Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some POC historical fiction recommendations from myself

I was originally going to attach this list to Ari's wonderful guest post but then I decided it would be way too long then. So I decided to make a separate post with a list of historical fiction featuring people of color that I have enjoyed. So here is my list:

Middle grade:

Children of the Fire by Harriette Gillem Robinet: A young black girl named Hallelujah lives through the great Chicago fire with courage and resourcefulness. (Chicago, 1871)

Washington City is Burning by Harriette Gillem Robinet: In 1814, Virginia, a slave in President Madison’s White House, experiences the burning of Washington by the invading British army. (War of 1812)

Missing from Haymarket Square by Harriette Gillem Robinet: Three children in Chicago in 1886 experience the Haymarket Riot in response to exploitative working conditions.

Soft Rain by Cornelia Corneissen: Soft Rain, a nine-year-old Cherokee girl, is forced to relocate, along with her family, from North Carolina to the West. (Cherokee Trail of Tears, 1830s)

Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham: Ludelphia Bennett, a determined, ten-year-old African American girl in 1932 Gee’s Bend, Alabama, leaves home in an effort to find medical help for her sick mother, and she recounts her ensuing adventures in a quilt she is making.

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow: Two aristocratic sisters in ancient Japan disguise themselves as samurai warriors to take revenge on the uncle who betrayed their family. (First in a 4 book series)

Seaward Born by Lea Wait: In 1805, a thirteen-year-old slave and his friend make a dangerous escape from Charleston, S.C. and stowaway to head north toward freedom.

Melitte by Fatima Shaik: In 1772, years of mistreatment force thirteen-year-old Melitte to decide whether or not to run away from the Frenchman who has kept her as a slave on his poor Louisiana farm and leave the young girl who is the only person who ever loved her.

Sound the Jubilee by Sandra Forrester: A slave and her family find refuge on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the Civil War. (Sequel: My Home is Over Jordan)

Dust from Old Bones by Sandra Forrester : The diary entries of thirteen-year-old Simone Agneau, a child of mixed African and European ancestry, reflect the peculiar caste system in Louisiana before the Civil War. (New Orleans, 1838)

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich: Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. (Sequels: The Game of Silence & The Porcupine Year)

The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch: When a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala suspects that the High Priest sacrifices anyone who stands in the way of his power, she proves herself a hero.

Books from the Girls of Many Lands series: Leyla: The Black Tulip (Turkey, 1720s); Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway (Alaska, 1892); Neela: Victory Song (India, 1939); Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot (Ethiopia, 1840s); and Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (China, 1857)

Books from the History Mysteries series: Mystery of the Dark Tower (Harlem Renaissance, 1928); Circle of Fire (1950s Tennessee); The Minstrel’s Melody (1904 Missouri); and Trouble at Fort La Pointe (Lake Superior region, early 1700s)

Books from the American Diaries series by Kathleen Duey: Evie Peach: St Louis, 1857; Zellie Blake: Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834; and Celou Sudden Shout: Idaho, 1826.

Pacific Odyssey to California, 1905 by Laurie Lawlor: Eleven-year-old Su-Na and her family emigrate from Korea to the island of Hawaii seeking prosperity and good fortune, but racism and poor job prospects force the family to move on to California where they hope life will be better for all of them.

Books from the Dear America series: A Picture of Freedom (Virginia, 1859), I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly (South Carolina, 1865), Look to the Hills (New York, 1763), Valley of the Moon (California, 1846), and Color Me Dark (Chicago, 1919)

Books from the Royal Diaries series: Kaiulani (Hawaii, 1889), Nzingha (Africa, 1595) Jahanara (India, 1627), Kazunomiya (Japan, 1858), Lady of Ch’iao Kuo (China, AD 531), Lady of Palenque (Mesoamerica, AD 749, I didn't really like this one, but some readers might enjoy it), Anacaona (Haiti, 1490) and Sondok (Korea, AD 595)

Books from the Dear Canada series: Blood Upon Our Land (Saskatchewan, 1885), An Ocean Apart (Vancouver, 1922), The Death of My Country (Quebec, 1759) and A Desperate Road to Freedom (Virginia & Canada, 1863)

