General Historical Fiction (Grades 4-6)

Avi.  Catch You Later, Traitor.  J FIC Avi
It’s 1951, and twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid in Brooklyn, New York, who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas. But when an FBI agent shows up at Pete’s doorstep, accusing Pete’s father of being a Communist, Pete is caught in a real-life mystery. Could there really be Commies in Pete’s family?

Bishop, Claire.  Twenty and Ten.  J PB B
A nun and 20 French children hide 10 refugees from the Nazis.

Blakemore, Megan Frazer.  The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill.  J FIC Blakemore
Hazel Kaplansky and new student Samuel Butler investigate rumors that a Russian spy has infiltrated their small Vermont town amidst the fervor of Cold War-era McCarthyism, but more is revealed than they could ever have imagined.

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.  The War That Saved My Life.  J FIC Bradley
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Cheaney, J.B.  I Don’t Know How the Story Ends.  J FIC Cheaney
Twelve-year-old Isobel is unhappy about spending the summer of 1918 at her aunt’s home in Hollywood with her mother and sister until her cousin, Ranger, involves the girls in creating the perfect film and, when her father returns from the war, his serious injury becomes their inspiration.

Cheng, Andrea.  Eclipse .  J FIC Cheng
In Cincinnati, Ohio, in the summer of 1952, eight-year-old Peti gives up his room to his Hungarian relatives, including a twelve-year-old cousin who bullies him, and worries about his grandfather who cannot escape from behind the Iron Curtain.

Cummings, Priscilla.  Saving Grace.  J FIC Cummings
When Grace’s family is evicted from their Washington,  D.C., apartment just before Christmas 1932, and she and her younger brothers are sent to the Mission, Grace wonders what will become of her sick older brother, her pregnant mother, and her out-of-work father.

Curtis, Christopher Paul.  The Madman of Piney Woods.  J FIC Curtis
Even though it is now 1901, the people of Buxton, Canada (originally a settlement of runaway slaves) and Chatham, Canada are still haunted by two events of half a century before–the American Civil War, and the Irish potato famine, and the lasting damage those events caused to the survivors.

Dagg, Carole Estby.  Sweet Home Alaska.  J FIC Dagg
In 1934, eleven-year-old Terpsichore’s father signs up for President Roosevelt’s Palmer Colony project, uprooting the family from Wisconsin to become pioneers in Alaska, where Terpsichore refuses to let rough conditions and first impressions get in the way of her grand adventure.

Draper, Sharon M.  Stella By Starlight.  J FIC Draper
When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

Duble, Kathleen Benner.  The Sacrifice.  J Fic Duble
Two sisters, aged ten and twelve, are accused of witchcraft in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1692 and await trial in a miserable prison while their mother desperately searches for some way to obtain their freedom.

Fantaskey, Beth.  Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter.  J FIC Fantaskey
In the 1920s, a ten-year-old newsgirl who aspires to be a reporter at the Chicago Tribune investigates the murder of a gangster.

Fitzgerald, Laura Marx.  The Gallery.  J FIC Fitzgerald
It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room. The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth.

Fox, Paula. The Slave Dancer.  J FIC Fox/JPB F
A thirteen-year-old boy is kidnapped to play the fife on board a slave ship en route to Africa from New Orleans in 1840.

Hahn, Mary Downing.  Anna All Year Round.  J FIC Hahn
Eight-year-old Anna experiences a series of episodes, some that are funny, others sad, involving friends and family during a year in Baltimore just before World War I.

Herman, Charlotte. My Chocolate Year. J FIC Herman
In 1945 Chicago, as her Jewish family anxiously awaits news of relatives left behind in Europe, ten-year-old Dorrie learns new recipes in the hope of winning a baking competition at school. Includes recipes for various foods, from chocolate pudding to chocolate mandelbread.

Hitchcock, Sharon.  Ruby Lee & Me.  Y FIC Hitchcock
When a formerly segregated North Carolina town hires its first African-American teacher in 1969, two girls–one black, one white–confront the prejudice that challenges their friendship.

Holt, Kimberly Willis.  Dear Hank Williams.  J FIC Holt
In Rippling Creek, Louisiana, in 1948, eleven-year-old Tate writes letters to her favorite country singer, sharing her dreams of becoming a singer and revealing that her mother is in prison.

Hopkinson, Deborah.  A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket.  J FIC Hopkinson
In March of 1887, Rocco, an eleven-year-old from an Italian village, arrives in New York City where he is forced to live in squalor and beg for money as a street musician, but he finds the city’s cruelty to children and animals intolerable and sets out to make things better, whatever the cost to himself.

Hulme, Joy N.  Through the Open Door.  J FIC Hulme
Nine-year-old Dora, who has been kept out of school because of her speech impediment, dreams of learning to speak normally as her family joins a group of other Mormons journeying from Utah to New Mexico in 1910.

Ibbotson, Eva.  The Dragonfly Pool.  J FIC Ibbotson
Tally, a twelve-year-old English girl, and her classmates at Delderton, a progressive boarding school, help Karil, the young prince of Bergania, escape into England after the Nazis invade Bergania and kill the king.

Kelly, Eric. The Trumpeter of Krakow. J Fic Kelly
Mystery surrounds a precious jewel and the youthful patriot who stands over it in a church tower in this novel of fifteenth-century Poland.

Kidd, Ronald.  Night on Fire.  J FIC Kidd
Hoping that the arrival of Freedom Riders in her town will help her community shed its antiquated views, thirteen-year-old Billie is forced to confront her own mindset when things turn tragic.

