Historical Fiction -- Colonial Era & Revolutionary War

(Includes stories based in Upstate New York)


New York City has to be one of the greatest places in America, if not the world. Luckily for us, many authors have chronicled The Big Apple's antics in a way just right for kids.

Here are some of the books available. This is not yet a complete list, but I'm adding books to the list daily. If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to Amazon.com. As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The categories below are sorted by approximate age group and topical categories. Feel free to browse around. The same links are located on the left side of your screen. To return back to this page, simply click on the "Welcome" link on the left.

If this website came up without frames, click here to see the complete "New York City Books for Kids" website with frames.

For history books, go to the New York History Books: Colonial Period and Revolutionary War Page


Books for Beginning Readers



Small Wolf
(An I Can Read Book, Level 3, Grades 2-4)

by Nathaniel Benchley
Awards:
  • Best Children's Books for Spring 1972 (SLJ)
  • Children's Books of 1972 (Library of Congress)

    When Small Wolf encounters settlers on the Island of Hills, now known as Manhattan, he learns that their ideas about owning land are much different from his. As timely as when it was first published in 1972, this poignant story about the impact of European settlers on Native American people is even more dramatic in this new full color edition.

    Description from Publisher

    Poignancy and honesty mark the fictional account of the displacement of Native Americans from the island of Manhattan. Small Wolf and his tribe must flee their home to accommodate the greedy newcomers' inhospitable notions about the ownership of land. Now paired with detailed, full-color illustrations -- which, unfortunately, depict Small Wolf and his father as wearing only loincloths in all but the severest weather -- Benchley's text offers newly independent readers a grave glimpse of American history

    Description from Horn Book

  • Redcoats and Petticoats

    By Katherine Kirkpatrick
    When the American Revolution arrives in Thomas Strong's sleepy Long Island village, his life is turned upside down. His church becomes a British fort and Redcoats are quartered in his home. But worst of all, his father is arrested and taken away. It's no wonder that Thomas's mother seems to have been affected in the head. She washes and rewashes handkerchiefs and petticoats and sends Thomas on peculiar and dangerous errands. At first Thomas doesn't know what to make of his mother, but as he keeps his eyes and ears open, he begins to suspect that things are not necessarily as they seem.

    Katherine Kirkpatrick's exciting story is based on the Setauket Spy Ring that operated on Long Island from 1778 to 1784. Ronald Himler's dramatic watercolor illustrations bring this pivotal period of U.S. history to life for contemporary readers. Maps and historical notes are included.

    Description from Publisher

    Basing the book on true incidents and real people of the Revolutionary War, Kirkpatrick (Trouble's Daughter) recreates the actions of a Patriot spies begun by Robert Townsend and assisted by strong-willed, cool-headed Nancy Strong in the little town of Setauket, New York; Nancy used her clothesline and petticoats to signal the location, spotted by her son, of a whaleboat that would transport a vital letter about British battle plans directly to General George Washington. The complete spy ring route, which carried crucial information from British-occupied New York City to Patriot-held Connecticut, is depicted in a colorful map at the conclusion of the book; the detailed historical notes that follow will intrigue those interested in learning about the strong men and women who were instrumental in changing the nation's history. Himler's splendid watercolor paintings illustrate the danger involved in trying to foil the Loyalists and the daily threat of exposure that was faced by the Setauket spies.

    Description from Kirkus Reviews

    Sybil's Night Ride

    By Karen B. Winnick
    In this picture book, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington races along the dark forest road on her horse, Star, proving herself a brave patriot. Daughter of a colonel in the Revolutionary fight, Sybil is inspired by her father's courage to alert his 400 troops that the British are burning Danbury, New York. On hearing Sybil's alarm, the men muster at Ludington's and are able to help push back the Redcoats. Intensifying the innate drama of the ride are an episode of a deer darting across the messengers' path, and a close call with a Loyalist who would have foiled Sybil's plan. Winnick uses muted earthy colors in her artwork, applying them with a gouache-like texture that evokes the feeling of the flashing white raindrops cutting through the black night and pelting down on Sybil and Star. Details in the text and illustrations, and an archival map of Sybil's route, reinforce this story of a little-known historic episode, which will make a good companion to Katherine Kirkpatrick's Redcoats and Petticoats.

