Book Reviews For Category: Historical Fiction

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

The Quilt Walk

Children's Book: Quilt Walk

Published: 2012
Theme: Overcoming Hardships
Best for: 5th grade

“We are going to Colorado! Pa told us. He just came home from his first trip to Colorado Territory and announced that he and Ma and I were moving west to strike it rich.'” Set in 1858, this delightful historical fiction is an easy and informative read, based on a real incident in Colorado history…

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

The Girl in the Torch

Children's Book - Girl in the Torch

Published: 2015
Theme: Melting Pot
Best for: 9 and up

“Sarah’s parents had been planning their escape to America for two years before the attack on their village. To prepare for their new life, Sarah had been studying English with the son of the village wool merchant.” In a fresh new children’s book, we revisit America through the eyes of a new immigrant, a young girl who has just lost both her parents…

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

Dragons of Silk

Children's Book - Dragons of Silk

Published: 2011
Theme: Family
Best for: 12- 14

“Everything changes, child,” Grandmama observed calmly. “Me, you, the world… Who knows what the future will bring? The one thing that doesn’t change is the family. It always comes first. Keep everyone in it safe. Keep them happy.” Laurence Yep is a fabulous chronicler of Chinese culture and Chinese American culture This particular children’s book includes both, as it traces a family from 1835 in China to 2011 in America…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Turtle in Paradise

Children's Book: Turtle in Paradise

Published: 2010
Theme: Adapting to Change
Best for: 8 and up

“I’m Turtle,” I say. “Turtle?” the boy, Beans, says, “What kind of name is that?” “At least I’m not named after something that gives you gas,” I say. In this historical fiction, a humorous and plucky girl narrates her life during the 1935 depression demonstrating just how important a good attitude is for survival.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Addy, 1864 – American Girl series

Addy - Children's books

Published: 1993
Theme: African-American History
Best for: ages 8-11

Sarah looked at Addy. “You is coming to school, ain’t you?” “Momma say I can go,” Addy answered. “That’s good,” said Sarah. “We learn to read and write…You gonna like school. You’ll see.” Written in dialect, an African-American girl’s journey from slavery to freedom unfolds in this series of historical fiction children’s books.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls, Waldorf-Aligned

Shoeless Joe and Me

Children's Book

Published: 2002
Theme: Baseball
Best for: Baseball fans, ages 10 and up

“I looked at my mother. A few minutes ago, she was refusing to give me permission to travel through time because it was so dangerous. Now she was asking me to go..”. This book is a cross between fantasy– time travel; and historical fiction– we go back to Shoeless Joe’s time…

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

The House of Sixty Fathers

Children's book - house of sixty fathers

Published: 1956
Theme: Survival, War
Best for: ages 9 and up

“The family pig, the three ducklings, and the little stone mill to grind the rice for the baby sister– these they have saved from the mud house of the family of Tien…Besides these they had saved absolutely nothing, except Beauty-of-the-Republic, Tien Pao’s baby sister.” It’s never easy to read a story about war, even if it’s packaged in a children’s book. Yet there’s no denying that it is important to help children understand just how difficult war can be.

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

Here Lies The Librarian

Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 2006
Theme: Historical Fiction
Best for: 10 and up

“Any outrage as big as hiring a librarian was bound to bring everybody out of the woodwork. The hitching rail was chock-a-block with horses and wagons, and there was a farmer’s tin Lizzie…a Ford Model T.” Humor, eccentric characters, and a love of old cars flows through this historical fiction children’s book. The story unfolds creatively and unpredictably…

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

Hawksmaid

Children's Book - Hawksmaid

Published: 2010
Theme: Bravery
Best for: ages 11 and up

“Mattie felt a sudden dizziness. Just for a second or two, it was almost as if she herself were tumbling through the air. And once again the boundaries that separated human beings from birds seemed to dissolve.” A wonderful creative look at the early life of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, with lots of equality for women thrown in…

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

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud Not Buddy - Children's Book

Published: 1999
Theme: Resilience
Best for: 9 and up

“We were all standing in line waiting for breakfast when one of the caseworkers came in and tap-tap-tapped down the line. Uh-oh, this meant bad news, either they’d found a foster home for somebody or somebody was about to get paddled.” Humor, pathos, drama, history, and emotion create an intensely beautiful and impactful piece of children’s literature…

