Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

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Looking For a Book About.. > Historical fiction for children

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message 1: by Edoardo (last edited Apr 30, 2015 05:34PM) (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments I'm delighted to say my eleven-year-old son has developed a great love for historical fiction. But, problem, there seems to be very little historical fiction for children out there. He's read Simon Scarrow's Gladiator series, which is for children, ripping through those in a few days, but I'm at a bit of a loss to suggest anything else.

Matthew (that's his name) would particularly like to read stories set in the sixteenth century and then the high and early medieval periods, but any other suggestions gratefully received. He tried Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries but didn't really like them.


message 2: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Simon Scarrow
Caroline Lawrence

Just a reminder to link the titles or author names.


message 3: by Kimber (last edited Apr 30, 2015 07:21PM) (new)

Kimber (kimberlibri) | 785 comments Check out the After Cilmeri series by Sarah Woodbury. It's alternative fiction but still gives a great overview of Medieval Wales. Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga The Crystal Cave, and H.M. Castor's VIIIare other choices.
Another suggestion is to dig thru Listopia on this site. Most of the Historical Fiction for Kids bring up things like the Little House on the Prairie books but there are some decent ones here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...
or other sites like:
http://www.bookworm4kids.com/Historic...

Good luck! I read a lot of Y.A. as a screener for the 6th graders in my mother's classroom. If I come across anything else suitable I'll let you know.


message 4: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Darcy wrote: "Simon Scarrow
Caroline Lawrence

Just a reminder to link the titles or author names."


Woops, sorry. Thanks for the reminder.


message 5: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Kimber wrote: "Check out the After Cilmeri series by Sarah Woodbury. It's alternative fiction but still gives a great overview of Medieval Wales. Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga [book:The Crystal C..."

Thank you, Kimber. The paucity of options does rather bear out what I thought though - there really is very little out there. I wonder why? Do publishers think children are not as interested in history as grown ups?


message 6: by Kayla (last edited Apr 30, 2015 11:08PM) (new)

Kayla De Leon (kayladeleon) Hmm...the Royal Diaries series is great but if you're not comfortable with letting your son read "girly books" then I'd definitely recommend The Magic Treehouse series. It's about a brother and a sister who get to travel through time and retrieve all sorts of stuff from the past.

Also, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very easy to understand even though it tackles a dark and difficult time in our history.


message 7: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Perhaps there just aren't enough authors willing to tackle history for young readers.

I've seen them on shelves at book shops, but can't offer a title or name of author; a young Robin Hood series and a young Sherlock series.

They don't necessarily fit the brief, but they might be a start if your son is into mysteries. There are other, I reckon Victorian/Edwardian era young reader mysteries too.

Another series starts with The Eagle of the Ninth - Romans though, not the era you're looking for. I haven't read them, but Rosemary Sutcliff's books inspire many of the adult Roman writers, so may be worthy of a try?


message 8: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Darcy wrote: "Perhaps there just aren't enough authors willing to tackle history for young readers.

I've seen them on shelves at book shops, but can't offer a title or name of author; a young Robin Hood series..."


I'm a big fan of Rosemary Sutcliffbut Matthew's tried The Eagle of the Ninthand didn't like it much. Another book he really enjoyed was Hero on a Bicyclebut there does seem to be a dearth of children's books for the eras he is particularly interested in. Maybe I should do something about that myself?


message 10: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Edoardo wrote: "Darcy wrote: "Perhaps there just aren't enough authors willing to tackle history for young readers.

I've seen them on shelves at book shops, but can't offer a title or name of author; a young Rob..."


Also, this might not be the right group to ask either. I mean, we all read historical fiction, but many of us don't read children/YA historical fiction, so it's possible there are some out there, but we're just not in the know.

Now, is he adverse to a little fantasy with his historical fiction? I suspect if he's okay with it, then the doors might open a bit more (i.e. the Kevin Crossley-Holland suggestion above).

There's also the My Story series. They are written by different authors and focus on an historical personage. I have one by Frances Mary Hendry (who writes for young readers, maybe see if she has anything on offer for your son) The '45 Rising: The Diary of Euphemia Grant, Scotland, 1745-1746

This is list of all the books in the My Story series and there are links to other similar series for non-British folk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Story...


message 11: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5208 comments I read a few HF books when I was a kid, so these suggestions will be a little dated. They also won't be in the eras requested as I didn't like them as much growing up.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch This book started my love of naval fiction.

