Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Staff Pick: The Secret River

Staff Pick: The Secret River

The Secret River

A young girl takes her dog to a river in a forest, where she catches enough fish to feed her neighbors, even after giving some to forest creatures she meets on the way home.

Children will enjoy this tale of enchantment written by Newbery winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and wonderfully illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Main character Calpurnia and her dog Buggy-horse go off to explore a secret river in the forest, since the local river has gone dry, and fisherman like her father are not able to have any income. She encounters a number of animals in the back country of Florida, and learns a few life lessons. But the question is will Calpurnia find the secret river with the help of the wisest person in the forest Mother Albirtha? Readers will have to check this book out to find the answer.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone – Flanner House

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Kid Review: Dog Tags #3 Prisoners of War

Kid Review: Dog Tags #3 Prisoners of War

Newly arrived on the Western front and assigned as a medic, Rivera finds himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, cut off behind enemy lines–and his only companion is a Nazi trained Doberman pinscher.

Kid Review:

“I like this book” ~David

I know that isn’t much to go on, but David liked it, and I’d never noticed this book series before. The summary sounds really good and The Battle of the Bulge is interesting learn about – let alone imagining actually being there.



There come a soldier Pure Grit World War II: the Final Years
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Picture Book Historical Fiction

Picture Book Historical Fiction


Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride A fictionalized account of the night Amelia Earhart flew Eleanor Roosevelt over Washington, D.C. in an airplane.
As Fast As Words Could Fly A thirteen-year-old African American boy in 1960s Greenville, North Carolina, uses his typing skills to make a statement as part of the Civil Rights movement.
Ballywhinney Girl Young Maeve feels a strong connection to the mysterious, mummified body of a young girl that her grandfather uncovers while cutting turf in an Irish bog. Includes facts about bogs and the mummies that have been found in them.
The Bicycle Man The amazing tricks two American soldiers do on a borrowed bicycle are a fitting finale for the school sports day festivities in a small village in occupied Japan.
The Blessing Cup A single china cup from a tea set left behind when Jews were forced to leave Russia helps hold a family together through generations of living in America, reminding them of the most important things in life.
Bobbin Girl A ten-year-old bobbin girl working in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1830s, must make a difficult decision–will she participate in the first workers’ strike in Lowell?
Desmond and the Very Mean Word 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.
Fish for Jimmy 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.
Follow the Drinking Gourd By following the directions in a song, “The Drinking Gourd,” taught them by an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.
In Andal’s House Kumar, a young boy living in present-day India, faces bigotry when he goes to visit a classmate from a higher caste family.
Keep the lights burning Abbey Relates the real-life saga of Abbie Burgess, who single-handedly kept the lighthouse lamps lit during a four-week winter storm that lashed the coast of Maine in 1856.
The Kite That Bridged Two Nations Presents a fictionalized version of the story of a young man who won a contest by flying his kite across Niagara Falls and inspired the construction of the first bridge across the span, connecting Canada and the United States.
Knit Your Bit When his father leaves to fight in World War I, Mikey joins the Central Park Knitting Bee to help knit clothing for soldiers overseas.
Matchbox Diary Follow a girl’s perusal of her great-grandfather’s collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.
Max Goes to the Moon Max the dog and his friend Tori take the first trip to the Moon since the Apollo missions, inspiring the nations of the world to build a Moon colony. Scientific principles that support the story are clearly explained in “Big Kid Boxes” appearing on each page.
Miss Rumphius As a child Great-aunt Alice Rumphius resolved that when she grew up she would go to faraway places, live by the sea in her old age, and do something to make the world more beautiful–and she does all those things, the last being the most difficult of all.
Nasreddine As Nasreddine and his father take dates, wool, chickens, or watermelon to market, people tease them no matter who is riding their donkey, and this causes Nasreddine embarrassment until his father helps him to understand.
Red Kite, Blue Kite When Tai Shan and his father, Baba, are separated during China’s Cultural Revolution, they are able to stay close by greeting one another every day with flying kites until Baba, like the kites, is free. Includes historical note.
Welcome to America Champ! In 1945, when young Thomas, his mother, and his new baby brother leave war-torn England to join his stepfather, an American soldier named Jack, in Chicago, Thomas finds a way to give courage to a fellow traveler on the Queen Mary. Includes historical note about war brides.

