Historical Stories

Winston Churchill wrote: "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Find stories that travel back in time to see what life and trials were like before you were born with some of our favorite historical fiction for school-age children.

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff

Picture Books and Younger Elementary

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (introducing his forgotten frontier friend)

Deborah Hopkinson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hopkins)

In Knob Creek, Kentucky, in 1816, seven-year-old Abe falls into a creek and is rescued by his best friend, Austin Gollaher. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Hello Lighthouse

Sophie Blackall
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bla)

Explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather, and the tenure of its final keeper. Recommended for ages 6-9.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Laura Freeman
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 920 She)

Explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA's African American women mathematicians to America's space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them despite their groundbreaking successes. Recommended for ages 6-9.

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Patricia MacLachlan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Maclach)
Series: MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, plain and tall ; 1.

When Papa advertises for a new wife to join his prairie family, Sarah appears from Maine. The children, Caleb and Anna, grow to love her very much but fear she is too homesick and will soon leave them. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Older Elementary

Breaking Stalin's Nose

Eugene Yelchin
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yelchin)

In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values and beliefs. Recommended for ages 9-12+.


Laurie Halse Anderson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Anderso)

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

Echo: A Novel

Pam Munoz Ryan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ryan)

Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica--and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Esperanza Rising

Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ryan)

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

Finding Langston

Lesa Cline-Ransome
(Juvenile Fiction - J Clinera)

Discovering a book of Langston Hughes' poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Manjiro Nakahama

Margi Preus
(Juvenile Fiction - J Preus)

In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

Inside Out and Back Again

Thanhha Lai
(Juvenile Fiction - J Lai)

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Lions of Little Rock

Kristin Levine
(Juvenile Fiction - J Levine)

In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee sees her city and family divided over school integration, but her friendship with Liz, a new student, helps her find her voice and fight against racism. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hiranan)

The 12-year-old daughter of a refugee family forced to flee their home in the aftermath of the 1947 separation of Pakistan and India embarks on a treacherous journey that she records in a series of letters written to her late mother. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Number the Stars

Lois Lowry
(Juvenile Fiction - J Lowry)

In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. Recommended for ages 9-12.

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia
(Juvenile Fiction - J Williams)
Series: Gaither Sisters; 1

*This item is also available on LibbyCloud Library, and Hoopla. In the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters travel from New York to California to spend a month with the mother they barely know. They arrive to a cold welcome, discovering 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. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Our Only May Amelia

Jennifer L. Holm
(Juvenile Fiction - J Holm)

As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War

Helen Frost
(Juvenile Fiction - J Frost)

Twelve-year-olds Anikwa, of the Miami village of Kekionga, and James, of the trading post outside Fort Wayne, find their friendship threatened by the rising fear and tension brought by the War of 1812. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

Sophia’s War: A Tale of the Revolution

(Juvenile Fiction - J Avi)

In 1776, after witnessing the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, newly occupied by the British army, young Sophia Calderwood resolves to do all she can to help the American cause, including becoming a spy. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

The War that Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(Juvenile Fiction – J 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. Recommended for ages 9-12+.

Wolf Hollow

Lauren Wolk
(Juvenile Fiction – J Wolk)

Twelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what's right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran. Recommended for ages 9-12+.