Since I love historical fiction so much, a couple of months ago I decided to start a monthly feature on my blog where I would post about books covering a certain time period or topic in the middle grade & young adult historical fiction genres. In March I posted about Tudor England historical fiction, and in April I blogged about historical fiction about people of color, along with a guest post from Ari of Reading in Color.
This month, I will be posting about another time period I love, Colonial America. This era began in the late 1500s with the early settlements in North America, and continued until the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775 (which I will probably be posting about next month!). There are many interesting historical stories from this era, particularly in the years leading up to the war. Most of the books I am including on this list are ones I read and enjoyed, but a few are from my reading pile. In addition to books set in the United States, I am also including a few books set in Canada during this time period, since it's basically the same historical era. This time around, I am splitting the young adult and middle grade books into two separate posts, so that this post isn't so long!
Middle grade books:
Colonial Williamsburg series by Joan Lowery Nixon: Titles are Ann’s Story, Nancy’s Story, Maria’s Story, Will’s Story, Caesar’s Story, and John’s Story. Fictionalized stories about real children who lived in Williamsburg in the years leading up to the American Revolution.
The Royal Diaries: Weetamoo by Patricia Clark Smith: The 1653-1654 diary of a fourteen-year-old Pocasset Indian girl, destined to become a leader of her tribe, describes how her life changes with the seasons, after a ritual fast she undertakes, and with her tribe’s interaction with the English "Coat-men" of the nearby Plymouth Colony.
Dear Canada: Winter of Peril by Jan Andrews: Sophie’s father is determined to travel to the New World and write an epic poem about his adventure, against Sophie and her mother’s wishes. After their long voyage, they arrive to a “new world" indeed. Will they be able to survive the winter in this harsh country?
Dear Canada: Banished From Our Home by Sharon Stewart: Angélique Richard's life is turned upside down when she and her family, along with the people of Grand-Pré, are forced by the British to leave their peaceful home in Acadia. Will she ever see her home again?
Dear Canada: The Death of my Country by Maxine Trottier: Geneviève is terrified that her beloved Québec will fall into British hands . . . and that her brother will not survive the fighting. Set during the French and Indian War.
Dear Canada: Alone in an Untamed Land by Maxine Trottier: Young Hélène St. Onge and her older sister Catherine are orphans. When King Louis XVI orders all men in New France to marry, Catherine becomes a fille du roi, one of the many young women sent to the new world as brides. Hélène will accompany her on the long sea voyage and live with her sister’s new family. But Catherine dies during the gruelling journey, and Hélène finds herself alone in strange new country. New France is a far harsher place than she imagined, with bitter winters and the threat of attack from the Iroquois. Will the new friendships she has made on her long voyage enable her to survive?
My Name is America: The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce by Ann Rinaldi: A fourteen-year-old indentured servant keeps a journal of his experiences on the Mayflower and during the building of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 and 1621
My America: Elizabeth series by Patricia Hermes: Our Strange New Land, The Starving Time, and Season of Promise. The diary of a young girl, describing her life during the early years of the Jamestown colony.
Dear America: Look to the Hills by Patricia McKissack: Brought up in France as the African slave companion of a nobleman’s daughter, thirteen-year-old Zettie records the events of 1763, when she and her mistress escape to the New World where they are inadvertently drawn into the hostilities of the ongoing French and Indian War and, eventually, find a new direction to their lives.
Dear America: A Journey to the New World by Kathryn Lasky: Twelve-year-old Mem presents a diary account of the trip she and her family made on the Mayflower in 1620 and their first year in the New World.
Dear America: Standing in the Light by Mary Pope Osborne: A Quaker girl’s diary reflects her experiences growing up in the Delaware River Valley of Pennsylvania and her capture by Lenape Indians in 1763.
Dear America: I Walk in Dread by Lisa Rowe Fraustino : Twelve-year-old Deliverance Trembley writes in her diary about the fears and doubts that arise during the 1692 witch hunt and trials in Salem Village, Massachusetts, especially when her pious friend, Goody Corey, is condemned as a witch.
Priscilla Foster: The Story of a Salem Girl by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler: Hannah hears Granny Priss recount her involvement in the Salem witch trials of 1692 and the terrible consequences that occured when Granny Priss, as a young girl, joined Ann Putnam in accusing many innocent women of being witches.
The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble: Two sisters, aged ten and twelve, are accused of witchcraft in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1692 and await trial in a miserable prison while their mother desperately searches for some way to obtain their freedom.
Voyage to a Free Land, 1630 by Laurie Lawlor: Two sisters endure a rough and dangerous trip across the ocean to the New World, creating a newly found respect and friendship.
Horseback on the Boston Post Road, 1704 by Laurie Lawlor: As the winter of 1704 approaches, New Englanders are reeling from the news of war with the French and Indians. Meanwhile a mysterious letter has arrived for the widow Madame Sarah Kemble Knight, instructing her to bring the twin servants, twelve-year-olds Hester and Philena, on an unfamiliar journey from Boston toward New Haven, Connecticut.
