Details of Great Books by Time Period

I feel like some of the books on the list would be better off with a few details so that’s what this page is for!

I am not giving details for the books in the I Survived, Imagination Station, or Dear Canada/America and Royal Diaries series because I’ve only read a few books from each of those series.

Once again, this list is a work on progress but I thought I would give you access to what I’ve finished instead of making you wait!

Ancient Times: before 500 AD

A.D. 30 & A.D. 33 (grade 10)

These are both quite well done historical fiction books that take place during Jesus’ ministry.

Counted with the Stars (grade 10)

This historical fiction book follows an Egyptian slave during the time of the plagues and when the Israelites first went into the wilderness.

Iscariot (grade 10)

This book follows Judas Iscariot and gives so many cultural and political details about the time period. I learned so much about the Zealots through this book. It really made Judas out to be a regular person instead of just the guy that is known for being Jesus’ betrayer.

Middle Ages: 500-1600

Blue Birds (grade 5)

This is an excellent novel in verse about an English girl and a Roanoke girl who form a friendship despite not being able to speak the same language.

Hood (grade 10)

This is a retelling of Robin Hood but set during the early 11th century and includes so much information about the customs of the day.

Early Modern Times: 1600’s & 1700’s

Fawkes (grade 8)

This is a historical fiction fantasy about the Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James but the book includes a fantasy element where people have different types of masks they wear and whatever color their mask is, they can control everything around them that is that color.

Fever 1793 (grade 5)

A well done look at the fever that swept through Philidelphia but I do not recommend listening to the audiobook, none of us could stand the narrator.


Abina and the Important Men (grade 10) GN

This graphic novel depicts a true court case about slavery that came up in Africa in 1876. The second half of the book includes the actual transcript of the case and more information about Africa and slavery.

An Ivy Hill Christmas (grade 10)

This is a short book (it may be considered a novella) and I was surprised to find out how much information there was about Victorian Christmas traditions.

Belle of Batoche (grade 4)

This was one of my daughter’s favorite books for a while, it’s about the Battle of Batoche and the Red River Rebellion led by Louis Riel.

David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer (grade 6)

This is one of the few (maybe the only?) of the Christian Heroes Then and Now series that takes place in southern Africa, with a child born in South Africa this one obviously holds a special place in our hearts.

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans (grade 3)

I’ve loved this story since the first time we read it, it is always the first story in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series that I recommend.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (grade 4)

Based on a true story this was another one of my daughter’s favorites, though she always said she wanted to re-write the ending.

Lady Jayne Disappears (grade 10)

This is the book that started my love for historical fiction as an adult. I was looking up so much information about Victorian debtor’s prisons after reading this one.

Little House in the Big Woods & series (kindergarten)

I don’t really think this series needs much in the way of explanation. Except, I’ve never been a big fan of Farmer Boy myself, and as a kid that’s as far as I went in the series. (maybe because I grew up on a farm? or because the main character was a boy?), if your family finds yourself in the situation stick with the series, it’s worth it.

May B. (grade 5)

The book that made me fall in love with novels in verse. Think of this as Laura Ingalls but a little bit grittier (but not too gritty).

Nory Ryan’s Song (grade 5)

This one has to do with the Irish potato famine and I will say: this book felt a bit bland for me. BUT I learned about the Great Famine as a result and many others seem to love it so I’m putting it on this list.

Prairie Lotus (grade 5)

Think Little House on the Prairie but your main character is half-Chinese. So, there are some hard things but it brings up some good conversations.

Premeditated Myrtle & series (grade 5)

A Victorian middle grade mystery series this series is both funny and packed with lots of Victorian information, especially book four which takes place mainly in a hospital so you learn about Victorian medicine . . .

Sarah, Plain and Tall (grade 4)

Another Little House on the Prairie-esq type of book.

Sweep (grade 5)

A historical fiction fantasy about chimney sweeps. I tear up every time I read this book.

The Girl in His Shadow (grade 10)

Set in the 1840’s this book is a great look at medicine during the time (and makes me glad I wasn’t alive).

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel (grade 6)

A great look into the Great Cholera Epidemic.

The Lost Melody (grade 10)

If you’re curious about Victorian insane asylums, this book is for you . . .

The Surgeon’s Daughter (grade 10)

This is book two after The Girl in His Shadow and focuses quite a bit on the first c-sections. (Also glad I wasn’t having kids around this time.)

Underground to Canada (grade 7)

A great look at the Underground Railroad. This was required reading when I was in grade 6 and it’s stuck with me.

Words on Fire (grade 6)

Russia has occupied Lithuania and our main character joins a network of book smugglers.

1900’s & 1910’s

All-of-a-Kind Family (grade 2)

A look into a Jewish family living in New York City.

As Bright as Heaven (grade 10)

A touching story of the 1918 Spanish Flu.

Iceberg (grade 6)

A great middle grade book about the Titanic, we follow a young stowaway who wants to be a journalist and is looking for a story on the ship. The story she gets is not quite the one she was looking for.

Romanov (grade 9)

Another historical fantasy book that made me do a deep dive into the Romanov family.

Tunnels of Time & series (grade 6)

The Moose Jaw Tunnels (which we’ve toured multiple times) are said to have been used by Al Capone’s gang during Prohibition and in this story we follow a young girl who finds herself working as a courier for the gang.