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

The Watsons Go To Birmingham -1963

Children's book: The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963

Published: 1995
Theme: Family
Best for: 11 and up

“”Lona, what you teach these babies up North? Don’t they know how to give no one a proper hug?” Grandma Sands reached up over Byron’s head. “A little short on hair but we gonna get on just fine, what you think, By?” Country kids meet city kids. Northern kids meet life in the South, circa 1963. Sibling rivalry. Delinquency. Parental decisions. The ground this book covers is astounding…

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

Elijah of Buxton

Children's book - Elijah of Buxton

Published: 2007
Theme: Freedom and Slavery
Best for: 12 and up

“I’d started with ten fish and now I was down to six, and even though I ain’t particular worthy at my schooling, it’d take a whole lot of doggone humbug algebra and trickaration geometry to make ten percent of ten come out to four.” In this skillfully written historical fiction children’s book, we see the world through the eyes of a freeborn child, whose parents had been slaves.

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

The Wheel on the School

Children's Book - Wheel on the School

Published: 1954
Theme: Wonder and Hope
Best for: 8 to 12

“We can’t think much when we don’t know much. But we can wonder!..For sometimes, when we wonder, we can make things begin to happen.” With a wise teacher at their helm, five young children in the Netherlands begin to wonder, and act. And through that, the town changes, all for the better.

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

Beware, Princess Elizabeth

Children's book - Beware Princess Elizabeth

Published: 2001
Theme: Queen of England
Best for: 12 to 14

“So my sister was now queen. And because she had triumphed, I was next! This was the moment, standing in the knot garden, when I realized that someday I, too, would become queen of England…” In this historical fiction children’s book, we get a very good look at the way power can corrupt even the best of people…

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

The Arrow Over the Door

Arrow Over the Door - Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 1998
Theme: Peace at all costs
Best for: 9 and up

“There they go,” a voice said. “There go the cowards.” Samuel Russsell clenched his fists so tightly his knuckles turned white but he did not look around…”Cowards”, that was what many people called him and his father and all his people.” This very informed historical fiction children’s book depicts an actual event involving the Quakers in New York State, and their encounter with French Canadian Indians, told through the eyes of two young boys.

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

Time Cat

Time Cat - Children's book

Published: 1963
Theme: Historical Fantasy
Best for: 8 and up

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.” This time-travel, historical fantasy stands out through the heart-felt and accurate portrayal of cats and their behavior, sharing traits that are often missed by non-cat lovers.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Classics, Historical Fiction

Adopted by Indians – A True Story

Adopted by Indians - Children's book

Published: 1998
Theme: Native American lifestyle
Best for: 9 and up classrooms

“I believe that in many instances where the white settlers had trouble with the Indians it all started because the Indians were just curious to know what in the world the white settlers were doing, and not be because they …even knew they were doing any damage.” This nonfiction children’s book is simple and informative, giving a full and loving picture of a culture that tragically has disappeared.

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

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

Children's book - Butterfly Hill

Published: 2014
Theme: Faith
Best for: 11 and up

“Everyone in Chile has an explanation for earthquakes. I say that the earth has the right to yawn and stretch just as I do in my bed when I don’t want to wake early for school, and also has the right to sneeze as we all do when covered in dust.” Profound and poetical are the best two words to capture the new children’s book by Chilean author Marjorie Agosin about a young girl forced into exile from Chile…

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

Old Ramon

Children's Book: Old Ramon

Published: 1960
Theme: Coming of Age
Best for: ages 8-11

” One sheep does not think. He does this and he does that and there is no sense to it. But the flock thinks. And what the flock thinks each and every one sheep in the flock knows at once and altogether. It is strange but it is so…” I was surprised and enchanted by this children’s book from start to finish. It is a quick read, compelling, informative, and even moving at the end…

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

Miss Emily

Miss Emily - Children's Book

Published: 2014
Theme: Emily Dickinson
Best for: 7 to 9

“She needs our eyes to see these things for her, for –playful as she is with us– she isn’t part of the world’s hubbub anymore. She is getting old!” This poetic children’s book is a wonderful addition to bringing Emily Dickinson to young people, depicting her playful nature with children.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Grandfather’s Dance (Sarah Plain and Tall # 5)

Children's Book - Grandfather's Dance

Published: 2006
Theme: Love and Loss of Grandparents
Best for: 6 to 9

“‘He can only speak French in my journal,’, I said. ‘I suppose that’s what writing is for,’ said Grandfather. ‘To change life and make it come out the way you want it to.'” This children’s book addresses something so precious – preparing a child for the death of the grandparent. I cry just writing those words. Yet there is nothing maudlin or sad about this children’s book. It is exquisite.

