Book Reviews For Category: Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is a great way for children to learn history, and be engaged at the same time.

Genevieve’s War

Children's Book - Genevieve's War

Published: 2017
Theme: WWII Resistance and Courage
Best for: 9 to 12

“A few days later, I was one my way to meet Katrin for school when the German office cornered me at the end of the path. “Where’s the dog, Fraulein?” Meme and I should have decided to what to say to him…” It seems important for children to know that resistance is not just for history, or adults, but is something that even young people can participate in.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Inquisitor’s Tale

Children's Book - Inquisitor's Tale

Published: 2016
Theme: Religious Tolerance
Best for: 12 and up

“Louis of France is not yet thirty, and already he is the greatest king in Europe. His armies have never been defeated. This war is different… He is fighting three children. And their dog.” I don’t know how he pulled it off, but along with the historical description, Gidwitz adds contemporary outrage, and humor as well, giving perspective on the bizarre behavior of the human race!

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Hired Girl

Hired Girl - Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 2015
Theme: Historical Fiction Coming of Age
Best for: 12 – 14

“I have escaped! I have achieved the first stage of my emancipation! In a little while I will go on to Baltimore–and from thence I will begin my new life.” This beautifully written historical fiction children’s book is quite hard to put down.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls

Ben and Me

Ben and Me- Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 1939
Theme: Historical Fiction Biography
Best for: 8 – 11

“All of these ill-informed scribblers seemed astonished at Ben’s great fund of information, at his brilliant decisions, at his seeming knowledge of all that went on about him. I could have told them, It was ME.” A biography like this is perhaps the best way to bring history to children without bringing tears of boredom..

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Biography, Classics, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

A Diamond in the Desert

Historical Fiction - Diamond in the Desert

Published: 2012
Theme: WWII- Japanese Internment
Best for: ages 10 to 12

“Gila River was where I would turn thirteen, and live with my mama and my sister, while waiting for my papa to be brought bak from Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, where the FBI had sent him…” This historical fiction children’s book adds yet another new piece of history and humanness to the story of the internment of Japanese citizens after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Number the Stars

Children's Book - Number the Stars

Published: 1989
Theme: Heroism
Best for: 10 – 13

“…The dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for…” This children’s book is first and foremost about the courage of ordinary people to do the right thing, even in the worst of times…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Lions of Little Rock

Children's Book - Lions of Little Rock

Published: 2012
Theme: Civil Rights
Best for: 11 to 14

“I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it’s a true friend, it doesn’t matter.” This is a compelling and important book for today’s world, and yet, it was painful to read, because I wished none of it were true…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Zia

Zia - Children's Book

Published: 1976
Theme: Native American tragedy
Best for: 12 and up

“Misson Santa Barbara, where the Padres were taking us, was near the Island of the Blue Dolphins…Perhaps if I went there, I could find one who would help me reach the island and bring Karana back.” A wonderful work of historical fiction, this children’s book is a sequel to Island of Blue Dolphins, and also offers a chilling look at the treatment of Native Americans by missions.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut

Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 1987
Theme: Historical Fiction
Best for: 9 – 12

“The title ‘Joint Reign’ is a foolishment and emphasizes what I have always contended: that men are more fortunate than women. Joint reign! It is I who inspects, examines, weighs and wrings her brain …” Coming on the heels of an historic election, it is interesting to go back in history and understand more about the obstacles women faced hundreds of years ago.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls, Waldorf-Aligned

The Children of the King

Children of the King - Children's book

Published: 2014
Theme: Bravery
Best for: 14 and older

“We’d never been through a war, so we didn’t know what war was like. We thought it would be an adventure. Later of course, we realized the truth: that war is almost the opposite to an adventure…” This is a complex, serious book about a very serious topic: war. It asks the question, What is bravery? What does it take to show one’s bravery?…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Sita’s Ramayana

Sita's Ramayana for Children

Published: 2011
Theme: Graphic Novel- Ramayana
Best for: 9 and up

“War, in some ways, is merciful to men. It makes them heroes if they are the victors. If they are vanquished, they do not live to see their homes taken, their wives widowed. But if you are a woman, you must live through defeat…” No matter how you categorize this children’s book, it is a wonderful addition to the re-telling of the Ramayana, from Sita’s point of view.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Classics, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Iridescence of Birds – Henri Matisse

