Historical Fiction

Click on a grade below to see a list of suggested historical fiction books for that level.

New Historical Fiction

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

Reading Level: Grade 6 & up

Written in verse from alternating viewpoints, this book gives the reader many different perspectives on the creation of the Panama Canal over a hundred years ago. We hear from howler monkeys, Theodore Roosevelt, a Cuban immigrant named Mateo, the trees, and many others who played a role in this large undertaking that connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

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The Great Trouble: a Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

In 1854 there was a cholera outbreak in London. Hundreds died. There was no cure and no one knew the cause of cholera.   Hopkinson 's hero is a thirteen-year-old orphan, Eel,  who scavenges the filthy Thames River and works odd jobs.  One job brings him in contact with Dr. Snow, a real historical figure who was an early epidemiologist.  The fast-paced novel combines a medical mystery, a race against the clock, evil child snatchers, and an assortment of characters.  You'll love Eel and his friends and want to them to triumph.

 

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Duke by Kirby Larson

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

Set in Seattle, Washington in 1944, this is the home front story of Hobie Hanson, a fifth-grader whose father is flying B-24s in Europe. It's a time of great patriotism and sacrifice even for those at home.  Hobie is expected to step up and help at home, on the family fishing boat, and with his younger sister.  There are ration stamps for sugar, meat, and shoes.  Everyone is urged to do all they can to help in the war effort.  When Hobie learns about the real life organization called Dogs For Defense, he decides to donate his beloved German Shepherd, Duke. It never occurred to him that Duke might be sent into combat or that Duke might bond with his Marine handler.  Will his father and his dog survive?

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The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb

Reading Level:  Ages 12 & up

This nonfiction book reads like a fast paced spy thriller. Israeli Mossad agents, German and Israeli government officials, and private citizens worked together to abduct  Nazi war criminal  Adolf Eichman and bring him to justice.  Eichman, responsible for the deaths of six million Jews, disappeared after the war ended.  Then there came  a report that he was living in Argentina.

All the elements of a spy novel are here: a dangerous mission, false identities, safe houses, and split second timing, but this is a true, well documented  history.

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The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolotionist by Margarita Engle

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of  Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.)  At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder.  In defiance of her family's wishes  Tula is determined to live a free life.  Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not  had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.

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Other books by Margarita Engle