Books Set in America's Past

The summer is filled with patriotic holidays for the United States, including Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day. This makes the summer an excellent time to look back at America's past, and these historical fiction books are a fun way to do so!


Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder's book about growing up in Wisconsin in the late nineteenth century has been a favorite with young readers since its publication in 1932, and it's easy to see why. The day-to-day life of the Ingalls family is fascinatingly foreign to modern readers, and offers a peek at the ordinary events of past ways of living not often explored in historical fiction. There are many books in the Little House series for those who enjoy the first installment, but the sequels deal with serious themes that might be a bit too intense for younger fans of Little House in the Big Woods. Recommended for middle grade readers ages 8-11.


Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

When young Rebecca moves from Sunnybrook Farm to her aunts' home in well-to-do Riverboro, she find it a big change. However, Rebecca soon settles in and starts to enjoy her new surroundings. The book deals with everyday life in the early 1900's in Maine and is very similar to its more famous Canadian cousin Anne of Green Gables, but predates the latter book by five years. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is in the public domain and available to read online for free at Project Gutenberg. Recommended for middle grade readers ages 8-11 and upper middle grade readers ages 11-14.



The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope

When Peggy Grahame moves in with her Uncle Enos at the family's colonial estate in upstate New York, she finds herself becoming acquainted with more family members than she expects--the house is haunted by the spirits of her ancestors, who tell Peggy tales of their adventures during the American Revolutionary War. An excellent young adult novel for teens who prefer history, fantasy, and light romance to angst and melodrama. Recommended for young adult readers ages 14 and up.