Complex conflicts? Check. Old men in wigs? Check. Endless lists of monarchs and dictators? Check, check, and check. With complicated events that seem like old news, how can the past excite the average 6th or 7th grader? At Literati, we have a solution—enter the thrill and imagination of historical fiction books.
History is more than about learning facts of the past. Historical accounts are important tools for teaching cause and effect, and stories set in historical times help students put the present in perspective. With rich characters and engrossing stories, these reads spark life into history. Tales of ancient cultures, underground societies, and historic scandals will show your middle schooler that history is a force that powers our everyday lives.
Here in the Real World
By Sara Pennypacker
Ware has always felt like a lone wolf, so when his parents send him off to summer camp, he can’t help but feel disappointed. Luckily, Ware finds an unlikely partner-in-sword-fighting through the mysterious Jolene. The pair even skip activities to build their own historical sanctuary! But when a threat to their castle looms, Ware and Jolene must defend their manor—and learn valuable social skills along the way.
With this playful take on medieval history and preteen years, Sara Pennypacker creates an anthem for introverts. Humorous and touching, Here in the Real World will help your middle schooler find their place in the world.
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB
by Adam Shaughnessy
What is the unbelievable FIB? That’s the question thrust upon eleven-year-old Pru, scribbled on an anonymous postcard. A mystery from the past is calling her—one filled with Nordic myths and Viking lore. Following a series of strange events, Pru decides it’s time to put on her own detective hat and confront these forces of historical magic.
Combining mystery, fantasy, and history, Unbelievable FIB sneakily leads readers down Nordic mythology and history. It’s one of the best chapter books to open the historical fiction gates. After all, who can resist tales of lightning-powered gods?
Season of the Witch
By Matt Ralphs and Nuria Tamarit
What if all witches weren’t so evil and menacing—what if they were an essential part of our history?
In this illustrated guide, readers can walk alongside Ancient Egyptian priestesses, Voodoo masters, and Nordic healers and discover how witches impacted our cultural history. Blending mythical tales with real-life events, Season of the Witch is the perfect gateway to more advanced historical fiction.
The Lost Property Office
By James R. Hannibal
Jack Buckles has an uncanny knack for locating abandoned items, from felt hats to crumpled notes. But when Jack’s father goes missing in the London streets, all seems lost, until a centuries-old scandal is unearthed from the underground.
Soaring through London sites and history, The Lost Property Office is an action-historical fiction hybrid. Gripping and clever, it’s one of the best books for young adults hungry for historical thrills.
Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History
By Brianna DuMont
Alright, alright. Maybe it’s not historical fiction, but Famous Phonies is still a unique and hilarious look at some of history’s “good guys.” Brianna Dumont’s writing exposes the cons and scandals buried under historical legacies, helping your middle grader take on a critical perspective. With entries like “Top Confucius Sayings,” Famous Phonies stays educational and entertaining—get ready for big laughs and deep gasps.
Cruise Through History Class with Our Historical Fiction Reads
Historical fiction reads can help kids become immersed in different time periods, take on new perspectives, and connect the dots between past and present. A strong foundation in historical fiction can also give social studies students a leg up: the more historical context they already understand, the easier it is to remember new information. As middle schoolers take on more complex concepts in the classroom, their favorite Literati read might just come in handy!
With Literati’s personalized book club, middle schoolers can choose their own topic preferences and receive Literati’s best picks for their skills and interests. You certainly don’t need to be a budding history buff to enjoy these great stories, but if the past piques your child’s interest, head to Literati’s personalization quiz to start their one-of-a-kind reading journey!