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Recommendations for good middle grade historical fiction

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Hi everyone,

I get a lot of time off over Christmas, and I'd love some good recommendations for middle grade historical fiction. Know of any good ones that have come out recently? I'm working on a list to buy or check out from the library to get some good reading in!
#1 - November 13, 2015, 12:52 PM

I'm totally enamored with Kate Milford's historical fantasies, though she is definitely upper MG.
#2 - November 13, 2015, 04:26 PM

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I love John Flanagan, though his books aren't set when he thinks they are. But if absolute historical accuracy isn't required, they're fun reads.
#3 - November 13, 2015, 04:58 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
The Constitution Decoded (Workman, 2020)
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Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz.

The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.

These are my favorites. They're a few years old rather than brand-new releases.

#4 - November 13, 2015, 05:03 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet

Mike Jung

A lot of people consider Rita Williams-Garcia to be the gold standard.
#5 - November 13, 2015, 08:20 PM

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If you haven't read it yet--A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.
#6 - November 13, 2015, 09:10 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:

THE BLACKTHORN KEY (Kevin Sands, I think) - it's new, set in the 1600s, intricately plotted and researched, with a lot of MG appeal.
#7 - November 14, 2015, 05:55 AM
2019, Dancing with Daisy (PB)
2019, Say What You Mean (MG)
2018, Talking to the Moon (MG)
2018, A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (PB)

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I loved MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool.

Jeannie Mobley's SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS is also excellent.  Both beautifully examine life in rural America during WWI.
#8 - November 14, 2015, 10:12 AM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books

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Wheels of Change by Darlene Beck-Jacobson
#9 - November 14, 2015, 02:28 PM
Laurie Wallmark @lauriewallmark
Code Breaker, Spy Hunter
Numbers in Motion
Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
Grace Hopper

One of my favorites is FEVER 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's not a new release (2000), but it's so compelling and well written that I thought I would mention it, just in case you have not yet had a chance to read it.
#10 - November 14, 2015, 02:51 PM
Ten Clever Ninjas (picture book, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)
Butterfly Girl (middle grade novel, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)

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Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose is wonderful. Here's my review of it:
#11 - November 14, 2015, 04:49 PM
Twitter: @SuperKate
Check out my middle grade book recommendations at

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THE WEDNESDAY WARS, by Gary D. Schmidt, is one of my favourites. Funny, tragic, full of heart. About the U.S. in 1967, with the repercussions of the Vietnam War in the background. (Newbery honor)

A SINGLE SHARD, Linda Sue Park (ancient Korea) (Newbery) Stunning writing. It made me cry.

QUEST, Kathleen Benner Duble (Canada, Henry Hudson's last voyage, 1610)

COUNTDOWN, Deborah Wiles (U.S. cold war era)

#12 - November 15, 2015, 08:44 AM
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 08:50 AM by Barbara Etlin »

Barb  :owl


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Thank you so much, everyone! You've given me a lot of wonderful recommendations! I ordered three of them on Amazon, and I'm sure I'll end up getting more.
#13 - November 15, 2015, 05:40 PM

If you haven't read it yet--A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.

Ooh yes, A SINGLE SHARD, and WHEN MY NAME WAS KEOKO, both by Linda Sue Park, are excellent. I'd recommend Karen Hesse's books, too, though these aren't recent MGs.
#14 - November 15, 2015, 06:23 PM
Writing & Illustrating Quietly Bold Kidlit
My Clearest Me
Little Orchid's Sea Monster Trouble

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Many great suggestions above!

Also look at authors Karen Cushman and Avi.
#15 - November 22, 2015, 06:29 AM

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I just finished ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is kind of historical fiction meets magical realism, and I loved it.
#16 - November 22, 2015, 10:39 AM
ANNIE B. MADE FOR TV, Running Press Kids 2018

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I loved Laura Amy Schlitz's new book, THE HIRED GIRL, set in 1911, first in rural and then urban America. I think it's being marketed as YA, but the main character is 14, and I've heard that 6th graders have enjoyed it. To me, it feels like upper-MG. One of the things I appreciated about it is that instead of making its characters feel too contemporary, it portrays a character with the prejudices of her time, She also struggles with her faith, something we don't see that often in MG (she's Catholic and works for a Jewish family, which creates some fascinating tension). Schlitz has won the Newbery in the past (for GOOD MASTERS, SWEET LADIES, and a Newbery Honor for SPLENDORS & GLOOMS, I think), and I keep hearing about this book as a contender for this year's medal.
#17 - November 22, 2015, 05:41 PM


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