Historical Fiction Roundup & TBR

One of my 2018 goals is to read and review more historical fiction.  When I set this goal, I knew I had approximately 10 books in the genre waiting.  So I decided to make a TBR.  After gathering all the books from around the house, I was shocked to see that I had 30 books to review!

Before we get started, I should probably state two things.  First, this is not a recommended list – just what I’m planning to read.  Second, I wrote this list quite a while ago (it was challenging to get cover pictures for all the books and still the whole list won’t load all the photos…) so since then I’ve found a few more.  I’ve even written reviews for a few on this list!

Previously read and reviewed recap

Abby Takes a Stand was a favorite.  Witness I liked less, but could see classroom applications.  The Birchbark House we loved!  Children of the Fire was okay.

The post-9/11 Shine, Coconut Moon and post-Haitian earthquake Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go didn’t feel like historical fiction to me since I clearly remember those events.  Push is technically an adult novel, and again, set in the familiar 1980s.

Sugar was fine but I’ve heard the rest of the series is better.  Flygirl is one of my favorite works of historical fiction and highly recommended.  There are also two books I read last year but the reviews will go up this year: Secret Keeper and A Single Shard, both good.

Already read

These are books we own and I’ve at some point read but never reviewed, so I’d like to reread them and review them for the blog.

The entire Addy series
We own all 6 Addy books and I actually have had a draft post going since 2016 with my notes on the books as we read them…

Meet Cecile & The Cameo Necklace
Another African-American Girl book, Cecile is a free high-society black girl living in New Orleans.  We also have the spin-off mystery.

Good Luck, Ivy  |  Mystery of the Dark Tower
A spin-off book from the Julie series, which takes place in 1960s San Francisco.  Ivy is Julie’s best friend.  She is also the only Asian American Girl in the historical series.  Part of the American Girl Mysteries series, the other book features a girl who moves to New York during the Harlem Renaissance.

Boxers & Saints
Historical fiction graphic novels set in 1898 China, these tell the story of the Boxer Rebellion from both sides.

One Crazy Summer
I read this last year but never got around to reviewing it.  Would like to read the whole series but kept having to return the later ones to the library.

Young Founders 1776 Son of Liberty
Story of a 16-year-old free black boy who wants to fight in Washington’s army, but is offered a chance to fight for the British.

Esperanza Rising
I’ve read this classic years ago, so it will be nice to reread and review it.  A formerly wealthy girl immigrates to America and becomes a migrant farm worker during the Great Depression.


Laurie Halse Anderson Trilogy resized rotated

Seeds of America trilogy
Purchased knowing they wouldn’t get read immediately, but the three hardcovers in great condition cost less than one of the paperbacks normally would, so I snagged them knowing that I’ve enjoyed other books by Anderson.

Scraps of Time books 2-4
I loved Abby Takes a Stand so much that I bought the series.  Then we never read these ones.  Embarrassing!

Christopher Paul Curtis
While looking for good historical fiction last year, I went ahead and bought these, but only now looked up how they all fit together
The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963  Curtis’ debut novel is about a family on a road trip who end up at the Birmingham church bombing.
Bud, Not Buddy – In 1936 Bud gets kicked out of another foster home and decides to track down the father he’s never met.
The Mighty Miss Malone – An indirect sequel to Bud, Not Buddy, this novel focuses on Deza Malone’s life during the Great Depression.
Elijah of Buxton – the first free child born into a Canadian settlement of runaway slaves goes to America after a thief who stole the money his friend is saving to buy his family.  First of the Buxton trilogy, all based in the same town during different time periods.

Flight by Sherman Alexie
I read a little back when I got it, and DNF’d it.  Alexie is intense and I have to be in the mood.  Not strictly historical fiction, an Indian boy in foster care travels back in time.
NOTE: After I wrote this post, new information became widely known making me doubt if I will ever finish/review this book.

Code Talker  |  Kira-Kira  |  Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance
A teen boy lies about his age to become a code talker during WWII.  A Japanese-American girl looks back on her sister’s life in the 1950s and 60s.  North Carolinan Celeste moves in with her aunt Valentina during the Harlem Renaissance.

Hoodoo cover

Not strictly historical fiction, although set in 1930s Alabama.  Hoodoo’s family is known for magic but he can’t even do a simple conjure.  This 2016 Steptoe Award Winner appears to be more horror than I thought, which is why it’s still unread.


  • 11 books previously read and reviewed
  • A whopping 30 unreviewed books!
  • 2 technically belong to other genres (I believe)
  • 15 have been previously read
  • 15 have not
  • 23 have African-American main characters
  • 4 have Asian or Asian-American main characters
  • 2 have Native American main characters
  • only 1 has a Latina main character!
  • Most are MG
  • Two are YA
  • Scraps of Time series is elementary
  • There’s a good chance I own other books that I’ve missed


Author: colorfulbookreviews

I work in a library by day and parent the rest of the time. I am passionate about good books representing the full spectrum of human diversity for every age group and reading level. This blog is my attempt to help parents, educators, and librarians find the best children's books authored by or featuring characters of color.

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