June 2006

Reading Recommendations · Historical Fiction for Children and Teens About Early North American History

Fever, 1793 (Grades 6-10)

Laurie Halse Anderson
In 1793 fourteen-year-old Matilda Cook finds herself in the middle of a struggle to keep herself and her loved ones alive in the midst of the yellow fever epidemic.
Cover of The Year of the Hangman (Grades 8-10)

The Year of the Hangman (Grades 8-10)

Gary Blackwood
Kidnapped from England to the American colonies, a fifteen-year-old boy becomes part of a story that asks, what if the British had defeated the Americans in 1777?

The Arrow Over the Door (Grades 4-6)

Joseph Bruchac
In 1777, a young Abenaki Indian meets a peaceful young Quaker boy and both come to realize that the way of peace can be walked by all human beings.

The Winter People (Grades 5-9)

Joseph Bruchac
A fourteen-year-old Abenaki Indian sets off to rescue his mother and sisters after his village is destroyed in an attack by British soldiers in 1759.

Enemy in the Fort (American Girl) (Grades 4-7)

Sarah Buckey
Twelve-year-old Rebecca must confront her fear and hatred of the Abenaki when a boy raised by members of that tribe is brought to the fort at Charleston, New Hampshire.
Cover of Sweetgrass Basket (Grades 5-8)

Sweetgrass Basket (Grades 5-8)

Marlene Carvelle
Two Mohawk sisters describe their lives at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School as they try to assimilate into white culture and one of them is falsely accused of stealing.

Redemption (Grades 9 and up)

Julie Chibbaro
A twelve-year-old English girl and her mother flee with other religious protesters to the New World in the early 1500’s and find both heartbreak and hope when they arrive.

My Brother Sam is Dead (Grades 7-9)

James Collier
A classic that recounts the tragedy that strikes the Meeker family during the Revolution when one son joins the rebel forces while his family tries to stay neutral in a Tory town.
Cover of The Ransom of Mercy Carter (Grades 6-8)

The Ransom of Mercy Carter (Grades 6-8)

Caroline Cooney
After being captured in an Indian attack in 1704, Mercy Carter becomes accustomed to the Kahnawake Indian way of life and wonders if she will want to return to her old life.

The Journal of William Thomas Emerson, a Revolutionary War Patriot (Dear America/My Name is America) (Grades 4-8)

Barry Dennenberg
As tensions escalate in the period before the Revolutionary War, a boy surrounded by political rumblings and violence becomes a spy for the rebel colonists.

Copper Sun (Grades 8 and up)

Sharon Draper
Amari’s life is shattered when her family is murdered and she is taken aboard a slave ship to the Carolinas and purchased by a plantation owner as a present for his son.
Cover of Beaded Moccasins: the Story of Mary Campbell (Grades 5-8)

Beaded Moccasins: the Story of Mary Campbell (Grades 5-8)

Lynda Durrant
A twelve-year-old white girl has to give up her life and her family and adapt to a new one after she is kidnapped by Delaware Indians in 1759.

Echohawk (Grades 5-9)

Lynda Durrant
A white boy is taken from his family and raised by the Mohican tribe as one of their own, and as he grows older, he realizes that he must make a choice between the Mohicans or the world he came from long ago.

Johnny Tremain: a Novel for Old and Young (Grades 4-6)

Esther Forbes
After injuring his hand, a silversmith’s apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution.
Cover of I Walk in Dread: the Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials (Dear America) (Grades 4-6)

I Walk in Dread: the Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials (Dear America) (Grades 4-6)

Lisa Fraustino
A young girl becomes ensnared in the tumult and terror of the Salem Witch Trials.

Hope’s Crossing (Grades 5-8)

Joan Goodman
During the Revolutionary War, thirteen-year-old Hope finds herself enslaved in a Tory household on Long Island and uses all her resources to escape and make it home.

The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 (Dear America) (Grades 5-8)

Kristiana Gregory
During the winter of 1777-1778, eleven-year-old Abigail Jane Stewart witnesses George Washington readying his young soldiers for battle on the frozen fields of Valley Forge.
Cover of I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: the Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl (Dear America) (Grades 5-8)

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: the Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl (Dear America) (Grades 5-8)

Joyce Hansen
A freed slave learns to read by listening to lessons given to her previous master’s family, and when the plantation teacher can’t come, she discovers her true gift. A Coretta Scott King Author Honors book (1998).

Where the Great Hawk Flies (Grades 6-8)

Lisa Ketchum
Years after a violent raid by the British and their Indian allies, two families with very different perspectives become neighbors and must deal the past.

I Am Regina (Grades 5-8)

Sally Keehn
In 1755, ten-year-old Regina is kidnapped by Indians in Pennsylvania and struggles to hold onto memories of her earlier life as she grows up under the name of Tskinnak.

Trouble’s Daughter: the Story of Susanna Hutchinson, Indian Captive (Grades 7 and up)

Katherine Kirkpatrick
Nine-year-old Susanna is captured by the Lenape Indians after witnessing the massacre of her family and spends the next four years as a member of the tribe.
Cover of Primrose Way (Grades 8 and up)

Primrose Way (Grades 8 and up)

Jackie Koller
In 1633, sixteen-year-old Rebekah, a missionary’s daughter, befriends a Native American woman and begins to question whether these “savages” need saving after all.

