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Suggested Historical Fiction by Grade Level


Interested in reading a story that takes place in a different time period? Try checking out one of these historic tales. Grade levels are suggested, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level. Under each grade is a link for even more titles.


Clarence's big secret by Christine MacGregor Cation

Clarence Brazier kept a big secret for nearly one hundred years: he didn't know how to read. This picture book tells the true story of his journey to learn--and then love--to read.

Goodnight, Anne by K. (Kallie) George

At bedtime, Anne says goodnight to the people, places, and things that mean the most to her at her home on a Prince Edward Island farm where she lives with an elderly brother and sister.

Home in the woods by illustrator Eliza Wheeler

During the Great Depression, six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother find a tarpaper shack in the woods and, over the course of a year, turn it into a home.

The hundred-year barn by Patricia MacLachlan

One hundred years ago, a little boy watched his family and community come together to build a grand red barn.

Make a change by Rhonda Rucker

During the civil rights movement, little Marvin doesn't want to be left out of a protest being held at a store that only allows whites at its lunch counter. When a young white man approaches the scene, the child is unsure what to expect.

More suggestions for Kindergarten

First Grade

The book boat's in by Cynthia Cotten

On a book boat on the Erie Canal in the 1800s, Jessie spots a used copy of The Swiss Family Robinson, then works very hard all week to earn the money he needs to buy it.

Dinosaur hunter by Elaine Marie Alphin

In Wyoming in the 1880s, a young boy fulfills his dream of finding a dinosaur skeleton on his father's ranch, outwits a man who would cheat him, and sells his find to a team of fossil hunters.

Pavel and the tree army by Heidi Smith Hyde

As they plant trees and do other environmental projects for the Civilian Conservation Corps, Russian immigrants Pavel and Anatoly are happy to find employment during the Great Depression, but when other workers accuse them of not being "real Americans," Pavel and Anatoly learn the words to the Star Spangled Banner, newly designated by Congress as the national anthem.

Prairie friends by Nancy Smiler Levinson

When Betsy learns that a new family is coming to the Nebraska prairie, she hopes they have a girl who will be her friend.

More suggestions for First Grade.

Second Grade

Charlotte in Paris by Joan Knight
Also available in: e-book

The young daughter of American artists living in Giverny, France, in 1893, records in her journal her exciting trip to Paris to attend an Impressionist art exhibition. 

Cora Frear : a true story by Susan E. Goodman

While making house calls with her frontier-doctor father, Cora Frear finds herself in a dangerous situation as she and her father are surrounded by a prairie fire raging out of control.

Ruth and The Green Book by Calvin A Ramsey

When Ruth and her parents take a motor trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma, they rely on a pamphlet called "The Negro Motorist Green Book" to find places that will serve them.

Sailing for gold by Deborah Hopkinson

Ever since his mother died, Davey has had a secret plan: He's saving his money so he can run away to Alaska to find Uncle Walt, the only relative he has. No one is going to stop him - not even mean Mrs. Tinker, who owns the Seattle boardinghouse where Davey lives and works.

Third Grade

On December 7, 1941, thirteen-year old Alice's life changes completely as she experiences an act of war, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and her father's imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp, leaving Alice and the rest of her family struggling to adjust to life without him.

Fiona's lace by illustrator Patricia Polacco

Fiona and her family moved from Ireland to Chicago to begin a new life. Yet, when the family is struck with misfortune, will Fiona's lace help save them?

When Paul, a French boy living in a Nazi controlled village, finds an American paratrooper in a tree near his home, he has a chance to play a role in the Allies plan to crush the Nazis.

New shoes by Susan Meyer

In this historical fiction picture book, Ella Mae and her cousin Charlotte, both African American, start their own shoe store when they learn that they cannot try on shoes at the shoe store.

The year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.

More suggestions for Third Grade.

Fourth Grade

Calico Girl by Jerdine Nolen

Callie struggles to understand slavery when her stepbrother is sold away at the start of the Civil War, but is determined her whole family will be free one day.

After his thievery conviction in 1724, Oliver Cromwell Pitts is sent from England across the Atlantic to America where he is enslaved on a tobacco farm, never giving up on finding his sister, Charity, brought to the colonies on a different ship.

Makoons by Louise Erdrich
Also available in: e-book

Living with their Ojibwe family on the Great Plains of Dakota Territory in 1866, twin brothers Makoons and Chickadee must learn to become buffalo hunters, but Makoons has a vision that foretells great challenges that his family may not be able to overcome.

Prairie lotus by Linda Sue Park

In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves.

More suggestions for Fourth Grade.

Fifth Grade

A ceiling made of eggshells by Gail Carson Levine
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

Loma relishes traveling with her beloved grandfather across fifteenth-century Spain, working to keep the Jews safe, but soon realizes she must also make sacrifices to help her people.

Nory Ryan's song by Patricia Reilly Giff

When a terrible blight attacks Ireland's potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan's courage and ingenuity help her family and neighbors survive.

My brigadista year by Katherine Paterson

When Lora joins Castro's literacy campaign, she travels into the impoverished countryside to teach her fellow Cubans to read and write, while sharing the dangers posed by counterrevolutionaries in the hills.

Everyone on the wagon train knew Harriet "Duck" Scott was looking for adventure as they left Illinois for the faraway Oregon Territory, but nothing could have prepared the Scott family for the dangers they were about to meet.

More suggestions for Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade

Journey to the river sea 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.

Milkweed : a novel by Jerry Spinelli
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes readers to one of the most devastating settings imaginable--Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II--and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young Holocaust orphan.

Miss Spitfire : reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Elizabeth Miller

At age twenty-one, partially-blind, lonely but spirited Annie Sullivan travels from Massachusetts to Alabama to try and teach six-year-old Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age two, self-discipline and communication skills.

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.

As the lone "young lady" on a transatlantic voyage in 1832, Charlotte learns that the captain is murderous and the crew rebellious.

More suggestions for Sixth Grade