Horned Helmet, Splintered Sword & War Dog by Henry Treece I'm pretty sure the love of vikings came first and then I found these books but I remember them being very good.

The Stronghold I remember loving the druid part of this story.


message 12: by Kimber (new)

Kimber (kimberlibri) | 785 comments The Copper Sign is the first of a series that might interest him. The first is about a female masquerading as a young boy but the second one has a boy protagonist in the time of King Henry VIII.


message 13: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments He may also like Brian Jacques' Redwall novels. They are faux medieval featuring a cast of animals, but my son loved them when he was that age. Just watch out for later books aimed at younger children. You want the ones starting with Martin the Warrior and Redwall.

16th-century for boys is harder, although I know some great books for girls. On other time periods there are classics like Johnny Tremain. The Light in the Forest may be a bit intense for an eleven-year-old.

Maybe a good pirate book? Anyone know a specific title or two?


message 14: by Codex (new)

Codex Regius (codex_regius) | 7 comments If Matthew should tolerate Vikings, I remember to have read quite a few when I was a teenager.


message 15: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments http://www.historicalnovels.info/Medi... this has a list of over 500 books from celtic to modern. Plenty to choose from.


message 16: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments To follow on from Dawn, the Ramageseries by Dudley Pope are very light and fast paced books to his interest.


message 17: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments Mark wrote: "http://www.historicalnovels.info/Medi... this has a list of over 500 books from celtic to modern. Plenty to choose from."

What a great link. I'd not heard of any of those books, but I like the diversity.


message 18: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Mark wrote: "http://www.historicalnovels.info/Medi... this has a list of over 500 books from celtic to modern. Plenty to choose from."

Thank you very much, Mark - that is very helpful.


message 19: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments C.P. wrote: "He may also like Brian Jacques' Redwall novels. They are faux medieval featuring a cast of animals, but my son loved them when he was that age. Just watch out for later books aimed at..."

Spot on with the Brian JacquesRedwall suggestions - Matthew's already read through most of them.


message 20: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1869 comments Edoardo wrote: "C.P. wrote: "He may also like Brian Jacques' Redwall novels. They are faux medieval featuring a cast of animals, but my son loved them when he was that age. Just watch out for later b..."

Still reading my way through those,very enjoyable


message 21: by Taylor (new)

Taylor The Children of the King is very good. It's about the Princes in the Tower. The book is geared toward pre-teens and has a very Enid Blyton feel to it.


message 22: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten (ringwraith10) | 9 comments I know I read a lot of historical fiction when I was a child! I just need to think of the titles... Of course, there's always the "Dear America" series (which is aimed at girls, but anyone can read them!). There was a sub-series that focused on royalty (not from America, of course) -- I think some he might like would include Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C. and Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466, to name a few.

Let's see, what else did I read...? Beware, Princess Elizabeth was memorable, but I think I got some incorrect facts from the book (though I may have misread it or mis-remembered).

Also, here are some listopia lists I found that might be helpful!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/6...

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/4...

I'll also add that there was a book that I loved called The Egypt Game, but I don't remember it very well and I don't know if it would be considered historical fiction.


message 23: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten (ringwraith10) | 9 comments Oh, I thought of another one: E.L. Konigsburg's A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver.


message 24: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 07, 2015 08:09PM) (new)

Terri | 19503 comments Has he tried some of the Classics? Such as The Three Musketeers

This is one I would recommend if he was willing to expand his time period into the 15th century. I really love this book.
Men of Iron Men of Iron by Howard Pyle

As Darcy said earlier, majority of our active members are readers of adult hist fic and we kind of struggle to remember seeing any ya hist fic.


message 25: by Stas (new)

Stas | 2 comments I highly recommend Catherine Jinks's Pagan series. The first book, Pagan's Crusade, is set in Jerusalem during the crusades and features Pagan as its quick-witted, cheeky 16-yo protagonist, squire to the knight Lord Roland. The third book, Pagan's Vows, my favourite, sees Pagan and Lord Roland become novices in a monastery, having renounced the sword.