A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Kathryn Lansky
A pilgrim girl makes the dangerous journey on the Mayflower and experiences making new friends, contact with Indians, and sickness that leaves her motherless.

The Journal of Augustus Pelletier: Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804, (Dear America/My Name is America) (Grades 4-8)

Kathryn Lasky
Fourteen-year-old Augustus Pelletier, half French and half Omaha Indian, joins Lewis and Clark on their journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.

Roanoke (Grades 8-10)

Sonia Levitin
Sixteen-year-old William helps build a settlement in the New World as their leader returns to England for supplies, but upon his return, the colony has vanished.
Cover of Indian Captive: the Story of Mary Jemison (Grades 4-6)

Indian Captive: the Story of Mary Jemison (Grades 4-6)

Lois Lenski
Twelve-year-old Mary, after being captured by a Shawnee war party during the French and Indian War, is rescued and subsequently adopted by two Seneca sisters.

Look to the Hills: the Diary of Lozette Maoreau, A French Slave Girl (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Patricia McKissak
Arriving in New York in 1763, an orphaned slave girl and her French masters are torn between their own nationality and their allegiance to the British colonial government.

I, Dred Scott: a Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott (Grades 4-6)

Sheila Moses
Under the provisions of the Missouri compromise, the slave Dred Scott may be eligible for emancipation but legal obstacles stand in the way of his freedom.
Cover of Standing in the Light: the Captive Diary of Catherine Carey Logan (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Standing in the Light: the Captive Diary of Catherine Carey Logan (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Mary Pope
The riveting and spiritually uplifting story of a strong-willed Quaker girl whose sudden abduction by Delaware Indians forces her into an alarming and unknown world.

A Light in the Forest (Grades 4-8)

Conrad Richter
After being raised as an Indian after his capture at the age of four, John Butler is forcibly returned to his white parents but continues to long for the freedom of Indian life.

A Break with Charity: a Story about the Salem Witch Trials (Grades 6-10)

Ann Rinaldi
While waiting for a church meeting in 1706, Susanna English, daughter of a wealthy Salem merchant, recalls the malice, fear, and accusations of witchcraft that tore her village apart in 1692.
Cover of The Color of Fire (Grades 5-9)

The Color of Fire (Grades 5-9)

Ann Rinaldi
In New York City, 1741, mass hysteria ensues when whites begin to accuse black slaves of setting fires to start an uprising.

The Fifth of March: a Story of the Boston Massacre

Ann Rinaldi (Grades 6-9)
Fourteen-year-old Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant in the Boston household of John and Abigail Adams, is caught up in the colonists’ unrest that eventually escalates into the massacre of March 5, 1770.

Finishing Becca: a story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold (Grades 7 and up)

Ann Rinaldi
Fourteen-year-old Becca takes a position as a maid in a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker home and witnesses the events that lead to General Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of the American forces during the Revolutionary War.
Cover of Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: the Story of Phillis Wheatley (Grades 7 and up)

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: the Story of Phillis Wheatley (Grades 7 and up)

Ann Rinaldi
A fictionalized biography of the 18th century African woman who, as a child, was brought to New England to be a slave, and after publishing her first poem when a teenager, gained renown throughout the colonies.

The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce, a Pilgrim Boy (Dear America/My Name is America) (Grades 4-8)

Ann Rinaldi
A fourteen-year old indentured servant keeps a journal of his experiences on the Mayflower and during the building of Plymouth in 1620 and 1621.
Cover of The Secret of Sarah Revere (Grades 7-10)

The Secret of Sarah Revere (Grades 7-10)

Ann Rinaldi
Spunky thirteen-year-old Sarah, the daughter of famous Patriot Paul Revere, fears that her father’s friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, has dishonorable feelings for her mother.

Weetamoo, Heart of the Pocassets (Grades 4-7)

Patricia Smith
A fourteen-year-old Pocasset Indian girl describes how her life changes with the seasons and with her tribe’s interactions with the English of nearby Plymouth Colony.

Sign of the Beaver (Grades 4-7)

Elizabeth Speare
When Matt is left alone in the Maine wilderness, the Chief of the Beaver Tribe cares for him in exchange for teaching the Chief’s grandson to read, and Matt gains an appreciation for the heritage of the Beaver Tribe.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Grades 5-8)

Elizabeth Speare
In 1687, Kit, feeling out of place in her aunt’s Puritan household, befriends an old woman considered a witch by the community and finds herself standing trial for witchcraft.

Sister to the Wolf (Grades 5-8)

Maxine Trottier
Cecile buys the slave Lesharo and treats him as an equal, but they hate life in the new fort at Detroit and long to be free in the wild.
Cover of Love Thy Neighbor: the Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson, Green Marsh, Massachusetts, 1774 (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Love Thy Neighbor: the Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson, Green Marsh, Massachusetts, 1774 (Dear America) (Grades 4-7)

Ann Turner
The drama of the American Revolution is brought to life through the eyes of Prudence Emerson, who tells this story from the rarely heard perspective of a Tory.
Need more suggestions? Contact your local library and a reference librarian will be happy to assist you.