Books: Fiction, Grades 3-5

The Bobbin Girl

Book - Fiction. By Emily Arnold McCully. 1996. Historical fiction for upper elementary based on a true story about the Lowell textile workers.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History
Read More

Chickadee

Book - Fiction. By Louise Erdrich. 2012. 208 pages. The fourth book in the series following the Ojibwe girl Omakayas and her family as their lands are invaded by white settlers.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Native American
Read More

Dayshaun’s Gift

Book - Fiction. By Zetta Elliott. 2015. 88 pages. Time travelling historical fiction for upper elementary school students on the New York City Draft Riots.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity
Read More

Dzání Yázhí Naazbaa’: Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home

Book - Fiction. By Evangeline Parsons Yazzie. Illustrated by Irving Toddy. 2005. 32 pages. Historical fiction for upper elementary about the Navajo Long Walk (forced removal by U.S. soldiers) of 1863-1864.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Native American
Read More

As Fast As Words Could Fly

Book – Non-fiction. By Pamela M Tuck. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. 2013. 32 pages. Based on her father’s experience in 1960s North Carolina, Pamela Tuck tells how a family and community challenge racism where they work, shop, and go to school.
Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements
Read More

Freedom School, Yes!

Book - Fiction. By Amy Littlesugar. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 2001. 40 pages. Historical fiction about the 1964 Freedom Schools for upper elementary.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
Read More

The Friendship

Book - Fiction. By Mildred Taylor. 1998. Cassie witnesses a Black man address a white storekeeper by his first name.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Social Class
Read More

The Great Migration: Journey to the North

Book - Fiction. By Eloise Greenfield. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. 2011. 32 pages. A picture book that introduces the historic story of the Great Migration to young readers.
Time Periods: 20th Century, World War I: 1910 - 1919, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American
Read More

Hope For Haiti

Book - Fiction. By Jesse Joshua Watson. 2010. 32 pages. A boy lives through the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and finds hope amid the hardships of the aftermath.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Sports
Read More
The Journey of Little Charlie (Book) | Zinn Education Project

The Journey of Little Charlie

Books – Fiction. By Christopher Paul Curtis. 2018. 256 pages. A novel for young adults that that shows how slavery was state-sanctioned terrorism and the impact of the Fugitive Slave Law.
Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Slavery and Resistance
Read More

Journey to Jo’burg: A South African Story

Book - Fiction. By Beverley Naidoo, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. 1988. 96 pages. A brother and sister take their sick sibling to the city of Johannesburg to get their mother at work, and come to understand the struggle for freedom and dignity taking place in South Africa.
Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: World History/Global Studies
Read More

Mama’s Window

Book - Fiction. By Lynn Rubright. 2008. 89 pages. Historical fiction inspired by incidents in the early life of sharecropper Owen Whitfield, the organizer of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union.
Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Labor
Read More

Missing from Haymarket Square

Book - Fiction. By Harriette Gillem Robinet. 2003. Historical fiction chapter book on the Haymarket labor struggles and massacre.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: Labor
Read More

Nettie’s Trip South

Book - Fiction. By Ann Turner and Ronald Himler. 1995. Based on the diary of the author's great-grandmother, this is a poignant and compelling look at slavery through the eyes of a young girl.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Slavery and Resistance
Read More

Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam

Book - Fiction. By Walter Dean Myers. 2005. Sophisticated picture book on one soldier's patrol in Vietnam, for upper elementary.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
Read More

Pink and Say

Book - Fiction. By Patricia Polacco. 1994. The narrative of two young boys who meet and help each other during the Civil War. For upper elementary.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
Read More

The Porcupine Year

Book – Fiction. By Louise Erdrich. 2010. 224 pages. The third in a series of novels for middle and high school students about an Ojibwe family in the mid-19th century. The story parallels the time of the widely-read Little House on the Prairie.
Time Periods: 19th Century
Themes: Native American
Read More

Remember: The Journey to School Integration

Book - Fiction. By Toni Morrison. 2004. Fictional story and real photographs tell the story of desegregation, for upper elementary and above.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Education
Read More
The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River

Book - Fiction. By Kekla Magoon. 2010. 304 pages. Coming-of-age story that shows the close connections between the civil rights and Black power movements through an intimate and relatable lens.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements
Read More