Children’s Historical Fiction Books on The (American) Revolutionary War
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Homeschoolers, teachers, and parents, I’ve made a list of historical fiction children’s books about The American Revolutionary War that will help set the stage for your learners. Often, reading a fictional story is the best way to build background knowledge as the story sticks in your mind so clearly. The setting and historical facts stay there too, building knowledge and a foundation for more learning.
I’ve indicated an age range for each title.
Leave me a comment if you know of other books that I missed or want to share your thoughts about any of the titles below.
Children’s Historical Fiction Books on The Revolutionary War
The Boston Chocolate Party by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz, illustrated by Fede Combi (ages 4 – 8)
Joshua’s papa imports chocolate beans and introduces hot chocolate to colonial Boston merchants, hoping it can replace the expensive tea from England. And, the Bostonians love it! Joshua proposes a hot chocolate cafe to help his friend Issac’s family earn money. Then, the two families celebrate Janucá, the Spanish word for Hanukkah, together with their own Boston Chocolate Party. I love this sweet story, the different perspective of colonial life than we usually read, and the Jewish representation! Back matter explains more about the Boston Tea Party, Hanukkah, the first Jews in the Americas, and colonial hot chocolate.
Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider: Based on a True Story by E.F. Abbott (ages 6 – 9)
To help her father’s regiment gather to fight the British, 16-year-old Sybil rides alone at night, calling for her father’s soldiers.
Revolutionary War on Wednesday (Magic Tree House 22) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca (ages 6 – 9)
The magic tree house takes Jack and Annie to the moment when General George Washington’s sneak attack is thwarted by bad weather. Jack and Annie know they must help him succeed or history will completely change courses. Read with the Nonfiction Companion to the Revolutionary War on Wednesday.
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 #15 by Lauren Tarshis (ages 7 – 10)
After trying to help a slave escape his uncle’s beating, Nate runs away to New York City where he finds himself at a military camp with American soldiers. He is only 11 but ends up in the middle of the Battle of Brooklyn. Fast-paced action plus historical facts will help readers experience the atmosphere of the time period.
Loyalty by Avi
Noah’s loyalist dad is killed from being tarred and feathered so his mom takes the family to an uncle’s house in Boston. There, to be loyal to his dad’s beliefs in the Crown, he becomes a spy at a tavern run by a free Black man named Jolla. Jolla opens Noah’s eyes to the hypocrisy of the Sons of Liberty who want freedom for themselves but not for slaves and the British Loyalists who own slaves and forcibly use slaves as soldiers. Noah realizes he needs to think for himself about to whom he is loyal — but it’s not an easy choice. Avi does an incredible job showing Noah’s inner turmoil and sharing the historical setting and events, this would be a great book club book!
The American Revolution: The Thrifty Guides Handbooks for Time Travelers by Jonathan W. Stokes (ages 8 – 12)
Written with tongue-in-cheek hilarity while also being boldly informative, this book imagines you’re traveling back through time (with a time machine) to The American Revolution. This book provides helpful hints about your odds of being hit by a musket along with information about the battles, casualties, and leadership. You’ll also learn:
- Where to find a decent hotel room
- How to dress
- What’s going on when you arrive
- Who is important
- Helpful hints
- Who to take out to lunch
(George Washington is sick of lunches with travelers so try Salem Poor or Betsy Ross instead.)
- Pranks to pull
(“If the Royal Navy stops for directions, send them to New Jersey“)
(“British and Americans Scoreboards of Killed, Wounded, and Captured”)
(“Map of Bunker Hill“)
George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff (ages 8 – 12)
When a group of kids use a magical rowboat, they’re transported back in time to the Revolutionary War. For modern kids like these (and the readers), war is an eye-opening experience, one they soon won’t forget. I haven’t read this since I taught fifth grade but remember it being entertaining and educational. You might also like Woodruff’s next book, George Washington’s Spy.
One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale (ages 10 – 13)
If your child likes graphic novels and cheesy humor, this story of the famous Revolutionary War spy may just appeal to them. I will be honest, this book isn’t my favorite. I like humor but in this case, it was too goof-ball / weird for me. And there is some bad language. But, if you think it will appeal to your child, no judgment here, read away.
The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 1777 (Dear America) by Kristiana Gregory (ages 8 – 12)
Part of the historical fiction series, Dear America, are diary entries of 11-year-old Abby’s life during the time of the Revolutionary War. Readers follow Abby’s experience helping Martha Washington do the soldier’s laundry and care for the sick during the hardest winter of the war; a time filled with challenges, pain, and blessings, too.
Sophia’s War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi (ages 8 – 12)
I like how the language in this novel feels appropriate for the time period. Plus, it’s action and history together which makes a great combo. Sophia, a Patriot, works as a maid and secret spy in the home of General Clinton, the British army’s commander. She discovers another spy, this one who is working against the Patriot army. But no one believes her about this spy so she must take matters into her own hands.
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen (ages 8 – 12)
When Samuel’s parents are taken prisoner by British soldiers and Iroquois and his neighbors are murdered, Samuel follows them, eventually ending in British-controlled New York. Along the way, he sees the awful realities of war, encounters dangerous people, and discovers there are many brave men and women allies, too. Paulsen deftly crafts an engaging story with an honorable main character who must face the horrible realities of war.
Chains, Forge, Ashes (Seeds of America) by Laurie Halse Anderson (ages 8 – 12)
I’m writing this after just closing Ashes, the final book of this historical fiction middle rade book series about the time of the Revolutionary War as experienced through the eyes of an African-American girl named Isabel and her friend, Cuzon. Enslaved, escaped, or enlisted, these two are determined survivors. The writing is amazing and the stories, captivating. I love and highly recommend these novels.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes (ages 8 – 12)
Winner of the 1944 Newbery. Johnny Tremain is a compelling story of an arrogant boy whose planned-out life suddenly changes due to an injury. He becomes a rider and message deliverer for The Boston Observer and the Sons of Liberty where he grows into a better version of himself — a courageous boy who values his country and freedom from the British and is willing to do his part in the fight.
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Thanks for the list. I have shared many of these books with students, and they love them. Woods Runner and Laurie Halse Anderson series beginning with Chains were my favorites. I have not read the one on Sybil Ludington; that can be on my summer reading list. I plan to look into some of the Civil War books as well.