22 May, 2024

Junior Fiction – Historical Fiction

13 mins read

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Gold Rush Girl, available as Print | eBook | Playaway   
Avi  
Victoria (Tory) Blaisdell longs to live a life as adventurous and independent as that of her heroine, Jane Eyre. When Tory’s father loses his job and decides to seek a share of the newly discovered gold in California, Tory stows away on the westbound ship carrying her father and younger brother, Jacob. Though San Francisco is mud-caked, frenzied, and full of wild and dangerous men, Tory quickly finds friends and independence – until her father leaves for the gold fields and the care of Jacob falls to her. Then Jacob vanishes, kidnapped, perhaps hidden among the hundreds of ships – called Rotten Row – that have been abandoned in the bay. If he is there, Tory must find him in a treacherous search. Tory comes close to losing everything in her quest for her own and her brother’s freedom. 

Goodbye, Mr. Spalding, available as Print 
Barr, Jennifer R.  
In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola live across the street from Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Their families and others on the street make extra money by selling tickets to bleachers on their flat rooftops, which have a perfect view of the field. However, falling ticket sales at the park prompt the manager and park owner to decide to build a wall that will block the view. Jimmy and Lola come up with a variety of ways to prevent the wall from being built, knowing that not only will they miss the view, but their families will be impacted from the loss of income. As Jimmy becomes more and more desperate to save their view, his dubious plans create a rift between him and Lola, and he must work to repair their friendship. 

Letters from Cuba, available as Print | eAudiobook  
Behar, Ruth 
The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther’s father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent–and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther’s evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it’s too late. Based on Ruth Behar’s family history, this compelling story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the most challenging times. 

Catherine’s War, available as Print | eBook  
Billet, Julia 
As France buckles under the Nazi regime, budding photographer Rachel Cohen must change her name, go into hiding, and bear witness to the atrocities of World War II. Graphic novel. 

The Blackbird Girls, available as Print eAudiobook  
Blankman, Anne 
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work–Chernobyl–has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who’ve always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina’s estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother’s secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they’ve wished for: a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend’s life? Would you risk your own? 

The Long Ride, available as Print | eAudiobook  
Budhos, Marina Tamar 
Jamila Clarke. Josie Rivera. Francesca George. Three mixed-race girls, close friends whose immigrant parents worked hard to settle their families in a neighborhood with the best schools. The three girls are outsiders there, but they have each other. Now, at the start seventh grade, they are told they will be part of an experiment, taking a long bus ride to a brand-new school built to “mix up the black and white kids.” Their parents don’t want them to be experiments. Francesca’s send her to a private school, leaving Jamila and Josie to take the bus ride without her. While Francesca is testing her limits, Josie and Jamila find themselves outsiders again at the new school. As the year goes on, the Spanish girls welcome Josie, while Jamila develops a tender friendship with a boy–but it’s a relationship that can exist only at school. 

Finding Langston, available as Print | Playaway  
Cline-Ransome, Lesa 
Discovering a book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied. 

Cub, available as Print | eBook  
Copeland, Cynthia L. 
Twelve-year-old Cindy has just dipped a toe into seventh-grade drama–with its complicated friendships, bullies, and cute boys–when she earns an internship as a cub reporter at a local newspaper in the early 1970s. A (rare) young female reporter takes Cindy under her wing, and Cindy soon learns not only how to write a lede, but also how to respectfully question authority, how to assert herself in a world run by men, and–as the Watergate scandal unfolds–how brave reporting and writing can topple a corrupt world leader. Searching for her own scoops, Cindy doesn’t always get it right, on paper or in real life. But whether she’s writing features about ghost hunters, falling off her bicycle and into her first crush, or navigating shifting friendships, Cindy grows wiser and more confident through every awkward and hilarious mistake. Graphic novel. 

Elijah of Buxton, available as Print | eAudiobook | CD Book Large Print  
Curtis, Christopher Paul 
In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family’s freedom. 

One Dead Spy: the Life, Times and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series #1, available as Print | eBook  
Hale, Nathan 
Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format. Graphic novel. 

City of Gold, available as Print 
Hobbs, Will 
Determined to recover his family’s mules, fifteen-year-old Owen is joined by his kid brother and Telluride’s notorious marshal in pursuit of a rustler–all the way to Butch Cassidy’s hideout.  

The Body Under the Piano, available as Print 
Jocelyn, Marthe 
Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father… until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit. 

Pirate Queen: the Legend of Grace O’Malley, available as Print 
Lee, Tony 
A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors. Graphic novel. 

Prairie Lotus, available as Print | eAudiobook | eBook | Large Print  
Park, Linda Sue 
Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople’s almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Narrated by Hanna, the novel has poignant moments yet sparkles with humor, introducing a captivating heroine whose wry, observant voice will resonate with readers. 

Loretta Little Looks Back, available as Print | eBook | eAudiobook | Wonderbook 
Pinkney, Andrea Davis 
Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B. Little relate their Mississippi family’s struggles and triumphs from 1927 to 1968 while struggling as sharecroppers, living under Jim Crow, and fighting for Civil Rights. 

Alice on the Island: a Pearl Harbor Survival Story, available as Print 
Poe, Mayumi Shimose 
On December 7, 1941, thirteen-year old Alice’s life changes completely as she experiences an act of war, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and her father’s imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp, leaving Alice and the rest of her family struggling to adjust to life without him. 

The Red Menace, available as Print 
Ruby, Lois 
During the summer of 1953, thirteen-year-old Marty’s parents are suspected of communist sympathies, upending his life and causing him to question what it really means to be a patriotic American. 

One Crazy Summer, available as Print | eAudiobook | eBook | CD Book    
Williams-Garcia, Rita 
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. 

Rachel’s Roses, available as Print 
Wolff, Ferida 
Third-grader Rachel Berger longs to be different. At the very least, she’d like to be set apart from her copycat little sister, Hannah. The second Rachel spots the glass rose buttons at Mr. Solomon’s button shop, her heart stops. They’ll be the perfect, unique touch on the skirt her mother is making her for Rosh Hashanah. There’s just one problem: Rachel can’t afford them. With her focus set on earning enough to buy them before the holiday, will Rachel lose sight of what’s really important? Themes of sisterhood, sibling rivalry, and strong family values are organically woven in to this charmingly illustrated chapter book set on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early twentieth century. 

Breaking Stalin’s Nose, available as Print | CD Book     
Yelchin, Eugene 
In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs. 


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