Are your students required at some time during the year to read the genre of historical fiction? Using this genre in the classroom can help students make connections and see parallels between past historical events and events of today. Historical fiction can be a mystery, or set during the American Revolution, or a significant historical event.
Need some reading suggestions?
These are our recommendations for the best historical fiction for children and teens written so far during 2012.
- A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
Narrates the tale of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens who, despite poverty and long hours of factory work, still has time to discover and share the stories of other residents of 1824 London. Gr. 3-5
- Crow by Barbara Wright (Teaching Resource)
Moses Thomas’s summer vacation in 1898 does not go as planned, and while he deals with family problems and fickle friends, Moses comes to be more aware of the escalating tension between the African American and white communities of Wilmington, North Carolina. Gr. 6-12
- A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Teaching Resource)
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu’s sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing. Gr. 5-8
- The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
In St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1888, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret–that she has the ability to raise the dead–but when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue. Gr. 7-12
- Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall
In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Gr. 5-9
- May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (Teaching Resource)
When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, twelve-year-old May’s father pulls her from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier. Gr. 3-7
- The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (Teaching Resource)
Deza Malone, the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, accompanies her mother and older brother on a trip to find her father, an African American man who left to find work after the Great Depression hit. They end up in a Hooverville outside of Flint, Michigan, and her brother attempts to be a performer while Deza and her mother search for a home. Gr. 4-7
- My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve
Ten-year-old Franziska Mangold escapes Nazi Germany on the kindertransport she boards in Berlin, and when she arrives in London, she takes on the name Frances and struggles with her identity as she pieces together a new life without her family. Gr. 7-12
More Teaching Resources
- Why & How I Teach with Historical Fiction – Scholastic
- Guidelines for Using Historical Fiction – Yale University
- Write your own historical fiction with this handout – Information Gathering and Organizing for Historical Fiction
- Historical Fiction Genre Posters Poster 1 Poster 2 Poster 3
- Historical Fiction Bookmark
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.