Esperanza Rising (grade 4)

Based on a true story we follow Esperanza as her family immigrates from Mexico to California.

Out of the Dust (grade 6)

This is another one of those books that I personally did not love but I know so many others do so that’s why it’s on this list.

Stella by Starlight (grade 6)

The KKK is just starting to rise again in Stella’s neighborhood, it’s a well done book about a very hard topic.

Vienna Prelude (grade 10)

Pre-WWII Austria our main character is a violinist who has Jewish descent but has adopted an Aryan stage name and needs to flee before it’s too late.


A Place to Hang the Moon (grade 5)

One of my favorite WWII middle grade books but definitely skip the audiobook for this one.

Between Shades of Gray (grade 10)

A Lithuanian girl gets sent to a Siberian concentration camp with her family. You’ll be cold the entire time you read this book.

Catherine’s War (grade 6) GN

A well done WWII graphic novel.

Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den (grade 6)

Such a great story!

Echo (grade 6)

A multiple-perspective book that actually spans decades, all the characters are linked by a slightly magical harmonica. The prologue or first chapter (I don’t remember exactly) starts out very fairy tale-esq but stick with it, it’s excellent. Also, listen to it on audio, there is great music to go along with it. Other than the little fairy tale element at the beginning and the slightly magical harmonica it has no other fantasy in it.

Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies (grade 6)

The true story of one of the Doolittle Raiders.

Letters from the Lighthouse (grade 4)

A great book that does not get talked about enough.

Number the Stars (grade 7)

A short book that packs a punch.

Rescue (grade 6)

A young French girl sets out to search for her father who was last heard to be a prisoner of the Nazi’s.

Resistance (grade 8)

I always get this book and Rescue mixed up because they are both by the same author and start with R (turns out it doesn’t take much to mix me up), I have not read this one but Raeca has an enjoyed it.

Salt to the Sea (grade 10)

A multiple-perspective look at four fictional characters that get onto the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that was sunk by a Soviet submarine on January 30, 1945.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (grade 9)

This book is often incorrectly labeled as middle grade, it’s not. Our main character is around ten though, which is probably why it’s mislabeled. Through this book we see WWII and a concentration camp through his eyes, it’s one you won’t forget.

The Diary of a Young Girl (grade 7)

Anne Frank’s diary, such a powerful book!

The Hiding Place (grade 10)

Corrie ten Boom’s story that she wrote, excellent, excellent.

The Length of a String (grade 6)

A dual timeline story that opened my eyes to the story of the Jews in Luxembourg during WWII.

The War that Saved My Life (grade 5)

Okay, here’s another wildly popular book (and the sequel The War I Finally Won) that everyone loves and I thought was just alright. I’m putting it on here because everyone else seems to love it.

White Bird (grade 5) GN

A well done graphic novel that follows a French Jewish girl who hides in a barn.

1940’s & 1950’s

Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent (grade 6)

I really enjoyed this as my first intro into Brother Andrew and the Bible smuggling that he did behind the Iron Curtain.

God’s Smuggler (grade 9)

Warning: here’s another unpopular opinion: I actually liked the Christian Heroes version of this story (above) better. But this book was the one that Brother Andrew actually worked on (with writers) so it feels remiss to not include it but . . . it was quite dry, especially since I had just read the Christian Heroes version.

I am David (grade 8)

Twelve-year-old David has spent his entire life in a concentration camp in Eastern Europe and sees his chance to escape, this is his story.

1960’s & 1970’s

A Night Divided (grade 7)

One night the Berlin Wall goes up, but our main character’s father and brother are on the other side . . . My favorite of Jennifer A. Nielsen’s historical fiction.

Inside Out and Back Again (grade 6)

The Vietnam War has reached our main character’s home and she and her family flee as Saigon falls. I read this back in 2016 so I should really do a refresher.

The Wednesday Wars (grade 7)

This is one of my favorite middle grade books, and the audio is excellent. Our main character is Holling Hoodhood (what a name!) the Vietnam War is raging but life feels pretty normal until the war starts to affect him.

Until Tomorrow Mr. Marsworth (grade 6)

An epistolary novel where our main character writes back and forth with an old man on her paper route. The Vietnam War is going on and her brother will soon be old enough to fight but she has decided they are pacifists so he can stay home, except she keeps getting in trouble for fighting . . .

1980’s & 1990’s

A Long Walk to Water (grade 6)

An excellent dual timeline story about Sudan. In 1985 we follow one of the “lost boys of Sudan” who leave the country to find safety and in 2008 we follow a girl who has to travel two hours one way to fetch water.

I Must Betray You (grade 10)

Set in communist Romania in 1989 this book follows a seventeen year old who is given the choice to betray his friends and family to help his grandfather or cross the secret police.

Soldier Boy (grade 10)

A true story of a boy who was kidnapped and forced to fight in the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army. The subject matter is hard and quite brutal but honest and I think well done. This is one I would recommend proofreading for your kids because I think different kids will be ready for this one at different times. I found I had to take a break every few chapters because it was so heavy.

When Stars are Scattered (grade 6) GN

An excellent look at a Somalian refugee camp as we follow brothers who have spent most of their lives in the camp, trying to get out and have a better life.



Ground Zero (grade 5)

Raeca just read this book and wanted to recommend it. It’s a dual timeline and perspective. One on 9/11 and another on September 11th, 2019. I hope to read it soon too!