    Description from Booklist

    This picture book biography of Sybil Ludington focuses on one isolated event that quite possibly changed the course of the American Revolution. Sybil, the daughter of Henry Ludington, an aide to General Washington, was sixteen at the time of the War and volunteered to give her best to the American cause. With courage and spunk, she rode her horse, Colt, on a dangerous forty-five mile trek through rain and darkness to call soldiers to muster to push the British back from Connecticut toward the south. Her willingness to undertake such an arduous journey shows the determination and strength of this young colonial woman. Today, the path of Sybil's journey is marked by historical markers and can be traced via automobile. Winnick's text is more appealing than most of her flat one-dimensional oil paintings, although her paintings of the nighttime scenes offer the reader an opportunity to share in Sybil's fear and determination. The patterns of the canvas add to the intrigue of these scenes, as well. Children will be drawn to the easy conversational tone and the mystery that surrounds Sybil's daring adventure. This biography would be a good addition to a collection that supports the study of the Revolutionary War. It is also a good addition to a collection that features women heroines. The one disappointing feature of the book is the endpaper map of the path of Sybil's ride, which is unfocused and difficult to read. The gray map sets the tone for the story, but is not easily traced.

    Description from Children's Literature

    Charlotte

    By Janet Lunn
    In this true tale of the American Revolution, Janet Lunn tells the story of Charlotte Haines, a young girl who must face one of the cruel realities of war family division. Tensions mount in the aftermath of the rebel victory in New York. Charlottes father supports the rebel Patriots and has broken all ties with the Empire. A stubborn man, he even shuns his own brother, a Loyalist. Forbidden to see her cousins who are only hours away from their departure for what would become Canada, Charlotte must make a difficult decision.

    Description from Publisher

    Based on a true story, this unusual picture book takes readers back to New York City in 1783. Ten-year-old Charlotte has a dilemma. Her father, who supported the colonists during the Revolution, feuds with his brother, a Loyalist. He has forbidden Charlotte to speak with her uncle, aunt, and cousins. Now that the war is over, Loyalists are being transported to Nova Scotia. Charlotte slips away from the slave who escorts her to school and runs off to say goodbye to her beloved relatives. When she returns home, her father bars her way at the gate, saying, "You have made your choice. I never wish to see your traitorous face again." Shaken, Charlotte returns to her aunt and uncle, who take her to live with them in Canada. An afterword briefly tells what happened to Charlotte Haines, who never saw her father, mother, or brother again. Illustrated with luminous paintings of dramatic scenes, this book looks accessible to young children, but that age group may be frightened by the fact that a child could be banished from her home and country for a single act of disobedience. The book will be more meaningful to middle-graders, who may find Charlotte's punishment a shock, but will at least know something about the period. They will certainly learn more here. Slaves in the North? Loyalists shipped off to Canada? Banishment of children? This dramatic story is a far cry from the usual Revolutionary War tale in which children perform small, quiet acts of bravery in the patriotic cause. Intriguing and emotionally wrenching, this provides clear-cut depictions of good and evil. And if the American patriot is the villain for a change, that in itself is a matter for discussion.

    Description From Booklist

    The Matchlock Gun

    By Walter D. Edmonds

    Awards:
      Newbery Medal
    In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came? This classic, first published in 1941, has an updated, kid-friendly format that includes the original black-and-white illustrations.

    Description from Publisher


    Jalani and the Lock

    By Lorenzo Pace
    Pace's picture book tells the history of slavery for young children with a few simple words and big, childlike illustrations. It begins almost like a scary fairy tale. A little boy named Jalani loved to play in the forest. One day a strange man comes and takes him away in a boat to a far-off land, locking him in chains and forcing him to work. Jalani never plays again. After many years, freedom comes, but he keeps his lock, which he passes on to his grandchildren to pass on. Background notes on the last page, which will interest a much older audience, explain that the lock is real. It originally shackled Pace's great-great grandfather, and a bronze replica of it is interred in Pace's African Burial Ground Memorial Sculpture in New York City. The details about the memorial and the burial ground will move children and those who read to them as much as the elemental history of the child torn from home.

