11 Best Historical Fiction Books For Kids Update 05/2022

Having a good story to go along with facts is a great way to learn about history and remember important lessons from the past.

We have some great books for kids who are older in elementary school or early middle school that will get them excited about history. A few more.

Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids on Epic

Village of Scoundrels

By: Margi Preus
Ages: 10-12
This early chapter book is based on the true story of French villagers who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. It tells the story of a group of teenagers who stand up for what’s right.

To help his mother, one Jewish boy learns how to forge documents. With his new skills, he saves hundreds. This isn’t the first time a boy has tried to get people to Switzerland. And a girl has the courage to carry messages for the resistance. Everyone in this story is in danger as they fight to keep others safe and fight the Gestapo.

If the Fire Comes: A Story of Segregation During the Great Depression

Written by: Tracy Daley
Illustrated by: Eric Freeberg
Ages: 8-12

When Joseph McCoy was 11, he had to work shining shoes to help his family stay afloat during the Great Depression and drought. Joseph is one of the few black people in a mostly white town. He works hard and has a special relationship with his sister to help him deal with the stress of living there. Even though there are only black people working at the Civilian Conservation Corps work camp when it comes to town, the town is filled with racial tension. Soon, the camp is in danger. Joseph has to help save the camp and give his family hope for the future so they can move on.

Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story

Written by: Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by: Amy June Bates

Ages: 8-11

When Gittel and her mother try to move to the United States from Poland, a health inspector stops them from leaving the country because her mother has a possible eye infection. So young Gittel has to keep going on her own. When Gittel gets to Ellis Island, the ink has been smeared and she can’t read the paper her mother gave her. She can’t find her cousin’s address on the paper, either. At the same time, this story is heartbreaking and heartwarming. It is based on Lesléa Newman’s grandmother and her journey to Ellis Island.

Esperanza Renace (Spanish-language audiobook)

Written by: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Ages: 10-12

During the Great Depression, this is what is going on at the moment. When Esperanza was young, she lived in a world where she had servants, beautiful clothes, and a loving family to take care of her. Now, she’s used to this kind of life. They have to leave their ranch in Mexico when something bad happens, so they have to stay in a camp for farm workers in California. This means that she has to put in a lot of time and money now. When her mother is sick and the workers go on strike, things get even more difficult for her and the rest of the family. The lives of Esperanza and her family are at stake if she doesn’t rise above her problems and face her problems head on.

This audiobook, “Esperanza Rising,” can also be found on Amazon Audible in English.

Finding Langston

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Ages: 9-12

A year after Langston’s mother died at the age of 11, he and his father move to Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and start over. There are so many things that he loves, like family and friends. He feels like he’s giving up all of them. One thing that makes Langston happy in his new, isolated life is that there is a library that is open to black kids even though most public places were segregated at the time. Langston is often alone and doesn’t get along with his new classmates.

He spends hours and days in the library, but then he comes across a writer who piques his interest. The writer is also named Langston.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Audiobook)

By: Brian Selznick
Ages: 8-12

This tender, spellbinding mystery audiobook is perfect for kids who love adventure and mystery. It has a lot of old-world charm, which makes it perfect for kids.

Orphaned Hugo is mechanically-interested, and he fights to live in the world. In fact, he hides out in the walls of a busy Paris train station by himself. The station toy booth is run by a bitter old man who doesn’t like kids. When Hugo’s fate meets that of a bookish girl and the bitter old man, his secret life and all of his secrets are put in danger.

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

By: Avi
Ages: 9-12

It’s in 1724, and Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes up to find that his house has been washed away by a recent storm and that his father has gone missing, too! Oliver has no food or money, so he has to take care of himself. He sets out on his own to find his father. He has a lot of fun and danger on his way.

For kids who like mystery, adventure, and a little bit of thrill, “The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell” is a good choice for you.

More Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids

The following are some of our favorite historical fiction books that aren’t on Epic.

Number the Stars

By: Lois Lowry
Ages: 9-12

This book, which won an award, is about a young girl who lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, during World War II. The war is over in 1943, and 10-year-old Annemarie and her Jewish best friend Ellen, who is also a friend, dream about how things were before. If you live in Copenhagen, you have to deal with food shortages and Nazi soldiers marching through the city streets. But when the Jews of Denmark are forced to move, things get very bad very quickly. Ellen is taken in by Annemarie’s parents. She has to act like a family member to avoid being identified. In a short time, Annemarie will have to go on a dangerous mission to save her friend from being hurt. In this heart-wrenching story, kids can learn about the Holocaust in a way that’s easy for them to understand.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963

By: Christopher Paul Curtis
Ages: 9-12

You can meet 10-year-old Kenny and his family in their home city of Flint, Michigan. They’re known as the “Weird Watsons.” Ultra-Glide: Dad bought the record player for the road trip from the store. It costs a lot, but it’s very sleek and easy to use. In the civil rights movement, things go from funny to tragic and heartbreaking as they drive toward one of the darkest times in the history of the United States as they head south. Children will learn how laughter and family can help us get through even the toughest times in this book that won a Newbery Honor.

City of Orphans

By: Avi
Ages: 10-12

It’s a fun, well-researched piece of historical fiction that takes you back to 1893 New York City, where young newsboy Maks Geless makes his own way in a rough world on the city streets. A group of bullies are trying to get his sister in trouble for theft, and with his new friend, Willa, he has to fight them off.

Fever 1793

By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Ages: 10-12

Summer of 1793: Mattie Cook lives above her family’s coffee shop with her mom and grandfather, trying to make the business the best in Philadelphia. She lives a normal life with her mother and grandfather. Her mother gets sick when the fever breaks out and spreads through the streets. Mattie flees with her grandfather, only to find out that there isn’t a place in the world that isn’t infected by the virus. If she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to figure out how to get through the panic that’s engulfing the city right now. When there’s an epidemic, this detailed historical novel is a riveting and suspenseful look at what it’s like to live in that time.

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