You could say anytime is the ideal time to encourage kids to pick up a book, learn a bit, and enjoy the story at the same time. These historical fiction books for middle schoolers are the perfect starting point. While these selections are intended for younger readers, they should be added to everyone’s list! Might we even suggest forming a family book club? Even if via Zoom, it could be the start of something new and interesting!
Fun and Educational Historical Fiction Books For Middle Schoolers
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1989)
Topping our list is a book that has made many shed a tear while sitting on the edge of their seat. It is a powerful novel set in Denmark during World War II. This books sets the stage at a time when Jews were being “relocated” to concentration camps. The story follows a ten-year-old girl who bravely risks all to protect her best friend, as well as her family.
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (1999)
This riveting tale focuses on an African American boy named Bud – note, not Buddy! – in search of his father during the Great Depression, after the passing of his mother. This vividly depicts scenes of poverty and racism, and also the commonness of migration across the States during this period. Jazz has a central voice in this book as well, and it’s especially moving in the audiobook form!
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2000)
Another book that your middle schooler won’t regret picking up is Esperanza Rising. This story follows a prosperous multigenerational family from Mexico that is torn apart by the tragic death of a father. Now, young Esperanza and her mother and siblings flee to the United States to start anew. However, like in Bud’s story, the Great Depression is in its midst, and times are hard. This novel is often emotional, as it explores Esperanza’s ability to come to terms with her new life in a very new place. This is a memorable story that explores the importance of family and of community.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdich (1999)
Set in 1847, this novel transplants readers into the life of 7-year-old Omakayas, who was sadly the lone survivor after a wave of smallpox swept through. Set during the days of pioneers, this is a fascinating contrast, depicting the lives of a Native American tribe – for young Omakayas was discovered and adopted by an Ojibwa family. The pages depict this brave young girl’s life as she finds her place in the world. Think sibling rivalries, cultural nuances, and more.
Powerful Books With Strong Protagonists
As you’ll see, these books are all-powerful reads about strong protagonists who push ahead, despite fear and despite setbacks. They are sure to carry you back into an earlier time, where you will learn about people who were facing unimaginable hardships.
Historical fiction books for middle schoolers are fun and exciting. In fact, they’re just waiting for you to dive in. But hey, don’t think you have to be a middle schooler to enjoy it- adults will enjoy these reads, too!