Introduce your kids to important American and World history with these 4th & 5th grader historical fiction books. WWII, American Revolution, the Jew’s struggle in Nazi Germany, the Great Depression, ancient China – the books cover a wide timeline in history. Told from childrens’ point of view, the stories make it easier for kids to understand the history without getting into the more difficult and confusing portions. The stories are engaging enough for 9-10 year-olds to continue reading.
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Find more fictional books for 4th & 5th graders here.
Historical Fiction Books For 4th & 5th Graders, Ages 9-10
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Explore the list of fascinating historical fiction books for 4th and 5th graders here.
Children of the Longhouse. A great book for 4th-5th graders classroom study of Native Americans. Set in pre-European America, this is a fictional story about a native boy and the choices he has to make. While trying to do the right thing, he ends up making enemies with another boy gang in his village. It is an engaging read with an exciting game of lacrosse in the end.
Game On in Ancient Greece. Josh, Emma, and Libby Binkerton want to go to the next Olympic game. But a misunderstanding has left them in the ancient Olympic Games in fifth-century BCE Greece instead! The trio is definitely not prepared for this version of the Olympic Games. And the ruckus they inadvertently cause. The story, although fiction, has many historically accurate facts blended in every page. The illustrations are humorous.
John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy. In 1861, a 9-year-old boy, John Lincoln Clem from Ohio, joins the American civil war. He becomes the drummer boy and youngest person to serve in the war. The book chronicles his experience. It is based on a true story, facts mixed with fiction. A short chapter book for elementary kids, with black and white pictures, and drawings.
Sold on a Monday. A depression-era novel inspired by a true story. Tragedies of poor families who were unable to feed themselves. The tough choice a mother has to make staring at the face of starvation death. Read the book from the eye of Ellis, a fictional newspaper reporter, who saw ‘the sign’ with two boys playing nearby. And how the reporter continued his search for the sold boys despite many adversities.
Panther in the Sky. This book is based on the real-life of Black Panther Mark Clark. He founded and led many survival programs for poor people and young kids. A factually accurate book with good works of the Black Panther Party(BPP) movement. The Breakfast for Children Program particularly was a great success and later adapted in different versions. An engaging classroom read for learning history.
Tutti’s Promise: A novel based on a family’s true story of courage and hope during the Holocaust. Read about the Lichtenstern family’s effort to stay alive during Holocaust. It is a fictionalized tale based on the true experience of the author’s mother Tutti. The pictures that survived the ordeal provide a great deal of knowledge about Nazi camps in Amsterdam, Westerbork, Theresienstadt. It is an appropriate read for the entire family.
The Girl Who Became Emperor is a slice of Chinese history. Read about Wu Zetian, the only female emperor of China. A fascinating read about how Wu started as emperor’s wife and gradually went on to rule China for 50+ years. A fascinating read with simple language and artistic illustrations.
Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos. Read the fascinating tale of how inventor Benjamin Franklin got his best ideas from a mouse named Amos. Peppered with facts from Benjamin’s actual life, the fictional tale is a laugh riot all the way. Truly brilliant literature and must-have for the 9-10-year-olds reading list.
Old Mac’s Time Traveling Museum. A fun read about a mad scientist Old Mac’s time travel to the past. His quest creates an uncomfortable situation for Founding father Thomas Jefferson. And how the Egypt pyramid turned into cubes! It is an entertaining spin on historical facts. A humorous book any 5th grader would love to read.
Code Name Bananas is a story is set in the backdrop of the year 1940, during WWII. Britain and Germany are at war. Bombs are falling all over London. Eleven-year-old Eric wants to rescue Gertrude, the gorilla from the London zoo. His Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, helps him in the mission. Together all three escape and run towards safety. However, the adventure starts when they uncover a secret plot while hiding and end up in a Nazi submarine. The humorous style of the author David Walliams shines throughout the book. A tale of friendship during tough times, for young readers.
Rush Revere and the American Revolution. Cameron’s father is deployed in Afghanistan. Young Cameron feels a sense of abandonment and resentment towards his father for being away. His class teacher Mr. Rush Revere comes up with an innovative idea to help. He takes the class on a journey to 1775 to meet a few brave soldiers of that era who were fighting against British rule. The characters are quirky and share tidbits of American history. This book is for kids interested in American Colonial History.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry tells kids how it is to live with racism during the depression in 1930’s Mississippi. Read the story of Cassie to find out. Cassie Logan is a ten-year-old girl who goes to a black-only school. She faces bullying from while people, just like any other black kid. The book portrays in disturbing detail how black kids walked while white kids had a school bus and teachers passing the new textbooks to white kids while black children get the rejected old books. Cassie speaks up and finds herself in trouble. All the while, her black family struggles to keep their dignity and land. All the characters are etched with heart and depth. This one is a must-read story for today’s children.
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968. This is the story of equal rights- told from a child’s point of view. Two African American sanitation workers get killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. In protest of this incident, all the sanitation workers of the city went on a strike. It lasted for two months since the city refused to recognize the rights of the sanitation workers. Dr. Martin Martin Luther King Jr was called who delivered an inspiring address. It turned out to be his last, as he was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after. The story is told from a nine-year-old child’s point of view, whose father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest. A historical fiction book for kids to understand the Civil Rights history of America.
How to Get Rich on a Texas Cattle Drive. Can one get rich by herding cattle? Find out in this fictional story of a young cowhand set in 1800’s Texas. The book is written like a personal account in a scrapbook-like format. The protagonist draws pictures that show the minute details of his cattle-driving life. The author gave lots of attention to details, along with accurate historical facts. With maps of important areas and how-to-do things like herding cattle, it is a fascinating read for kids interested in history.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. A story for the kids to get a glimpse of life as Jews during the time of Hitler. Set in Berlin in 1933, the protagonist of the story, Anna, one day hears about Hitler while coming back from school. A few days later, her father flees Berlin for Switzerland. The rest of the family also leaves soon, since the place was not safe for Jews like them anymore. Anna does not understand why they have to leave. The story narrates the journey of the family searching for safety over the next few years, through different countries. Young readers can relate to the dilemma and journey of Anna.
Moon Over Manifest. This book narrates the story of a small girl in Kansas during a time of depression. Abilene’s father sends her to live with an old friend in his hometown Manifest, while he heads for a railroad job. Abilene is disappointed looking at dusty and dry Manifest. It just does not match up with the stories of the rich past she had heard. Pretty soon, she makes other friends over there, and together they take a deep dive into mysterious history and old secrets. The story shuffle between the 1930s and 1910s. It is a tale of hope, tragedy, suspicion during difficult times.
Wave Me Goodbye. Read the story of a ten-year-old, Shirley, who is evacuated out of the city during the Second World War. If you are looking for a WW2 story for your child, this one is a good read. Shirley learns to live with complete strangers in the countryside in a half-empty Red House. The experience changes the kids’ lives forever. It is a moving story of friendship and bravery.
The Sign Of The Beaver. A childrens’ classic narrating the tale of survival and adaptation. Read about the story of respect and friendship between white boy Matt and his Native American friend Attean. Set at a time, when racism was common, it is a tale of survival in the wilderness. A great classroom read-aloud for 4th graders and above.
Soldier Dog. Read about a young boy’s experience of World War I. Stanley’s brother joined the army. Now he is also in France fighting the war and looking for his brother with only the help of a dog. The story hay many levels of emotions – hurt, pride, betrayal, family. A must-read for canine-lovers.