Historical Fiction

The Whispering Town

Author: 
Jennifer Elvgren
Fabio Santomauro

Reading Level: Grades 1 - 3

During WWII the people of the Nazi occupied Danish town of Gilleleje helped 1,700 Jews escape to Sweden. This book tells the story of those brave residents and one night in particular when they had to figure out a new way to lead an escaping family to the ships that would take them to safety.

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Wanderville

Author: 
Wendy McClure

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6

In 1904, 11-year-old Frances and her younger brother Harold are sent on an orphan train heading to Kansas from New York.  On the train they meet Jack, whose family could not afford to keep him.  When they hear rumors about horrible conditions that await them in Kansas, the three children jump the train.  They meet up with Alexander, a boy who has escaped from a work farm and set up his own "kids-only" town called Wanderville.  There they find happiness until the unthinkable happens. 

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Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal

Author: 
Margarita Engle

Reading Level: Grade 6 & up

Written in verse from alternating viewpoints, this book gives the reader many different perspectives on the creation of the Panama Canal over a hundred years ago. We hear from howler monkeys, Theodore Roosevelt, a Cuban immigrant named Mateo, the trees, and many others who played a role in this large undertaking that connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

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The Great Trouble: a Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

Author: 
Deborah Hopkinson

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

In 1854 there was a cholera outbreak in London. Hundreds died. There was no cure and no one knew the cause of cholera.   Hopkinson 's hero is a thirteen-year-old orphan, Eel,  who scavenges the filthy Thames River and works odd jobs.  One job brings him in contact with Dr. Snow, a real historical figure who was an early epidemiologist.  The fast-paced novel combines a medical mystery, a race against the clock, evil child snatchers, and an assortment of characters.  You'll love Eel and his friends and want to them to triumph.

 

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The Dogs of Winter

Author: 
Bobbie Pyron

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

Truth can be much stranger than fiction and fiction based on truth can make a great story.  Inspired by the life of Ivan Mishukov, Ivan Andreovich is a five-year-old boy who was orphaned in post-Soviet Russia, left on the streets to fend for himself, and adopted by a pack of wild dogs.

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Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls

Author: 
Mary Downing Hahn

Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Combining murder mystery, historical fiction, and a coming-of-age story, this chilling book is base on real life events in the author's past.  The time is 1956 and Nora anticipates spending a the summer  before her senior year with her group of friends.  But two of her friends are shot to death on their way to the last day of school.  Everyone but Nora is sure that the murderer is a jealous ex-boyfriend. Told from a number of perspectives, the story examines the effect this horrible event had on so many lives.

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Magritte's Marvelous Hat

Author: 
D.B. Johnson

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 11

Magritte sees a hat in a shop window and, even though it refuses to stay on his head, he can't resist buying it. Then the adventures begin in this surreal picture book introduction to the surrealist painter's art.

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Jefferson's Sons

Author: 
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Grades 5-9
Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson lived at the plantation Monticello and kept slaves to work in his fields, farm and home. One of his slaves was a woman named Sally Hemings, mother to four of Jefferson's children - Beverly, Harriet, Maddy, and Eston.  Though slaves, the children and their mother were given special treatment by Jefferson because of his discreet relationship to them - but nevertheless, slaves they remained. 

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