Name of Collection: Historical Fiction Grades 4-8

School Name: P.S./M.S. 219Q Paul Klapper School

Address: 144-39 Gravett Road Flushing, NY 11367

Phone: (718)793-2130

Fax: (718)793-1039

Librarian: Elizabeth Basileo

Librarian's e-mail:


This historical fiction collection, specifically for Grades 4-8, contains books and playaways that portray a specific time period in history or an historical event.

Questions for Inquiry:

How can historical fiction enhance the teaching of Social Studies in Grades 4-8?
How historically accurate are the events/details/settings of historical fiction books?
How do the characters' traits and emotions compare to characters of other genres?


Historical fiction

Subject Headings:

  • Historical fiction
  • War stories
  • Name of place - Fiction (ex. China - Fiction)

Dewey Decimal Classification(s):


Key Books:

Bridges, Shirin Yim. Ruby's Wish . Chronicle Books, 2002.
In China, at a time when few girls are taught to read and write, Ruby dreams of going to the University with her brothers and male cousins.
Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts . Putnam's, 2004.
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families lived there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment as well as his autistic older sister.
Cooper, Susan. King of Shadows . Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1999.
While in London perparing to perform in a replica of the Globe Theatre, Nat Field finds himself transported back to 1599 and performing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Will Shakespeare himself.
Cushman, Karen. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple . Clarion Books, 1996.
In 1849, twelve-year-old California Morning Whipple renames herself Lucy when her mother moves the family from Massachusetts to a rough California Gold Rush camp.
Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy. Clarion Books, 1994.
The daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal to record her everyday life, her longing for adventure and her efforts to avoid being married off to someone she doesn't like.
Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. Scholastic Press, 1997.
In free-verse poems, fifteen -year-old Billlie Jo tells of the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm during the dust bowl years of the Great Depression.
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns to be courageous as she helps her Jewish friend escape from the Nazis.
Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us. Lee & Low, 1993.
A Japanese American boy learns to play baseball when he and his family are forced to live in an internment camp during World War II.
Park, Linda Sue. Seesaw Girl. Clarion Books, 1999.
Impatient with the constraints put on her in seventeenth century Korea, twelve-year-old Jade Blossom determines to see beyond the walls of her home.
Peck, Richard. A Long Way From Chicago: a Novel in Stories. Dial Books for Young Readers, 1998.
A boy recounts his annual trips to visit his larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois with his younger sister during the Great Depression .


Adamson, Lynda G. American Historical Fiction : an annotated guide to novels for adults and young adults. Phoenix, AZ:
Oryx Press, 1999.

Presents an annotated listing of over three thousand historical fiction books in a variety of genres, set within the United States; organized by time periods, from prehistory through the twentieth century. The book is indexed by author, title, genre and subject.
Adamson, Lynda G. World Historical Fiction: an annotated guide to novels for adults and young adults. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx
Press, 1998.

Presents annotated listings of over six thousand historical fiction books in a variety of genres, set in locales outside the United States, organized by geographic setting and time period. Includes bibliographic references and indexes. Award winners and titles suitable for young adults are listed.
Brown, Joanne. The distant mirror : reflections on young adult historical fiction. Scarecrow Press, 2006.
Explores the forms and subgenres of young adult historical fiction and several contemporary issues, including war, race, gender, class, religion, and others.
Zarian, Beth Bartleson. Around the world with historical fiction and folktales : highly recommended and award-winning books, grades K-8. Scarecrow Press, 2004.
Presents an annotated listing of approximately eight hundred award-winning historical fiction books for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, arranged chronologically by topic within the groups of American history, world history, and myths and folklore.
Zarnowski, Myra. Making Sense of History: Using High Quality Literature and Hands-On Expereinces to Build Content Knowledge. Scholastic, 2006.
Presents a practical guide to teaching history containing strategies that combine historical thinking and literature, specifically historical fiction, as well as hands-on experience. Includes bibliographical references, study units and reproducible forms.

Magazine Articles

• Print:

Krapp, JoAnn Vergona. "Historical Fiction." School Library Media Activities Monthly. 20: 6 (2005): 12-13.
Lindquist, Tarry. "Why & how I use historical fiction." Instructor 105: 3 (1995): 46-51.
Stafford, Brenda. "Historical Fact and Fiction." School Library Media Activities Monthly. 15:10 (1999): 15-20.

• Online:

Beck, Kathy; Nelson-Faulkner, Shari. "Historical Fiction: Teaching Tool or Literary Experience?" Language Arts 77.6 (July 2000):
546-556.EBSCO. 24 Jan. 2008
Hicks, Alun and Dave Martin. "Teaching English and History Through Historical Fiction". Children's Literature in Education 28.2 (June 1997): 49-59. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. 24 Jan. 2008
Krapp, Joann Vergona. "Historical Fiction". School Library Media Activities Monthly 21.6 (February 2005) 23 Jan. 2008
Nawrot, Kathy. "Making Connections with Historical Fiction." Clearing House 69.6 (July/August 1996): 343-346.
EBSCO. 24 Jan. 2008
Schwab, Watts. "Now Get What It Was Really Like: Reading Historical Fiction to Understand History". Library Media Collection 24.2
(Oct. 2005): 24-25. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. 23 Jan. 2008

Web Sites:

Best Kids Books
Children's Literature lists by topic with links to additonal titles and resources.
History Central
World History and American History including biographies, timelines, puzzles and classroom tools.
History...It's Happening
Resource designed for Middle and High school students, to accompany the study of North American History
Historical Maps
Focuses primarily on maps of the Americas from the 18th and 19th centuries, but also includes maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe etc.
Historical Fiction in the Elementary School
Comprehensive site from a Michigan State University student researcher.
Incorporating Historical Fiction in the Middle School Classroom
Powerpoint presentation citing research, authors, activities etc.


Dear America
Horrible Histories
David Macaulay Collection

Community Resources:

Queens Library
Brooklyn Public Library
New York Public Library
Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Museum of Natural HIstory
Museum of the City of New York
Tenement Museum

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

English Language Arts

Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression
  • Listening and reading to acquire information andunderstanding involves collecting data, facts, andideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and using knowledge from oral,written, and electronic sources
  • Listening and reading for literary response involvescomprehending, interpreting, and critiquingimaginative texts in every medium, drawing onpersonal experiences and knowledge to understandthe text, and recognizing the social, historical andcultural features of the text
  • Listening and reading for literary response involves comprehending, interpreting, and critiquing imaginative texts in every medium, drawing on personal experiences and knowledge to understand the text, and recognizing the social, historical and cultural features of the text.

* read and view independently and fluently across many genres of literature from many cultures and historical periods
* identify the distinguishing features of different literary genres, periods and traditions and use those features to interpret the work.

Social Studies

Standard 1: History of the United States and New York
  • Use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.

Standard 2: World History
  • Use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

*An asterisk next to material indicates that it is recommended in this subject area but not available in this CCD collection.