When I taught middle school History, one of my goals was to encourage a love of historical fiction. I offered lots of options each unit and read aloud as much as I was able. It’s been 20 years since I started my lists, and I’m still adding. My list grew and grew as I went spread out from teaching just US History. Now that I have a new platform here, I figured I’d share them. They are in no way complete, please let me know if you know of a book that I missed, but hopefully you’ll find some titles that work for you. Some of the books may be out of print (I did start this a long time ago), and I’ll be on the look out for newer books that will work, but these should be a helpful jumping off point for anyone wanting to delve into historical fiction.
When I started my lists, the school I worked at was doing the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. Once I left that school, I continued to add the information from the AR program to my book list, because I felt it was beneficial.Next to many books you’ll see two numbers. The first number is the grade level of the book (according to AR), up to the month. For example, 6.3 means that book is leveled for the average sixth grader in the third month of sixth grade. The second number is the number the AR system assigns for book points. The lower the number, the shorter the book (for the age group).
I also have divided them up into different interest levels, according to AR. Keep in mind then, that even though the reading level might be for a sixth grader, if it is listed under “upper grades,” the content may be more appropriate for a high school student. (And, just for reference, most books, even adult books fall in the 5th to 8th grade range. It’s only classics and textbooks that tend to be written at higher reading levels.)
There are four interest levels:
Lower Grades: K-3
Middle Grades: 4-8
Middle Grades Plus: 6 and up
Upper Grades: 9-12
I have not read all these books, so I’m relying on the expertise of the people at Accelerated Reader to be accurate when it comes to interest levels. But, since all kids are different, I’m sure you can decide what’s most appropriate for your own students/children.
As I have gone through the books, the area that I would say might be least accurate for interest level is the middle grades. There is a huge gap in maturity between a 4th and 8th grader, and the books in that area reflect it, so just a head’s up that even though there is a Middle Grades+ level, I noticed a few books in Middle Grades with content you wouldn’t want your 4th grader reading.
I’ve also noticed that there are a few upper grades books that would cross over into adult fiction as well.
P.S. The * next to them just means that I have them, so if you know me and want to borrow the book, feel free. Although we may have to scrounge a bit in storage bins. 🙂
P.P.S. If you or your young adult is interested in historical fiction. Here is a great place to join others and have up-to-date info on new books.
P.P.P.S. As I’ve looked up a ton of these books on Amazon to check dates and information, I’ve noticed that there are a ton of “kid’s reviews”. Sounds like a good, real life writing opportunity and an awesome way for kids to give to others!
Here are the links to the book lists. (Well, here is where the links will be as soon as I finish them and post them 🙂 ).
- Ancient Middle East
- Ancient Egypt
- Ancient India
- Ancient Asia
- Religion (Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism)
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome/Roman Empire
- Immigration to the U.S.
- Exploration to Americas
- Native Americans
- Colonial America
- Revolutionary War
- Life, Government and Events (1783-1859)
- War of 1812
- Slavery/Underground Railroad
- Civil War (Causes and Events)
- Race Relations (up to 1900’s)
- Government and Events (1865-1880’s, not Reconstruction)
- The West (Life in the West/Manifest Destiny 1700’s-1930’s)
Subtopics: Traveling West, Lewis and Clark/Louisiana Territory, Texas Revolution/Mexican-American War, California History, Gold Rush (not including California’s), Transcontinental Railroad
- Reform Movements in the U.S.
- Industrial Revolution (Both: 1780’s-1914)
- Late Nineteenth Century (1880’s-1890’s)
- Early 20th Century (1900-1920’s)
- World War I
- Great Depression
- World War II (Soldiers/Battles/Leaders/Resistance Movements/Spies)
Subtopics: Pre-War, Holocaust and Minorities, Home Front, Aftermath
- Korean War
- The Cold War
- Vietnam War
- 1950-Present Day
- Australia/Pacific Islands
- Biblical History
- British Isles
- Caribbean Islands
- Middle East
- South America/Central America History
- Art in History
- Music in History
- Studying History
- Women in History
Photo Courtesy of Natasia Causse