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History class making you think the past is dusty and dull? Make history come alive with a little help from the historical fiction reading lists!

In Historical Fiction: 20th Century and Onward, explore the Turn of the Century, the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, plus much more!

Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace

Felix O'Sullivan's world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town. But Felix's got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he's been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby's old position as quarterback, and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. Maybe then his angry, broken-hearted father will acknowledge him, and they'll be able to put Bobby's death behind them.

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things Written by Cynthia Voigt with illustrations by Iacopo Bruno

Max's parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped?

Duke by Kirby Larson

With World War II raging and his father fighting overseas in Europe, 11-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and his country, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke. Will Hobie ever see Duke, or his father, again?

Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger

When a drought hits in Sierra Leone, nine-year-old Magulu is sold by her father. But an unthinkable chain of events unfolds: a capture by slave traders; weeks in an airless hold; a landing where she is sold and taken aboard the Amistad; a mutiny; a trial that is argued by John Quincy Adams. Narrated in first-person, this fictionalized book of a real-life figure retells history through the eyes of a child.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve

When World War II breaks out, Franziska Mangold is torn from her family in Berlin when she boards the Kindertransport, the train that secretly carried nearly ten thousand children out of Nazi territory to safety in England. Taken in by strangers who soon become more like family than her own parents, Frances (as she becomes known) courageously pieces together a new life for herself. But how will she cope when the war ends and she must choose whether to stay with her new family or return to the people she left behind?

Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan

With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing.

The Journal of Biddy Owens, the Negro Leagues, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948 by Walter Dean Myers

Seventeen-year-old Biddy Owens is part of the Birmingham Black Barons baseball team and dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. However, in 1948 most black players can only play for the Negro Leagues. Can Biddy prove he's good enough to be part of the game his loves, no matter what color his skin is?

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Bee is an orphan who lives with a carnival and sleeps in the back of a tractor trailer. Every day she endures taunts for the birthmark on her face. Then, a scruffy dog shows up, and Bee realizes that she must find a home for them both. She runs off to a house with gingerbread trim. There two mysterious women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter, take her in. And, strangely, only Bee seems able to see them.

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead claim, Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream. She wants to be a reporter. Nothing can squash her desire to write for a big city newspaper. But, Hattie must first tell Charlie that she will not join him in Seattle. Hattie holds her own in the big city, but can making headlines compensate for the pain of betrayal and lost love?

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

After Jack's mother dies, he is sent to boarding school in Maine. At school he meets Early Auden, a strange boy who collects stories about a great black bear that is often sighted in nearby mountains. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they set off on an adventure through the Appalachian Trail to find the bear.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Evelyn Serrano isn't sure about her feelings for Abuela, her sassy grandmother who's come from Puerto Rico to live with her family. But then things begin to change. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested.

Son of a Gun by Anne de Graaf

This powerful and gripping story describes the journey of a brother and sister, eight-year-old Lucky and ten-year-old Nopi, who are kidnapped from school and forced to become child soldiers in Liberia's 14-year-long civil war.

Lunch-Box Dream by Tony Abbott

Lunch-Box Dream presents Jim Crow, racism, and segregation from multiple perspectives.  In this story of witnessing without understanding, a naïvely prejudiced boy, in brief flashes of insight, starts to identify and question his assumptions about race.

A Time For Courage: The Suffragette Diary of Kathleen Bowen, Washington, D.C. 1917 by Kathryn Lasky

As the fight for women's suffrage heats up, Kathleen"Kat" Bowen gets to participate as her mother and her sister, and many others close to her organize and act to win the right to vote.

King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige by Wes Tooke

Nick, an aspiring star baseball player, is diagnosed with polio, a life-threatening disease in the 1930s. He seems to be the only one who thinks he can get back in the game. Then Nick meets Satchel Paige, who faces obstacles of his own --- his skin color prevents him from joining the major leagues --- and he encourages Nick to overcome the odds and step out of the dugout.

