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- A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus. A Place to Hang the Moon chronicles the journey of three children during World War II. In London, they experience the death of their mean grandmother, who had parented them since their mom and dad died.
- Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen. Gary Paulsen (kids may remember him from the bestseller, Hatchet), wrote this historical fiction book set during the American Revolution.
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. The Watsons Go to Birmingham takes place in 1963, when a black family like the Watsons were embroiled in a period of great change and tragedy, even if they didn’t know it.
- Historic Setting
- Authentic Characters
- Cultural Understanding
The primary characteristic of historical fiction novels is a realistic historical setting. Like other fictional genres, historical fiction relies on an authentic sense of place. Historical novels are set in a time period usually 20 years or more in the past, one in which the author has not lived. The setting of a historical novel is brought to life by detailed, factual portrayals of the setting's geography, culture, society and customs. Sarah Stone and Ron Nyren, in "Deepening Fiction," write that "descriptions of details [are] a big part of what makes the [setting] of the story come alive. One or more of these elements may play a central role in the novel's narrative, as does the geography of the Maryland shore in James A. Michener's "Chesapeake." A historical novel may or may not reference actual persons and events from the time period and sometimes may also incorporate elements of fantasy into the setting and the narrative.
Another characteristic of historical fiction novels is that of authentic characters. The primary characters in historical novels are usually imaginary, but supporting characters may be actual historic personages. While the primary characters may not play a central role in the narrative of the novel, they are usually more important than the surrounding settings and events. In fact, many historical fiction novels are character-based and driven, sometimes following fictional families over several generations, as in John Jakes' "Kent Family Chronicles." Joyce G. Saricks, in "The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction," explains that character-oriented historical fiction "often provide[s] a very intimate portrayal of the protagonist." Authentic characters, however, takes some deliberate care on the part of the writer. The character must accurately portray the ideas, opinions, behaviors, values and habits of the novel's chosen time period.
Historical fiction novels, when effectively developed, are also characterized by cultural understanding. In developing a historical fiction novel, a writer has to imaginatively experience life from the perspective of a character within the novel's setting. A writer also needs to accurately use factual information, so as to not misrepresent the historical period. Stone and Nyren explain that "outsiders to a culture often inadvertently create characters whose basic values and ideas reflect those of their own culture rather than the one at hand, thereby making the work unrealistic." Cultural understanding also encompasses an awareness of and sensitivity to the worldviews of the period, as well as a fair portrayal of divergent viewpoints. The plot of a historical fiction novel may not only reflect the issues and concerns of the time period, but also may explore specific issues in depth.
People also ask
Which is the best historical fiction book for middle school students?
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What kind of books are good for middle grade readers?
Historical fiction will have one of three techniques. First, some will use real events, but with fictional people. A good example would be a novel about World War II, with fictitious military...
- 6 min
- Ancient History
- Medieval History & The Renaissance
- The 18th & 19th Centuries
- The 20th Century
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The story of Moses, a Jewish boy born into slavery and eventually adopted by an Egyptian princess, is well-known. His sister Almah’s journey is less familiar. As she sacrifices again and again to protect her baby brother, Almah begins to feel more connected to the Egyptian gods than her own Hebrew religion. Told in alternating perspectives, this middle grade novel brings Ancient Egypt to life.
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Set against the backdrop of the events leading up to the Trojan War, Anaxandra is taken from her home as a young girl to serve as companion to King Nicander’s daughter, Princess Callisto. But when her new island is invaded by pirates and she is the only survivor, Anaxandra impersonates the princess and is taken in Menelaus, the king of Sparta, and his wife, the beautiful Helen.
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In Medieval China, twelve-year-old Li Jing is the daughter of a poor tea farmer. After a particularly bad harvest, she is sold as a bride to help her family survive. When she’s treated poorly by her new family and then sold into an even worse situation, Li Jing runs away with the help of a spider and a nightingale.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-126797" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/The-Inquisitor%E2%80%...
In a novel reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales,three travelers meet in 1241 France and begin to tell the intersecting stories of three children on a quest with their holy greyhound. William is on a mission from his monastery. Jacob is a Jewish boy escaping persecution. And Jeanne is a peasant girl who must hide her prophetic visions. Together they will work to save a precious holy texts from being burned.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-171587" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Mad_Wolfs_Daughter_Co...
One night in Medieval Scotland, Drest’s life is changed forever when knights invade her father’s castle. They capture her entire family. Drest is the only one they leave behind. Her father is a famous warrior and her five older brothers make up a renowned war-band, but now it is Drest’s turn to save them. But on her wild journey, her loyalty is challenged when she befriends a wounded invader and learns of the atrocities her brothers committed.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-171904" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Attack_of_the_turtle_...