Adventure on the Wilderness Road, 1775 by Laurie Lawlor: In 1775, while traveling with her family from Virginia to Kentucky, and joined by another family along the way, eleven-year-old Elizabeth reads Gulliver’s Travels to the children and keeps a journal of their adventures, which include a runaway slave, encounters with Cherokees, and a near-fatal accident.
A Pickpocket's Tale by Karen Schwabach: When Molly, a ten-year-old orphan, is arrested for picking pockets in London in 1731, she is banished to America and serves as an indentured servant for a New York City family that expects her to follow their Jewish traditions.
Wheel of the Moon by Sandra Forrester: In England in 1627, newly-orphaned Pen Downing leaves her country village for London where she is abducted and sent to Virginia to work as an indentured servant.
Books from the History Mysteries series: Trouble at Fort LaPointe (early 1700s Lake Superior region), Enemy in the Fort (1754 New Hampshire during the French and Indian War), Shadows in the Glasshouse (1620s Jamestown Colony), Mystery on Skull Island (1724 South Carolina)
Books from the American Diaries series by Kathleen Duey: Summer MacCleary, Virginia, 1749 and Sarah Anne Hartford, Massachusetts, 1651
Silence and Lily by Kathleen Duey: In 1773, twelve-year-old Silence works to please her mother through household chores and weekly etiquette lessons in hopes of spending time with her beloved horse, Lily, while the men of Boston, including her Loyalist father and brother, discuss a possible war over taxation without representation.
Salem Witch by Patricia Hermes: Salem, 1692. Devils and witches are an accepted fact of life and religion. When some girls in the village begin having fits and tremors, their torments are attributed to the action of witches. Elizabeth Putnam and her parents are different from many of the other village folk, and they doubt the superstitions that terrify the town. As Elizabeth struggles to find her way among the alarming events, she also finds herself at odds with George, her best friend and companion since babyhood. Things come to a head when Elizabeth herself is accused of witchcraft, and George must make a difficult choice between what his community believes and what he knows to be true.
The Beaded Moccasins by Lynda Durrant: After being captured by a group of Delaware Indians and given to their leader as a replacement for his dead granddaughter, twelve-year-old Mary Campbell is forced to travel west with them to Ohio.
The Whispering Rod by Nancy Kelley: In 1659, fourteen-year-old Hannah Pryor is troubled by the persecution of Quakers by Puritan Boston’s leading citizens, one of whom is her father, especially after learning of her deceased mother’s friendship with a Quaker woman.
Freedom's Pen by Wendy Lawton: A fictionalized biography of the girl who was brought to America from Gambia as a slave and who later gained fame as an African American poet of great renown, from her time in Africa until she gained her freedom.
The Captive Princess by Wendy Lawton: A novel about the childhood and teenage years of Pocahontas.
Almost Home by Wendy Lawton: While making the pilgrimage from Holland to America in 1620 with other English Separatists, teenaged Mary Chilton endures many hardships that test her faith in God.
Liberty Letters: Adventures in Jamestown by Nancy LeSourd: Letters between two young girls, one in London and the other in English settlements in Virginia, chronicle the events during the difficult early years at James Towne and Henricus and the role of Pocahontas in this period of history.
Before They Were Famous: Pocahontas by Caroline Corby: A novel about the childhood of Pocahontas.
My Brother, My Enemy by Madge Harrah: Determined to avenge the massacre of his family, fourteen-year-old Robert Bradford joins Nathaniel Bacon’s rebel army in hopes of wiping out the Susquehannock Indians of Virginia.
A Killing in Plymouth Colony by Carol Otis Hurst: In Plymouth Colony in the 1630s, John continually disappoints his father, Governor William Bradford, during a difficult time as the colony faces its first murder and subsequent trial.
On the Edge of Revolution by Deborah Kent: In Pennsylvania, in 1774, when her brother opposes the British authorities, Eliza Carter tries to decide which side to take if the American colonies rebel against Britain.
Journey to Jamestown by Lois Ruby: A story of the settling of Jamestown from the points of view of an English boy and a Native American girl of the nearby tribe.
The Mayflower Secret by Dave and Neta Jackson: Teenage Elizabeth Tilley, one of the colonists landing at New Plymouth on the Mayflower, sees her parents die from illness and wonders if God is punishing her for the terrible secret she carries.
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.
Mercy Clifton: Pilgrim Girl by Peter Marshall: The 1620 storm-tossed voyage of the Mayflower is the worst experience of Mercy Clifton's sixteen years. She and her parents are Pilgrims, bound for the New World, where they can worship God in peace. Relying on her friends, Elizabeth and Priscilla, and the affection of an English Springer Spaniel named Loyal, Mercy survives the crossing and their first perilous months in America. But she is tested through painful loss, her attraction to the handsome but disturbing Jack Billington, and the perils of living in a danger-filled wilderness. Mercy faces her greatest challenge when she and her Indian friend Amie make an ominous discovery. Young rebels in the colony have so provoked the Native Americans that all-out war seems certain.