When you run out of good fantasy books, then what do you read?
If you ask two of my kids, the answer is historical fiction, and I agree with them! Historical fiction is awesome!
There is something about a great historical fiction book. Maybe it’s because the stories are based on facts, or maybe they are just great books, but it’s so easy to get lost in a great historical fiction story!
If you’ve got kids who love historical fiction, check out some of our favourites historical fiction books for tweens (9-12 year olds) below.
Some of these books cover some difficult topics. As always the recommended age is just a guide. Please check out these books first to make sure they are a good choice for your children.
Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links – if you buy a book I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you are in Australia I recommend Booktopia
Our Australian Girl Series by various authors. Ages 8+
There are over 40 books by various authors in this series of historical fiction. My girls couldn’t get enough of them when they were around 10 as they feature strong characters and interesting stories. There is also a ‘boy version’ of this series called Do You Dare? which is also great.
Dragon Keeper by Carol Wilkenson Age 8+
Set in ancient China this is the first book in a series of three and all of them weave interesting history into great stories. They are great audiobooks too!
The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson Ages 9+
Set in London in the 1850s, this book has a great male main character and lots of great historical details with some science and mystery thrown in.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper Age 9+
This book covers some tricky subjects to do with racism in America in the 1930s, but it does so in a way younger kids can understand and without too many horrific details, plus it’s a really great story
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. Age 9+
Set in 12th century Korea, this story has a brave and resilient main character and lots of intriguing details. We borrowed this one as an audio book and it’s great!
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo. Age 9+
Loosely based on a true story about an elephant that was rescued from a Belfast zoo during WW2, this story is told from the perspective on a non-nazi family in Germany and is a great read.
Once, Then, Now, After and Soon by Morris Gleitzman Ages 10+
Set during (and after) the second world war, this beautiful series of historic fiction books will make you cry as you fall in love with the characters and their stories.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. Age 10+
This book is based on a true story of a yellow fever epidemic if Philadelphia in 1793 and it will draw you in and have you needing to know what happens to Mattie and her family.
Oracle by Jackie French. Age 10+
Oracle is just one of the awesome historical fictions books by Australian writer Jackie French. We have read so many of her books it is hard to pick a favourite, but we liked Oracle because it was a bit different, set in a Mycenaean court with lots of history, mythology and fantasy making it a great read.
My kids also recommend Pennies for Hitler and the other two books in that series, A Rose for the Anzac Boys, her new Secret History series (we’ve read the first one and loved it), and loads of others. You can find Jackie French’s historical fiction books here.
Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. Age 11+
I read this book when I was a kid and loved it and so have my kids. With a clever time travel twist the main character is transported back to Sydney in the 1800s and has to work out how to live and how to get back.
Are your kids keen to read more books but just don’t have time? Or maybe they are not quite ready to read these books on their own?
Check out this list of fabulous free audiobooks for kids, they are a great way to add even more books into your kids’ day!
Do you have any recommendations for historical fiction books for tweens?
We are always looking for new books for our book shelf. If you’ve got a favourite historical fuction title please share it in the comments below so we can check it out!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
The Anne of Green Gables series and What katy Did series are both good for this age group and give a good idea of what life was like in a different era. Early 1900s and late 1800s respectively. Also Little House on the Prairie series.
These are some of our favorites as well:
Pennies for Hitler Jackie French
Nanberry Black brother White Jackie French
The silver sword Ian Serraillier
Tom Appleby Convict Boy Jackie French
My Family for the War Anne C. Voorhoeve
The Night they Stormed Eureka Jackie French
Valley of Gold Jackie French
The Donkey who carried the wounded Jackie French
Somewhere around the corner (depression) Jackie French
My Australian Story: Fremantle Prison Break Deborah Lisson
Josef’s Bear Margaret Beames
Hitler’s Daughter Jackie French
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Sarah Plain and Tall Patricia MacLauchlan
What a great list! Thanks so much for sharing!
As a historian I am not all _that_ fond of Historical Fiction, *coughcough* … but actually that mostly applies for adult historical fiction, which often just makes me want to cry…
For kids, however, there is indeed some very good and sensitive historical fiction out there that introduces young readers to sensitive topics. Such as When Hitler stole the pink rabbit. Or to get them interested into certain areas such as Asian history. Perfect if those books became dinner topics and you could follow up with more history related activities, :-).
And then, sometimes, just entertainment is also fine, of course, but here I would draw a bit of a line — it still needs to be respectful to those who went through this period of time. (Like I wouldn’t care for my kids to read some story set during the Holocaust, for example, that was written just for the kick of it, if this makes sense).
Great list, pinning! Personally I love historic fiction. Wild Swans is very good, but it’s so long since I read it that I’m not sure if it’s suitable for teens and tweens. Also that Samurai series about the nightingale floor. When I was a teen I adored horror books and I’m sure they can’t be any worse than those!!
My son really enjoyed Fever 1793, so I will have to add some of these books to a recommended list for him for when the library opens back up.
Anne Goldberg says
I teach 4th grade and our reading curriculum is novel based. Most of what we read relates to our social studies and science curriculum.
The Sign of the Beaver – Early colonial expansion in America mid 1700’s
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm – American Revolution
Small Steps: The Year I got Polio – Memoir by Peg Kehret
Mary on Horseback – Biography of Mary Breckenridge and her Frontier Nursing Service by Rosemary Wells
The Legend of Zoey – New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – Civil Rights Movement
Gretchen A Carlson says
Thanks for great lists and recommendations! I didn’t notice Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s books: The War That Saved My Life, and The War I Finally Won. (I’m one of your new followers, perhaps you’ve mentioned these books in prior posts.)
I have not read either of those books, but they are definitely on my list now. Thanks for the suggestions.
Check out Elephant Run by Roland Smith!