Immerse your middle grade readers in captivating historical fiction books for tweens!
9 – 12 year olds will love these engaging history books that will transport them to a different time and place. From ancient civilizations, to the World Wars, and even some more modern history stories, these historical fiction books for tweens combine imagination and facts to make history come alive!
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!
What is Historical Fiction?
Historical fiction is a genre that blends fictional narratives with real historical events, settings, or characters. It transports readers to a different time period, and allows them to experience the past through the eyes of the characters. Historical fiction could be set in the far distant past of ancient civilisations, or the more recent past of modern events.
Why Should Tweens Read Historical Fiction?
Historical fiction books are a great way to introduce tweens to various historical eras, cultures, or significant events in an engaging and accessible way.
Historical fiction books can help middle grade readers gain a deeper understanding of historical events and past cultures and customs. They can encourage tweens to explore complex moral and ethical questions, develop empathy, and think critically.
By combining imaginative storytelling with accurate historical details, these books not only entertain but also educate children about the world’s history, giving them a broader understanding of the world
If your kids love historical fiction they might also love these fun history games to end the school year
Our Favourite Historical Fiction Books for Tweens.
If you’ve got kids who love historical fiction, check out some of our favourites historical fiction books for tweens (9-12 year olds). We’ve tried to keep the list roughly in order from ancient history to modern times so you can easily pick a book from an era you are studying or your tween is interested in.
This list includes lots of historical fiction for 12 year olds, and many options that are perfect for younger tweens too. Some of these books cover some difficult topics. The recommended age listed is just a guide. Please check out these books yourself first to make sure they are a good choice for your children.
This list contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Ancient History Books for Tweens
Oracle by Jackie French.
This story is set in the Mycenaean court in 3500 BCE with fabulous characters and lots of history, mythology and fantasy making it a great read. This is just one of this authors great historical fiction books that my kids love, so make sure you check out her others.
Minoan Wings Series by Wendy Orr
This three book historical fiction series for middle grades is set in Bronze-Age Crete, with great characters and fantastical stories this is a great series for tweens.
Dragon Keeper by Carol Wilkenson
Set in ancient China in 141 VCE, 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!
Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of ‘The Iliad’ by Rosemary Sutcliff
This retelling of the classic Iliad story includes all the drama, adventure and intrigue you’d except from this ancient Greek story. This author has got other great historical fiction books you should check out too.
Mark of the Thief Trilogy by Jennifer A Nielsen
This three book set follows the story of Nic who is a slave in ancient Rome and the magical, mythical adventures he finds himself entwined in!
Medieval and Renaissance History Books
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.
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!
The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim
Twelve-year-old Li Jing lives in a village in 12th century imperial China when she is sold as a bride to a wealthy family. Li Jing overcomes hardships and eventually triumphs in this wonderful story that is woven with historical culture and a little bit of magic!
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras
This is a Scottish medieval story about a young heroine who must free her family from a castle prison after knights attack her home. There is also a sequel to this story – The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter.
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
Crispin is a thirteen-year-old peasant boy in medieval England, who is accused of a crime he did not commit. This book brings to life the history of feudalistic medieval Britain with a great adventure story.
Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman
Matilda finds herself making potions and mixing poultices to helping Red Peg the Bonesetter treat patients, and at first she doesn’t like it at all! This story is full of authentic, funny, and fascinating details about what life was like for an medieval apothecary!
The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll
When a catastrophic flood hits the Somerset coast in 1607, Fortune is accused of using witchcraft to cause it! This is a great story about an event that really happened.
18th & 19th Century History Books
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.
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.
Our Australian Girl Series by various authors.
There are over 40 books by various authors in this series of historical fiction and they cover Australian history from 1808 to1983. My kids love them as they feature strong characters and interesting stories. There is also a ‘boy version’ of this series called Do You Dare?
Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park.
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.
The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
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.
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
This is the story of a boy, growing up in Ghana in the 1860s and what his life was like before he walked through that ‘door of no return’ and became part of the transatlantic slave trade.
20th Century History Books
The Island at the End of Everything by by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Set in the early 1900s this the story of Ami who lives with her mother on Culion, an island in the Philippines for people who have leprosy, until one day she is sent away and her world is ripped apart. Ami lives on Culion, an island in the Philippines for people who have leprosy.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
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
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.
Set in Mississippi during the Depression, this is the story of Cassie, and her family’s struggle to maintain their pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice and hardship.
A Seed in the Sun by by Aida Salazar
This is a story about the plight of Lula’s family and that of migrant farm workers in California in the 1960s, it is beautifully told with engaging characters.
Inside Out and Back Again by by Thanhhà Lai
This book is written in verse and full of beutiful, emotive language. It is the story of Ha as she flees Vietnam just before the fall Siagon in 1975 and ‘journeys from one country to another, and one life to the next’.
The Blackbird Girls by by Anne Blankman
This is the story of two young girls who were once enemies, and who now must deal with secrets and lies and the aftermath of the Chernobyl powerplant disaster in 1986.
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 fiction title please share it in the comments below so we can check it out!