Friday, May 22, 2015

Historical Fiction for Boys

I have a weird relationship with Historical Fiction.  On one hand, it's not my thing.  I'm not a big history person for the most part, but I will become intrigued by random time periods or stories or people.  But on the other hand, I love period novels like Diamonds and Deceit, The Luxe, and The Diviners.  It also helps if there is something other than just history to get me hooked.

However, historical fiction has a big place in school curriculums.  My favorite reference question ever was a boy that called the library asking for an autobiography by Dracula.  After several questions, I learned that his assignment was to read a historical fiction.  He left with Blood on the River.  Good choice.

My sister contacted me with a librarian question, she needs "living books" for my nephew.  The example she gave were the Little House on the Prairie books.  Something that makes you feel like you are there.  Then, a friend at church was telling me that her son really like historical fiction too, and was blowing through books like crazy.  That was enough motivation for me to come up with a completely non-comprehensive list of historical fiction books.

Miss Tiff's Historical Fiction Picks:

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman.  Adventure, funny, historical-this book checks all the boxes, and it won a Newbery.  It's basically the perfect book.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Lawson.  This is a book for a slightly older crowd than my target audience of 3-4 grade, but particular chapters would make a great read aloud.

Bud not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  1936, Flint, Michigan, and jazz.

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  It's about a girl, but this seafaring adventure defies gender.

Emily's Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  Another girl, but she's got a great side-kick and they are all trying to outrun the orphan train.

One-handed Catch by Mary Jane Auch.  WWII and baseball, with a little meat grinder accident.  You want to know, don't you?

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck.  Again, maybe a little old, but a must for any central Illinois kid, and Grandma Dowdel is perfection.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick.  The Civil War and tall tales combine for what is ultimately an honest look at the difficulty of way.

And since truth is stranger than fiction check out these non-fiction titles:

The Giant and How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy

Brothers at Bat:  The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick

The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barbara Rosenstock

I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat by Carlyn Beccia

Now go out there and make some history!!

Happy Reading


  1. Thanks for this list, so many of these would work for either boys or girls, wouldn't they?

    1. Absolutely! I would think that most girls would also appreciate the books on this list. Thanks for visiting