Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Early Modern Times - Historical Fiction, 2nd/3rd Grade

Up to this point, Tessa's structured reading primarily revolved around classic and contemporary easy readers. Her reading abilities have improved a great deal these past several months, so we will begin transitioning her to works with more literary value this fall. We are trying a block system for several subjects...reading and history among them. Every six weeks, Tessa will switch between reading vintage readers and historical fiction.

The following is a list of historical fiction titles for Early Modern Times (c. 1600 to 1850) that I have rounded up from a variety of sources that are appropriate for second-third grade. I have divided them into chapter books and easy readers/early chapter books, plus noted as much information as I could find regarding each book's length and ATOS reading level. A good chunk of the easy readers are technically considered nonfiction, but they struck me as "close enough" that I included them. These titles are indicated with asterisks.

I haven't read any of the books yet, so I can't comment on how good they are. I was overwhelmed with trying to decide which ones to have Tessa read next year, so I felt the need to organize them. They are alphabetized by title.

Chapter Books

Anna Maria's Gift - Janice Shefelman

In 1715 Italy, 8-year-old Anna Maria arrives at an orphanage with little but the special violin her father made for her. When her teacher favors her over another student, the beloved instrument is tossed out a window and Anna Maria longs to get it back.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 9,733 words, 112 pages, 12 chapters

A young boy sent on an errand over Hemlock Mountain is not so sure he likes going alone, because there may be bears on the mountain, but with the help of the big iron pot he borrows, he completes his errand.
  • ATOS 3.5 - 4,516 words, 64 pages

Black Beauty - Cathy East Dubowski

In this adaptation of the Anna Sewell classic, a horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experiences with both good and bad masters.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 7,391 words, 96 pages, 16 chapters

The Cabin Faced West - Jean Fritz

A young girl misses the life she had before her family moved into the wilderness, until she gets a very special visitor.
  • ATOS 5.1 - 18,158 words, 128 pages

The Courage of Sarah Noble - Alice Dalgliesh

A charming and brave eight-year-old girl accompanies her father into the wilderness of Connecticut in 1707 to cook for him while he builds a new home for his family.
  • ATOS 3.9 - 6,715 words, 64 pages, 11 chapters

Gold Rush Days - Ellen Weiss

Hitty's owner, Annie, is excited to travel with her father to California in search of gold, but it is a tough journey out West and an even tougher life when they arrive. Is there anything Annie can do to help out?

  • ATOS 4.0 - 9,499 words, 64 pages

A Lion to Guard Us - Clyde Robert Bulla

Left on their own in London, three impoverished children draw upon their resources to stay together and make their way to the Virginia colony in search of their father.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 14,257 words, 128 pages, 23 chapters

The Matchlock Gun - Walter D. Edmonds

In 1756, during the French and Indian War in upper New York state, ten-year-old Edward is determined to protect his home and family with the ancient, and much too heavy, Spanish gun that his father had given him before leaving home to fight the enemy.
  • ATOS 5.1 - 5,708 words, 80 pages, 10 chapters

Life changes dramatically for the Blackfeet people in the early 1700s when a twin brother and sister discover a strange animal and succeed in bringing it back to the tribe.
  • ATOS 4.8 - 35,129 words, 215 pages

Phoebe the Spy - Judith Griffin

During the Revolution, Phoebe Fraunces has a chance to save the life of General George Washington while he has dinner at Mortier House in New York City.
  • ATOS 4.3 - 4,376 words, 48 pages

Pocahontas and the Strangers - Clyde Robert Bulla
  • 176 pages

Pioneer Cat - William H. Hooks

When a young girl smuggles a cat aboard the wagon train taking her family from Missouri to Oregon, it turns out to be the best thing she could have done.
  • ATOS 3.3 - 7,840 words, 64 pages, 9 chapters

Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan

In this loving story of a motherless family, a tall, plain woman comes to stay with them.
  • ATOS 3.4 - 8,377 words, 64 pages

Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims - Clyde Robert Bulla

This biography profiles the life of the Indian who was a friend to the Pilgrims and was later taken to England and Spain, traveling to places where no other Indian had been.
  • ATOS 3.0 - 11,737 words, 112 pages, 12 chapters

Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books

The 18 Penny Goose - Sally M. Walker

Eight-year-old Letty attempts to save her pet goose from marauding British soldiers in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.
  • ATOS 2.7 - 1,067 words, 64 pages, 4 chapters

Abe Lincoln's Hat - Martha Brenner *

How Lincoln used his hat as a filing cabinet.
  • ATOS 2.6 - 1,203 words, 48 pages

Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad - Marlene Targ Brill *

Recounts how Allen Jay, a young Quaker boy living in Ohio during the 1840s, helped a fleeing slave escape his master and make it to freedom through the Underground Railroad.
  • ATOS 3.3 - 1,684 words, 47 pages

An American Army of Two - Janet Greeson

During the War of 1812, Rebecca and Abigail Bates save their town's ships from the British by playing YANKEE DOODLE on a fife and drum to simulate the approach of American troops.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 1,665 words, 47 pages

Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship - Patricia McKissack *

In 1838, the slave ship "Amistad" was transporting hundreds of kidnapped Africans across the Atlantic. The captives would not give up their freedom and took over the ship so they could sail back to their homeland.
  • ATOS 3.5 - 2,209 words, 48 pages

The Battle for St. Michaels - Emily Arnold McCully

In 1813, nine-year-old Caroline, a fast runner, helps the residents of St. Michaels, Maryland, as they defend their town against the British.
  • ATOS 3.1 - 2,238 words, 64 pages, 7 chapters

This story shows how Benjamin Franklin, inventor, writer, and scientist, created a puzzle called the magic square to keep from being bored while serving as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Assembly.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 1,072 words, 48 pages

The Boston Coffee Party - Doreen Rappaport

During the Revolutionary War, two young sisters help a group of Boston women get coffee from a greedy merchant.
  • ATOS 2.7 - 1,253 words, 64 pages, 3 chapters

Bronco Charlie and the Pony Express - Marlene Targ Brill *

This book relates how, in 1861, a boy named Charlie Miller became the youngest rider for the Pony Express, a mail service that linked the East and West Coasts of the United States.
  • ATOS 3.4 - 1,867 words, 48 pages

Sixteen-year-old Bill finds adventure when he becomes a rider for the Pony Express (though his letters home never hint at the dangers he encounters).
  • ATOS 2.7 - 1,311 words, 64 pages, 4 chapters

Buttons for General Washington - Peter Roop *

In this suspenseful story based on accounts of the Darragh family's spying activities for General Washington, young John undertakes a dangerous mission to deliver a message to the American Army. The coauthor is Connie Roop.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 1,496 words, 48 pages

Chang's Paper Pony - Eleanor Coerr

Chang and his grandfather leave China to work in the California gold rush.
  • ATOS 2.8 - 1,279 words, 64 pages, 5 chapters

Clipper Ship - Thomas P. Lewis

A man falls overboard, the captain becomes ill, and Jamie’s mother (the captain’s wife) takes the helm on their 1850s sea voyage to California. Taut with the smells and tastes, hard work and thrills of the great days of sail.
  • ATOS 3.2 - 1,647 words, 63 pages

The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft - Cathy Moore *

This book tells the story of a slave couple, Ellen Craft and her husband William, who escaped slavery in 1848 when light-skinned Ellen disguised herself as a white man traveling north by boat and train with her servant, William.
  • ATOS 3.2 - 1,893 words, 48 pages

This is the story of Davy Crockett, fearless soldier and leader who always stood up for what he believed in.
  • ATOS 4.6 - 1,887 words, 48 pages

The stars of the Big Dipper have led a runaway slave family to Deacon Fuller's house, a stop on the underground railroad. Will Tommy Fuller be able to hide the runaways from a search party -- or will the secret passengers be discovered and their hope for freedom destroyed?
  • ATOS 3.0 - 1,886 words, 64 pages, 6 chapters

This book surveys the life of Harriet Tubman, including her childhood in slavery and her later work in helping other slaves escape north to freedom through the Underground Railroad.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 2,048 words, 48 pages

After being forced to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Roger Williams travels south and, with the help of the Narragansett Indians, founds Providence, Rhode Island.
  • ATOS 3.3 - 1,671 words, 48 pages, 6 chapters

The First Thanksgiving - Linda Hayward *

Describes how the first Thanksgiving celebration came to be.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 1,194 words, 48 pages

The Flight of the Union - Tekla White

This book relates the story of Homan Walsh, a fifteen-year-old boy who in 1847 successfully flew a kite over the Niagara River from Canada to the United States, enabling work to begin on a suspension bridge near Niagara Falls.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 2,088 words, 48 pages

This brief account of the life of Francis Scott Key shares the events that led to his composition of America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • ATOS 2.9 - 817 words, 48 pages

George the Drummer Boy - Nathaniel Benchley

A young boy in the British Army endures the frightening battles of Lexington and Concorde at the onset of the American Revolution.
  • ATOS 3.3 - 1,044 words, 64 pages

This book recounts events in the life of George Washington that focus on his fondness for animals.
  • ATOS 2.5 - 719 words, 48 pages

May-May and Rose, the singing, dancing Golly Sisters, have several adventures while traveling west by covered wagon, entertaining people along the way.
  • ATOS 2.1 - 1,288 words, 64 pages, 6 chapters
  • There are a couple of other "Golly Sisters" books as well.

