2nd through 6th grade
The Barn by Avi – J Avi
The youngest of three children whose father has been stricken with “the palsy”, Benjamin works with his brother and sister to keep the family farm going and to finish the barn their father had been working on, believing it will give him the strength to pull through.
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman – J Cus
During the American Gold Rush, a lot of families traveled to California to try and make their fortune. Lucy Whipple decides to take this change of scenery and re-invent herself.
Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura Williams – J Wil
Thirteen-year-old Korinna must decide whether to report her parents to her Hitler youth group when she discovers that they are hiding Jews in a secret space behind Korinna's bedroom wall.
Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – J Cur
Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
Dear America series by various authors - Series Dea
Told in the style of fictional diaries, this series investigates many different historical periods through the voices of children who lived them.
Duke by Kirby Larson – J Lar
In 1944 Hobie Hanson's father is flying B-24s in Europe, so Hobie decides to donate his beloved German shepherd, Duke, to Dogs for Defense in the hope that it will help end the war sooner--but when he learns that Duke is being trained for combat he is shocked, frightened and determined to get his dog back.
Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit – J Rei
Frustrated with life under seige in George Washington's army, nineteen-year-old Will Knox and his brother Henry undertake the task of moving 183 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston in the dead of winter.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Lord – J Lor
In 1947, a Chinese child comes to Brooklyn where she becomes Americanized at school, in her apartment building, and by her love for baseball.
Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – J Bra
A fictionalized look at Thomas Jefferson's life at Monticello through the eyes of three of his slaves, two of whom were his sons by his slave, Sally Hemings.
Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder – J Wil
Laura and her pioneering family share many joys and hardships in their travels across the American West in the late 1800s.
Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen – J Coh
This story follows Molly, a Russian immigrant in America. When she first arrives she is made fun of by classmates that don’t understand her, but she learns to embrace American culture and her friends learn to embrace her for who she is.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – J Low
The way the Holocaust affected the Jews who lived in Nazi-held Denmark is told through the eyes of Annemarie Johannesen, whose family decides to hide her best friend, Ellen, and help smuggle Ellen’s family out of the country.
Radical Red by James Duffy – J Duf
Connor O’Shea is inspired by the Women’s Rights movement she accidentally stumbles upon in her home town of Albany, NY. When she and her mother decide to start fighting for their right to vote, the government isn’t the only force working against them.
River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury – J Bra
Elias is sent to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky to fight consumption and ends up fighting for the lives of a secret community of escaped slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad.
Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder – J Ree
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.
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare – J Spe
Left alone to guard the family's wilderness home in eighteenth-century Maine, Matt is hard-pressed to survive until local Indians teach him their skills.
6th through 9th grade
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne – T Boy
Bruno, the son of a Nazi officer, befriends a boy in striped pajamas who lives behind a wire fence.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson – T And
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.
Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer - T Mey
Princess Cleopatra, the third (and favorite) daughter of King Ptolemy XII, comes of age in ancient Egypt, accumulating power and discovering love.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles – T Wil
Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister disappears, and her uncle is fighting a war in his head. Worst of all, everyone is just waiting for a bomb to fall. It's 1962, and the whole country is living in fear.
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo - T Mor
Elizabeth's mother works at Dresden Zoo, where her favorite animal is Marlene the elephant. When she learns animals will be shot to prevent them running amok when the town is bombed, she moves Marlene into their back garden. What will happen when the bombs fall?
Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson – T And
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.
Five 4ths of July by Pat Raccio Hughes – T Hug
On July 4th, 1777, fourteen-year-old Jake celebrates the new nation's independence. But over the next four years, Jake battles British forces, barely survives captivity on a prison ship, and finally returns home to Connecticut, hopeful for America's future.
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen – T Pau
Nightjohn is an especially brave man who sneaks in to slave camps at night and teaches his fellow men to become literate, risking his life in the process.
Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli – T Spi
A street child, known only as Stopthief, is taken in by a band of orphans in the Warsaw ghetto, which helps him weather the horrors of the Nazi regime.
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier – T Col
Tragedy strikes the Meeker family during the Revolution when one son joins the rebel forces while the rest of the family tries to stay neutral in a Tory town.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane – YA Cra
In the spring of 1863, while engaged in the fierce Civil War battle of Chancellorsville, a young Union soldier matures to manhood and finds peace of mind as he comes to grips with his conflicting emotions about war.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor – T Tay
A black family living in the South during the 1930's are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don't understand.
Soldier’s Secret by Sheila Solomon Klass – T Kla
During the Revolutionary War, a young woman named Deborah Sampson disguises herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army.
The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis – T Cur
The ordinary lives of the Watsons, an African American family from Michigan, are drastically changed when they encounter racism firsthand on a visit to Alabama in 1963.
When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park – T Par
With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.
Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill – YA Hem
A fictional account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three young women.
With Every Drop of Blood by James Lincoln Collier – T Col
Fourteen-year-old Johnny breaks his promise to his dying Pa to care for his family during the Civil War, and goes to help the Confederate soldiers. He is captured by a group of black Blue Coats, but soon learns that race doesn’t matter when everyone is trying to survive the same war.