamin Franklin Award, the 2008 Selectors Choice CBC/NSTA's Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, and a Best Science Book of the Year award (topping all categories) from U.S.A. Books. This is world history with a scientific backbone: appropriate for our time.

PBS aired a 16-part American history special, Freedom: A History of US, based on Joy’s work. Narrated by Katie Couric and featuring stars such as Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, and a bevy of well-known celebrities, this TV series was designed with classroom use in mind. A companion book and teacher/student website were also created. For more information go to

Joy's recent works are ebooks: Reading Science Stories and "Free To Believe (Or Not)," the STORY OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN AMERICA. It's a book that includes some surprises, it also attempts to teach children how to read original documents. A HISTORY OF US is also published in ebook format (text but no illustrations); THE STORY OF SCIENCE is in illustrated ebook format.

“I am thoroughly charmed by The Story of Science. The books read lightly and easily while conveying an imposing amount of information. When I was in high school, I used to wonder why the textbooks had to be so horrible. Why, I wondered, didn’t real writers write textbooks, so that we students could complete our reading assignments without wading through prose that resembled a federal budget analysis translated into Esperanto? Please accept my congratulations on this remarkable accomplishment.”
-Timothy Ferris, author of The Whole Shebang

"A big breath of fresh air and the best possible news for the youngsters who get to read these books."
-David McCullough, American historian, author The Wright Brothers, Brave Companions

"You really do seem to have accomplished a miracle--interesting kids in history."
-James M. McPherson, author, Battle Cry of Freedom

When I told one little boy that I remembered Martin Luther King, Jr he gasped,
thought a moment, and asked me if I remembered George Washington.
Of course I do. There I am writing in colonial days.

Joy Hakim, Author Photo Credit: Brian Cairns

School Orders
Special discounts and sample books are available.

A History of US
Tel: (800) 445-9714

The Story of Science
Tel: (202) 633-2495

Reading Science Stories
Email: joyhakim@​

For For more information, please visit Joy's Ordering/​Contact page.