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HISTORICAL FICTION

Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen

by Anne Nesbet

It's 1914, and twelve-year old Darleen Darling has the most exciting job in the world--she gets to dangle from cliffs and stop moving trains and soar through the sky in runaway balloons! Yes, that's right: Darleen is a hero and a star--in the make-believe world of the movies ... But Darleen's fictional adventures collide with reality when a fake kidnapping intended as a publicity stunt becomes all too real. Now she is in the hands of the dastardly criminals who have just nabbed the famous young heiress Miss Victorine Berrryman. With their lives at stake, can Darleen become the daring heroine she's long pretended to be on film?

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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Hunger Winter

by Rob Currie

When his older sister Els, a Resistance fighter, is arrested by the Gestapo, thirteen-year-old Dirk takes his little sister, Anna, across the war-torn Netherlands seeking their father, who is also in the Dutch Resistance. Includes an interview with the author, discussion questions, and timeline.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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The Magic in Changing Your Stars

by Leah Henderson

After bungling his audition to play the Scarecrow in The Wiz, fifth-grader Ailey is magically transported to 1930s Harlem where he meets his own grandfather and legendary tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia

In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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Orange for the Sunsets

by Tina Athaide 

 In alternating voices, friends Asha and Yesofu, one Indian and one African, find their world turned upside-down when Idi Amin decides to expel Asian Indians from Uganda in 1972. Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see -- not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure -- not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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The Story that Cannot Be Told

by J. Kasper Kramer

In Romania in 1989, when people who say or do the wrong thing disappear, ten-year-old aspiring writer Ileana copes with fear, hunger, and cruelty by writing new endings to stories, including her own.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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Turtle in Paradise

by Jennifer L. Holm

In 1935, when her mother gets a job housekeeping for a woman who does not like children, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to stay with relatives she has never met in far away Key West, Florida.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

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Esperanza Rising 

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 14

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Louder Than Words 

by Kathy Kacer

Twelve-year-old Dina, her mother, and two sisters must contend with the invasion of the Nazis of their small Ukrainian town during World War II. With the help of a new housekeeper, Nina, they struggle to stay safe from imminent danger to the Jewish community. Based on a true story.

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

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Unbound

by Ann E. Burg 

The day nine-year-old Grace is called to work in the kitchen in the Big House, everyone warns her to to keep her head down and her thoughts to herself, but the more she sees of the oppressive Master and his hateful wife, the more she questions things until one day her thoughts escape--and to avoid being separated she and her family flee into the Dismal Swamp, to join the other escaped slaves who live there.

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

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The War that Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley 

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

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Stella by Starlight

by Sharon Draper

When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 13

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Prairie Lotus

by Linda Sue Park

Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father's shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America's heartland, in 1880. Hanna's adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople's almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Narrated by Hanna, the novel has poignant moments yet sparkles with humor, introducing a captivating heroine whose wry, observant voice will resonate with readers. In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves.

Reading Level: Ages 10 - 12

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Echo Mountain

by Lauren Wolk

When twelve-year-old Ellie and her family lose livelihood and move to a mountain cabin in 1934, she quickly learns to be an outdoors woman and, when needed, a healer.

Reading Level: Ages 10+

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The Gallery

by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

In 1929 New York City, twelve-year-old housemaid Martha O'Doyle suspects that a wealthy recluse may be trying to communicate with the outside world through the paintings on her gallery walls.

Reading Level: Ages 10+

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Which Way Home?

by Maria Kiely 

In 1948, following World War II, eleven-year-old Anna, her mother, and older sister must flee Czechoslovakia after Russian Communists take over the government. Includes notes about the author's family history, on which the story is based.

Reading Level: Ages 10+

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Red Menance

by Lois Ruby

During the summer of 1953, thirteen-year-old Marty's parents are suspected of communist sympathies, upending his life and causing him to question what it really means to be a patriotic American.

Reading Level: Ages 11 - 14

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