Wednesday, May 29

Ten Best Historic Novel Series for Middle School

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on fun reading!  We set aside a minimum of an hour each day to read...sometimes together as a family and sometimes quietly wherever we happen to drape ourselves.  

When a book can bring educational value in the form of a fun context, it gets a thumbs up from this homeschool mom.  Being a history-loving family, we've read nearly every single book from all ten of these series.  We love them, and think that you will, too!

A quick note about reading level -- some of these books are at an upper elementary reading level, however we parents don't always read collegiate-level books, right?  When reading for fun and learning, it's perfectly fine for a child to read something that's under his or her grade level sometimes...especially if it's fun, engaging, and there is educational content.  {These books are denoted in the descriptions.}

We Were There
Written between 1955 and 1963, the thirty-six books in this series each tackle the fictional retelling of an actual historic event.  Children are the primary characters, which makes the books accessible and easy to relate excellent way to learn our history!  The books weren't just standard fiction; they each had a "historical consultant," someone who was an expert in the topic covered in each, and are historically accurate.  Our children have retained a lot of historical fact simply by 'living' these adventures!  Additionally, each of the books has beautiful pen and ink least one per chapter, to help your child visualize the story.


American Adventure
The forty-eight books in this series each cover a different point in American history, with children as the main characters.  They are religious-based, experiencing struggles and overcoming through good moral character and their belief in and reliance upon God.  This is a good option for families who want to incorporate religious beliefs into their stories.

Dear America
Each book in this series covers a different historic event from American history.  They are all written about a girl's life and told from her perspective.  They are narrated in the form of a diary, with dated entries that typically span a year or two.  Good moral character is emphasized in these coming-of-age stories.

My Name is America
Each book in this series covers a different historic event from American history.  They are all written about a boy's life and told from his perspective.  They are narrated in the form of a journal, with dated entries that typically span a year or two.  Good moral character is emphasized in these coming-of-age stories.

I Survived
Adventure-seekers will love being in the story, escaping disaster, and learning lots of small details surrounding each of these disasters!  The series includes ancient tragedies, such as Pompeii, and goes all the way to more recent ones, like the Joplin tornado.  Perfect for those who may be a grade behind reading level or just love a little bit of excitement!

Landmark Books
The non-fiction complement to the We Were There series, these are the epitome of Hi-Lo books.  The reading level is upper elementary, but the content is aimed at older children.  It is full of details, anecdotes, illustrations, and rich descriptions that will bring the subject to life.  Each book covers one person or event in history.

Magic Tree House
Most children begin reading this series in elementary school, but the later volumes are written at a higher reading level and go deeper into specific points in history, making them appealing to older students, particularly those who may fall into the realm of struggling readers.  I also like to use the research guides which accompany each book as jumping off points for writing exercises.

Spy on History
With only three books so far, this is a fairly new adventure series that puts the reader directly into the action.  There are removal book components that are used for code-breaking and other activities, allowing your child to experience history in a new way!  Currently covers the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War 2.

Little House on the Prairie
The nine books in this series give an in-depth look into mid-1800s daily life.  (Our family's favorite volume has always been Farmer Boy.)  Heartwarming stories of good character will delight your children!  They do not have to be read in order.  If your family is a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you can even use this series as a history curriculum alongside The Prairie Primer.

Who Was...What Was...Where Was?
These are nice tidbits - introductions to a particular topic.  There are MANY books in this series, covering a wide variety of aspects -- historical, scientific, and current events.  This is another series that would be useful with struggling middle school readers.  They are non-fiction, but written in an engaging style that reads like a novel.

Modern Mythology
Somewhat historic in nature, each of the books in our Modern Mythology series, written by our 15 year old son, tackles a different culture's mythology.  They are written from a modern-day perspective, but teach quite a bit about the mythology of many ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Celts, and more.  There are seventeen books thus far in the series.

 Rick Riordan

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