I read this series several times in my early teens over a decade ago, and I have very fond memories of it. There's lots of mystery and adventure, humour, sadness and warmth.


message 26: by Stas (new)

Stas | 2 comments Warning, though, from memory it could be a little crude at times (Pagan is a teenage boy), and there was some occasional mild swearing. This didn't bother me, but we all have different standards.


message 27: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samanthajw) | 66 comments Have you tried the "I Survived" series? Also, I have a book featuring a 10 year old boy on the Titanic. Over the Deep


message 28: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Samantha wrote: "Have you tried the "I Survived" series? Also, I have a book featuring a 10 year old boy on the Titanic. Over the Deep"

Thanks for the recommendation, Samantha, and particularly for telling me about your book. I will look it up.


message 29: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3456 comments How about the Michael Ford Spartan Warrior series about the ancient Spartan boy. I enjoyed them myself.


message 30: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3456 comments Have him give this one a try: Michael Ford's Spartan Warriors series.
The Fire of Ares
Birth of a Warrior
Legacy of Blood


message 31: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Jane wrote: "Have him give this one a try: Michael Ford's Spartan Warriors series.
The Fire of Ares
Birth of a Warrior
Legacy of Blood"


Thank you very much, Jane! These look to be perfect for Matthew.


message 32: by Sanne (last edited Jun 17, 2016 02:21AM) (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 79 comments I grew up on a diet of children's hf fiction, mostly set in the periods your son is interested in as well. Seems like the Dutch children's book market is very different from the English one. I looked up some of my favourite authors to see if anything has been translated into English.

My favourite author was Thea Beckman. One book is available in English: Crusade in Jeans. It's a shame her other books haven't been translated, there's a great triology set in the Hundred Years War, and another good book about the crusades.

If your son is happy to read hf mixed with fantasy, let him try The Letter for the King and the sequel The Secrets of the Wild Wood. The setting is made up, but the world is a medieval one (without magic, if he's not into that).


message 33: by Msjodi777 (last edited Sep 21, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Msjodi777 | 38 comments Edoardo wrote: "I'm delighted to say my eleven-year-old son has developed a great love for historical fiction. But, problem, there seems to be very little historical fiction for children out there. He's read Simon..."

Again, coming to the party very late, but I just don't see any of the authors I read while I was teaching and running the library, so...

Scott O'Dell has a ton of books several of which are historical fiction: The King's Fifth, Sing Down the Moon, and Sarah Bishop being among my favorites.

The next would be Avi again, a prolific writer of children's fiction some of which are historical fiction: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merrimac, and the Crispin trilogy being among the best of these.

Elizabeth George Speare also writes great historical YA fiction, though her main characters tend to be female, she does have a couple of good male heros: Sign of the Beaver and The Bronze Bow are good examples of "heroes" while The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Calico Captive have female heroines.

As for the Dear America series, these are very good, geared mostly toward girls, but if you look, you can find quite a few that are mostly for boys - there was one about the internment camps in the US during WWII, and I think I read one about Guadalcanal, but it has been nearly 16 years since I stopped reading those, so I just don't remember any more.

These are all books an 11 to 13 year old boy will enjoy, though if you are going to get the Dear America books, check them before you purchase them, because some of them are more for 9 to 11 year olds.

Oh, and finally, a much older author who might be of interest is G A Henty who wrote for boys in the 10+ age group. He is all historical fiction, but he can get a little "long winded" - he is a contemporary of Charles Dickens and his style is similar - but his history is really good, and he writes about all time periods. Some of his books are: Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden, The Dragon and the Raven, or, The Days of King Alfred (loved this one), Beric the Briton; Under Drake's Flag: A Tale of the Spanish Main, Cat of Bubastes and For the Temple which was another of my favorites. You can get several of Henty's books at the Gutenberg Project online or on librivox if you want audios of them.

