Douglas County Library System (Oregon)

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Historical Fiction

       Here's a list of books for kids who like historical fiction, sorted by grade level:


3rd Grade

The Rising Star of Rusty Nail by Lesley Blume
In the small town of Rusty Nail, Minnesota, in the early 1950s, musically talented ten-year-old Franny wants to take advanced piano lessons from newcomer Olga Malenkov, a famous Russian musician suspected of being a communist spy by gossipy members of the community.

kazanThe Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

Annika, a twelve-year-old foundling in late nineteenth-century Vienna, inherits a trunk of costume jewelry, and soon afterwards a woman claiming to be her aristocratic mother arrives and takes her to live in a strangely decrepit mansion in Germany.

 Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf    

From her home in Lidice, Czechoslovakia, in 1942, eleven-year-old Milada is taken with other blond, blue-eyed children to a school in Poland to be trained as "proper Germans" for adoption by German families, but all the while she remembers her true name and history.

Journey to the RiverSea by Eva Ibbotson

Sent with her governess to live with the dreadful Carter family in exotic Brazil in 1910, Maia endures many hardships before fulfilling her dream of exploring the Amazon River.

The SecretSchool by Avi

In 1925, fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson secretly takes over as the teacher when the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly.

              4th Grade          

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck    
Each summer over the nine years of the Depression, Joey and his sister, Mary alice - two city slickers from chicago - make their annual visit to Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town. Soon enough, they find that it's far from sleepy and Grandma is far from typical. From seeing their first corpse (and he isn't resting easy) to helping Grandma trespass, pinch property, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry - all in one day - Joey and Mary Alice have nine summers they'll never forget. 

Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm
As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Until the day his father returns to their cabin in the Maine wilderness, twelve-year-old Matt must try to survive on his own. Although Matt is brave, he's not prepared for an attack by swarming bees, and he's astonished when he's rescued by an Indian cheif and his grandson, Attean.

Island of the Blue Dolphins and Zia by Scott O'Dell

Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.

Precious Gold, Precious Jade by Sharon Heisel

A young woman befriends a Chinese family despite the racism and fear that overwhelm the residents of her small western mining town at the end of the gold rush.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck

A boy in Illinois remembers the homefront years of World War II, especially his two heroes--his brother in the Air Force and his father, who fought in the previous war.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters' village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

The adventures of an eleven-year-old tomboy growing up on the Wisconsin frontier in the mid-nineteenth century.

              5th Grade

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

During the recession of 1937, fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with her feisty, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois and comes to a better understanding of this fearsome woman.

The DragonflyPool by Eva Ibbotson
At first Tally doesn't want to go to the boarding school called Delderton. But she soon discovers that it is a wonderful place where freedom and self expression are valued. 

Crispin series by Avi

The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck
"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it," says Russell Culver, fifteen, who's raring to light out for the endless skies of the Dakotas to join a team of harvesters working the new 1904 all-steel threshing machines. School's only standing in the way of his Dakota dreams. 

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm

As she turns twelve during the summer of 1953, Penny gains new insights into herself and her family while also learning a secret about her father's death. It's 1953 and 11-year-old Penny dreams of a summer of butter pecan ice cream, swimming, and baseball. But nothing's that easy in Penny's family. 

 Stowaway by Karen Hesse

A fictionalized journal relates the experiences of a young stowaway from 1768 to 1771 aboard the Endeavor which sailed around the world under Captain James Cook.

Rodzina by Karen Cushman
A twelve-year-old Polish American girl is boarded onto an orphan train in Chicago with fears about traveling to the West and a life of unpaid slavery.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
In 1773 in Boston, Johnny Tremain is fourteen and apprenticed to a silversmith. He is cheerful and clever and lords over the other apprentices until the tragic day when a crucible of molten silver breaks and Johnny's right hand is so burned as to be useless. After a period of despair and humiliation, Johnny becomes a dispatch rider for the Committee of Public Safety, a job that brings him in touch with Otis, Hancock, John and Samuel Adams, and other Boston patriots, and with all the exciting currents and undercurrents that were to lead to the Boston Tea Party.

The Shakespeare Stealer trilogy by Gary Blackwood

Stop the Train by Geraldine McCaughrean
Despite the opposition of the owner of the Red Rock Runner Railroad in 1893, the new settlers of Florence, Oklahoma, are determined to build a real town.

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper

While in London as part of an all-boy acting company preparing to perform in a replica of the famous Globe Theatre, Nat Field suddenly finds himself transported back to 1599 and performing in the original theater under the tutelage of Shakespeare himself.

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past.

              6th Grade

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher
Fourteen-year-old Mitra, of royal Persian lineage, and her five-year-old brother Babak, whose dreams foretell the future, flee for their lives in the company of the magus Melchoir and two other Zoroastrian priests, traveling through Persia as they follow star signs leading to a newly-born king in Bethlehem.

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.