What is one historical fiction book you would recommend for kids?
To help you pick the next historical fiction read suitable for children, we asked publishing experts and reading enthusiasts this question for their best recommendations. From Island of the Blue Dolphins to The Secret Lake, there are several great kid reads to choose from.
Here are 11 historical fiction books for kids:
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- “I Survived” Series
- A Bandit’s Tale
- Birchbark House
- Elephant in the Garden
- Number the Stars
- Journey of the Pale Bear
- When My Name Was Keoko
- Finding Langston
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret
- The Secret Lake
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Island of the Blue Dolphins is a nonfiction book about a woman named Karana. She was a Native American woman who lived on San Nicolas Island for 18 years, one of the eight Channel Islands off California’s coast.
One of the book’s primary motifs is the value of friendship.
Karana has been taught to coexist with her fellow citizens as well as the land and aquatic creatures of the world. Friendship promotes all of these species’ survival by encouraging them to persevere during tough times.
Michal Jonca, PhotoAiD
“I Survived” Series
A book series I highly recommend is the I Survived book series by Lauren Tarshis. They tell the story of historical events through the eyes of a child and it really resonates with them and how they would feel about it while they learn about what happened. My son has been reading these since kindergarten and excitedly tells us about things he’s learned from the book at dinner without us even asking about it. He has a whole shelf full of these and has learned a lot about important events and disasters—ranging from topics like 9/11 to the Joplin Tornado in 2011.
Phil Bryson, Desert Pro Home Buyers
A Bandit’s Tale
I recommend Deborah Hopkinton’s, A Bandit’s Tale. After being sold to a padrone by his impoverished parents and forced to leave his little Italian hamlet, eleven-year-old Rocco finds himself all alone in New York City. Bandits’ Roost guys teach him the technique of pickpocketing as he works as a street musician, which he finds more profitable than pounding a triangle on the sidewalk. Meddlin’ Mary, an Irish immigrant with a big heart and great dedication to the city’s horses, inspires him to rethink his life and take control of it.
Ammad Asif, Stream Digitally
If your kids are fictional lovers and enjoy reading books, I will recommend them to read Birchbark House. Written by Louise Erdrich in the 1840s, the book is a story that portrays the connection between human beings and nature.
It’s a story about the Objiway family living near Lake Superior who likes hunting, gathering, socializing, and relationships.
Edrich’s history-based book is a great way to learn the past about the nineteenth-century from a native perspective that helps kids to recognize their culture. This book is famous among young kids that like its excellent story, amazing humor, and illuminating culture.
Charles Ngechu, EasyPaydayLoan
Elephant in the Garden
If you want a historical fiction book that will teach your kids about the need to be kind and caring for one another during difficult times, Elephant in the Garden is your right pick. The book shows the struggle involved in fleeing the bombings in Germany during World War II, and a family chooses to rescue an orphan elephant named Marlene. Let your kid travel with the family as they escape with the elephant and encounter many unexpected challenges. Your kid will undoubtedly learn the importance of resilience and kindness.
Ivy Bosibori, USBadCreditLoans
Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry, Number the Stars is a historical children’s book that was originally published in 1989. The story is about a Jewish girl, Ellen Rosen, and how her life changed during World War II. Because she was Jewish, Ellen was sought after by the Nazis. Ellen’s best friend Annemarie Johansen’s family decides to take her in and treat her like their own daughter. Both the girls get along really well, just like sisters but this was only a temporary solution and something big had to be done.
Shivanshi Srivastava, Payday Loans UK
Journey of the Pale Bear
There is a famous story about the king of Norway giving King Henry the Third a polar bear as a birthday gift. Susan Fletcher, the author of Journey of the Pale Bear, takes advantage of the missing pieces in that story and introduces her own characters that make the story more captivating.
The action-packed, adventure-filled book revolves around a young boy called Arthur who forms a connection with the said bear. No other person in Norway seems to possess the abilities of Arthur and so he is persuaded to become the handler. His job is to feed the bear and make sure that it is always calm. Arthur only agrees to become the handler of the bear if they grant him passage to Wales after he returns. He wants to go to Wales to find his fathers’ family.
The author’s brilliant writing takes the reader back to the thirteenth-century. The use of simple words and a small child protagonist makes the book fit for kids between 3rd and 7th grade.
Kevin Muthomi, FastPaydayLoans.co.uk
When My Name Was Keoko
When My Name was Keoko is a beautiful novel by Linda Sue Park which represents Korea of the 1940s. Around that time, Korea was under Japanese occupation and the Koreans had to unwillingly follow certain rules set by the Japanese, one of which said that all Koreans had to change their names. Koreans were barred from conducting any Korean ritual or even keeping a Korean name. All of these rules slowly took away the identity of the Koreans. But when World War II happened, things took a toll. Read the book to know about Korea from the 1940s-1960s through the eyes of a little girl Sun-Hee and her family.
Ravindra Singh, UKBadCreditLoans
Finding Langston is based on 11-year-old Langston who lost his mother in 1946. The story starts when Langston and his father moved to Chicago from Alabama. His loved ones, his friends, and the comfort of home make him feel as though he is sacrificing everything. Although Langston is frequently by himself and finds it difficult to fit in at his new school, he does discover one positive aspect of his new, lonely life: a library that is accessible to black children in a period when public areas were still highly segregated. After spending hours and days seeking solace in the library, he eventually discovers a writer who captures his attention: a poet by the name of Langston.
Saunav Kaushik, VinPit
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
I think The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick would be an excellent book for kids. It’s a story that’s part historical fiction and part magical realism, and it takes place in Paris in the 1930s. It has a lot of themes that kids can relate to identity, friendship, family secrets, and making the world around you more beautiful.
The story starts with a young boy named Hugo living in a train station and caring for his father’s automaton—a mechanical man—for years. When his father dies, Hugo is left alone with no family or friends, and he must find his way through the streets of Paris to make sure his father’s automaton stays safe. Along the way, he meets Isabelle, who quickly becomes his best friend, but she also has secrets of her own.
I think this book is perfect for kids because it gives them an opportunity to experience life through someone else’s eyes while still being able to relate to the characters’ experiences.
Yoav Morder, Sonary
The Secret Lake
In this intriguing time travel book, Tom and his brother Stella are intrigued by their neighbor’s missing dog case and seek to find out more for themselves. What starts as a curious adventure ends up in the two traveling 100 years back in history to help solve this riddle of the missing dog that keeps turning up wet each time. The Secret Lake helps expand any kid’s imagination and is an excellent way of keeping them engaged.
Mehtab Ahmed, LoansJury