    Description from Booklist

    Noted sculptor Pace makes a stunning children's book debut. Disarming in its simplicity, his narrative conveys complex themes in a fairy tale structure. "A long time ago in Africa," reads the left-hand page of the first spread, opposite a childlike outline of the continent in orange, clearly labeled, which vibrates against a cherry-red background. The next two spreads continue, "a little boy named Jalani/ loved to play in the forest." Jalani's smiling face dominates his portrait; the forest is a grove of lollipop trees. In these three spreads, Pace introduces the key elements of his story. Like other classic fairy tales, the forest, once a child's magical kingdom, becomes a source of terror; this is the scene where "a strange man came and took him away." Pace marks Jalani's transition into life as a captive in America with a single word, "Locks," paired with the image of a padlock so carefully rendered that it seems to be animated on the page. The compositions depict Jalani's fellow field hands but never his oppressors, and his memories sustain him until he is finally freed. He keeps the lock, however, and hands it down to his eldest son "so they would never forget from where they all came." Based on the biography of Pace's own great-great-grandfather, the volume ends with a photograph of the lock. In his choice to adhere to a child's vocabulary and view of the world, Pace conveys the childlike hope that kept Jalani and his past alive.

    Description from Publishers Weekly




    Books for Older Readers



    Saratoga Secret

    By Betsy Sterman
    In this suspenseful novel set in New York of 1777, the events swirling around the Battles of Saratoga propel a young American girl into a dramatic test of her courage, loyalty, and love. When a secret letter falls into the hands of sixteen-year-old Amity Spencer, the ordinary farm girl is thrust upon a dangerous journey to pass the letter to the Continental Army. On the lookout for spies and traitors, she must also puzzle out her feelings for a handsome peddler with secrets of his own.

    Description from Publisher

    Sixteen-year-old Amity Spencer lives near Saratoga, New York, in the tumultuous time leading up to the pivotal Revolutionary War battle waged there. Amity must deliver an important message to the Continental troops that will reveal the British Army's intentions. But she must reveal nothing to the man she hopes to marry, who appears to be a British spy. Best for its exciting plot, evocation of the period, and wonderful readability.

    Description from Horn Book

    The author of Backyard Dragon and Too Much Magic here ventures into the realm of realistic historical fiction. Sixteen-year-old Amity Spencer and her family live in the Upper Hudson River Valley in 1777. Although most of the Revolution has been south of their farm, rumors persist that General Burgoyne and his troops will attack the area. When Amity accidentally learns the date of Burgoyne's invasion, she must travel to Stillwater to warn the Continentals. Sterman does a good job intertwining the fact and fiction of her story (carefully delineating which is which) in a way that readers will appreciate. She touches on both the realities of war (and the surprising things people must do in order to survive) and the uncertainties of knowing who to trust. A satisfying romance as well as a suspenseful adventure, this one should appeal to fans of Seymour Reit's Guns for General Washington, which tells a related story featuring Fort Ticonderoga.

    Description from Booklist

    Samuel's Choice

    By Richard J. Berleth
    Fact and fiction are woven together seamlessly to create this richly textured story of a 14-year-old black slave during the early days of the American Revolution. Samuel works from dawn to dark in the Brooklyn flour mill owned by the stingy, strict Isaac van Ditmas. When ferrying his master's wife and daughter to Staten Island, Samuel gazes at the soaring seagulls and wonders what it would be like to be free. A very effective parallel emerges as Samuel and van Ditmas's other slaves hear the sounds of drums, fifes and cannons driftng across the water from Manhattan, signaling the colonists' determination to win their freedom from England. Samuel seizes an opportunity to come to their aid, and performs a heroic act that enables General Washington's weary troops to escape from the victorious British after the Battle of Long Island. Samuel's first-person narrative is at once affecting and informative, making this a history lesson that readers will absorb with their hearts as well as their minds. Filled with the strife of wartime, Watling's dramatic paintings enhance the story's power.

