Picture This! – Historical Reads

When we study history, I often supplement the lessons with reading books that correspond with the era we are learning about.  The children read age-appropriate biographies, or I read the books together with them. Another great resource, however, is historical fiction.


Historical fiction is the name given to the genre of literature that features stories set during a particular period of history but that contains fictional elements. For example, the main character is fictional, as well as the plot. The historical period, however, and the events that occurred during that time, must be accurate.

Rather than using historical fiction as a way to learn history, I’ve found it’s better to use it as a way to reinforce what my children have already learned. Without studying the facts first, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish which parts of a book are fictional and which ones are true. But to a student who already has knowledge of a certain period, reading historical fiction set during that time is a great way to illuminate it.

Picture books in this genre can be enjoyed by the whole family, especially your youngest students. If you’re looking for some historical picture books, here are some you might want to try:

Colonial America:

Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

American Revolution:

Katie’s Trunk by Ann Warren Turner

Redcoats and Petticoats by Katherine Kirkpatrick

The Scarlet Stockings Spy by Trinka Hakes Noble

Sleds on Boston Common by Louise Borden

Western Expansion:

Wagons West! by Roy Gerrard

A Place Called Freedom by Scott R. Sanders

Dandelions by Eve Bunting

Death of the Iron Horse by Paul Goble

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson

Civil War:

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

The Blue and the Gray by Eve Bunting

Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad by Pamela Duncan Edwards


When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest

Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone

World War II:

Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt

The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter

The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy

The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden

Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

Homeschooling Reading Curriculum by SmartTutor.com

Story Time – Stories for Kids

Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell

Picture By: apdk

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