- Programs & Activities
- I FIC Historical Fiction
I FIC Historical Fiction
The Blackbird Girls – Anne Blankman
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother's secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they've wished for: a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend's life? Would you risk your own? Told in alternating perspectives among three girls--Valentina and Oksana in 1986 and Rifka in 1941--this story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match for the power of true friendship.
I FIC Blankman
Al Capone Does My Shirts – Gennifer Choldenko (Newbery Honor)
When Moose’s family moves to Alcatraz Island so his father can work as a guard and his sister can attend a special school in San Francisco, he has to leave his friends behind. But it’s worth it, right? If his sister, Natalie, can get help, maybe his family will finally be normal.But on Alcatraz his dad is so busy, he’s never around. His mom’s preoccupation with Natalie’s condition (today, it would be called autism) is even worse now that there’s no extended family to help. And of course, there’s never enough money. When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the warden, he knows right off she’s trouble. But she’s also strangely irresistible. All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents’ expectations and stay out of trouble. But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.
I FIC Choldenko
Finding Langston – Lesa Cline-Ransome (Scott O’Dell Award)
It's 1946. Langston's mother has just died, and now they're leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything-- Grandma's Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved. In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn't feel like a new start, or a better life. At home he's lonely, his father always busy at work; at school he's bullied for being a country boy. But Langston's new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the Chicago Public Library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston--a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.
I FIC Cline-Ransome
Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan (Pura Belpre Award)
Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
I FIC Ryan
Heart of a Samurai – Margi Preus (Newbery Honor)
In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way. Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.
I FIC Preus
Snow Treasure – Marie McSwigan
In the bleak winter of 1940, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lundstrom's tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country's treasure—and their lives. This classic story of how a group of children outwitted the Nazis and sent the treasure to America has captivated generations of readers.
I FIC McSwigan
When the World Was Ours – Liz Kessler
Three young friends—Leo, Elsa, and Max—spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness and that they will soon be cruelly ripped apart from one another. With their lives taking them across Europe—to Germany, England, Prague, and Poland—will they ever find their way back to one another? Will they want to? Inspired by a true story, When the World Was Ours is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking and that shows how the bonds of love, family, and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.
I FIC Kessler
Rescue – Jennifer Nielsen
657 days ago Meg's British father left their home in France to fight the Nazis, leaving some codes in a jar for her to decipher, and Meg and her French mother moved to the Perche, a region in France near Normandy known for its forests; now Meg watches the German soldiers in town, and sometimes carries messages for the French resistance--but suddenly things have gotten much more dangerous: there is a wounded British officer hiding in her grandmother's barn, a family of German refugees who are trying to get to Spain, and the Nazis have arrived on the doorstop searching for the fugitives.
I FIC Nielsen
The Light in Hidden Places – Sharon Cameron
Sixteen-year-old Catholic Stefania Podgórska has worked in the Diamant family's grocery store for four years, even falling in love with one of their sons, Izio; but when the Nazis came to Przemyśl, Poland, the Jewish Diamants are forced into the ghetto (and worse) but Izio's brother Max manages to escape, and Stefania embarks on a dangerous course--protecting thirteen Jews in her attic, caring for her younger sister, Helena, and keeping everything secret from the two Nazi officers who are living in her house.
I FIC Cameron
Gold Rush Girl -- Avi
Victoria Blaisdell longs for independence and adventure, and she yearns to accompany her father as he sails west in search of real gold! But it is 1848, and Tory isn’t even allowed to go to school, much less travel all the way from Rhode Island to California. Determined to take control of her own destiny, Tory stows away on the ship. Though San Francisco is frenzied and full of wild and dangerous men, Tory finds freedom and friendship there. Until one day, when Father is in the gold fields, her younger brother, Jacob, is kidnapped. Tory is spurred on a treacherous search for him in Rotten Row, a part of San Francisco Bay crowded with hundreds of abandoned ships.
I FIC Avi
The Great Trouble: The Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Named Eel – Deborah Hopkinson
Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a “mudlark,” he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He’s being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he’s got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe. But even for Eel, things aren’t so bad until that fateful August day in 1854—the day the deadly cholera epidemic, known as blue death, comes to Broad Street. Everyone believes that cholera is spread through poisonous air. But one man, Dr. John Snow, has a different theory. As the epidemic surges, it’s up to Eel and his best friend, Florrie, to gather evidence to prove Dr. Snow’s theory—before the entire neighborhood is wiped out.
I FIC Hopkinson
The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth Speare (Newbery Medal)
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.
I FIC Speare
The Slave Dancer – Paula Fox (Newbery Medal)
Kidnapped and on an Africa-bound ship, thirteen-year-old Jessie discovers to his horror that he is on a slaver, and his job is to play music for the exercise periods of the human cargo.
I FIC Fox
Words on Fire – Jennifer Nielsen
In 1893 twelve-year-old Audra lives on a farm in Lithuania, and tries to avoid the Cossack soldiers who enforce the Russian decrees that ban Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language; but when the soldiers invade the farm Audra is the only one who escapes and, unsure of what has happened to her parents, she embarks on a dangerous journey, carrying the smuggled Lithuanian books that fuel the growing resistance movement, unsure of who to trust, but risking her life and freedom for her country.
I FIC Nielsen