Skip to main content

Curriculum Collection Book Lists: Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction for Children

Bartone, Elisa. Peppe the LamplighterB293p

Peppe's father is upset when he learns that Peppe has taken a job lighting the gas street lamps in his New York City neighborhood.


Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam, the Minuteman. B457sa

An easy-to-read account of Sam and his father fighting as minutemen against the British in the Battle of Lexington.


Brenner, Barbara. Wagon Wheels. B8382w

Shortly after the Civil War a black family travels to Kansas to take advantage of the free land offered through the Homestead Act.


Bridges, Shirin Yim. Ruby’s wish. B8513r

In China, at a time when few girls are taught to read or write, Ruby dreams of going to the university with her brothers and male cousins.


Bruchac, Joseph. Crazy Horse’s Vision. B886cr

A story based on the life of the dedicated young Lakota boy who grew up to be one of the bravest defenders of his people.


Bunting, Eve. Gleam and Glow. B943gl

After his home is destroyed by war, eight-year-old Viktor finds hope in the survival of two very special fish.


Cohen, Barbara. Molly's Pilgrim. C6782m

Told to make a doll like a Pilgrim for the Thanksgiving display at school, Molly's Jewish mother dresses the doll as she herself dressed before leaving Russia to seek religious freedom--much to Molly's embarrassment.


Collier, John. The Backyard. C6998b

A child imagines what has taken place in his backyard, from the present all the way back to the creation of the world.


Cooney, Barbara. Hattie and the Wild Waves. C7754h

A young girl from Brooklyn, New York enjoys her summer at the beach where she can paint and listen to the wild waves.


Crews, Donald. Bigmama’s. 921 C927b

Visiting Bigmama's house in the country, young Donald Crews finds his relatives full of news and the old place and its surroundings just the same as the year before.


Engle, Margarita. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. M2962t.

Escaping from Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939, a young Jewish refugee discovers that the Nazi darkness is never far away.


Esbaum, Jill. Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-comin! E741s

The townfolk of a small village on the banks of the upper Mississippi come vividly alive at the sound of a whistle and the holler of "Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-comin'!"


Flournoy, Valerie. Tanya’s Reunion. F6433ta

Tanya learns about the history of the farm in Virginia where Grandma grew up.


Gerrard, Roy. Wagons West. G378w

A rhyming story of a family's move by wagon train between Missouri and Oregon in the 1850's and their daughter's role in outwitting cattle thieves.


Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart man. H175o

Describes the day-to-day life throughout the changing seasons of an early 19th-century New England family.


Hancock, Sibyl. Old Blue. H235o

An old steer that likes to sleep around the campfire with the cowboys leads the rest of the cattle on a trail drive.


Hegamin, Tony. Most Loved In All The World. H462m

Mama is an agent on the Underground Railroad.  She teaches her daughter the value of freedom through a gift of love and sacrifice.


Heide, Florence Parry. Sami and the Time of the Troubles. H465sa

A ten-year-old Lebanese boy goes to school, helps his mother with chores, plays with his friends, and lives with his family in a basement shelter when bombings occur and fighting begins on his street.


Hiser, Berniece T. The Adventure of Charlie and His Wheat-straw Hat : A Memorat. H6734a

As money is short in seven-year-old Charlie's Appalachian home during the Civil War and there is not enough to buy the straw hat that Charlie wants to wear to school, he and his grandmother decide to make a hat themselves.


Hopkinson, Deborah. Apples to Oregon. H797a

A pioneer father transports his beloved fruit trees and his family to Oregon in the mid-nineteenth century. Based loosely on the life of Henderson Luelling.


Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys. H848v

In the post-Civil War South, a young African American girl is determined to prove that she can go to school just like her older brothers.


Johnson, Jane. Bertie on the Beach. J673b

Bertie goes with his English Victorian family to the beach, seems to do nothing right, and ends up watching some clowns who kindly take him onto the stage to watch.


Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. The Canada Geese Quilt. K561c

Worried that the coming of a new baby and her grandmother's serious illness will change the warm familiar life on her family's Vermont farm, ten-year-old Ariel combines her artistic talent with her grandmother's knowledge to make a very special quilt.


Kroll, Steven. Oh, what a Thanksgiving! K937oh

David, a boy who thinks modern Thanksgivings are boring, imagines being at Plymouth Colony and celebrating the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims.


Levine, Ellen. Henry's Freedom Box. L6649h

A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry "Box" Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia.


Levinson, Nancy Smiler. Snowshoe Thompson. 921 T473l

One winter John Thompson skis across the Sierra Nevada Mountains and creates a path upon which mail and people may travel, thus earning his nickname "Snowshoe Thompson.”


Lyon, George Ella. Cecil’s Story. L991c

A boy thinks about the possible scenarios that exist for him at home if his father goes off to fight in the Civil War.


McDonald, Megan. The Potato Man. M1354p

Grandpa tells stories of the fruit and vegetable huckster in his childhood neighborhood, a man he learns to appreciate after a rocky start.


