historical fiction

What is a Friend?

Author: Kristin Levine

"I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it's a true friend, it doesn't matter."  This is a great book! It has unexpected twists and turns in the plot that can really surprise you.  Historical fiction set during the Civil Rights Movement in the American South, it is really more a book about friendship, loyalty, and family.  I highly recommend this book!

The Matchbox Diary
Author: Paul Fleischman

This is a brand new book- just out in 2013.  I am often disappointed in newer books because I feel that so many of them lack a good, wholesome story.  This book took me by surprise as the story captured our attention (kids ages 9, 8 and 6), taught us a little history and the artwork is beautiful.  The book tells the story of a little girl visiting with her great grandpa as he tells her the story of his coming to America from Italy.  A touching story.  I would highly recommend this book!

Author: Matthew Skelton

We read this book aloud as a family a few weeks ago. We chose it because we had listened to Endymion Spring, another book by Matthew Skelton, a few years ago on audio. I prefer Endymion Spring because it is more complex and because of it’s historical roots and being set in the library in Oxford. Cirrus Flux is a good book, though. It is the story of the orphan, Cirrus Flux, an orphan in 19th century London, whose father left him a mysterious artifact that a bunch of adults all seem to want. Oh, yeah, and he gets to ride in a hot air balloon that is powered by a bird whose wings set on fire. There’s cool stuff like that in the book. Overall, a good book. A-

Author: Carmen Agra Deedy

Skilley is a cat with a secret. This secret leads him to the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Inn, home of London's best cheese and ten-thousand mice. There he makes an unexpected friend, becomes involved in a rescue plot and protects those he loves from an evil foe. Along the way he learns what true friendship is, what it means to be courageous, and most of all what it means to be true to ones self. This is a beautifully written tale featuring characters that are hard not to love. There is danger and suspense as well as love and friendship. The language is slightly reminiscent of Charles Dickens (who, by the way, makes appearances throughout the story) and the illustrations complement the story perfectly. This would be a great book for older middle schoolers (and up) and would work very well for a read-aloud to younger grades as well. Happy reading!

Author: Marty Figley

This exciting tale opened my eyes to a moment in history that I never read or heard about before.  It's a great easy reader to help elementary aged students explore the struggles of pioneer life.  I am proud of how strong the human spirit is during trying times.

Author: Michael Morpurgo

Imagine your family in World War II Germany, missing your father who is fighting the Russians, and fearing the day you know is coming when the Allied Forces will bomb your city.  Add in a young elephant who is dependent on your mother... now the story gets intriguing!!  Terrific multi-generational story told as a remembering from an elderly confined woman to a young boy and his mother, this book will keep you engaged from page one to the end.  I really enjoy historical fiction that has strong ties to particular events, and this story, while the location has been adapted from Belfast, Ireland to Dresen, Germany, is a great example of how to learn history through fiction.  Pair it with Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan.

Read White Star!

Author: Marty Crisp

White Star a Dog on the Titanic is a realistic fiction book that takes place on the voyage of the ship, Titanic. The main characters are Sam and Star. Sam is a teenage boy traveling to New York to see his mom. Star is a Champion Irish Setter used by his master for advertising. Star and Sam end up together fighting for their lives. Read this book to find out why.

This book is by Marty Crisp who makes his characters very interesting. This story is not predictable and makes you want to keep reading page after page. When Sam and Star first meet you would never guess how their relationship turns out. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will be able to relate to this book. I recommend this book to people who love animals and books with lots of action. White Star a Dog on the Titanic gets five stars from me.

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids


Title: Chains
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Whose side do you fight for if you're a slave during the American Revolution? While our country is fighting for freedom from Britain, who will fight for the slaves' freedom? The truth is that sometimes the slaves would fight for whoever promised them their freedom after the war. This book of incredibly well researched historical fiction takes the reader through the harrowing times of a slave girl named Isabel, her little sister Ruth, and a slave boy named Curzon as they fight for their freedom.

This award winning book is a favorite for avid middle school readers. Don't miss book 2, "Forge" and not yet published, book 3 titled "Ashes" (recommended for grades 6-8, young adults and adults).

Originally posted in: APL Picks for Kids

Moon Over Manifest

Author: Clare Vanderpool

Meet spunky Abilene Tucker, 12 year old daughter of a drifter, who puts her on a train to Manifest, Kansas, to spend the summer of 1936 with colorful people from his past. A local diviner reveals stories from the days of World War I (1917-1918) in flashbacks that parallel life in 1936, as Abilene searches for a connection to her father. Mystery, adventure, spy hunting, secrets, and humor slowly form a memorable story of family and community. Children's author Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery Honor Winner, describes this book as "The best book I've read in ages." 2011 Newbery Medal Winner.

Recommended for grade 5 and up.

Author: Laura Amy Schlitz

Eleven year old Maud doesn't expect to get adopted out of the orphanage where she lives in 1909. She's too plain, naughty, and old for adoption. No one is more surprised than Maud when she is adopted by three spinster sisters who immediately spoil her with fine clothes. There is a price to be paid for her adoption though. Maud can't leave the house or gardens around it and must stay hidden from the public. Her adoptive "aunts" are sporadic in their kindness and they have many secrets. What is the price Maud has to pay to be out of the orphanage? Is it worth it? Young readers will enjoy this suspenseful mystery.