One of my favorite times of the week is my time with the 4th and 5th grade book club at my school. We meet on Wednesdays at 1:20 and have trouble getting them to leave the library before my preschool class comes for their library time at 2pm. Today, instead of talking about our slate of books we’re reading this fall (more to come on that), we chose the books that we’ll read in January when we read historical fiction books.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, because I love learning about other times and other cultures. It wasn’t hard for me to create a great list of 10 books from my library. I presented these books to my students and had them vote on their top six choices for the book club. These books will be available to them during the month of January (and yes, some of them will read all six books). The choices they were given were:
- Under a War Torn Sky, by L.M. Elliot (World War II)
- Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry (World War II)
- My Name is Keoko, by Linda Sue Park (World War II)
- Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai (Vietnam War)
- A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata (Vietnam War)
- Sophia’s War, by Avi (Revolutionary War)
- My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier (Revolutionary War)
- The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis (Depression)
- Eliza’s Freedom Road, by Jerdine Nolen (1850s)
- Jefferson’s Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (1780s-1790s)
We talked about why authors often pick times of war or conflict as settings for historical fiction. Then, the students had a chance to look at each of the books and discuss them before they voted on their top six choices to include in the book club “library”.
And the winners were – in order of preference: Eliza’s Freedom Road (winner), Inside Out and Back Again, Jefferson’s Sons, My Brother Sam is Dead, Number the Stars, A Million Shades of Gray. In my opinion, they really can’t go wrong with any of these titles.
Next month, when my students choose the books they’ll read, I’ll be excited to hear what attracted them to the books they selected and what they thought about the books. Stay tuned!