The Great Tulip Trade - Beth Wagner Brust

In Holland in the 1600s, Anna's birthday gift of eight precious tulip bulbs is traded for livestock, furniture, and a valuable painting.
  • ATOS 2.8 - 1,062 words, 48 pages

Johnny Appleseed - Patricia Brennan Demuth *

This biography recounts the story of the man who traveled west planting apple seeds to make the country a better place to live.
  • ATOS 1.8 - 456 words, 32 pages

Johnny Appleseed: My Story - David L. Harrison *

This story is an introduction to the man who became known as Johnny Appleseed.
  • ATOS 2.4 - 877 words, 48 pages

The Josefina Story Quilt - Eleanor Coerr

While traveling west with her family in 1850, a young girl makes a patchwork quilt chronicling the experiences of the journey and reserves two special patches for her hen Josefina.
  • ATOS 2.7 - 1,320 words, 64 pages, 6 chapters

In the winter of 1856, a storm delays the lighthouse keeper's return to an island off the coast of Maine, and his daughter Abbie must keep the lights burning by herself. The coauthor is Connie Roop.
  • ATOS 2.2 - 1,152 words, 56 pages

This book introduces Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who, during their exploration of the West for Thomas Jefferson, captured a prairie dog and sent it to the president as a gift.
  • ATOS 2.7 - 862 words, 48 pages

Many Ways to Be a Soldier - Wendy Pfeffer *

This biography profiles the life of Rem Goldin, a young boy who saved his village by turning back the redcoats.
  • ATOS 3.2 - 1,729 words, 48 pages

The Night the Chimneys Fell - Marty Rhodes Figley

In 1811, nine-year-old Marie is sad to learn that her family will be moving from New Madrid to St. Louis, Missouri, but when terrible earthquakes destroy her town, everything changes.
  • ATOS 3.1 - 1,812 words, 48 pages

Paul Revere's Ride - Shana Corey *

This book provides information about silversmith Paul Revere's life in colonial America, and discusses his role in the earliest battle of the Revolutionary War.
  • ATOS 3.1 - 1,033 words, 48 pages

Prairie Friends - Nancy Smiler Levinson

When Betsy learns that a new family is coming to the Nebraska prairie, she hopes they have a girl who will be her friend.
  • ATOS 2.5 - 1,294 words, 64 pages, 5 chapters

Prisoner for Liberty - Marty Rhodes Figley *

This biography profiles the life of James Forten, who played an active role in the antislavery movement.
  • ATOS 3.3 - 1,664 pages, 48 pages

Pocahontas: An American Princess - Joyce Milton *

This is a story about the life of Pocahontas, a Native American Princess, who is famous for saving the life of Captain John Smith.
  • ATOS 3.6 - 1,752 words, 48 pages

Sacajawea - Joyce Milton *

When President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to find an overland route to the Pacific Ocean, it was Sacajawea, with a baby on her back, who taught them how to survive in the wilderness.
  • ATOS 3.2 - 1,432 pages, 48 pages

This book introduces life in colonial Jamestown, Virginia, as seen through the eyes of Sam Collier, John Smith’s page, who works hard while wondering if he has the strength to survive in the New World.
  • ATOS 3.4 - 1,996 words, 48 pages

Sam the Minuteman - Nathaniel Benchley

The American Revolution is about to begin, and Sam, a young Minuteman, must overcome his fears in order to help his countrymen fight for freedom.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 1,078 words, 64 pages

Saving the Liberty Bell - Marty Rhodes Figley *

This book recounts how Johnny Mickley, an eleven-year-old boy, helped his father to keep the Liberty Bell safe from the British during the Revolutionary War.
  • ATOS 3.4 - 1,806 words, 48 pages

Small Wolf - Nathaniel Benchley

A young Native American boy sets out to hunt on Manhattan Island and discovers some strange people with very different ideas about land.
  • ATOS 2.9 - 1,447 words, 64 pages

Snowshoe Thompson - Nancy Smiler Levinson *

One winter John Thompson skis across the Sierra Nevada and creates a path upon which mail and people may travel, thus earning his nickname "Snowshoe Thompson."
  • ATOS 2.2 - 978 words, 64 pages, 5 chapters

The Star-Spangled Banner - Catherine A. Welch *

This book explains how Francis Scott Key's poem became our national anthem.
  • ATOS 3.8 - 1,575 words, 48 pages

Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride - Marsha Amstel *

This is the story of Sybil Ludington's ride on horseback to rouse American soldiers to fight against the British who were attacking Danbury, Connecticut during the American Revolution.
  • ATOS 3.7 - 1,851 words, 48 pages

Thomas Jefferson's Feast - Frank Murphy *

This book tells of Thomas Jefferson's trip to France in 1784 and all the exotic foods he learned about and then introduced to America, including ice cream, macaroni and cheese, and tomatoes.
  • ATOS 3.1 - 1,172 words, 48 pages

Trail of Tears - Joseph Bruchac *

This book recounts how the Cherokees, after fighting to keep their land in the nineteenth century, were forced to leave and travel 1200 miles to a new settlement in Oklahoma, a terrible journey known as the Trail of Tears.
  • ATOS 4.8 - 2,931 words, 48 pages

The True Story of Pocahontas - Lucille Rech Penner *

A biography of the Powhatan Indian princess.
  • ATOS 2.7 - 1,309 words, 48 pages

Washington Is Burning - Marty Rhodes Figley *

Fifteen-year-old Paul Jennings, slave to President and Mrs. Madison assists the first lady in salvaging a portrait of George Washington from the White House as the British attack and burn Washington City.
  • ATOS 3.5 - 1,851 words, 48 pages

The White Stallion - Elizabeth Shub

Carried away from her wagon train in Texas in 1845 by the old mare she is riding, a little girl is befriended by a white stallion.
  • ATOS 3.0 - 1,238 words, 64 pages

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