    Description from Publishers Weekly

    Berleth describes in simple, undramatic language the story of Samuel, a black 14-year-old who belongs to a Dutch Tory in 1776 Brooklyn and whose life is one of heavy labor. He longs for freedom, and his flagging courage is renewed by his fiery friend Sana, a fellow slave. Samuel watches as Washington's ragged army marches forth to engage the British on Long Island. In the midst of a furious storm he makes the decision to take his owner's boat across the East River, dragging a rope to guide the army across to Manhattan, and the rebels escape. Thus, this dark low point in American history is transformed into a triumph, as Samuel earns his freedom. Watling's watercolors on almost every page give chilling life to a despairing rebel army. Samuel's initial uncertainty and his later resolution are beautifully portrayed. If students say history is boring, give them this book.

    Description from School Library Journal

    Trouble's Daughter: The Story of Susanna Hutchinson, Indian Captive

    By Katherine Kirkpatrick
    Susanna Hutchinson is the youngest child of Anne Hutchinson, who was exiled from her Boston community for her radical stand on religious freedom. The family eventually settled on Long Island Sound (today's Co-op City).

    In 1633, Susanna is 9 years old when Lenape Indians massacre her family and take her captive. Despite the massacre, the Lenape treat her well, and she grows to love them, particularly the wise woman of the tribe who reminds Susanna of her mother Anne. Susanna discovers her own visionary powers and uses them to help her adopted people, until, at 14, she is devastated to learn she has been ransomed by a brother and must return to colonial society.

    Description from Publisher

    With this compelling saga, Kirkpatrick comes to the forefront as a historical novelist. In 1663, Susanna Hutchinson, daughter of religious firebrand Anne Hutchinson, moved with her family to the wilds of Long Island so her mother would not be persecuted for her beliefs and public statements. Not long after, Lenape warriors massacre the family and take Susanna hostage. Susanna's evolution from hostile, frightened prisoner to member of the tribe through her transition back to white society is both detailed and credible (although Kirkpatrick explains that, except for one, the Indian characters come from her imagination). The extended author's note tells how Kirkpatrick did her research; that it was extensive shows in the book's rich detail. There is even an appended list of Lenape words and pronunciations. But all the research in the world wouldn't have helped had the telling been ineffective. Happily, Kirkpatrick not only spins a good story, but she also successfully makes readers understand what is happening inside Susanna's head as she tries to come to terms with the fact that the man who murdered her mother is also her rescuer and, in the tribe, her father. Readers will go through the emotional adjustment process with her, making this a book in which children do more then just view history--they see themselves.

    Description from Booklist

    Based on actual events in the life of Susanna Hutchinson, this is the compelling story of a young girl torn by divided loyalties. In 1633, religious freedom acitvist Anne Hutchinson unwittingly moved her family into the center of a war between the Dutch and the native tribes of Long Island. Soon after, her nine-year-old daughter, Susanna, becomes the sole survivor of a brutal Native American massacre. Taken prisoner and then adopted into the Lenape tribe, Susanna fights the native ways. Hated by some, a curiosity to others, Susanna is drawn to Som-kay, the tribal medicine woman. As Som-kay guides her through the ways of the Lenape, Susanna begins to develop an appreciation and eventually affection for her new family. Although her own emerging psychic powers trouble and occasionally scare her, Susanna begins to recognize both the uniqueness and universality of different cultures. After nearly five years with the Lenape, she is reunited with older relatives and once again must struggle with new customs and ways.

    Kirkpatrick tells a gripping tale of a young girl struggling with grief, maturation, loss, and reclamation. While Susanna's coming-of-age story may be more gripping than some, her endurance and survival of personal tragedy brought her an understanding and sense of peace not found by many. Although historical in setting, this is a tale of hope for young adult readers today. Historical notes and a Lenape pronunciation guide are included.

