This month, for our Reading Adventure, my middle and high schooler are reading some powerful historical fiction novels.
Another box filled in on our Reading Adventure Checklist!
I learned years ago that adding quality historical fiction stories to our lessons made the subject come alive for the girls in a way that standard curriculum books didn’t. In fact, I believe that Abigail enjoys history so much because she fell in love with this genre at an early age.
Historical fiction uses stories to introduce readers to the past, making it easy to imagine what it was like living years ago. While reading these books, older kids will meet famous historical figures and discover what challenges people faced during earlier time periods.
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Get Teens Hooked on History with These Historical Fiction Books
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
This Newbery Award Winning Civil War novel introduces readers to Jethro Creighton, a young boy who lives on a farm in Southern Illinois. As his older brothers head off to war, both for the North and South, his family is torn apart. Soon, his father gets sick and he is forced to take charge of the family farm.
He realizes that he must grow up quickly during this challenging time. Even though he did not go to battle, his life is still forever altered by the war.
Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
From a young age, Nathaniel Bowditch faced many hardships and saw his dreams frequently dashed as he grew up. In his hometown of Salem, during the eighteenth-century, sailing was incredibly important. Most assumed he didn’t have the makings of a sailor because of his small size. However, he is placed on a boat after his family dies and his passion for learning, self-discipline, and willingness to work hard helps him find success, against all odds.
In fact, his mastery of astronomy, mathematics, and Latin led him to develop a navigational manual that is still in use today.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
Johnny Tremain is a fourteen-year-old silversmith apprentice in Boston, just before the start of the American Revolutionary War. He is prideful and talented, but his life is forever altered after a painful accident renders his hand useless, essentially ending his career.
He takes on a menial job, that as a rider for the local newspaper, the Boston Observer. It’s through the newspaper that he gets involved in the politics of the time.
Through his eyes, we see many of the famous people and events of America during the Revolution, including The Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere and his famous ride, the Battle of Concord, John Hancock, Minute Men, and more.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Don’t let the over 500 pages turn you away from this book, because within the pages you’ll find almost 300 pages of beautiful and detailed illustrations. It’s a graphic novel and a picture book combined into one unique reading adventure. This book takes you back to the early days of film, specifically when synchronized sound was added. Many of these movies are in the book’s illustrations.
Hugo Cabret is a boy who lives in Paris in 1931. Hugo finds an automaton (wind-up mechanical figure that appears alive) and he and his father work to restore it. Unfortunately, Hugo’s father is killed and he goes to live with his uncle in the walls of the train station where he is taught how to repair the station’s clocks.
He continues to fix the clocks, even after his uncle disappears, while still working to rebuild the automaton. He hopes once it’s fixed, the metal man will give him a message from his deceased father. To fix the figure, Hugo must steal parts from an old toy seller. Once caught, Hugo’s life takes a dramatic turn. Will he let his secrets continue to isolate him?
In this work of historical fiction, you’ll meet a long forgotten magician and filmmaker, George Méliès, the man credited with the first science fiction movie, who also happened to be a collector of automata.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
As World War II rages on, Annemarie, a 10-year-old Danish girl, goes from thinking about normal childhood things like school, to worrying about her disappearing neighbors, frequent food shortages, and the many Nazi soldiers she sees around town.
As the Nazis begin relocating the Danish Jews, Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen, moves in with her for safety. But the search for Jews ramps up and Ellen is no longer safe in Denmark. Soon it is time for Ellen’s family to flee to Sweden and unforeseen events thrusts Annemarie into a key role in their journey.
With lives at stake, she’ll have to be braver than she’s ever been.
Does your tween/teen have a favorite historical fiction book? Share it with us!
Check out our other book recommendations from our reading adventure:
- Fantasy Books
- Adventure Novels
- Books that Inspired Disney Movies
- Contemporary Novels
- Inspiring Biographies
- Newbery Medal winners
- Personal Growth Books
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