Children's Book Iridescence of Birds

Published: 2014
Theme: Biography Henri Matisse
Best for: 4 to 6

“If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray, and you wanted color and light and sun, what might you become?” The images and wonder of Matisse’s imagination come to life in a beautifully crafted children’s book.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Talking Leaves

Historical Fiction Children's Book - Talking Leaves

Published: 2016
Theme: Historical Fiction Biography
Best for: 9 to 12

“He passes the hammer to me, and I heft it in my hands. It fits my palm perfectly, and it feels good…It seems to be speaking to me, begging to be used, ready to be of service.” So many themes in one book – father/son, developing a written language, Native American struggle. Yet it all holds together beautifully.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Blue Jay Girl

Children's Book: Blue Jay Girl

Published: 2010
Theme: Be Yourself
Best for: 6 to 9

“Blue Jay Girl had a good family who loved her, and a little dog of her own. He was called Kiyu. Until now, her life had always pleased her. But today she was the very saddest girl in the village.” This small children’s book is a great addition to Native American folk literature. It reads like an oral story that has been converted to a children’s book.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Ghost Hawk

Historical Fiction Children's Book: Ghost Hawk

Published: 2013
Theme: Injustice
Best for: 11 and up

“To make a tomahawk for your son, you needed the stone blade, and the wooden shaft, and time. In my father’s day, there was still time…” I couldn’t put this historical fiction book down. From start to sad ending, the trauma of the battle for land in early America is a compelling read…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Blockhead – The Life of Fibonacci

Children's Book - Blockhead,

Published: 2010
Theme: Math Biography
Best for: 6 to 9

“You can call me Blockhead. Everyone else does. One day when I was just a boy, Maestro wrote out a math problem and gave us ten minutes to solve it. I solved it in two seconds.” If you have any young children who love numbers, this is definitely a children’s book they should read – a superb biography about Fibonacci.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Waldorf-Aligned

Will Sparrow’s Road

Will Sparrow's Road - Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 2012
Theme: Coming of Age
Best for: 11 and up

“Will Sparrow was a liar and a thief, and hungry, so when he saw the chance to steal a cold rabbit pie from the inn’s kitchen and blame it on the dog, he took it – both the chance and the pie…” First and foremost, this is a beautifully written piece of children’s historical fiction literature. The fact that the story and characters are interesting as well is icing on the cake..

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Listening for Lions

Historical Fiction for Children: Listening for Lions

Published: 2005
Theme: Power of Kindness
Best for: 11 and up

“Africa was hurrying by as if someone were turning the pages of a book too quickly. I was miserable at what I was leaving behind. Even the railway itself has a sad story…I felt my own future would be no better.” This historical fiction for children is full of unexpected turns, and dramatic turnabouts, from living in Africa to exile to England.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Master Puppeteer

Children's Book - Master Puppeteer

Published: 1975
Theme: Loyalties
Best for: 6th grade

“Of all the stupid things he had ever done, this was the worst by any measure. He had completely humiliated his kind father in front of Yoshida – the man upon whom all their livelihood depended.” This compelling children’s book has so much going for it that the best advice is to read it. In fact, that’s what the sixth grade class does in our Waldorf school, and I hope parents read along.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Classics, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Will in Scarlet

Children's Book: Will in Scarlett

Published: 2013
Theme: Robin Hood
Best for: 10 and up

“Killing wolves is supposed to teach me to be a great lord of men? Aren’t there any books on the subject?” This children’s book is full of action. While it’s not written as a historical fiction, it gives a good view of the class disparity, and why one would rob the rich and give to the poor.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Leprechaun in Late Winter

Children's book - Leprechaun in Late Winter

Published: 2010
Theme: Irish Fairies
Best for: 7 to 9

“Strange, sweet music came from the whistle. The music was both sad and happy. It was full of beauty and hope, pain and sorry. Like the fog over the river, the music seems to blend everything together.” I personally learned a lot more about leprechauns and Irish fairytales after I read this delightful children’s book.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong

Children's Book - The Legend of Hong Kil Dong

Published: 2006
Theme: Historical Fiction Hero
Best for: 7 and up

“Once there was a boy who could not claim his Father. Kil Dong, as he was called, was the second son of a wealthy and powerful advisor to the king, Minister Hong. But Kil Dong’s mother was not the noble wife of the minister…” This historical fiction, beautifully illustrated ‘graphic’ novel, set in 16th century Korea, tells of the Korean Robin Hood…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Second Mrs. Giaconda

Historical Fiction Children's Book: The Second Mrs. Giaconda

Published: 1975
Theme: Historical Fiction
Best for: 12 to 14

“Why, people ask, why did Leonardo da Vinci choose to paint the portrait of the second wife of an unimportant Florentine merchant when dukes and duchesses all over Italy and the King of France as well, were all begging for a portrait by his hand? Why, they ask, why?” This is quite a lovely way to introduce older children to the world of Leonardo da Vinci, and his painting of the Mona Lisa, and history of the Renaissance.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Classics, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Esperanza Rising

Children's Book - Esperanza Rising

Published: 2000
Theme: Social Justice
Best for: 9 and up

“Abuelita smiled, reached over, and pulled the yarn, unraveling all of Esperanza’s rows. “Do not be afraid to start over,” she said.” What better way for children to become true citizens of the world than by reading honestly written books about serious issues, in this case the treatment of Mexican immigrant farmworkers during the depression…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Echo

Children's Book: Echo

Published: 2015
Theme: Power of Music
Best for: ages 10 and up

“Have you ever considered that one person might play the mouth harp and pass along her strength and vision and knowledge? So that the next musician who plays it might feel the same? It is true…” The thread that weaves the three main characters together is the power of music to redeem even the darkest of situations…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Dreamer

Children's Book - The Dreamer

Published: 2010
Theme: Live your dream
Best for: 8 and up

“He peeked out… and saw that the wind had also possessed his mittens. They looked like ghostly hands waving good-bye in the Chilean sky. Where were they headed? Whose hands would they cover next? ..’Where is the storehouse of lost and found?'” As I put this exquisite children’s book down, I wiped my eyes, and marveled at the quick journey I had just taken into the heart and mind of Pablo Neruda…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Julie of the Wolves

Children's Book: Julie of the Wolves

Published: 1972
Theme: Cultural Survival
Best for: 9 and up

“Miyax pushed back the hood of her sealskin parka and looked at the Arctic sun. It was a yellow disk in a lime-green sky; the colors of six o’clock in the evening and the time when the wolves awoke.” Part of the fifth grade Waldorf curriculum, this authentic story allows a glimpse into a world where people were one with wild nature.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Classics, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Ship of Dolls

Children's Book - Ship of Dolls

Published: 2014
Theme: Parental Love
Best for: 8 and up

“An ache spread through Lexie, blurring her thoughts and stabbing her heart. All she really knew was how desperately she missed Mama. Grandma blamed Mama for everything. It wasn’t fair.”
What makes good parenting? Is love enough, or is something else needed? We address this head on…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls

The Impossible Journey

Children's Book: The Impossible Journey

Published: 2003
Theme: Faith in Goodness
Best for: 9 and up

“Tears spilled out of my eyes. With no more thought of caution, I poured out our story. “My parents have both been arrested and sent to Siberia. My papa has been sent to a coal mine, and my mama has been exiled to Dudinka… We are going to her…” In this riveting historical fiction children’s book, we journey across Russia to Siberia, in search of Mayra and Georgi’s exiled parents during Stalin’s regime.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Chu Ju’s House

Children's Book - Chu Ju's House

Published: 2005
Theme: Genuine Sacrifice
Best for: 10 and up

“In so loud a voice I was sure her words carried over the hills, Nai Nai said, “Send us a boy to care for us in our old age and not another worthless girl.” I, Chu Ju, was that worthless girl. Nai Nia’s harsh words made my eyes sting with tears.” In another beautifully written children’s book of historical fiction, Whelan brings alive a foreign culture and foreign era, making us live and breathe with it.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned
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