historical fiction

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What if WWI was fought with genetically altered animals? What if rock and roll started in Victorian England, or the X-Men were around in the 16th century? What if, what if, what if? These books ask the hard questions, and then try to figure out how history would have progressed, had just one thing changed.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.... Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly--but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library's service. When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life--and soon both heretics and books will burn....

Marvel 1602 / by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's vision of the Marvel Universe in the year 1602 The year is 1602, and strange things are stirring in England. In the service of Queen Elizabeth, court magician Dr. Stephen Strange senses that the bizarre weather plaguing the skies above is not of natural origin. Her majesty's premier spy, Sir Nicholas Fury, fends off an assassination attempt on the Queen by winged warriors rumored to be in service to a mad despot named Doom. News is spreading of witchbreed sightings - young men bearing fantastic superhuman powers and abilities. And in the center of the rising chaos is Virginia Dare, a young girl newly arrived from the New World, guarded by a towering Indian warrior. Can Fury and his allies find a connection to these unusual happenings before the whole world ends? In Marvel 1602, award-winning writer Neil Gaiman presents a unique vision of the Marvel Universe set four hundred years in the past. Daredevil appear in this intriguing world of 17th- century science and sorcery, instantly familiar to readers, yet subtly different in this new time. Marvel 1602 combines classic Marvel action and adventure with the historically accurate setting of Queen Elizabeth's reign to create a unique series unlike any other published by Marvel Comics

Song of the slums by Richard Harland

In the slums of Brummingham, where a new type of music is taking shape, classically-trained Astor must survive in a world where rock music reigns, and she learns to depend on her former servant Verrol, who has a mysterious past.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

For almost 35 years, The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction has been given annually to an U.S. author for a meritorious book of historical fiction set in the Americas  and published in the previous year for children or young adults. Here are some of the previous winners. Named after the award's founder, acclaimed author of Island of the Blue Dolphins and other books, the award was intended to encourage writers to focus on historical fiction and increase the interest of young readers in how the country was shaped. For a complete listing, you can visit the award's website


The hired girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs chronicles her life in a journal when she leaves her family's farm in Pennsylvania to work as a hired girl in Baltimore in the summer of 1911.

Dash by Kirby Larson

When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world--the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill

"It's the 1920s, and Bo was headed for an Alaska orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her, enthusiastically helped by all the kind people of the nearby Eskimo village"--.

The story continues in the sequel, Bo at Iditarod Creek.

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie's TV Series, such as Miss Marple or Poirot, enjoy a good mystery, a minimum of violence, and interesting characters try these:


Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme, two middle-aged women, make a fresh start by opening a gardening business. Mysteries grow around these two gardening sleuths as they dig up trouble on the job and use investigative skills to get to the bottom of things.

DCI Janine Lewis heads a police team that investigates Manchester's most gruesome murders while balancing her personal life as a single mother of four.

Campion thought he had been invited to view a painting but finds himself viewing a body. When another body turns up, Campion must deduce-- is it suicide, or a second murder?.

What We're Reading: August 2015

May We Suggest: Historical Mysteries

Second Street Station: a Mary Handley mystery by Lawrence H. Levy

The empty mirror: a Viennese mystery by J. Sydney Jones

A duty to the dead by Charles Todd

The Mangle Street murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Damsel in distress by Carola Dunn

The devil's making by Seán Haldane

Michigan Historical Fiction



Detroit breakdown by D.E. Johnson — Detroit, 1912.




The Detroit electric scheme by D. E. Johnson — Detroit, 1910.




The expeditions: a novel by Karl Iagnemma — Michigan Territory, 1844.




Grand River and Joy by Susan Messer — Detroit, 1967.




Looking for Przybylski by K.C. Frederick — Detroit, mid-1970s.




Great Fourth Grade Reads

Looking for some great Fourth Grade reads? Try some of these:

The strange case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The one and only Ivan by Katherine Applegate; illustrations by Patricia Castelao

Tales of a fourth grade nothing by Judy Blume; illustrated by Roy Doty

The summer of the swans [by] Betsy Byars. Illustrated by Ted CoConis by Byars, Betsy Cromer

Frindle by Andrew Clements; pictures by Brian Selznick

Deadly Desperados

The case of the deadly desperados by Caroline Lawrence — The setting of this new historical fiction mystery is the Wild West, where desperados, gamblers and gunmen abound. In this western, P.K. Pinkerton is on the run from a ruthless gang, determined to hold on to his families last priceless possession. Relying on disguises, P.K. must outwit the outlaws in this fast-paced, fun adventure.

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