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

This irresistible novel entangles an orphaned girl in a deceit filled plot. Young Rachel Sheridan is made to leave her beloved Africa for England, where she must pose as the deceased daughter of a nefarious couple in an effort to gain them an enormous inheritance. Her irrepressible spirit and extraordinary wit turn her from victim to heroine in a surprising and empowering tale of a remarkable young woman.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Diary of Bess Brennan, The Perkins School for the Blind, 1932 by Barry Denenberg

Blinded after a terrible accident, Bess must learn to overcome her disability with the help of new friends and skills at the Perkins School for the Blind, in the wake of America's Great Depression. Bess's story will inspire all readers to be strong in the face of hardship.

Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger

Ten-year-old Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mystical witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man.  When a storm blows in and Bones and Little Man uncover something horrible at the edge of the Loo-chee swamp, the evidence of foul play points to Bones’ father Nolay, leaving Bones determined to take matters into her own hands.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. This friendship gives Marlee the courage to attempt the scariest of tasks, including giving a speech in front of her entire class. But Liz has a secret --- she is really an African American pretending to be white in order to go to the white school. And in 1958 Arkansas, this is a deadly offense.

The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence

A white pony’s life changes forever when he's captured, and years of hard work and cruelty wear him out. When he's chosen to be one of 20 ponies to accompany the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott on his quest to become the first to reach the South Pole, he doesn't know what to expect. But the men of Scott's expedition show him kindness, and he soon finds himself caught up in one of the greatest races of all time.

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon

Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston.

A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Meet Anetka, a 13-year-old Polish girl who comes to America as a promised bride to a Pennsylvania coal miner. Her fascinating diary entries give readers a personal glimpse into what life was like in a coal-mining town during a tumultuous time in our country's past.

An American Spring: Sofia's Immigrant Diary, Book 3 by Kathryn Lasky

Sofia continues to chronicle life in her new home, the North End of Boston, as her best friend Maureen comes to live with her, and her parents open their own store. Sofia describes the daily hardships and joys that she meets as a new American.

Behind the Masks: The Diary of Angeline Reddy - Bodie, California, 1880 by Susan Patron

Growing up in the wild gold-mining town of Bodie, California, in the 1880s, Angeline Reddy has seen it all --- saloons, brawls, and a whole lot of desperation. When her father, Bodie's greatest lawyer, is declared murdered, Angie knows deep in her heart that he isn't dead and decides it is up to her to solve the mystery of what happened to him.

Beyond the Western Sea, Book 2: Into the Storm by Avi

Fifteen-year-old Maura and twelve-year-old Patrick O'Connell are finally free from the impoverished conditions of their small Irish village and onto a ship heading to America, but there is still a treacherous journey ahead of them. The children are in search of a better world and a new home. But will they find what they're looking for in America?

Changes for Samantha by Valerie Tripp

Times change for Samantha when she moves to New York City to live with Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia. They change for Nellie, Samantha's servant friend in Mount Bedford, too. But Nellie's changes aren't as happy as Samantha's. When her friend disappears, Samantha thinks Nellie has been lost forever. But after a long and scary search, Samantha finds Nellie and her sisters in a New York orphanage. The orphanage is not a good place, so the girls plan a daring escape.

Chasing Charity: Texas Fortunes Trilogy, Book 2 by Marcia Gruver

In this second book of the Texas Fortunes series, Charity Bloom is left stranded at the altar after her best friend takes off with her fiance. How will she ever show her face in town again? After Buddy Pierce discovers oil on the Bloom property, he realizes the real treasure may be above ground-in the form of Charity Bloom. Can he strike it rich in Charity? When her ex-fiance decides he wants her back, whom will Charity choose--the handsome roughneck or the deceitful rogue?

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

It's 1894, the year of Essie's thirtieth birthday, and she decides the Lord has more important things to do than provide her a husband. If she wants one, she needs to catch him herself. So, she writes down the names of all the eligible bachelors in her small Texas town, makes a list of their attributes and drawbacks, closes her eyes, twirls her finger, and...picks one.

Hear My Sorrow: The Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker, New York City 1909 by Deborah Hopkinson

Angela and her family have arrived in New York City from their village in Italy to find themselves settled in a small tenement apartment on the Lower East Side. When her father is no longer able to work, Angela must leave school and work in a shirtwaist factory. She plays a part in the drama and turmoil that erupt as workers begin to strike, protesting the terrible conditions in the sweatshops. And she records the horrors of the Triangle Factory fire and the triumphs and sorrows of the labor movement.