Set against the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War, fourteen-year-old Nathan works with his older cousin David Bushnell to create the first submarine. But if Nathan really wants to help his people win independence he will need to overcome his fear of water and investigate his suspicions that his neighbors are Tory spies.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-171905" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Fever-179...
Based on the actual 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia, fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook must deal with the death of her childhood playmate and the fever that’s overtaken the city down by the docks. At first the illness means prosperity to her family’s small business and makes Mattie dream about someday running her own coffee house. But then the fever spreads, threatening Mattie, her family, and the future she’s imagined for herself.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-172453" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Juba_Cover-198x300.jp...
Peppered with photographs and maps, this account of the life of dancer William Henry Lane mixes intensely researched fact with an imagined personal account. Lane, better known as “Master Juba,” was a famous black dancer in the U.S. and UK in the 1800s. His style of minstrel dancing got him noticed by Charles Dickens, helped him travel the world, and influenced today’s step dancing, jazz, and tap.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-120255" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Chasing-Secrets-by-Ge...
It’s 1900, and thirteen-year-old Lizzie is enamored with the excitement of San Francisco’s Gilded Age. But she’s stuck in a boring finishing school where no one understands her passion for science. Her only escape is when she can convince her physician father to take her along on house calls. During these outings, Lizzie’s exposed to a darker side of her city: one with rat infestations, cramped living quarters, and people dying of a mysterious illness. Her father and all the newspapers deny t...
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-172457" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/War_Horse_Cover-211x3...
An account of World War One imagined through the eyes of a horse, Joey. After Joey is sold to the army, he tries to act courageously in battle and give the soldiers hope. But in his heart, through witnessing the atrocities of war and being captured by the Germans, he just wants to get back to his first owner Albert, the fifteen-year-old who trained him.
<img data-pin-title="30 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books for Middle School Readers" class="alignleft wp-image-126718" src="https://s2982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Beyond-the-Bright-Sea...
Set in the 1920s on a small island off Massachusetts, twelve-year-old Crow is an orphan who washed up alone in a boat as an infant. Some of the islanders ostracize her, assuming she’s from a nearby leper colony. But Crow is raised by an eccentric fisherman named Osh and loved by their neighbor Miss Maggie. But she longs to discover who her birth parents were and what happened them. And once she convinces Osh and Maggie to help her, the trio embarks on a journey to find the answers together.
- Alison Doherty
Sep 20, 2016 · Get your tweens excited about history by having them read some powerful historical fiction books for middle school. This genre uses stories to introduce readers to the past, making it easy for kids to imagine what it was like living years ago and the challenges people faced.
Sep 21, 2020 · These middle-grade historical fiction picks also tackle other topics such as living with war, grief, moving, children with special needs and more. This post has been updated for September 2020. Click on the graphics to head over to the book’s Amazon page.
Jul 27, 2016 · The book addresses the historical events of the time making it a perfect book selection for students studying the Revolutionary War time period. In typical Laurie Halse Anderson fashion, this book is including moving, vivid characters that your heart aches for. This is the first book in a three-part series. 2.
- Johnny Tremain. Title: Johnny Tremain. Author: Esther Forbes. Overview: Set in the 1770s, the story of Johnny Tremain, a 14-year-old orphan, is a dramatic one.
- Across Five Aprils. Title: Across Five Aprils. Author: Irene Hunt. Overview: This novel covers five years in the life of young Jethro Creighton. The story focuses on how the Civil War impacts Jethro from the age of 9 to 14, and how it affects his family on their southern Illinois farm.
- Dragon's Gate. Title: Dragon's Gate. Author: Laurence Yep. Overview: Set in and around 1867, this coming-of-age story combines Chinese and United States (particularly California) history.
- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Title: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Author: Jacqueline Kelly. Overview: Set in Texas in 1899, this is the story of spunky Calpurnia Tate.
- Fever 1793 (Paperback) Laurie Halse Anderson (Goodreads Author) (shelved 5 times as middle-school-historical-fiction) avg rating 3.91 — 112,885 ratings — published 2000.
- The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1) Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Goodreads Author) (shelved 5 times as middle-school-historical-fiction)
- Chains (Seeds of America, #1) Laurie Halse Anderson (Goodreads Author) (shelved 5 times as middle-school-historical-fiction) avg rating 4.09 — 50,008 ratings — published 2008.
- Refugee (Kindle Edition) Alan Gratz (Goodreads Author) (shelved 4 times as middle-school-historical-fiction) avg rating 4.44 — 40,724 ratings — published 2017.
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