Young adult:

I haven't found as many good young adult books, there are lots of middle grade but not as many young adult. Still, here are a few I enjoyed:

Indio by Sherry Garland: Thirteen-year-old Ipa struggles to survive a brutal time of change as the Spanish begin the conquest of the native people along the Texas border. (Spanish conquest of the Americas, late 16th century)

The Last Rainmaker by Sherry Garland: Abandoned by her father, thirteen-year-old Caroline runs away to join Shawnee Sam's Wild West Extravaganza in the hope of learning more about her mother, a performer who died in childbirth and whose origins have been kept a secret from Caroline.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

Second Daughter by Mildred Pitts Walter: In late eighteenth-century Massachusetts, Aissa, the fictional younger sister of Elizabeth Freeman, relates how her sister gains freedom for herself and her family by bringing a suit against their owner in court.

Belle by Beverly Jenkins: About a teenage girl who escapes from slavery and falls in love with Daniel, the son of the family that helps her.

Josephine by Beverly Jenkins: A sequel/companion to Belle, about Daniel's younger sister Josephine who falls in love with her brother's friend, a soldier in the Civil War.

Ties That Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka: Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound. Set in early 20th century China.

And a couple of books I haven't read yet, but plan to read soon:

The Tribe by Valerie Bloom, about a Taino girl living in the Caribbean during the European conquest of the Americas.

Good Fortune by Noni Carter, about a girl kidnapped from her home in Africa and sold as a slave in America.

Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang: about a Chinese-Australian girl during World War II, who falls in love with a soldier from China and follows him back there when he must return home.


TheWeirdGirl said...

Great List! I loved Sound the Jubilee. It really sparked an interested in Civil War fiction in me. Which lead me to Bedlam South, an amazing civil war period work. War, romance and an insane asylum, you really can't ask for more. The romance is even tasteful, so you could give it to an older YA reader.

MissA said...

Good list! I've read Belle and Josephine and I'm curious to if they are the same versions. I have the Kimani Tru ones, which is a series for teens, but I know both books are part of the Romance series of some kind. Do you know if they are the same version or toned down a bit?

Little Paradise sounds soo good! Good Fortune is waiting to be read. I've been putting off reading it because it's about slavery, but so many people are loving it, that I have to bump it up in my tbr pile.

I hope to read them all one day :)

Melissa said...

Soft Rain by Cornelia Corneissen looks fascinating! I have to get this book. I love stories of Cherekee Indian heritage. ty :)

Liz said...

Very good list! I am going to have to give some thought to specifically YA (and younger) historical fiction, to remember some of the ones I loved. Back to that later! I'm just finishing a book set in China that I'm enjoying, Confucius Jade by Frederick Fisher. Intrigue, adventure, Chinese gods, priceless gem and mystical powers -- not to mention the sheik, a Japanese pearl magnate and an American media mogul who find their lives entangled as they all want the precious jade carving for its promise of long life and redemption. This is a great read with wide appeal -- a good page-turner. (And the author is still writing at 89! He is a gemologist and did lots of "treasure-hunting" all over the world with his wife. Fascinating life story, I think.

Liz said...

"The Witch of Blackbird Pond" is one of my favorites. It's by Elizabeth George Speare who also wrote "Calico Captive" and some other wonderful historical fiction for kids.

Becky said...

All of these look wonderful. Thanks for helping me expand my 'must read' list. I am so excited to check these out!

"Her Mother’s Hope" by Francine Rivers is another great one that you might want to check out. The book explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over four generations. Heart warming, Great book!

Unknown said...

I made a note to get that book, "Leaving Gees Bend" as I have seen the Gees Bend quilt exhibit that traveled the country and also a play about based on some of the real women of Gee's Bend. In return I would recommend Bedlam South
by Mark Grisham, set in the Civil War. Younger readers would relate one of the plots about a teenage soldier and his older brother who get separated during the major battles of the war. The brother's relationship is an example of how the Civil War either brought families closer together or tore them apart.

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