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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.

Kindergarten

While riding his new bicycle, Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.

Erandi's braids by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal

In a poor Mexican village, Erandi surprises her mother by offering to sell her long, beautiful hair in order to raise enough money to buy a new fishing net.

A grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of the charm bracelet that represent her own childhood experiences while she and her family tried to evade the Nazis in Italy during World War II.

When his father leaves to fight in World War I, Mikey joins the Central Park Knitting Bee to help knit clothing for soldiers overseas.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack of appendicitis.

The other side by Jacqueline Woodson

Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town.

More suggestions for Kindergarten

First Grade

Dear Mr. Washington by Lynn Cullen

In April, 1796, young Charlotte Stuart writes a series of letters to George Washington, whose portrait is being painted by her father, reporting on her efforts and those of her brothers to follow the rules of good behavior in the book Mr. Washington gave them.

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.

Dust for dinner by Ann Warren Turner

Jake narrates the story of his family's life in the Oklahoma dust bowl and the journey from their ravaged farm to California during the Great Depression.

The Golly Sisters go West by Betsy Cromer Byars

May-May and Rose, the singing, dancing Golly sisters, travel west by covered wagon, entertaining people along the way.

Temple cat by Andrew Clements

A temple cat in ancient Egypt grows tired of being worshipped and cared for in a reverent fashion and travels to the seaside, where she finds genuine affection with a fisherman and his children.

More suggestions for First Grade.

Second Grade

Baseball saved us by Ken Mochizuki

A Japanese-American boy learns to play baseball when he and his family are forced to live in an internment camp during World War II, and his ability to play helps him after the war is over.

The big balloon race by Eleanor Coerr

Ariel almost causes her famous mother to lose a balloon race and then helps her to win it.

Buffalo before breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne

The magic tree house takes Jack and his sister Annie to the Great Plains where they learn about the life of the Lakota Indians.

When brothers Taro and Jimmy and their mother are forced to move from their home in California to a Japanese internment camp in the wake of the 1941 Pearl Harbor bombing, Taro daringly escapes the camp to find fresh fish for his grieving brother.

In her diary, a young girl writes about her life and the events surrounding the beginning of the American Revolution in Philadelphia in 1776.

More suggestions for Second Grade

Third Grade

Emily's fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

While traveling to her aunt's home in Redbud by train and stagecoach, quiet young Emily and her turtle, Rufus, team up with Jackson, fellow orphan and troublemaker extraordinaire, to outsmart mean Uncle Victor, who is after Emily's inheritance.

In the Vermont spring of 1853, Bell's Star, a Morgan horse, and his owner Katie rescue a runaway slave and try to outwit the slave catchers in order to help her to freedom.

Hunger Moon by Sarah Lamstein

In 1953 in Chicago, Ruth struggles to deal with her parents' constant arguing, taking care of her younger brothers, one of whom is mentally disabled, and getting along in middle school.

A cabin boy describes sailing with Columbus.

Twenty and ten by Claire Huchet Bishop

Twenty school children hide ten Jewish children from the Nazis occupying France during World War II.

More suggestions for Third Grade.

Fourth Grade

The Abernathy boys by L. J. Hunt

Bud Abernathy, age nine, and his brother, Temp, age five, are determined to see the Old West. The boys are headed for the Goodnight Ranch, where their daddy once was known as "Catch'em Alive" Jack for his ability to catch live wolves with his bare hands. To get to Goodnight, the brothers will have to cross the caprock, a vast desert that is the loneliest place on earth.

In 1860, eleven-year-old Becky Thatcher, new to St. Petersburg, Missouri, joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas in hopes of meeting a promise to have adventures that she made her brother, Jon, before he died.

The kite fighters by Linda Sue Park

In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother Kee-sup, who as the first-born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup's kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition.

The lacemaker by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

In 1788, eleven-year-old Isabelle, living with her lacemaker grandmother and mother near the palace of Versailles, becomes close friends with Marie Antoinette's daughter, Princess Therese, and finds their relationship complicated not only by their different social class but by the growing political unrest and resentment of the French people.

Whittington by Alan W. Armstrong

Whittington, a feline descendant of Dick Whittington's famous cat of English folklore, appears at a rundown barnyard plagued by rats and restores harmony while telling his ancestor's story.

More suggestions for Fourth Grade.

Fifth Grade

Cecile : gates of gold by Mary Casanova

In 1711, twelve-year-old Cecile Revel unexpectedly gets the chance to serve Louis XIV's sister-in-law at the palace of Versailles, but instead of a dream come true, life at court proves to be complicated and precarious.

Bass Reeves was the most successful federal marshal in the United States, although he was born into slavery. He never drew his gun first and yet rounded up hundreds of outlaws and was shot at countless times without being hit. He served the law with honor and courage, and he became known and respected all over the Indian Territory.

In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers want to change into a tourist spot.

Maroo, a girl of the late Ice Age, must take charge after her father is killed, and lead her little brother, mother, and aged grandmother to the safety of the winter camp before the first blizzards strike.

Unsinkable by Gordon Korman

The Titanic is meant to be unsinkable, but as it begins its maiden voyage, there's plenty of danger waiting for four of its young passengers. Paddy is a stowaway, escaping a deadly past. Sophie's mother is delivered to the ship by police - after she and Sophie have been arrested. Juliana's father is an eccentric whose riches can barely hide his madness. And Alfie is hiding a secret that could get him kicked off the ship immediately.

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.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

Impoverished Vermont farm girl Lyddie Worthen is determined to gain her independence by becoming a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1840s.

Milkweed : a novel by Jerry Spinelli

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.

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

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