Home At Last, Sofia's Ellis Island Diary, Book 2 by Kathryn Lasky

After her dramatic release from quarantine and reunion with her family, Sofia moves to the North End of Boston, where the Monaris start their new lives in their new country. While her parents struggle to make ends meet, Sofia must adjust to her American school, friends and job.

Hope In My Heart, Sofia's Ellis Island Diary, Book 1 by Kathryn Lasky

When Sofia and her family arrive in Ellis Island after a long and difficult journey from Italy, a cruel twist of fate separates Sofia from her parents and sends her into "quarantine." There, in a state-run hopsital, she and her new friend, Maureen, must learn to overcome the twin hardships of immigration and alienation, while they maintain the hope that they will be reunited with their families.

The Mastermind Plot by Angie Frazier

Suzanna "Zanna" Snow can hardly believe her luck: She's just arrived in Boston, the city she's wanted to visit for as long as she can remember. Think of all the mysteries waiting to be solved here! Her famous detective uncle, however, doesn't want Zanna meddling in his current case involving a string of mysterious warehouse fires along the harbor front. But Zanna can't help herself.

Kaspar the Titanic Cat written by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman

When Kaspar the cat first arrived at London’s Savoy Hotel, it was Johnny Trott who carried him in. But when tragedy befalls the Countess during her stay, Kaspar becomes more than Johnny’s responsibility: Kaspar is Johnny’s new cat, and his new best friend.

When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer, New York City to the Western Front 1917 by Beth Seidel Levine

In April of 1917, Simone Spencer's world changes. Her beloved brother Will goes off to war, and Simone seeks a way to help. The passionate daughter of a feisty French mother and a rebellious upper-class father, Simone is not cut out for the society life she is meant to lead. So, when General Pershing calls for French-speaking American girls to operate the switchboards on the Western Front, Simone becomes one of the first brave "Hello Girls" whose courage helped lead the Allies to victory. In the end, Christmas brings the Spencers back together again.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France.

Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards, Dalhart, Texas 1935 by Katelan Janke

In 16-year-old Katelan Janke's first Dear America book, we meet Grace Edwards, a little girl growing up in the heart of the Texas panhandle, in the midst of the Dust Bowl. Fierce, dust-filled winds ravage the plains and threaten the town's agricultural livelihood, creating poverty and despair among Grace's neighbors. Will her family's farm survive?

The Journal of C. J. Jackson, a Dust Bowl Migrant, Oklahoma to California, 1935 by William Durbin

The Dust Bowl was one of the most tragic times in American history. C.J. Jackson lives in Oklahoma but is desperate to survive, so he and his family leave Oklahoma and head West to California. Can C.J. and his family make a better life for themselves in California?

Changes for Molly by Valerie Tripp

Molly can't wait for Dad to come home--he'll arrive in time to see her dance the part of Miss Victory in the big Red Cross show! Molly isn't worried about her tap dancing, but she wants to look sophisticated so that Dad will know how much she's grown up while he's been away at war. Unfortunately, Molly's hair is all wrong. When Jill finally finds a way to give Molly glorious curls, everything seems to be perfect. Then Molly gets sick. Things couldn't be worse--until the doctor comes just in time.

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah

After enduring abuse at the hands of her cruel stepmother, Chinese Cinderella seeks refuge at a martial-arts school and joins a secret dragon society. When CC and her new comrades take on a daring mission to rescue a crew of WWII American airmen, they prove that true bravery knows no age barrier.

Dear America: The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis - Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson

One fateful day in December 1941, Piper Davis awaits the news of her brother, a soldier on the battleship Arizona stationed in Pearl Harbor. She wonders about the fate of her brother while rationing and blackouts take hold in Seattle. Soon, Piper faces the incarceration of her Japanese neighbors. As she learns about the heartbreaking realities of war, Piper begins to understand that she has the power to make a difference.

Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii 1941 by Barry Denenberg

In her diary, 12-year-old Amber describes moving to Hawaii in 1941 and experiencing the horror of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, Long Island, New York 1941 by Mary Pope Osborne

Thirteen-year-old Madeline's diaries for 1941 and 1942 reveal her experiences living on Long Island during World War II while her father is away in the Navy.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Living in Germany during World War II, young Liesel Meminger scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist --- books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids.

The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone

When Felicity’s parents leave her with distant relatives and then start sending her coded letters, she’s sure they are in trouble. Can Felicity de-code the messages, heal her family, and save her parents, all while surviving her first crush?

The Search by Eric Heuvel, Ruud van der Rol, and Lies Schippers

Esther remembers her own experience of the Holocaust as a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, and recounts to her grandson Daniel and his friend Jeroen how she escaped from the Nazis and survived by going into hiding in the countryside. Her parents were not so lucky.

Racing the Moon by Alan Armstrong

In the spring of 1947, outer space was an unexplored realm, but eleven year-old Alex Heart and her impulsive brother, Chuck, believe that the stars are within reach. In the midst of building their own rocket, Alex and Chuck befriend Captain Ebbs, an army scientist who is working to create food for future space travelers, and the trio's shared interest in space travel sets off a series of adventures that the three will never forget.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. 12-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family and look beyond outward appearances.

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

As much as Glory wants to turn 12, sometimes she wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Her sister Jesslyn no longer has the time of day for her now that she’s entering high school. Things have always been so easy with her best friend Frankie, but now suddenly they aren’t. And then there’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.

I Have a Dream Written by Martin Luther King, Jr., Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magnificent paintings, make for a picture book to be treasured by children and adults alike.

More books like the ones on this list »

History class making you think the past is dusty and dull? Make history come alive with a little help from the historical fiction reading lists!

In Historical Fiction: Before the 20th Century, explore the Medieval age, Salem Witch Trials, moving to the Western Frontier and the Civil War, plus much more!

To see historical fiction books from the 20th century and onward, click here.

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Colonial settler John Wakely is only 10 when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly. But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her sister is forced to flee and presumed dead. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister and bring her home.

The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a "mudlark," he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. But even for Eel, things aren't so bad until that fateful August day in 1854 --- the day the Great Trouble begins. Mr. Griggs, the tailor, is the first to get sick, and soon it's clear that the deadly cholera --- the "blue death" --- has come to Broad Street.

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost

It’s 1812, and Anikwa and James spend their days exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. Anikwa is a member of the Miami tribe, and James’ family members are traders who have ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising as the British and American armies prepare for battle and Native Americans from surrounding tribes protect their homeland. James and Anikwa must decide where their deepest loyalties lie.

Brotherhood by Anne Westrick

The year is 1867, the South has been defeated, and the American Civil War is over. But the conflict goes on. By day, 14-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons with Rachel, a freed slave. By night he follows his older brother Jeremiah to the meetings of a group whose stated mission is to protect Confederate widows like their mother. 

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale

The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. The graphic novel focuses on the struggles of the Reed family to tell the true story of the catastrophic journey.

The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley

Master storyteller Diane Stanley returns to the intriguing world of The Silver Bowl to tell Molly's latest exciting adventure. The Cup and the Crown will be enjoyed by fans of Molly and by readers who are meeting this spirited heroine for the first time.

Changes for Addy by Connie Porter

Addy has begun to give up hope of ever having her family together. Then she gets word that baby Esther, Auntie Lula, and Uncle Solomon are on their way to Philadelphia. Addy searches the city for them, but the reunion she dreamed of is mixed with joy and deep sorrow. As Addy prepares for her reading at the Emancipation Celebration, she begins to doubt the words about freedom she is supposed to read. Momma reminds Addy that their family will always be together as long as their love and courage live in her heart.

Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

Twelve-year-old Nellie Lee's family moves north to Chicago in search of a better life. Like many other African Americans, they hope to escape the racism of the rural south and take advantage of the opportunities in the city. Instead, they find themselves faced with a more sinister form of prejudice -- hatred within there own race.

Happy Birthday, Addy! by Connie Porter

Addy and her parents have moved to a boarding house. There Addy meets an inspiring friend, M'dear. Like many people who grew up enslaved, Addy doesn't know when she was born, so M'dear urges Addy to claim a day for her birthday. Then M'dear falls ill. When Addy goes out to get medicine, she faces prejudice--and danger. M'dear helps Addy overcome her anger and gives her a deeper understanding of freedom. When Addy finally claims a birthday, it is a special day indeed, and the whole city celebrates.

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich

Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have spent every day side by side and have done everything together since they were born --- until the day the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated. Desperate to reunite, Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness.

Season of Promise: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary, Book Three by Patricia Hermes

Elizabeth, who is finally reunited with her twin brother Caleb, continues to grieve for the death of her mother in this third and final volume of her diary. And things don't get much easier when the cruel Lord Delaware begins to impose strict new laws on the residents of the Jamestown colony, and her father decides to remarry. But Elizabeth's brave spirit carries her through the hard times and into happier ones, as she and her friends rebuild the colony's church and discover true happiness.

I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Deliverance Trembley lives in Salem Village, where she must take care of her sickly sister, Mem, and where she does her daily chores in fear of her cruel uncle's angry temper. But when four young girls from the village accuse some of the local women of being witches, Deliverance finds herself caught up in the ensuing drama of the trials. And life in Salem is never the same.

Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart: Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 by Kristiana Gregory

Abigail Jane Stewart returns in this brand-new sequel to THE WINTER OF RED SNOW. The Revolutionary War toils on, but the Stewart family can no longer avoid getting involved. Abby's father joins the Continental Army, while Abby, her mother, and her siblings become camp followers. They face daily hardships alongside the troops and continue to spend time helping the Washingtons. Filled with romance and adventure, Abby's frontline view of the war captures the heartache and bravery of the soldiers, as well as the steep cost of freedom.

Felicity's Surprise by Valerie Tripp

Felicity is invited to a dancing lesson at the Governor's Palace, the most wonderful honor she can imagine. Mother promises to make a beautiful new gown for her. As the splendid event draws near, Mother becomes dreadfully ill. Felicity spends all her days caring for her, sadly accepting that there will be no new gown and no chance to go to the Palace. No chance, that is, until a glorious surprise reminds her that Christmastide is a time when hopes and dreams do come true.

Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl, New York Colony 1763 by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack

Lozette, or Zettie, is an orphaned slave girl who arrives with her French masters in New York Colony at the end of the French-Indian War. There, she must reconsider her loyalties when she is confronted with new landscapes, new conditions and new conflicts.

We Are Patriots: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary, Book Two by Kristiana Gregory

In this wonderful second book featuring Hope Penny Potter, the Revolutionary War wages on and Hope's daily life is much affected. The war has even kept her from her dear friend, Polly, whose parents are loyal to the King. But when Hope's much missed brother and father return, relief sets in, if only for a short while. For the plot thickens when Hope finds out that her father was with the Sons of Liberty and they will be in danger if anyone finds out.

When Freedom Comes: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary, Book 3 by Kristiana Gregory

In Hope's third and final diary, by Kristiana Gregory, we meet Hope once again in the middle of the Revolutionary War, as she continues to bravely face the turmoil and violence. Hope describes the realities of life in Pennsylvania as she is caught up in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Though the emerging nation's future is still uncertain, Hope remains optimistic and brave.

A Fine Start: Meg's Prairie Diary, Book 3 by Kate McMullan

In her third and final diary, by Kate McMullan, Meg continues to face the hardships of life on the prairie with her brave and sweet spirit. Meg continues to describe the daily realities on the prairie as she and her family make their lives in Kansas. Throughout these times of difficulty and joy, Meg is always courageous and thoughtful.

A Perfect Place: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary, Book Two, 1848 by Patricia Hermes

It is the fall of 1848, and Joshua and his family have finally arrived in Oregon. Excited about their new home, they choose a place to build and raise a farm. Though life out West is trying, and they must cope with losses and setbacks, they also experience great success and joy.

As Far As I Can See: Meg's Prairie Diary, Book 1 by Kate McMullan

Margaret Cora Wells is a resilient young girl living in St. Louis where cholera has become an epidemic. When her mother and sister get sick, Meg wants only to tend to them. But, in an effort to protect his children, her father sends Meg and her brother, Preston, to their relatives on the Kansas prairie for the summer. After an adventurous journey, Meg and Preston arrive in Kansas where they learn about life in another part of the country, and even more about the politics of the time. Meg is sweet and strong with a deep moral sense and a real sense of humor.

Changes for Josefina by Valerie Tripp

Josefina's family holds a party to celebrate the end of the Christmas season. Josefina and her sisters handle all the preparations, and the party is a great success. But the girls' pleasure turns to shock the next morning when T'a Dolores announces she's leaving the rancho. Josefina and her sisters are sure T'a Dolores belongs with them and Papá, but their efforts to convince her only make matters worse. There's one person who could persuade T'a Dolores to stay--but how can Josefina get him to help?

Changes for Kirsten by Janet Shaw

Kirsten wonders if the cold Minnesota winter will ever end. It's crowded in the tiny log cabin, and Kirsten looks forward to the days she's allowed outside to help her brother Lars with his trap line. One day she brings home a baby raccoon she's found in the woods, and trouble begins. The raccoon gets loose and starts a fire that destroys the Larsons' home and everything in it. The future seems bleak, until Kirsten and Lars go back into the woods and make a frightening but important discovery.

Emily and Jackson Hiding Out by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

After escaping Child-Catching Services, Emily Wiggins and her orphan friend Jackson are now living with her loving aunt Hilda. But someone's snooping around for an orphan child on the run, and they know that Jackson is hiding nearby. Even worse, some sort of creature is coming to their gate when Jackson and Emily are home alone. What could happen next?

For This Land: Meg's Prairie Diary, Book 2 by Kate McMullan

In Kate McMullan's second book of Meg's Prairie Diary, Meg's family is reunited on the prairie. Their new life is soon jeopardized by not only the struggle against slavery and those who would have Kansas be a slave state, but also a devastating fire that threatens to destroy their home. But Meg's strong spirit helps her overcome the hardships of life on the prairie.


Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild, California Territory 1849 by Kristiana Gregory

Susanna Fairchild and her family are on board a ship sailing from New York to the West, where they plan to start a new life in Oregon. But tragedy strikes when Susanna¹s mother is lost to the sea. Hearing stories of great wealth, Susanna¹s physician father decides he wants to join the hordes of men rushing to California to mine for gold.

The Journal of Jedediah Barstow: An Emigrant On The Oregon Trail by Ellen Levine

Having lost his parents and younger sister when they tried to ford a river along the Oregon Trail, Jedediah Barstow decides to make his way to the Oregon Territory on his own. He is "adopted" by the Henshaw family, who allow him to travel in their wagon in exchange for his help with the daily maintenance work along the way. Jedediah's adventures, along with the friends he makes and lessons he learns, make for an unforgettable story of a brave young boy who sets off to discover a wild, new world.

The Wild Year: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary, Book 3 by Patricia Hermes

Joshua continues to chronicle the pioneering life as he and his family continue to grow and thrive out West, in Oregon. Throughout these times of hardship and happiness, Joshua is always courageous and thoughtful.

Valley of the Moon: the Diary of MarĂ­a Rosalia de Milagros by Sherry Garland

María Rosalia is a Mestizo servant in a Spanish home. Orphaned years ago, she and her brother Domingo work on a ranch run by the stern Señor Medina. María¹s writing captures the intense tradition and culture of the Spanish as she observes the war that Alta California ultimately loses to the Americans.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

As the Revolutionary War begins, 13-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

Flying Free: Corey's Underground Railroad Diary, Book Two by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

In Sharon Dennis Wyeth's sequel to My America: Freedom's Wings, Corey and his family have escaped from slavery and the South and are now living in Canada. They own their own land, have made new friends, and Corey gets ready to go to school. But danger still remains across the river in Ohio, where slavecatchers lurk, waiting to capture escaped slaves to bring them back to their former masters. Corey, however, outsmarts them, and brings his friend Mingo to safety in Canada.