    Description from VOYA

    In this rich and engrossing fictional account of actual events, nine-year-old Susanna is captured by the Lenape after witnessing the massacre of her family and spends the next four years as a member of the tribe. Initially not wanting to "become an Indian," she holds the murder of her family close to her heart, attempts escape, and resists learning the Lenape language. She gains strength from her memories of her famous mother, Anne Hutchinson, the strong-willed and outspoken 17th-century heretic. Gradually, Susanna learns to communicate and partially accepts her new identity as Mee-pahk ("Pretty Leaf"). She finds a strength similar to her mother's in the wise medicine woman, Som-kway, and enjoys the friendship of her sister, Sa-kat. Susanna comes to recognize the inherent humanity of her new family, despite radical cultural differences, and discovers one day, somewhat to her dismay, that she "could no longer hate" them. When arrangements are made to trade her back to her white family, she does not wish to leave the Place of Stringing Beads. Susanna is a heroine after her mother's blood: strong and visionary. Readers will avidly follow her physical and spiritual development as she moves through incomprehension and anguish to self-discovery and an appreciation of Lenape life. The people and culture are warmly realized with a wealth of careful detail and sensitivity that make the characters and sense of place memorable. Top-notch historical fiction.

    Description from School Library Journal

    Sarah Bishop

    By Scott O'Dell

    Awards:
  • Tennessee Children's Choice Book Award Nominee. 1980/81
  • Mark Twain Award Nominee. 1982
  • Fifteen-year-old Sarah lives on a little Long Island farm at the outbreak of the War for Independence. Her brother defies his Tory father and leaves to join the patriot army. Soon her father dies for his Tory sentiments. Finding herself a homeless orphan, Sarah goes to the crowded young city of New York. There she finds herself accused by the British of a crime she did not commit. Fleeing for her life, Sarah finds a cave in the wood about 50 miles north of the city. The cave becomes her wilderness refuge. Drawing on strengths and skills she had not known she possessed, she begins to shape a new life.

    Description from scottodell.com

    Voyage of the Half Moon

    By Tracey West
    A fictionalized account of Henry Hudson's third attempt to find the Northwest Passage, sailing up what will come to be known as the Hudson River, accompanied by his twelve-year-old son.

    Description from Publisher

    Daughter of Liberty: A True Story of the American Revolution by Robert M. Quackenbush
    A chance encounter with General George Washington in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War leads a young woman to volunteer for a dangerous mission involving the retrieval of valuable papers.

    When Wyn Mabie almost ran over the stranger with her horse, she never could have guessed the effect it would have on the future of the nation. That stranger was General George Washington, whose headquarters had just been taken by the British. Hidden there were papers crucial to the success of the American army. But who could possibly make such a journey, sneak past British forces, and retrieve the papers? Wyn knows instantly that she must volunteer for this dangerous mission, for her family - and for her new country. Thus begins a thrilling real-life adventure that is set during the American Revolution and is based on a story from the author's family history. It is a story of patriotism, courage, and determination that is destined to become an instant classic.

    Description from Publisher

    The Hessian's Secret Diary

    By Lisa Banim
    It's 1776, and young Peggy Van Brundt chafes at her mother's warning to stay out of the woods near their Brooklyn, New York, farmhouse. She disobeys and stumbles upon a dangerous secret: a wounded Hessian is hiding there. By helping the man, Peggy jeopardizes her family's welfare, but all ends well. Fast paced and mildly suspenseful, this short chapter book offers a believable story set against a colorful historical backdrop. The full-page pencil-and-wash artwork illustrates the story effectively. The book ends with several pages of "historical postscript," making the setting more meaningful by filling in the background of time and place and allowing readers to place Peggy's adventures within a broader context.

    Description from Booklist

    With the Red Coats swarming around the Van Brunt family's farm and her brothers off to battle for the Americans, young Peggy Van Brunt is anxious to be a part of the action. She sneaks outside, against her parents' orders, and finds herself on the trail of a wounded soldier who has dropped a small diary while fleeing from her. Is he a Red Coat or a Patriot? And who is he hiding from?. Lisa Banim's The Hessian's Secret Diary is a truly riveting story based on 1776 "The Battle of Long Island" and is very nicely illustrated in black-and-white by James Watling.