Books recommended by: Janet Spaulding, Selection Services

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Books Set in the 1960s

Books Set in the 1960s



Countdown Countdown (1962)
Wiles, Deborah
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.
Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam (1960s)
Kadohata, Cynthia
Trained to sniff out bombs and traps, Cracker the German Shepherd is prepared for action in Vietnam, but when she is teamed up with Rick, a young man whose family doubts he can handle infantry life, the new soldier must find a way to build trust between the two so that they can do their jobs well and make it back alive. A Junior Library Guild selection
Dead End in Norvelt Dead End in Norvelt (1962)
Gantos, Jack
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
Newbery Medal winner 2012
Criss Cross Criss Cross (1960s)
Perkins, Lynne Rae
Teenagers in a small town in the 1960s experience new thoughts and feelings, question their identities, connect, and disconnect as they search for the meaning of life and love. Newbery Medal Winner 2006
Gentle’s Holler Gentle’s Holler (1960s)
Madden, Kerry
In the early 1960s, twelve-year-old songwriter Livy Two Weems dreams of seeing the world beyond the Maggie Valley, North Carolina, holler where she lives in poverty with her parents and eight brothers and sisters, but understands that she must put family first. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2008-2009, 6-8 Nominee
Glory Be Glory Be (1964)
Scattergood, Augusta
In the summer of 1964 as she is about to turn twelve, Glory’s town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is beset by racial tension when town leaders close her beloved public pool rather than desegregating it.
Kaleidoscope Eyes Kaleidoscope Eyes (1968)
Bryant, Jennifer
In 1968, with the Vietnam War raging, thirteen-year-old Lyza inherits a project from her deceased grandfather, who had been using his knowledge of maps and the geography of Lyza’s New Jersey hometown to locate the lost treasure of Captain Kidd. A Junior Library Guild selection
Kizzy Ann Stamps Kizzy Ann Stamps (1963)
Watts, Jeri Hanel
Taking things in stride is not easy for Kizzy Ann, but with her border collie, Shag, at her side, she sets out to live a life as sweet as syrup on cornbread.
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me (1969)
Marino, Nan
Frustrated with ten-year-old Muscle Man McGinty constantly telling lies, Tamara dreams of the day when it all catches up to him and the entire town sees him for who he is, but when an incredible event takes place in the summer of 1969, Tamara gains a new sense of spirit towards her fellow man that alters her outlook on life in the most surprising way.
One Crazy Summer One Crazy Summer (1968)
Williams-Garcia, Rita
In the summer of 1968, after traveling 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. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 4-6 Nominee. A Junior Library Guild selection
The Rock and the River The Rock and the River (1968)
Magoon, Kekla
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party. 2010 Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award; 2010 ALA Notable Books for Children
Sources of Light Sources of Light (1962)
McMullan, Margareth
Fourteen-year-old Samantha and her mother move to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 after her father is killed in Vietnam, and during the year they spend there Sam encounters both love and hate as she learns about photography from a new friend of her mother’s and witnesses the prejudice and violence of the segregationists of the South. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee
This Means War This Means War (1962)
Wittlinger, Ellen
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.
A Thousand Never Evers A Thousand Never Evers (1963)
Burg, Shana
As the civil rights movement in the South gains momentum in 1963–and violence against African Americans intensifies–the black residents, including seventh-grader Addie Ann Pickett, in the small town of Kuckachoo, Mississippi, begin their own courageous struggle for racial justice. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2011-2012, 6-8 Nominee
Twerp Twerp (1960s)
Goldblatt, Mark
Returning after a week-long suspension from his 1960s Queens school, Julian accepts an offer from his English teacher to keep a journal and writes about the incident, which involved blowing up homemade fireworks, maintaining his record as the fastest kid in school and writing a disastrous love letter for a friend.
Uncle Andy's Uncle Andy’s (1962)
Warhola, James
The author describes a trip to see his uncle, the soon-to-be-famous artist Andy Warhol, and the fun that he and his family had on the visit.
War & Watermelon War & Watermelon (1969)
Wallace, Rich
As the summer of 1969 turns to fall in their New Jersey town, twelve-year-old Brody plays football in his first year at junior high while his older brother’s protest of the war in Vietnam causes tension with their father.
The Watson's Go to Birmingham--1963 The Watson’s Go to Birmingham–1963 (1963)
Curtis, Christopher Paul
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. Newbery Honor Book; Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book, 1996
The Wednesday Wars The Wednesday Wars (1967)
Schmidt, Gary D.
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Yankee Girl Yankee Girl (1964)
Rodman, Mary Ann
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When her FBI-agent father is transferred to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1964, eleven-year-old Alice wants to be popular but also wants to reach out to the one black girl in her class in a newly-integrated school.


Blowin' in the Wind Bob Dylan Puff the Magic Dragon Waking Up is Hard to Do Yellow Submarine
Max Said Yes The Woodstock Story Elvis Jimi : sounds like a rainbow : a story of the young Jimi Hendrix The Beatles were fab (and they were funny)


Marching for freedom : walk together, children, and don't you grow weary March on! : the day my brother Martin changed the world Freedom on the Menu Sit In
To the Mountaintop Miles to Go to Freedom The 1960s The 1960s
The 1960s Decade in Photos The 1960s Mods and Hippies The 1960s from the Vietnam War to Flower Power We March
We've got a job : the 1963 Birmingham Children's March I Have a Dream The Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Vietnam War
César : sí, se puede! = yes, we can! Jack's path of courage : the life of John F. Kennedy Mission Control This is Apollo Moonshot the Flight of Apollo 11


Sandy's circus : a story about Alexander Calder Fabulous a Portrait of Andy Warhol


Twelve rounds to glory : the story of Muhammad Ali Wilma unlimited : how Wilma Rudolph became the world's fastest woman You never heard of Sandy Koufax?! Clemente!


Peter, Paul & Mommy
All You Need is Love
All Together Now
Bedtime with the Beatles
Kidz Bop sings the Beatles
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Staff Pick: Soft Rain

Staff Pick: Soft Rain

Soft Rain, a nine-year-old Cherokee girl, is forced to relocate, along with her family, from North Carolina to the West. Author: Cornelia Cornelisson

Imagine going to your school one day and being told that there will be no more school for you and your Cherokee classmates. Imagine being forced by soldiers to leave your home with your mother and walk to another state to live. Imagine not being able to take your grandmother along because she is blind. This is the situation that nine-year-old Soft Rain faces strengthened by the stories she remembers. How would you handle it? Join her and walk with her for a time on the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

Recommended by: Tamara Baumgartner – Lawrence Branch

Here are some books about The Trail of Tears:

The Trail of Tears Why Did Cherokees Move West? Nellie the Brave The Journal of Jesse Smoke
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