MacLachlan, Patricia. Three Names. M1615th

Great-grandfather reminisces about going to school on the prairie with his dog Three Names.


McGill, Alice. Molly Bannaky. M144m

Relates how Benjamin Banneker's grandmother journeyed from England to Maryland in the late seventeenth century, worked as an indentured servant, began a farm of her own, and married a freed slave.


McKissack, Patricia C. Goin’ Someplace Special. M1588g

In segregated 1950s Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library.


Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us. M688b

A Japanese American boy learns to play baseball when he and his family are forced to live in an internment camp during World War II, and his ability to play helps him after the war is over.


Monjo, F.N. The Drinking Gourd. M7445d

Sent home alone for misbehaving in church, Tommy discovers that his house is a station on the underground railroad.


Oberman, Sheldon. The Always Prayer Shawl. O122a

A prayer shawl is handed down from grandfather to grandson in this story of Jewish tradition and the passage of generations.


Olson, Arielle North. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter. O524l

When her father's return to a Maine lighthouse is delayed by a severe storm, Miranda must keep the light going despite brutal weather and her own illness.


Park, Frances. My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape From North Korea. P2354m

Based on the life of the author's mother, this is the story of her escape from North Korea.


Pennypacker, Sara. Sparrow Girl. P416s

When China's leader declares war on sparrows in 1958, everyone makes loud noise in hopes of chasing the hungry birds from their land except for Ming-Li, a young girl whose compassion and foresight prevent a disaster.


Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. P762pi

Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops.


Reuter, Elisabeth. Best Friends. R4474j

Lisa and Judith, one German and the other Jewish, are best friends, until the Nazi propaganda machine at school declares that "Jews cause all the problems in Germany!"


Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. R5795t

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.


Sandin, Joan. The Long Way to a New Land. S2168l

Carl Erik journeys with his family from Sweden to America during the famine of 1868.


Sandin, Joan. The Long Way Westward. S2168lw

Relates the experiences of two young brothers and their family, immigrants from Sweden, from their arrival in New York through the journey to their new home in Minnesota.


Santiago, Chiori. Home to Medicine Mountain. S235h

Two young Maidu Indian brothers sent to live at a government-run Indian residential school in California in the 1930s find a way to escape and return home for the summer.


Say, Allen. Grandfather’s Journey. S273g

A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather's journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.


Shea, Pegi Deitz. The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee’s Story. S5386w

A young girl in a Thai refugee camp finds the story within herself to create her own pa'ndau.


Sisulu, Elinor. The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, April 1994. S6237d

Thembi and her great-grandmother go together to vote on the momentous day when black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time.


Smith, William Jay. Ho for a Hat! S664h

A young boy and his dog observe and try on a variety of hats throughout history.


Stanley, Diane. Saving Sweetness. S787s

The sheriff of a dusty western town rescues Sweetness, an unusually resourceful orphan, from nasty old Mrs. Sump and her terrible orphanage.


Talbott, Hudson. We’re Back! : A Dinosaur’s Story. T142w

Creatures from prehistoric time travel to the twentieth century and create excitement at the Museum of Natural History in New York.


Thomas, Joyce Carol. I Have Heard of a Land. T4585i

Describes the joys and hardships experienced by an African-American pioneer woman who staked a claim for free land in the Oklahoma territory.


Tompert, Ann. Jade Horse the Cricket and the Peach Stone.T6622ja

A boy overcomes a series of obstacles to bring a gift to the emperor in this tale set in ancient China.


Topooco, Eusebio. Waira’s First Journey. T675w

An Aymara Indian girl has many new experiences and learns more about the history of her people as she and her parents make the long journey from their home in the mountains of Bolivia to the market in Topojo.


Tunnell, Michael O. Mailing May. T9265m

In 1914, because her family cannot afford a train ticket to her grandmother's town, May gets mailed and rides the mail car on the train to see her grandmother.


Turner, Ann Warren. Katie’s Trunk. T944k

Katie, whose family is not sympathetic to the rebel soldiers during the American Revolution, hides under the clothes in her mother's wedding trunk when they invade her home.


Van Leeuwen. Across the Wide Dark Sea: The Mayflower Journey. V259ac

A boy and his family endure a difficult nine-week journey across the ocean and survive the first winter at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.


Wahl, Jan. I Met a Dinosaur. W136im

After a visit to a museum of natural history, a young girl begins to see dinosaurs everywhere.


Wisniewski, David. Sundiata: Lion King of Mali. 966.2 W815s

The story of Sundiata, who overcame physical handicaps, social disgrace, and strong opposition to rule Mali in the thirteenth century.


Woodson, Jacqueline. Coming On Home Soon. W898c

It’s war time, and women are needed to fill the men's jobs. Ada Ruth and her grandma keep up their daily routine.


Ziefert, Harriet. A New Coat for Anna. Z653n

Even though there is no money, Anna's mother finds a way to make Anna a badly needed winter coat.