Larson, Kirby.  Audacity Jones to the Rescue.  J FIC Larson
In 1910, Audacity Jones is an eleven-year-old orphan living a monotonous life at Miss Maisie’s School for Wayward Girls, and wondering why nothing exciting ever happens–but when the mysterious Commodore Crutchfield whisks her away to Washington D.C., she finds herself involved in a sinister and dangerous plot against the president of the United States.

Larson, Kirby.  Dash.  J FIC Larson
Forced to move with her family to an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-American Mitsi mourns her separation from her dog and tries to keep up with the outside world with the help of a neighbor back home.

Latham, Jean Lee.  Carry on, Mr. Bowditch. J FIC Latham
After finding a way to teach the ship’s crew members to understand navigation, Nat, a self-taught mathematician and astronomer in eighteenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, writes down his explanations and compiles them into “The American Practical Navigator,” also known as the “Sailors’ Bible.”

Lawson, Jessica.  The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.  J FIC Lawson
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 fulfilling a promise to have adventures that she made her brother Jon before he died.

Levine, Kristin.  The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had.  J FIC Levine
In Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, twelve-year-old Dit hopes the new postmaster will have a son his age, but instead he meets Emma, who is black, and their friendship challenges accepted ways of thinking and leads them to save the life of a condemned man.

McAllister, Cameron.  The Tin Snail.  J FIC McAllister
A thirteen-year-old French boy tries to save his father’s job by inventing a special kind of car, but it isn’t easy–especially when the Nazis are planning to steal his design.

MacLachlan, Patricia.  Sarah, Plain and Tall.  J FIC MacLachlan // J PB M
Two children wait on the prairie for the arrival of their new stepmother who has answered their father’s ad for a wife.

Nannestad, Katrina.  When Mischief Came to Town.  J FIC Nannestad
In 1911, when orphaned ten-year-old Inge comes to live with her stern grandmother in a remote island village in Bornholm, Denmark, she ends up changing the climate of the town, bringing joy and laughter to her grandmother’s life and finding a new family for herself to help assuage her grief over losing her mother.

Parenteau, Shirley.  Ship of Dolls.  J FIC Parenteau
In 1926, eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis seeks to leave her strict grandparents in Portland and reunite with her singer mother in San Francisco, so when she hears that her class is sending a doll to Japan by way of San Francisco, she seizes her chance.

Reeder, Carolyn.  Shades of Gray.  J FIC Reeder
At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a “traitor” because he refused to take part in the war.

Sepahban, Lois.  Paper Wishes.  J FIC Sepahban
Near the start of World War II, young Manami, her parents, and Grandfather are evacuated from their home and sent to Manzanar, an ugly, dreary internment camp in the desert for Japanese-American citizens.

Sawyer, Ruth.  Roller Skates.  J FIC Sawyer
A little girl explores NYC on roller skates in the 1890’s.

Schwabach, Karen.  The Hope Chest.  J FIC Schwabach,
When eleven-year-old Violet runs away from home in 1918 and takes the train to New York City to find her older sister who is a suffragist, she falls in with people her parents would call “the wrong sort,” and ends up in Nashville, Tennessee, where “Suffs” and “Antis” are gathered, awaiting the crucial vote on the nineteenth amendment.

Sharenow, Rob.  The Girl in the Torch.  J FIC Sharenow
After her father is killed in a pogrom, twelve-year-old Sarah and her mother immigrate to America–but when her mother dies before they get through Ellis Island, and the authorities want to send her back to the old country, Sarah hides in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Skolsky, Mindy Warshaw.  Love from Your friend, Hannah : A Novel.  J FIC Skolsky
From her home in back of the Grand View Restaurant in rural New York, Hannah writes letters to her best friend, a pen pal, and even to President and Mrs. Roosevelt.

Stout, Shawn K.  A Tiny Piece of Sky.  J FIC Stout
In 1939 Hagerstown, Maryland, eleven-year-old Frankie faces suspicion that her German-born father is a Nazi spy.

Taylor, Sydney.  All of a Kind Family.  JPB T  (SERIES)
The adventures of five sisters growing up in a Jewish family in New York in the early twentieth century.

Timberlake, Amy.  One Came Home.  J FIC Timberlake
In 1871 Wisconsin, thirteen-year-old Georgia sets out to find her sister Agatha, presumed dead when remains are found wearing the dress she was last seen in, and before the end of the year gains fame as a sharpshooter and foiler of counterfeiters.

Vawter, Vince.  Paperboy.  J FIC Vawter
When an eleven-year-old boy takes over a friend’s newspaper route in July, 1959, in Memphis, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.

Weston, Elise.  The Coastwatcher.  J FIC Weston
While eleven-year-old Hugh, his family, and his cousin Tom are spending the summer of 1943 on the South Carolina shore to escape the polio epidemic, Hugh uncovers clues that point to a German plot to sabotage a nearby naval base.

Wiles, Deborah.  Countdown.  Y FIC Wiles  (The Sixites Trilogy)
Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that’s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. It’s 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear.  SEQUELS: Revolution (2014).

Williams-Garcia, Rita.  One Crazy Summer.  J FIC Williams-Garcia  (Gaither Sisters SERIES)
In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.  SEQUELS: P.S. Be Eleven (2013) & Gone Crazy in Alabama (2015).

Wittlinger, Ellen.  This Means War!  J FIC Wittlinger
In 1962, when her best friend Lowell begins to hang around new friends who think girls are losers, Juliet, a fearful fifth-grader, teams up with bold, brave Patsy who challenges the boys to a series of increasingly dangerous contests.

Yep Laurence. The Earth Dragon Awakes : the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  J FIC Yep
Eight-year-old Henry and nine-year-old Chin love to read about heroes in popular “penny dreadful” novels, until they both witness real courage while trying to survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Posted in Grades 4-6, Historical Fiction, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , .