Teach your middle grader about the old times with these 6th-8th grader historical fiction books. American history, ancient Egypt, Europe, WWII, Black history – all are covered. The fictional stories set in the bygone era provide glimpses into the life of that time. The struggles of difficult times are endearing. Stories about grit, faith, triumphs of humanity. Children will also learn about many facts of history. A wide range of best historical fiction books for 11-13 year-olds to choose from.
You can find them in your local library or nearby bookstores. If unavailable locally, you can click on the links or images below to purchase from Amazon.
Also check the list of historical fiction books for teens.
Historical Fiction Books For Grades 6-8, Ages 11-13
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Listed below are some of the best historical fiction reads for 6th, 7th, 8th graders. All the books are highly recommended and reviewed.
Once is a story in 1942 Poland of a Jewish boy, Felix. He is not aware of the war and hiding in a Catholic orphanage. One day he sets out on a mission to find his parents and warn them of coming danger. He gets into many troubles but pulls himself and others out by telling stories. A wrenching, overwhelmingly tragic yet fascinating middle-school read.
Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona. Young Iliona starts her sea voyage from Greece to Egypt. However, she is captured by the pirates midway and auctioned off as a slave. Her master brings her to Rome.
Read about life in ancient Rome through the eyes of a slave. The fascinating story is of luxury, affluence, politics, and more of the era.
The Apprentice. Read the story of Arduino in Renaissance Florence, who dreams of becoming a painter. His father, though initially reluctant, arranges an apprenticeship for Arduino with the famous Cosimo di Forli.
However, the apprenticeship is nothing like Arduino had imagined. Cosimo does not teach him anything. Instead, Arduino is forced to do all the menial tasks, leaving no room for art. How does Arduino keep his dream alive? The book provides readers an excellent idea about life, social customs, gender differences, etc during the period.
Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht How was ancient Egypt 3,500 years ago? Read it from the journal of a young boy Nakht. The city of Memphis is brought alive with cargo ships, temples, pyramids, even tomb robbery.
The terminologies used are accurate and give young readers a glimpse into the bygone history.
God King takes readers to Ancient Egypt and biblical Jerusalem. This fascinating tale is inspired by King Taharka from 701 B.C. The story starts when a Young Prince Taharka suddenly becomes the king of the Kushite dynasty.
This historical novel about treachery, justice, mystery – is set in the time of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem.
A Single Shard is a fiction book is set in a 12th-century Korean village. An orphan boy Tree-ear is looking to learn survival skills. He is introduced to a community of potters and gets work with a master potter.
The story narrates how the boy helps his master find a place in the pottery commission for the king. A wonderful book about lessons on patience, honor, interpersonal relationships.
The Golden Bull is a touching tale of survival in ancient Mesopotamia during a terrible drought. Jomar and Zefa are siblings who are sent away by their father to work.
While Sidah gets to work with a goldsmith, untrained Jomar ends up singing for alms on the streets of Ur. This intriguing tale will transport you back 5000 years.
The Shakespeare Stealer. This novel is set in Elizabethan England. Widge is an orphan with a special skill for shorthand. The year is 1601 and Shakespeare plays are running in Globe Theatre.
Widge is instructed by his master to steal the play. He soon joins the troupe and gains their trust. Will he betray his new group and follow his master’s order? Read and find out from this historical novel.
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! This fascinating tale of medieval England will transport readers to that era. Read about the stories of a 1255 English village and its people – rich, poor, and all in between.
Meet – Hugo- the landlord’s nephew, who is forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar, Alice – the singing shepherdess, Mogg – a peasant’s daughter, and more. Each character is brought to life with vivid details of the time.
Cross-Sections Castle. Read about how was life in castles. And the people which made the medieval fortress possible. This book has everything about a 14th-century castle and how it is run.
A fascinating detailed book about the workers, craftsmen, servants, knights, and queen making the castle alive.
The Cay. Phillip is fleeing to the United States during the German invasion of Curaçao. In the small raft and middle of the sea, his only companion is Timothy, a West Indian.
Philip has always been warned about black people by his mother. But now, when his head injury made him blind, he ends up being completely dependent on Timothy.
This decades-old story is unfortunately relevant even today.
The Power of One. Read the story of a British boy Peekay, growing up in South Africa during the 1939 apartheid movement. This book is about how he had to fight adversity and persevere through hardships throughout his life.
It is a beautiful tale about Peekay’s journey of becoming the welterweight champion of the world during the historic turmoil.
Once is the story of two 12-year-olds Marlee and Liz from a school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The story takes place during the time when integration of school was taking place. The board simply closed the school defying the order of integration. Read how the girls decided to pursue the friendship against family instructions and many challenges from society. A powerful middle-school read about courage, activism, family, friendship.
Freedom Crossing is a great historical fiction read about a family that helped former slaves escape as part of the Underground Railroad project. Laura until now lived in the South with her relatives and was pro-slavery. Upon reuniting with her family, she gets a shock at their abolitionist views. Read how her views gradually changed. And then she had to decide on playing a role in a slave’s escape. An intriguing read filled with enough adventure to keep 11-year-olds engaged.
The Red Badge of Courage. Read this fictional tale about the dilemma a young soldier goes through during the war. Henry Fleming joins the army during the American Civil war.
But the bloodshed and horrors of the war make him doubt the novelty and heroism in his job.
A book about a new soldier’s struggle during the war.
The Lost and Found Journal of a Miner 49er. This historical fictional tale starts with Jack Dublin and his family being stuck in a cave whitewater rafting during monsoon.
There they discover several journals from the time of the American gold rush. Read the legends of the explorers who braved the odds and charged on.
The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond Dantes is in the prison for a crime he has not committed. When he hears about the hidden treasure on the Isle of Monte Cristo, Edmond becomes determined to escape and unearth the treasure.
Behind his plan is also another motive of justice. This book is inspired by real-life cases of wrongful imprisonment.
Code Name Verity. Read about the story about a young female pilot and female spy during WWII. The story starts when one of them is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war.
The period is the 1940’s, the setting is England and France, with the war going on. A perfect and inspiring read for a middle grader.
The Book Thief follows the journey of Eleven-year-old Liesel Meminger, who is sent to live with foster parents during WW2. Like many other kids, she also had her share of loss during this difficult time.
However, one thing she can not resist is – books. She even shares her stolen books with her neighbors and the Jewish man hiding in the basement.
This heartwarming story is set in the backdrop of 1939, Nazi Germany. It is a bestseller and made into a novel.
Number the Stars. Take a peek into the 1943 Danish resistance movement that rescued most of its approx 7000 Jewish population from being sent to Nazi concentration camps.
This book is written through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie, whose family took her friend Ellen to save her from being deported. Also, read the interesting details about life in Copenhagen during WWII.
This book is a 1990 Newbery Medal Winner.
Milkweed. This heartbreaking tale of hope is set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II. The main character, Misha, is an orphan boy whose life in the city is narrated. He grew up in the street with no family.
The description of the Holocaust is real with starving kids stealing food, loved ones separated, and being sent away to concentration camps.
The book is written from the unique perspective of innocent Misha. A perfect middle-grade read about Holocaust, with a good ending.