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April 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth
Political strife, religious miracles, 1990s hip-hop—is there anything historical fiction can’t do? These standout titles, some daring, others heart wrenching, were reviewed in Booklist between April 15, 2016, and April 1, 2017.
Bronze and Sunflower. By Cao Wenxuan. Illus. by Meilo So. Tr. by Helen Wang. 2017. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763688165). Gr. 4–6.
Bronze and Sunflower are kindred spirits brought together by tragedy. This evocative story provides a window into life as a child in rural China during the early 1970s, near the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. By Jeannine Atkins. 2016. Atheneum, $16.99 (9781481465656). Gr. 4–7.
This three-part novel in verse vividly imagines the lives of three girls (naturalist Maria Merian, fossil-hunter Mary Anning, and astronomer Maria Mitchell) who grew up to become famous for their achievements in science.
Full of Beans. By Jennifer L. Holm. 2016. Random, $16.99 (9780553510362). Gr. 3–6.
In Depression-era Key West, 10-year-old Beans Curry doesn’t appreciate the New Dealers trying to turn his town into a vacation hot spot—but he changes his tune after running into a bit of trouble.
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. By Adam Gidwitz. Illus. by Hatem Aly. 2016. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525426165). Gr. 5–8.
À la The Canterbury Tales, travelers gathered at an inn share stories about three miraculous children and a greyhound, who are causing quite a stir in medieval France. A humorous, taut, and inspired adventure.
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel. By Firoozeh Dumas. 2016. Clarion, $16.99 (9780544612310). Gr. 5–8.
Set in 1978 California, Dumas’ funny and affecting novel tells the story of Iranian-born Cindy Yousefzadeh as she navigates middle school during the Iranian hostage crisis, and the acts of prejudice it incites.
Max. By Sarah Cohen-Scali. 2017. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $19.99 (9781626720718). Gr. 10–12.
In this poignant and provocative portrait of unlikely friendship, Konrad (a product of Nazi Germany’s disturbing Lebensborn initiative) questions his beliefs after meeting Lukas, a headstrong Jewish boy.
The Passion of Dolssa. By Julie Berry. 2016. Viking, $17.99 (9780451469922). Gr. 9–12.
Dolssa, a teenage mystic in thirteenth-century France, flees inquisitors, who have condemned her as a heretic. Framed as a story-within-a-story, this tale is cleverly told and impeccably researched.
Rani Patel in Full Effect. By Sonia Patel. 2016. Cinco Puntos, $16.95 (9781941026496). Gr. 9–12.
As the only Indian girl in her Hawaiian town, Rani finds empowerment in rap and slam poetry during the early 1990s. Her strength and unique voice will resonate with many as she grapples with personal trauma.
Steamboat School. By Deborah Hopkinson. Illus. by Ron Husband. 2016. Disney/Jump at the Sun, $17.99 (9781423121961). K–Gr. 3.
James, an African American boy growing up in St. Louis in 1847, finds inspiration in a brave teacher, who circumvents a discriminatory new law threatening James’ right to an education.
Who Killed Christopher Goodman? By Allan Wolf. 2017. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763656133). Gr. 9–12.
Wolf, inspired by real events, recounts Christopher Goodman’s untimely death one night in 1979, through the voices of six teens, including the shooter, and traces the intersecting threads that led to the murder.
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