Hope this helps, I know there are a bunch more that I read when I was doing the library thing, but I just don't remember them now. <><


message 34: by Msjodi777 (new)

Msjodi777 | 38 comments Edoardo, was looking for a listing of the books in the Dear America series, and found out that the series for boys is My Name is America. Hope this helps. <><


message 35: by Msjodi777 (new)

Msjodi777 | 38 comments One more that I thought of: Black Horses for the King; it's an excellent book. <><


message 36: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Jane wrote: "Have him give this one a try: Michael Ford's Spartan Warriors series.
The Fire of Ares
Birth of a Warrior
Legacy of Blood"


Matthew's now read them all and loved them. Thank you, Jane.


message 37: by Edoardo (new)

Edoardo Albert | 31 comments Msjodi777 wrote: "Edoardo wrote: "I'm delighted to say my eleven-year-old son has developed a great love for historical fiction. But, problem, there seems to be very little historical fiction for children out there...."

Thank you, Msjodi. We'll certainly try some of those. Matthew probably won't be so interested in the American ones as we're British and he tends towards British and European ancient, medieval and Renaissance as his favourite periods. There's lots of authors in your list new to to us, so we'll try them. Thank you again.


message 38: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3296 comments I started reading historical fiction at about age 9 and, apart from Rosemary Sutcliffe there wasn't any for children, so I read adult books and enjoyed them.

Will cast my mind back to what I read, and see if I can dredge up some books from memory.


message 39: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3296 comments Ah. Mary Renault

I first read The Praise Singer when I was 10. Her other ancient period books, and her Thesus series are all excellent,.


message 40: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments I read Ivanhoe when I was arond ten...I remember I lked it.


message 41: by Msjodi777 (new)

Msjodi777 | 38 comments Edoardo wrote: "Matthew probably won't be so interested in the American ones as we're British and he tends towards British and European ancient, medieval and Renaissance as his favourite periods...."

oooo... start him on the Henty books... Henty is British and sees things from the British perspective... one of my favorite Henty books is True to the Old Flag which is about the US revolutionary war, from the other side... in fact, if it is still on librivox, you will note that I read a chapter or two for them.... made me realize that I am NOT a narrator... LOL However, as someone who grew up in the US, it was especially interesting to me to read that one, because it brought out things that I had never thought of before. Good luck, just let us know if you need more.... <><


message 42: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments Mmmmm.....do you think I maybe THOUGHT I liked it but actually I didn't understand a word??? ;)


message 43: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3456 comments Simona wrote: "Mmmmm.....do you think I maybe THOUGHT I liked it but actually I didn't understand a word??? ;)"

Simona wrote: "Mmmmm.....do you think I maybe THOUGHT I liked it but actually I didn't understand a word??? ;)"

Or, did you read a bowdlerized/simplified edition for young people or "Classic Comics"? :)


message 44: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments No I didn't....not allowed at home. The idea was, "if you don't understand, just ask".
I think it worked.


message 45: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3456 comments I was just being silly. I admire the fact you can read in English and understand.


message 46: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments No no wait. At the time, I read a translation!!!


message 47: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3296 comments Simona wrote: "No I didn't....not allowed at home. The idea was, "if you don't understand, just ask".
I think it worked. "


My home was the same. My father disapproved of talking down to children.

I do remember shocking the heck out of a substitute teacher when I was 10 - I was reading the Robert Graves translation of the Iliad. :)


message 48: by Msjodi777 (new)

Msjodi777 | 38 comments I'm getting a kick out of some of this last discussion about whether or not a younger child can understand books normally read by older children or adults. I suppose part of my interest is the fact that my 5 year old kindergartener is reading at a third grade level, but his teacher thinks he does not understand what he is reading.

Those of us who know him, know that he is fairly shy and doesn't like to be questioned about what he reads; however, if you sit and discuss the book with him, you soon see that he understands perfectly well what he has read.

We are another family who disapprove of talking down to children, mostly because when my older son was born, I had a friend who had a daughter within 2 weeks of when I had Drew. She talked baby talk to her daughter all the time, just mindless sounds over and over, and never really talked to her. Needless to say, Drew started talking well over a year before her child did... Children understand a lot more than you think they do, and for the most part are not afraid to ask questions. I think that is one of the reasons I like the G a Henty G a Henty books. He talks to the reader like he is sitting right there with you, and never talks down to you. His books were written for pre-teens and early teens, and help them to understand what the world was like when history was happening. <><


message 49: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1447 comments I agree.


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