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

Sarah, Plain and Tall series

Children's Book - Sarah Plain and Tall

Published: 1985 – 2006
Theme: Family life on the Plains
Best for: 5 – 8

“Sarah loved the chickens. She clucked back to them and fed them grain. They followed her, shuffling and scratching primly in the dirt. I knew they would not be for eating.” What captured me in each children’s book of this collection was the emphasis on the emotions and feelings of the people. We live through the eyes of each child in turn…

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

More Perfect Than The Moon (Sarah, Plain and Tall #4)

Children's Book More Perfect than the Moon

Published: 2006
Theme: New Baby
Best for: 7- 9

“What if Mama is too old to have this baby? What if this terrible baby makes Mama die like Caleb’s mama died when he was born? I closed the journal as if shutting away the words would make them go away.” The very real fears and emotions of the youngest child towards a new baby are presented with care in book 4 of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

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

Caleb’s Story (Sarah, Plain and Tall # 3)

Children's book - Caleb's s tory

Published: 2001
Theme: Reconciliation
Best for: 6 to 8

“They are beautiful, the trees and hills and lakes filled with water. But the prairie is home, the sky so big it takes your breath away, the land like a giant quilt tossed out.” A profound exploration of reconciliation between father and son, and forgiveness.

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

Skylark (Sarah, Plain and Tall # 2)

Children's Book Skylark

Published: 1994
Theme: Family Life on the Prairie
Best for: 6 – 8

“Sarah and I sat in the kitchen. The air was thick with the heat, and there was no breeze. There hadn’t been any wind for days. Sarah was writing a letter to the aunts in Maine. I wrote in my journal.” In the second of Sarah, Plain and Tall, the family must deal with a serious drought, and separation from each other and the land.

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

And Now Miguel

Children's book: And Now Miguel

Published: 1953
Theme: Coming of Age
Best for: Boys 11-12

“San Ysidro is the patron saint of our village of Los Cordovas…He keeps an eye out special for Los Cordovas…For as long as I can remember, there have been no complaints about how San Ysidro has handled things for our village.” Miguel is twelve years old, a middle child in a large family of shepherds who have lived on the New Mexico lands for hundreds of years. Somehow he has a way of muddling everything he tries to communicate…

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

Sherwood – Original Stories

Children's Book Sherwood

Published: 2002
Theme: Robin Hood Stories
Best for: 10 and up

I am Robin. Robin of Locksley,” he answered seriously. “I have wandered these woods a hundred times, but today I admit I am lost.” …”That is not so bad. There is always a way home,” Marian said, and they both smiled.” A children’s book anthology of newer stories inspired by original Robin Hood stories, these are updated, easy to read, and rekindle the love of the original.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Su Dongpo

Children's Book Su Dongpo

Published: 2006
Theme: Perseverance through obstacles
Best for: 7 to 10

“Just as Su Shih’s writing followed the laws of nature, do did his rulings, where were just and as brilliant as the sun. He was guided by the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, the Tao Te Ching…” It’s an interesting challenge to create a historical fiction children’s book that young children would be able to take in…

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

Whittington

Children's Book - Whittington

Published: 2005
Theme: Folktale
Best for: 9 and up

“…Ben started talking about his reading lessons. “It was like coming in out of the dark,” he said. “When I started, there were shapes and things, but nothing was clear. Then it was clear and I could see. It was like being born.” This unusual children’s book offers a retelling of the classic folk tale, Dick Whittington and His Cat, and gentle support for struggling readers.

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

The Star of Kazan

Children's book: Star of Kazan

Published: 2004
Theme: Trust and Loyalty
Best for: 12 and up

“The world was so beautiful in those days, Annika. The music, the flowers, the scent of the pines…” “It still is,” said Annika. “Honestly, it still is.” Filled with unexpected twists and turns, with terrific characters, and with a cliff-hanger, but happy, ending, this children’s book is terrific from start to finish.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
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