History and Historical Fiction
with Units to Guide Literature Circles

Most of these historical fiction books are in your library! (If can't find them, you can order them by clicking the title below.) Check out two or three copies of each for your class. Let students choose their favorites and form literature groups. Give them copies of the unit to guide them to find the special treasure inside each book, to develop valuable skills, to problem solve, and to help them work together as a group! Literature that is strong in history and character can help build the essential foundation for citizenship.

Just added! A Hurricane Katrina Story!
Order the book here:

Order the Kids' Wings literature guide with Jeopardy-type game here:
Zane and the Hurricane
by Rodman Philbrick

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick-- Zane Dupree arrives in New Orleans with his little dog, Bandit, just in time for the arrival of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the USA. Lost in the evacuation, Zane comes face-to-face with disaster and must live through the real-life threats that lay ahead.

History and Historical Fiction Novels

All the Way Home--by Patricia Reilly Giff-- New York, 1941--A girl who has been crippled by polio and a boy whose world has been destroyed by fire forge a strong friendship in this story of loyalty, self-discipline, and courage---Unit in Treasure Trackers

Bigger by Patricia Calvert--Awesome Post-Civil War Saga about a boy's search for his father and a dog who stands beside him--Unit in Bluebonnet Celebrations

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin--Newbery Honor Book for 2012-- Two days in the life of Sasha Zaichik, the son of one of Joseph Stalin's secret policemen, show propaganda lies being overturned to reveal the truth of Communism and the behind difficulties of life under a tyrannical dictator. A powerful, MUST read! Also available in the Kids Wings Growing Young Americans collection.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis --The Newbery Medal winner for 2002--Michigan, 1930's, Depression--A ten-year-old African-American orphan named Bud...not Buddy... grows strong through the wisdom he remembers from his mother and through the "rules and things" that he creates during harrowing challenges he encounters in his search for his father--Unit in Roots and Wings

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson--The interesting, chronological investigation into the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln--Now available in Kids Wings download that includes a Jeopardy-type game.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh--easy reading--Newbery Honor Book--In 1707, Sarah Noble kept her courage as she went into the wilderness with her father to settle a new home--50 page Unit

Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale--Upper Level, Galveston Hurricane 1900--Unit in download and in Growing Young Americans Through Award-Winning Literature

The Earth Dragon Awakes! by Laurence Yep--a two-point of view compelling story about the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Available in Download and in The Ripple Effect.

Edwina Victorious--Edwina learns how citizen-action can make her community a better place! Great for learning government and the beauty of our democracy! Unit in download and in the Defeating Giants collection.

Elijah Of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (2008 Newbery Honor Book) --The story of a real settlement that was created as a santuary for runaway slaves, told through the eyes of the first boy born free in the settlement. A powerful, emotionally charged work! Unit in Transormers

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan --A wealthy Mexican family meets with hardships in the 1930s as they immigrate to the United States become California farm workers--Unit in Defeating Giants

Fair Weather by Richard Peck -- Chicago, 1893--A farm family joins their wealthy aunt for a hysterical adventure at The World's Columbian Exposition-- Treasure Trackers

The Gentleman Outlaw and Me--Eli by Mary Downing Hahn-- Eliza Yates is 12 years old in 1887 when she runs away from her cruel aunt and uncle and sets off for Tinville, Colorado, in search of her missing father--Unit in Character Connections 

Picture Book: Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom by Tim Tingle--The story from the Choctaw nation during the time of African-American slavery--Unit in Transformers

Gabriel's Horses by Alison Hart--A young slave boy is caught up in the Civil War--Unit in Transformers

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood--Life in Mississippi changes as a result of the 1964 Civil Rights law. Unit in download and in the Growing Young Americans collection

Picture Book: Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack. A picture book set in the 1950's, highlighting the plight of African-Americans during their struggle with the Jim Crow Laws--Unit in Treasure Trackers

Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr--The hysterical story of Simon who sets out to drive a herd of ..uh....turkeys...to market in Colorado in the 1800s--Unit in Tales for Two Centuries

Picture Book: Home Run by Robert Burleigh --picture book--Through a combination of beautiful oil paintings, authentic baseball cards, and free verse poetry, meet baseball hero Babe Ruth who set the standard for the game in 1919--Unit in Forged in the Fire

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate -- The touching story of a Sudanese refugee's struggle to find meaning in the United States.

