Based in Truth: Historical Fiction We Love

Don’t let the recommended grades fool you – if you’re interested in a certain topic, you’re bound to love the book.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Forge. 2010. 7th Grade
Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more. Sequel to Chains.
Ties in with: 7th Grade Social Studies & English

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. 2012. 11th Grade.
Seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, the curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
Ties in with: 11th Grade Social Studies & English
Of interest to anyone taking a class about New York City’s history

Chibbaro, Julie. Deadly. 2011. 7th-8th Grade.
Set during the Typhoid Fever epidemic of 1906, Prudence Galewski leaves school to take a job assisting the head epidemiologist at New York City’s Department of Health and Sanitation. During a time when medicine and science was open only to men, she’ll have to prove to herself and the city that she can help solve one of the great medical mysteries of the time.
Ties in with: 7th Grade English, Social Studies, and Science

Johnson, Alaya Dawn. Moonshine: a novel. 2010. 11th Grade.
Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity work cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request.
Ties in with: 11th Grade English & Social Studies
Of interest to anyone taking a class about New York City’s history

Meloy, Maile. The Apothecary. 2011. 8th Grade.
It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just from L.A. to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows – a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, the two must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all the while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies – Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.
Ties in with: 8th Grade English, Social Studies, and Science

Napoli, Donna Jo. The Wager. 2010. 10th Grade.
Having lost everything in a tidal wave in 1169 Sicily, nineteen-year-old Don Giovanni makes a simple-sounding wager with a stranger he recognizes as the devil but, while desperate enough to surrender his pride and good looks for three years, three months, and three days, he is not willing to give up his soul.
Ties in with: 10th Grade English and Social Studies, AP European History

Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity. 2012. 10th Grade.
In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must do to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
Ties in with: 10th Grade English and Social Studies, AP European History

Alive & Well: Great Historical Non-Fiction

Here is a selection of quality non-fiction. Don’t let the recommended grades fool you – if you’re interested in a certain topic, you’re bound to love the book.

Blair, Margaret Whitman. Liberty or death: the surprising story of runaway slaves who sided with the British during the American Revolution. 2010. 7th Grade.
Liberty or Death is the little-known story of the American Revolution told from the perspectives of the African-American slaves who fought on the side of the British Royal Army in exchange for the promise of freedom.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Titanic: voices from the disaster. 2012. 7th-8th Grade.
Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.

Miller, Brandon Marie. Women of the frontier: 16 tales of trailblazing homesteaders, entrepreneurs, and rabble-rousers. 2013. 9th Grade.
Using journal entries, letters sent home, and song lyrics, the women of the West speak for themselves in these tales of courage, enduring spirit, and adventure. Miller recounts the impact pioneers had on those who were already living in the region as well as how they adapted to their new lives, and the rugged, often dangerous landscape, this exploration also offers resources for further study and reveals exactly how these influential women tamed the Wild West.

Povich, Lynn. The good girls revolt: how the women of Newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace. 2012. 11th Grade.
Chronicles the sexual discrimination class action lawsuit that women journalists brought against their employer, Newsweek, in 1970.

Sheinkin, Steve. The notorious Benedict Arnold: a true story of adventure, heroism, and treachery. 2010. 7th Grade.
An introduction to the life of Benedict Arnold that highlights not only the traitorous actions that made him legendary, but also his heroic involvement in the American Revolution.

Swanson, James L. Bloody times: the funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the manhunt for Jefferson Davis. 2011. 8th Grade.
On the morning of April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis received a telegram from General Robert E. Lee. There is no more time – the Yankees are coming, it warned. That night Davis fled Richmond, setting off an intense manhunt for the Confederate president. Two weeks later, President Lincoln was assassinated, and the nation was convinced that Davis was involved in the conspiracy that led to the crime.

Summer Reading & Common Core

Hey everyone!

So here’s the thing: we have compiled a massive list of books for teens entering grades 7-12 in September. These books are awesome, vetted by our staff as being terrific, and here’s the sneaky thing – they relate to the Common Core Curriculum. From now until August the Teen Services pages will be updated with themed book-lists.

So, if you’re hankering for non-fiction, graphic novels, outer space, or even weird science, visit the Teen page often this summer!