Historical Fiction: Years 9-11

(Updated July 2014)

This list is rather incomplete at the moment – we need your help! If you know any other books which should be on it, please let us know. Send a message to the History Dept or contact the blog: nonsuchhp.blogspot.com

Black Peoples of America
Unheard Voices collected by Malorie Blackman (2007)
An anthology of short stories and first hand accounts of slavery to commemorate the 200th anniversary the banning of the trading of slaves in the British Empire

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by MT Anderson (2007)
Octavian is raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers -- but after opening a forbidden door he learns the hideous nature of their experiments. Set in Boston during the American War of Independence

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor (1976)
 A feisty African-American girl grows up in Mississippi during the Great Depression and learns the shocking realities of racism.

Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson (2010)
Thirteen-year-old Isabel and her young disabled sister Ruth are slaves. When Ruth is sold, Isabel is horribly branded for insolence. The American fight for political freedom is nicely juxtaposed with the plight of the two child slaves.

British Empire
City of ghosts, Bali Rai
An orphan boy, a revolutionary and a young Sikh soldier face a dramatic resolution of their personal crises in the build-up to the Amritsar massacre in 1919. Mixing the sweltering resentment of Amritsar with the horrors of the trenches endured by Indian soldiers, Bali Rai examines a pivotal moment in Indian history.

World War 1

Remembrance, Theresa Breslin (2002)
Scotland, 1915. A group of teenagers meet for a picnic, but all too soon, the horror of The Great War engulfs them, their friends and the whole village. From the horror of the trenches, to the devastating reality seen daily by those nursing the wounded, they struggle to survive - and nothing will ever be the same again.

War Horse, Michael Morpurgo (1982)
In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times.

Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo (2003)
Heroism or cowardice? Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion.

Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier, Barroux (2014)
the real diary of a French soldier from the First World War is used as a basis for a graphic novel, recalling the first 2 months of the war from mobilisation to the horror of the trenches. The events are vividly brought to life in a strikingly personal account.

The Trenches (My Story), Jim Eldridge (2008)
It's 1917 and Billy Stevens is a telegraph operator stationed near Ypres. The Great War has been raging for three years when Billy finds himself taking part in the deadly Big Push forward. But he is shocked to discover that the bullets of his fellow soldiers aren't just aimed at the enemy...

Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr (1971)
The story of a Jewish family fleeing from Germany at the start of the Second World War. Anna, aged 9, finds it is suddenly too dangerous for “her sort of people” to live in Germany any longer.

Chocolate cake with Hitler, Emma Craigie (2010)
The short life of the eldest daughter of Hitler’s propaganda minister Josef Goebbels. The leading figures within the Nazi Party are portrayed from a child’s point of view.

Ausländer, Paul Dowswell (2010)
During the invasion of Poland, Piotr and other children are taken by the Nazis to be re-educated as good Germans. Renamed Peter, he initially supports the Nazi cause but later begins a dangerous double life as a member of Hitler Youth helping Polish slave workers and Jewish refugees.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne (2006)
The relationship between 2 young boys during the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1947)
In July 1942, thirteen-year-old Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the occupation, went into hiding in an Amsterdam warehouse. Over the next two years Anne vividly describes in her diary the frustrations of living in such close quarters, and her thoughts, feelings and longings as she grows up.

The Dark Room, Rachel Seiffert (2010)
A careful study of three Germans affected by the Second World War: Helmut the young photographer with the deformed arm; Lore the 12-year-old who manages to get her refugee siblings to Hamburg in 1945; and Micha the young teacher who pursues the truth about his grandfather's war years 50 years later.

World War 2
Carrie’s War, Nina Bawden (1973)
Carrie and Nick are evacuated from London to Wales during World War 2 where they are placed with strict Mr Evans. Albert is luckier, living in Druid's Bottom with Hepzibah Green and the strange Mister Johnny. One day Carrie does a terrible thing - the worst thing she ever did in her life...

The Machine Gunners, Robert Westall (1975)
Chas McGill has the second-best collection of war souvenirs in Garmouth, and he desperately wants it to be the best. When he finds the remains of a crashed German bomber - its shiny machine-gun still intact - he grabs his chance. Soon he's masterminding his own war effort with dangerous and unexpected results....

Blitzcat, Robert Westall (1989)
She led the way to safety, out of the blazing hell of blitzed Coventry. People touched her for luck; feared her as an omen of disaster. Wherever she went, she changed lives.... From her beginning to her end she never wavered. She was the Blitzcat.

Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian (1981)
When the Second World War breaks out, young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of kind old Tom Oakley. But then his cruel mother summons him back to war-torn London . . .Will he ever see Mister Tom again?

Back Home, Michele Magorian (1984)
It's 1945. Twelve-year-old Rusty comes back home to Britain after being evacuated to the US. The greyness and bleakness of life in England is a shock, but even worse is adapting to the strict discipline of her family, including a brother she's never met, after the warmth and openness of her adopted American family.

Current Issues
Little Soldier, Bernard Ashley (1999)
When Kaninda survives a brutal attack on his village in East Africa he joins the rebel army, where he's trained to use weapons. But aid workers take him to a new life in London. Clan and tribal conflicts are everywhere and on the streets it's estate versus estate, urban tribe against urban tribe.

Guantanamo Boy, Anna Perera (2009)
Fifteen-year-old Khalid undergoes a horrific experience when he is captured by the Americans in Pakistan in 2002. Convinced that he is part of an al-Qaeda cell, they torture and detain him without trial for two years. An emotional account of a young man's struggle for his soul in the face of almost overpowering despair.

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