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman --Joe Shoshack, a young baseball fanatic, discovers a rare and valuable baseball card while cleaning out an attic for an elderly friend. In Joe’s hands, the card, opening a door in time, leads him into a time-traveling adventure with his baseball hero, Honus Wagner and the 1909 World Series. Unit in Tales for Two Centuries

Hubert Invents the Wheel by Claire and Monte Montgomery--Prehistoric comedy about Hubert who single-handedly invented the wheel that ushered in traffic jams, flat tires, and the need for things like steering wheels and brakes. --Unit in The Ripple Effect

Jim Dandy by Hadley Irwin --After Caleb's father died in the Civil War, his mother remarried a fellow-Quaker, Webb, who took the family west to Kansas. When she dies, 12-year-old Caleb gives his affection to a foal. The horse eventually finds his way into the hands of General George Custer--Unit in Bluebonnet Celebrations

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2008 Caldecott Medal) --Combined Text Book--The story of an orphan boy who discovers a hidden secret and leads to honor the creator of early, fantasy in silent movies--Unit in Transformers

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park --Brothers Young-sup and Kee-sup prove to be a great team when they meet the 10-year old King of Korea in 15th Century Korea-Unit in Treasure Trackers

Leah's Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich --Picture Book--During the Great Depression's Dust Bowl, Leah makes a great sacrifice to save her family's home--Unit in Character Connections

Love from Your Friend Hannah by Mindy Skolsky --Depression--Probably the most determined pen pal of the 1930’s, Hannah Diamond finds friendship through her pencil...in the most unlikely of places. Written as a series of letters to Abby, the President of the United States, the First Lady, and others reach across the miles to encourage her during the Great Depression. --Unit in Tales for Two Centuries

Picture Book: Monsieur Marceau, the biography of Marcel Marceau who, before he became the most famous mime in the world, worked in the French underground to save Jews from the invading Nazi soldiers. Unit in the Trials and Courage collection.

Picture Book: Marven of the Great North Woods by Kathryn Lasky--Picture Book--To protect him from the 1918 influenza epidemic in Duluth, Minnesota, Marven is sent far away to a logging camp in the great north woods. Unit in Tales for Two Centuries

Picture Book: Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot--by Margo Theis Raven--picture book-- The Berlin Airlift of 1948 provides excitement in the life of a little girl who lives in a bombed-out apartment.--- Treasure Trackers

Picture Book: Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson--The Story of Harriet Tubman--Unit in Transformers

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by by Rodman Philbrick, 2010 Newbery Honor Book--Homer P. Figg, a self-proclaimed prodigious liar, escapes an abusive uncle (the meanest man in Maine) to save his older brother during the Civil War. Incredibly entertaining fiction seasons the stark realities of the Battle of Gettsyburg. Kids Wings download unit with Jeopardy game available now. Also in Reading Out of the Box Collection.

Mr. Tucket by Gary Paulsen --Francis Tucket is 14 years old when he strays from his family's wagon on the Oregon Trail and is captured by the Pawnee. He and Mr. Grimes struggle to survive in the wild west.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm--A terrific story from the Great Depression! 2011 Newbery Honor

Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff --Rooted in Ireland during the Potato Famine of the mid-1800's, young Nory Ryan tells the moving story of friendship and family. --Unit in Roots and Wings

Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald --Holocaust Autobiography. Odette, a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1940, tells the story of her life in a small apartment with her mother and father. Originally written in the girl's journal discovered in a museum. Unit in the Trials and Courage collection.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt--The story of a young teen's struggle, loss, recovery, and survival at a time when the Viet Nam War has the nation in crisis and his family is in danger from an abustive father. Will the powers of friendship, love, and art help him to overcome the trials and finally Okay for Now? One of the best, most inspriring stories we have ever read! Unit in Reading Out of the Box

On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck--one family's often funny story of life on the home front during World War II -- Unit in Growing Young Americans Through Award-Winning Literature

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate-- 2013 Newbery Medal --Unit in download and in Growing Young Americans Through Award-Winning Literature

A Paradise Called Texas by Janice Shefelman --In the mid-1800s, Mina's family leaves Germany to go on a grueling journey to their new home in Texas. 70 Page Unit

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco --Picture Book-- Two boys fighting on different sides during the Civil War find friendship during this horrific time in history--Unit in Literature-Based Learning

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan --The orpan Charlotte fights obstacles throughout her life to ride into history as the first woman who ever voted--Unit in Forged in the Fire

Picture Book: Rudy Rides the Rails, A Depression Era Story by Dandi Daley Mackall --Gorgeous paintings highlight the journey of a boy who has to leave home to try to save his family during the Great Depression--Unit in Transformers

Search for Shadowman by Joan Lowery Nixon --An assignment to research his family history leads a boy to discover an intriguing secret to solve the mystery surrounding pioneer-ancestors--Unit in Heart of the Hero

Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park --A Korean girl in a royal home during the 15th Century is dissatisfied with her plight in tradition and sets off on an adventure to stretch the rules-Unit in Roots and Wings

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park --Newbery Medal--Tree-Ear is a Korean orphan who lives under a bridge with an old philosopher during the 15th Century. His dream of becoming a potter leads him into a harrowing adventure.--Unit in Treasure Trackers

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare --Thirteen-year old Matt must stay alone and try to survive in his Pre-Revolution Maine homestead while his father goes for the rest of his family--Unit

Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf --Holocaust--Inspired by real events during World War II, this story of a young girl, tagged an "Ayran" child, who lived a nightmare after being taken prisoner by Nazi soldiers. It might be better than Number the Stars!--Kids Wings unit available in download and in the Kids Wings Gifts and Givers Collection of guides for award-winning literature.

SPY by Anna Myers--The American Revolution--The spell-binding fictionalized biography of Nathan Hale, told from two point of views: Nathan Hale and one of his students. History woven with creative biography --Download Unit. Also part of the Gifts and Givers Collection

Surviving Antarctica by Andrea White -- Dystopian--Reenacting the Exploration of Antarctica--Imagine the world of the future! No wars. The crime rate is low. School is on television! You are required to watch 30 hours of television a week! Your lessons are in the form of adventures and and game shows! No more soft, warm boring food. Your food is now in the form of crispy chips! You can skateboard on abandoned freeways. Sound perfect? Sure. Everyone gets a fair chance. One roll of the dice determines who will go to college and who will not. Only those who go to college get the decent jobs. There are other opportunities, of course. You can apply to be a contestant on Historical Survivor....and if you are chosen, you will win a nice prize. If you win MVP (Most Valuable Player) you will win a phenomenal $100,000! So what if people are killed in each of the series? Of course, there are a few rules you must play by ... for starters, if you are chosen, you can't back out. You can apply RIGHT NOW! Antarctica Historical Survivor will start filming when you open your book. But a warning ... once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down.

Picture Books: The Titanic All Stations! Distress! by Don Brown and Titanicat by Marty Crisp--Paired nonfiction and fiction picture books about the Titanic, now together in one download Unit

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm--2011 Newbery Award--A powerful story set in Florida during the Great Depression--Included in the Extraordinary Destinations collection.

Picture Book: Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell--Early 1900s--Barber Uncle Jed overcomes financial hardships and predjuice trough perseverance and generosity-Bluebonnet Celebrations

Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry--Modern--The fictionalized search for the lost riches of Lyon Post (Post Cereals) take three kids through the best treasure hunt ever as they decipher secret codes and discover treasure in New York City. In download and in Growing Young Americans collection.

Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriette Gillem Robinet -- Alpha walks into the Montgomery Bus boycott and leads readers on an adventure they will never forget--- Treasure Trackers

Wingwalker by Rosemary Wells -- Rueben's life changes when the Great Depression hits--- Treasure Trackers

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen-- Put an unforgettable face on The American Revolution from the eyes of a 13-year-old patriot caught up the atrocities of the war. Informational text inserted between ficionalized chapters. Download Unit-- and in the Extraordinary Destinations Collection

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick-- Zane Dupree arrives in New Orleans with his little dog, Bandit, just in time for the arrival of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the USA. Lost in the evacuation, Zane comes face-to-face with disaster and must live through the real-life threats that lay ahead.

History in Informational Picture Books
History in primary source photos

Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Day America Entered World War II by Shelley Tanaka --Picture Book--Primary Source photographs, maps, and drawings bring Pearl Harbor to life--Unit in Heart of the Hero

Balloons Over Broadway: True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet--in download and in the Kids Wings Growing Young Americans collection.

Barnum’s Bones by Tracey Fern --Palentologist Barnum Brown discovers the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Available in download and in the Kids Wings Growing Young Americans collection.

Book: Black Elk's Vision by S. D. Nelson, the poignant story of the Lakota people, their captivity, their life on the reservations, their hopes, their fears, their dreams. Unit in the Extraordinary sCollection

Book: Boss of the Plains by Laurie Carlson -The West, 1850s--A picture book highlighting the invention of the Stetson hat--Unit in Roots and Wings

Bull's Eye--The Photobiography of Annie Oakley by Sue Macy--Picture Book--Late 1800s--The story of Annie Oakley----Unit in Treasure Trackers

The Buffalo Nickel by Taylor Morrison--The picture book biography of one of America's most celebrated sculptor, James Earle Fraser, who created the End of the Trail sculpture and the first Buffalo Nickel--Unit in Treasure Trackers

Crossing Bok Chitto A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom by Tim Tingle, the story of the Choctaw nation and their influence on one Black slave, the Kids Wings unit available in download and in the Kids Wings Gifts and Givers Collection of guides for award-winning literature.

Dandelions by Eve Bunting --picture book--When a girl and her family move west to Nebraska in the 1800s, they face challenges as they build their sod house and settle into a new life-Unit in Literature-Based Learning

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, Picture Book for grades 3-7 --The biography of the first dinosaur scientist/sculptor in the 1800s--with Kids Wings Unit in Defeating Giants

Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise and Mary Kay Kroeger--Picture Book--Early 20th Century--African American Bessie Coleman becomes the first woman to get a pilot's license--Unit in Defeating Giants

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio (Electoral College)

Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming--A one-girl Tea Party flies into action! This powerful, entertaining picture book features a young enthusiastic girl whose love of history gives her the incentive to use the lessons of history fight city hall and save the centuries-old Historical Society building. Unit is Extraordinary Destinations.

Kennedy Assassination by Wilborn Hampton --Photojournal--Bill Hampton, a young reporter in the United Press International Dallas office, tells a reporter’s story of the events of November 22, 1963, when shots fired at the Presidential motorcade took the life of President John F. Kennedy--Unit in Tales for Two Centuries

Leonardo Da Vinci by Diane Stanley--1500s--Picture Book--The biography of Leonardo Da Vinci--Unit in Character Connections

Leonardo's Horse by Jean Fritz--1500s--Picture Book-- The biography of Leonardo Da Vinci focusing on his famous horse and its completion in modern times--Unit in Treasure Trackers

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman--finding unique facts about Lincol

Lou Gehrig, the Luckiest Man by David Adler Buy the trio of Heroes with Handicaps units including Wilma Unlimited, Lou Gehrig, the Luckiest Man, and Hero of Bremen. $5.95

The Lucky Star by Judy Young--Picture Book--The family of nine-year-old Ruth struggles with problems posed during the Great Depression. Daddy leaves to join the CCC. School closes. What will Ruth do? Download Unit in Discover Magic.

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki --Picture Book--A Japanese diplomat saves hundreds of lives in Nazi Germany during WWII--Unit in Heart of the Hero

The Riches of Oseola McCarty by Evelyn Coleman --Biography of Osceola McCarty, a washerwoman from the early part of the Twentieth Century whose perseverance and generosity affected the lives of people --Unit in Forged in the Fire

Sea Clocks by Louise Bordon is picture book biography that makes a real impact on understanding longitude! It is the biography of John Harrison, a clockmaker, who created the first clock that worked at sea--Unit in Light in the Darkness

Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy by Phil Bildner --Picture Book--Biography of Shoeless Joe Jackson highlighting his search for the perfect bat--Unit in Treasure Tracker

The Titanic All Stations! Distress! by Don Brown and Titanicat by Marty Crisp--Paired nonfiction and fiction picture books about the Titanic, now together in one download Unit

Turn of the Century by Ellen Jackson--Unit in Transformers! In paired unit with:
What You Never Knew About Beds, Bedrooms, and Pajamas by Patricia Lauber --Unit in Transformers!

When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan -- The biography of Marian Anderson, celebrated African-American singer who braved the prejudice and the Jim Crow laws to change history--- Treasure Trackers

© 2011, Suzy Red, Lockhart, Texas
All Rights Reserved


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© 2013, Suzy Red, Lockhart, Texas
All Rights Reserved