    Description from Midwest Book Review

    Hope's Crossing

    By Joan Elizabeth Goodman
    Loyalists to King George attack the Wakeman house in Fairfield, Connecticut, expecting to capture Captain Wakemen, only to find he's gone to help George Washington-so they take his thirteen-year-old daughter instead, hoping to exchange her for the General. The plan fails, and Hope soon finds herself trapped on Long Island with one of her captors. The captor's mother, Mother Thomas, befriends Hope and, aware of the cruelty of her son, helps Hope escape to New York City. Unable to find transportation to Connecticut, Mother Thomas and Hope are helped by some kind people, but unfortunately they both come down with smallpox and Mother Thomas dies. Remembering her father's admonition to "be brave," which Mother Thomas also echoed, Hope (now taken in by the sister-in-law of a British general) must plan her own escape. Aided by a friend of Mother Thomas, Hope bravely conquers her fear of heights, escapes New York, and is reunited with her family. In the midst of one calamity after another, a picture of life during the Revolutionary War works hard to appear here. Through Hope's eyes we see inhumanity, kindness, sacrifice, violence, and suffering. In addition, while many were affected adversely, others, as portrayed by the sister-in-law of the British general, continued to live lives of excess. Unfortunately, the writing lacks polish. The author attempts to use words associated with the times but fails to be consistent; she starts with "ye" and "tis," and every so often drops a few into conversations, but occasionally more modern language appears (i.e., "done in"). Young girls may get caught up in Hope's adventures, which are loosely based on an actual event. This novel gives a different view of the war from Scott O'Dell's Sarah Bishop and Ann Rinaldi's books.

    Description from VOYA

    When 12-year-old Hope's father leaves his family behind in answer to General Washington's summons, he admonishes her to be brave. They have no way of knowing that within days her courage will be severely tested. Late one night, their homestead is attacked by Loyalist raiders in search of her father. Not finding him, they take Hope instead and burn the place to the ground, setting a terror-stricken girl upon a difficult journey during which she is forced into a variety of roles simply to survive. Eventually, she and Mother Thomas, her captor's mother (who had been treated little better than Hope), escape together, eventually ending up in New York City, a Loyalist stronghold, where she pretends to be the woman's Loyalist granddaughter. After the elderly woman dies of smallpox and Hope becomes deathly ill but survives, she finds herself recuperating in the home of a Tory general. With the aid of a friend of Mother Thomas, the girl secretly flees the general's house and makes her way home. Hope exhibits tremendous resourcefulness and steadfastness. Because she meets so many kind, warmhearted people while living among the Tories, she learns that the enemy wears a very human face. This story is rich with the details of life during the Revolutionary War. The discussion of the treatment of smallpox, particularly the primitive inoculation practices of the time, do not often appear in young people's novels. While Hope's character lacks the emotional depth of some of Ann Rinaldi's protagonists, her adventures should be popular.

    Description from School Library Journal

    Once on This River

    By Sharon Dennis Wyeth
    Now in Knopf Paperback--the riveting historical novel of a young black girl's shocking discovery of her true heritage. The first eleven years of Monday de Groot's life have been virtually untouched by slavery. But all that changes when Monday and her mother leave the safety of Madagascar and set sail for New York. The year is 1760, and Monday's uncle has been illegally enslaved by a wealthy Dutch family. Only Monday's mother holds the key to his freedom--and a secret book that could change Monday's life forever.

    Description from Publisher

    Raid at Red Mill

    By Mary McGahan
    At the close of the Revolutionary War in 1782, no one seems concerned about the recent raids on their neighbors except fourteen-year-old Anne Mott. But when a family friend is followed back to the Mott's Westchester mill after a secret trading mission to New York City, Anne is sure their home will be the next to be hit by the infamous Tory raiders. She determines to find a way to protect her family and home.

    Description from Publisher

    Treason Stops at Oyster Bay

    By Anna Leah Sweetzer
    When the British seize control of Long Island in 1776, the Townsend family is forced to play host to British troops, and teenaged Sally is torn between loyalty to the rebels and a handsome British colonel.

    Description from Publisher

    Teenager Sally Townsend is shocked and dismayed to learn that British soldiers have taken over her Long Island home, demanding that her family board them for the duration of the Revolutionary War. At first she is repulsed by the officers' rude behaviors, but later she finds herself attracted to the courtly Colonel Simcoe. Then she overhears important information and must choose whether or not to pass it along to her brother, Robert, a Patriot spy. Sweetzer does a good job of portraying the plight of colonists forced to host British troops and the resulting ambivalence that developed.

