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Go directly to:   Early America & the Revolutionary War    |   Between the Revolution & the Civil War   |   The Civil War   |   After the Civil War   |   1900-1929 & World War I   |   1930s & the Great Depression | 1940s, World War II, & the Holocaust   |   1950s & The Korean War   |   1960s & The Vietnam Conflict   |   1970s & The Vietnam Conflict   |   1980s   |   The 2000s, 9/11 & the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan   |  


Early America & the Revolutionary War


Anderson, Laurie Halse.  Chains: Seeds of America
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.  (SLJ Gr 6-10)

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793
A yellow fever epidemic wipes out 10% of Philadelphia's population in three months. 16-year-old Matilda, separated from her sick mother, is forced to cope.  (SLJ Gr 6-10)

revolutionary_soldier Blackwood, Gary. The Year of the Hangman.
In 1777, having been kidnapped and taken forcibly from England to the American colonies, fifteen-year-old Creighton becomes part of developments in the political unrest there that may spell defeat for the patriots and change the course of history. (SLJ gr 8-10)

Brooks, Geraldine. Caleb's Crossing
Growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans, Bethia Mayfield yearns for an education that is closed to her due to her gender. As soon as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observes its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. (Adult)

Collier, James Lincoln. My Brother Sam Is Dead.
Recounts the tragedy that strikes the Meeker family during the Revolution when one son joins the rebel forces while the rest of the family tries to stay neutral in a Tory town.

Myers, Walter Dean. The Glory Field.
Follows a family's two hundred forty-one year history, from the capture of an African boy in the 1750s through the lives of his descendants, as their dreams and circumstances lead them away from and back to the small plot of land in South Carolina that they call the Glory Field. (SLJ gr 7+)

O'Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop.
Left alone after the deaths of her father and brother who take opposite sides in the War for Independence, and fleeing from the British who seek to arrest her, Sarah Bishop struggles to shape a new life for herself in the wilderness. (gr 7+)

Rinaldi, Ann. A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials.
While waiting for a church meeting in 1706, Susanna English, daughter of a wealthy Salem merchant, recalls the malice, fear, and accusations of witchcraft that tore her village apart in 1692. (SLJ gr 6-10)

Rinaldi, Ann. Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South.
In South Carolina in 1780, fourteen-year-old Caroline sees the Revolutionary War take a terrible toll among her family and friends and comes to understand the true nature of war. (SLJ gr. 5-9)

Rinaldi, Ann. Finishing Becca: A Story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold.
Fourteen-year-old Becca takes a position as a maid in a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker home and witnesses the events that lead to General Benedict Arnold's betrayal of the American forces during the Revolutionary War. (SLJ gr 7+)

Rinaldi, Ann. A Ride into Morning: The Story of Tempe Wick.
When unrest spreads at the Revolutionary War camp in Morristown, New Jersey, under the command of General Anthony Wayne, a young woman cleverly hides her horse from the mutinous soldiers who have need of it. (SLJ gr 7-9)


Between the Revolution & the Civil War


Lester, Julius.  Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue  
Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave "assets", possibly including Emma.  (SLJ gr. 6-0)

Spooner, Michael. Daniel's Walk.
With little more than a bedroll, a change of clothes, and a Bible, fourteen-year-old Daniel LeBlanc begins walking the Oregon Trail in search of his father who, according to a mysterious visitor, is in big trouble and needs his son's help. (SLJ gr 6-8)

The Civil War


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. No Man's Land: A Young Soldier's Story.
Because he had been unable to fight off the gator which injured his father, fourteen-year-old Thrasher joins the Confederate Army hoping to prove his manhood. (SJ gr 4 - 8)

Collier, James Lincoln. With Every Drop of Blood.
While trying to transport food to Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War, fourteen-year-old Johnny is captured by a black Union soldier. (SLJ gr 5-8)

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.
The story of a young man fighting in the Civil War.

Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain.
A love story set during the Civil War in the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Adult)

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind.
The sweeping saga of Scarlett O'Hara's life and loves during the Civil War. (Adult)

Peck, Richard.  The River Between Us.
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois. (SLJ gr 7+)

Wells, Rosemary.  Red Moon at Sharpesburg
As the Civil War breaks out, India, a young Southern girl, summons her sharp intelligence and the courage she didn't know she had to survive the war that threatens to destroy her family, her Virginia home, and the only life she has ever known.  (SLJ gr 7+)


After the Civil War


Avi.  City of Orphans
Maks Geless, 13, and his immigrant family tries to survive crime, poverty and corruption in 1893 New York City. Then his sister is accused of stealing a watch at the fancy Waldorf Hotel where she works and is taken to prison where she awaits her trial.  (SLJ gr. 6-8)

Miller, Sarah.  Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
At age twenty-one, partially-blind, lonely but spirited Annie Sullivan travels from Massachusetts to Alabama to try and teach six-year-old Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age two, self-discipline and communication skills. (SLJ gr 5-9)

Peck, Richard. Fair Weather.
In 1893, thirteen-year-old Rosie and members of her family travel from their Illinois farm to Chicago to visit Aunt Euterpe and attend the World's Columbian Exposition which, along with an encounter with Buffalo Bill and Lillian Russell, turns out to be a life-changing experience for everyone. (SLJ 5-8)

1900-1929 & World War I

Donnelly, Jennifer.  A Northern Light
A reworking of Dreiser's An American Tragedy, in which in 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Combines romance, history, and a murder mystery into a unique book. (SLJ gr. 8+)

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.
A mysterious American millionaire tries to recapture the sweetheart of his youth resulting in tragedy. (High School - Adult)

Honeyman, Kay.  The Fire Horse Girl 
When Jade Moon, born in the unlucky year of the Fire Horse, and her father immigrate to America in 1923 and are detained at Angel Island Immigration Station, Jade Moon is determined to find a way through and prove that she is not cursed.

Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night.
When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.  (SLJ gr 5-9)

Peck, Robert Newton. A Day No Pigs Would Die.
To a thirteen-year-old Vermont farm boy whose father slaughters pigs for a living, maturity comes early as he learns "doing what's got to be done," especially regarding his pet pig who cannot produce a litter.  (SLJ gr. 7+)

Ritter, John H. Choosing Up Sides.
In 1921 thirteen-year-old Luke finds himself torn between accepting his left-handedness or conforming to the belief of his preacher-father that such a condition is evil and must be overcome.  (SLJ gr 5-9)

Sturm, James.  Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow    
Satchel Paige began his baseball career in the Negro Leagues in Alabama in the 1920s. For years, Jim Crow laws, which segregated blacks and whites, kept him out of the major leagues. But they couldn't stop him from becoming a world-class athlete. This is a fictionalized account of a real-life sports hero. (SLJ gr 8+)

Winters, Cat.  In the Shadow of Blackbirds   
In San Diego in 1918, as deadly influenza and World War I take their toll, sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort and, despite her scientific leanings, must consider if ghosts are real when her first love, killed in battle, returns. (Age 12+)

Wolf, Allan.  The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic 
1912 sinking of the Titanic is recreated in verse as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.

Yep, Laurence. Dragonwings.
Moon Shadow comes from China to join his father in San Francisco's Chinatown.


1930s & The Great Depression

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust
In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. (SLJ gr 5-8)

Peck, Richard. A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories.
A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.  (SLJ gr 4-8)

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.
The story of the Joads, set during the Great Depression, as they struggle to make ends meet. (SLJ High School and Adult)

1940s, World War II, & The Holocaust

 Dallas, Sandra.  Tallgrass
Rennie's life is changed forever at age thirteen; her brother is fighting in World War II and a Japanese internment camp opens near her small town. When a young girl is murdered, most of the townspeople believe it was someone from the camp. King's multidimensional voice brings the characters to life.  (HS / Adults)

Gwaltney, Doris. Homefront
For as long as she can remember, Margaret Ann has longed for a room of her own. When her older sister leaves for college, she finally gets her dream until her cousin from England leaves London because of the blitz and moves to America. Not only does she get part of Margaret Ann's room, but her boyfriend too. Then Margaret's brother enlists in the Navy and she has to come to grips with the war in Europe.  (SLJ gr 6-8)

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22.
The classic tale of pilots stationed in Italy during World War II.  (High School and Adult)

Hesse, Karen. Aleutian Sparrow
An Aleutian Islander recounts her suffering during World War II in American internment camps designed to "protect" the population from the invading Japanese.  (SLJ gr 6+)

Naylor, Phyllis Renolds. Blizzard's Wake.
In March of 1941, when a severe blizzard suddenly hits Bismarck, North Dakota, a girl trying to save her stranded father and brother inadvertently helps the man who killed her mother four years before. (SLJ gr 5-8)

Salisbury, Graham. Under the Blood Red Sun
Tomikazu Nakaji's biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully, until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. (SLJ gr 5-8)

1950s & The Korean War


Holt, Kimberly Willis. My Louisiana Sky.
Growing up in Saitter, Louisiana, in the 1950s, twelve-year-old Tiger Ann struggles with her feelings about her stern, but loving grandmother, her mentally slow parents, and her good friend and neighbor, Jesse.  (SLJ gr 6-8)

Kadohata, Cynthia.  Kira-Kira 
The close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s is chronicled in this 2005 Newbury Medal book, including the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill. (SLJ gr.6-8)


1960s & The Vietnam Conflict

See also African-American Voices

Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels.
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.  (SLJ gr 10+)

Tillage, Leon. Leon's Story.
The son of a North Carolina sharecropper recalls the hard times faced by his family and other African Americans in the first half of the twentieth century and the changes that the civil rights movement helped bring about.

Wiles, Deborah. Countdown
Franny, a middle child, is in the thick of things as her father is a pilot stationed at Andrews Air Force Base during the Cuban missile crisis in this documentary novel full of photos from the sixties. Her grandfather digs up the yard to build a bomb shelter, her best friend has abandoned her and her sister is hanging out with secret friends. (SLJ gr. 5-8)


1970s & The Vietnam Conflict

Holt, Kimberly Willis. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.
During the summer of 1971 in a small Texas town, thirteen-year-old Toby and his best friend Cal meet the star ofa sideshow act, 600-pound Zachary, the fattest boy in the world.  (Library Journal gr 5-8)

King, A.S.  Everybody Sees the Ants
Overburdened by his parents' bickering and a bully's attacks, fifteen-year-old Lucky Linderman begins dreaming of being with his grandfather, who went missing during the Vietnam War, but during a visit to Arizona, his aunt and uncle and their beautiful neighbor, Ginny, help him find a new perspective. (SLJ gr. 9+)

Lynch, Chris.  I Pledge Allegiance
Four best friends serving in the Vietnam War make a pledge to one another that they will do all they can to return home safely together.  (First in a series of four books on the Vietnam War that chronicles the experience of four best friends who promise to serve in the war.  Each book focuses on one character who each serve in a different branch of the Armed Forces.)  (SLJ grade 7+)

Magoon, Kekla.  The Rock and the River 
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father's nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.  (SLJ gr. 7+)



Chow, Cara. Bitter Melon
With the encouragement of one of her teachers, a Chinese American high school senior asserts herself against her demanding, old-school mother and carves out an identity for herself in late 1980s San Francisco.

Peck, Richard. The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp.
Blossom, not the most popular member of her freshman class in 1914, travels ahead seventy years, and returns in time to make Halloween a memorable night for her classmates and teachers.

Raschke, Erik. The Book of Samuel
Living with his religious father, feminist mother, and racist grandmother in Denver, Colorado, during the early 1980s, twelve-year-old Samuel Gerard relates his school adventures and deals with his own prejudices towards Mexican immigrants. (SLJ gr 7+)


1990s & The Gulf War

Trueman, Terry.  Hurricane
A fictional account of one of the worst storms to hit the Caribbean--Hurricane Mitch in 1998--told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy living in a small village in Honduras. (SLJ gr. 5-8)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post 
Danforth, Emily M.
In the early 1990s, when gay teenager Cameron Post rebels against her conservative Montana ranch town and her family decides she needs to change her ways, she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center. (PW ages 14+) 



The 2000s, 9/11 & the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan


Kokie, E. M. Personal Effects 
Matt has been sleepwalking through life while seeking answers about his brother T.J.'s death in Iraq, but after discovering that he may not have known his brother as well as he thought he did, Matt is able to stand up to his father, honor T.J.'s memory, and take charge of his own life. (SLJ gr. 10+)

Maynard, Joyce. The Usual Rules
On a Tuesday morning Wendy leaves home mad at her mother, agravated with her little brother and anxious to make plans with her best friend. An hour later she hears the news, a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, her mother's office building. (SLJ Adult/High School)

Myers, Walter Dean. Sunrise Over Fallujah 
Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him. (SLJ gr 8+)

Tharp, Tim. Badd
A teenaged girl's beloved brother returns home from the Iraq War completely unlike the person she remembers.  (SLJ gr 8+)

Volponi, Paul.  Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans
Twelve-year-old Miles Shaw goes to live with his father, a jazz musician, in New Orleans, and together they survive the horrors of Hurricane Katrina in the Superdome, learning about each other and growing closer through their painful experiences. (SLJ gr. 10+)

Updated 6/3/2013