Dive into the Past with Historical Fiction

June 11, 2021

It was a challenging year...but we made it! 

Just because the school year is over, it doesn't mean we stop reading and learning, so I hope everyone is getting started with summer reading, and definitely hope it will be a FUN summer of reading and learning. 

For all the summer reading info from the CHESS library, the CHESS Summer Reading site is the place to go, and I won't belabor it here. Even if your kids don't want to participate in a program, this is a one-stop resource for book recommendations, links to resources (including the CHESS library catalog), and information about summer events. Check it out!

What I will do here this summer, however, is give an overview of some of the categories we're promoting in our summer reading challenges, with some of my favorite picks for each as well as some of the reasons we're suggesting that students give them a try this summer. I'll start with historical fiction!

For some of our students, theses books can get a little dry, if not even <whispers> boring, and I get that. From parent (and librarian) to parent, I'll encourage you not to force your children to slog through books they find completely boring, or at least not to do it on a regular basis just because you think a book is good or important. Especially in the summer, the focus should be on books that are immediately engaging and enjoyable. I do think growing learners should be nudged on occasion to sample different kinds of books, though, and the good news is that with a little digging, a book can be found in just about any genre to entice just about any reader! 

When done well, and when the right book gets connected with the right reader, historical fiction can be one of the best ways to open up worlds and experiences for readers. History is so much more than a dry list of facts, and a good story woven with the truth of the past can make history come alive, which in turn can spark curiosity and further discovery. With all that said...here are some of my favorites this summer!

A Fine Dessert
Emily Jenkins

Why yes, you CAN find historical fiction in picture book form, and (in my personal opinion) there's no age too young to start exploring history. This one is a lovely exploration of how four families, at various times and places in history, would make a Blackberry Fool dessert. The recipe is also included, so this is a potentially delicious read!

The King's Equal
Katherine Paterson

This is a great one for students just delving into chapter book reading (also an enchanting read-aloud for those not quite ready). In this one, an arrogant prince is taught humility and kindness by a his potential bride, the beautiful and clever Rosamund. 

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
Helen Frost

This is written in verse, with alternating voices. James, the son of settlers in Indiana Territory, and Ankiwa, part of the Miami tribe, find friendship and challenges in the early 1800s. 

In Search of Honor

Donnalynne Hess

This one was written some time ago. but there aren't many middle grade books written about the French Revolution, which could be a fascinating time period for middle grade students.

The Enigma Game
Elizabeth Wein

This is a relatively new YA historical fiction, and is one of my new favorites! This features three points of view, from characters struggling with identity, friendship, loss, and their place in the world during World War II. They find an Enigma machine and together, work to decode critical information in the midst of the war effort in Scotland. 

These are some of my favorites, but not everyone has to love them! There's a book for every reader, though, so again, for more recommendations and resources, go to the Summer Reading site

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Meester

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