Message In The Sky: Corey's Underground Railroad Diary, Book 3 by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

In "Message in the Sky", Corey begins attending school, and his family, along with his friend, Mingo, are living well in Canada, where they've built their own farm. But, the Birdsongs cannot let go of the memories of their friends left behind in America. Corey and Mingo hatch a plan to help Aunt Queen, Mingo's adopted mother, escape, but Corey's parents forbid it, and start saving money to buy her freedom, instead. However, when Corey accidentally ends up on the American side of the Ohio River, he finds himself a conductor on the Underground Railroad!

A Time To Dance: Virginia's Civil War Diary, Book 3 by Mary Pope Osborne

In her third and final diary, by Mary Pope Osborne, Ginny continues to face rapidly changing times in the aftermath of the Civil War. Virginia Dickens continues to chronicle the aftermath of the Civil War, as she and her family move their lives from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Throughout the times of difficulty and joy, Ginny is always courageous and sweet.

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas: The Story Behind an American Friendship by Russell Freedman

Though they were from very different social groups, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas shared many of the same ideas.  Lincoln, the President of the United States, and Douglas, the most influential African American of his time, met together to discuss their personal ideas and beliefs on the country, which helped end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery by doing so.

Civil War Drummer Boy by Verla Kay

When Johnny joins the Confederate Army as a drummer boy, he enters a world full of patriotism and adventure, breathtaking hot-air balloons, cannons and campfires --- where his job is to drum rhythms that tell soldiers what to do. But the dangers of war are all around him and when he returns to the magnolia trees and cotton blossoms of his home, Johnny and the country are forever changed.

The Journal Of Rufus Rowe, Witness To The Battle Of Fredricksburg by Sid Hite

Sixteen-year-old Rufus Rowe runs away from home to escape his cruel stepfather. He finds work and shelter in Fredericksburg, Virginia, just as the Rebel troops begin to amass in preparation for a confrontation with the Union Army. At a time when no Southerner believes the South can be beaten, Rufus sensitively observes and records the gripping battle that takes place there.

The Journal Of Brian Doyle: Greenhorn on an Alaskan Whaling ShipThe, Florence, 1874 by Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy once again writes an exciting story of a young boy on the cusp of a great, and sometimes violent, world. Jonathan Dodge has run away from his father's house, fleeing his father's wrathful punishments. He signs on as a "greenhorn," a sailor on an Alaskan whaling ship. On the high seas Jonathan finds more adventure and danger than one boy could have hoped for.

Two Crafty Criminals!: And How They Were Captured by the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang by Philip Pullman

Benny Kaminsky and Thunderbolt Dobney lead a rag-tag gang of neighborhood rowdies on London's South Bank --- a place bristling with swindlers, bookies, pickpockets, and the occasional policeman --- with an aim to solve crimes. When counterfeit coins start showing up in their neighborhood, Thunderbolt fears his own father may be behind the crime, and his friends must devise a way to trap the real culprit.

More books like the ones on this list »

Thomas Kies

Author of the Geneva Chase Mystery series, Thomas Kies lives and writes on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with his wife, Cindy, and Lilly, their shih-tzu. He has had a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York.

Sara E. Johnson

Sara E. Johnson lives in Durham, North Carolina. She worked as a middle-school reading specialist and local newspaper contributor before her husband lured her to New Zealand for a year. Her first novel, MOLTEN MUD MURDER, is the result.

Michael Barson

Michael Barson has worked in book publicity since 1984 at such houses as Doubleday, Pantheon, FSG, G.P. Putnam and (currently) Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebooks. He is the author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, including RED SCARED!, TEENAGE CONFIDENTIAL (both with Steven Heller), TRUE WEST and LOST, LONELY, & VICIOUS. Barson has a Master’s degree in Popular Culture and a PhD in American Culture from BGSU in Ohio. He has worked with such authors as Kurt Vonnegut, Mickey Spillane, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Clive Cussler, C.J. Box, Nick Hornby, Robert B.

Carter Wilson

USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling author Carter Wilson has written five critically acclaimed, stand-alone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his novels have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal. His sixth and latest novel is THE DEAD GIRL IN 2A. 

Maggie Robinson

Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adjectives and adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite-perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying indoors and writing.

Michael Stanley

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.

Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa.