Historical fiction is great both in and outside of the classroom. While teaching about important parts of history, they often provoke deep discussion while asking difficult questions. Here are five historical fiction novels perfect for middle schoolers.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook must fight for her own survival in this poignant historical novel. Philadelphia has become overrun by yellow fever, and fatalities continue to build. Students will become engrossed in this novel as they witness the narrative of a young girl fighting for her life in the newly independent United States of America.
Night John by Gary Paulson
This is a great book to either be read aloud to your students or individually read. Perfect for younger grades, Night John tells the story of an enslaved man who had previously escaped slavery but came back to teach other slaves how to read. Told from a young girl’s point of view, students will enjoy the story while learning about a dark point of history in our nation’s past.
The Book Thief Markus Zusak
Advanced middle school readers will appreciate the chance to challenge themselves with this award-winning novel. Told from death’s ambiguous point-of-view, the novel tells the story of a young girl living in Nazi Germany during World War Two. The unique perspective will enchant readers as they experience a story like no other.
Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe
This meticulously researched novel tells the true story of the murder of Emmett Till. As the title suggests, the story takes place in 1955 and will give students a glimpse into the American South while provoking class discussion on some difficult topics.
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Perfect for class discussion, The Breadwinner tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana as she goes through life in Taliban-run Afghanistan. While providing an important historical lesson, this book asks difficult questions that will force readers to engage with the text and each other.
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