    Description from Booklist

    With the British occupation of Long Island in 1776, fifteen-year-old Sally Townsend and her Patriot family find themselves forced to host British soldiers in their home. While wartime details take a backseat to Sally's romance with a British colonel, the fast-moving--if melodramatic--chapters and the protagonist's quandary over her divided loyalties will appeal to junior-high historical fiction/romance devotees.

    Description from Horn Book

    Who Is Carrie?

    By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
    Carrie has been a kitchen slave in Sam Fraunces's tavern in New York City for as long as she can remember. But after she narrowly escapes a kidnapper, Carrie becomes more curious about her mysterious past. After all, she doesn't even know her own last name.

    When her friend Dan Arabus comes to town, he talks about his dream of buying his mother's freedom with the Continental notes his father left him. Deciding to help Dan discover how much the notes are worth, Carrie finds herself eavesdropping on Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and President Washington himself. What's more, Carrie also stumbles upon the startling truth about her own family.

    Description from Publisher

    War Comes to Willy Freeman

    By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
    Willy Freeman's life changes forever when she witnesses her father's death at the hands of the Redcoats and returns home to find that the British have taken her mother as a prisoner to New York City.

    Willy, disguised as a boy, begins her long search for her mother and luckily finds a haven at the famous Fraunces Tavern. But even with the help of Sam Fraunces and her fellow worker, Horace, Willy knows that to be black, female, and free leaves her open to danger at every turn. What will tomorrow bring?

    Description from Publisher

    Toliver's Secret

    By Esther Wood Brady
    When her grandfather is injured, 10-year-old Ellen Toliver replaces him on a top-secret patriotic mission. Disguised as a boy, she manages to smuggle a message to General George Washington.

    Description from Publisher

    Phoebe the Spy

    By Judith Berry Griffin
    Someone is planning to kill George Washington, and young Phoebe Fraunces is trying to save his life. Phoebe gets a job as George Washington's housekeeper, but her real job is to work as a spy. She listens and watches very carefully, and she meets her father every day to tell him what she has learned. One day Phoebe's father tells her that Washington is planning to leave town in a few days, and the person plotting against him will act before then. Phoebe is very frightened, but she is determined to figure out who is after Washington before it's too late. . . .

    Description from Publisher

    The Arrow over the Door

    By Joseph Bruchac
    To fourteen-year-old Samuel Russell, called coward for his peace-loving Quaker beliefs, the summer of 1777 is a time of fear. The British and the Patriots will soon meet in battle near his home in Saratoga, New York. The Quakers are in danger from roaming Indians and raiders--yet to fight back is not the Friends' way. To Stands Straight, a young Abenaki Indian on a scouting mission for the British, all Americans are enemies, for they killed his mother and brother. But in a Quaker Meetinghouse he will come upon Americans unlike any he has ever seen. What will the encounter bring? Based on a real historical incident, this fast-paced and moving story is a powerful reminder that the way of peacecan be walked by all human beings.

    Description from Publisher

    Fourteen-year-old Samuel Russell hates being called a coward because he is a Quaker, and he vows to defend his family if Loyalists or Indians try to harm them. Stands Straight, an Abenaki boy whose mother and brother were murdered by white men, has joined his uncle's scouting party, though he questions why Indians should fight in the white man's war. In alternating narratives, the two boys tell this quietly compelling story, which is based on an actual incident that took place in 1777, just before the Battle of Saratoga. As Samuel's family sits in the meeting with the rest of the Quaker congregation, the Indian scouting party to which Stands Straight belongs surrounds the cabin. Stands Straight follows his uncle Sees-the-Wind inside, and after being assured that there are no weapons in the cabin, the Abenakis leave their bows and arrows outside and sit with the Quakers in silence. At the end of the meeting, the Quakers and the Indians share the handshake of peace, and Sees-the-Wind places an arrow over the cabin's door to show the Abenakis that the Quakers are people of peace. Simple black-and-white drawings reflect the dignified tone of the story, which explores the complexities of the Indian-white relationship, focusing on two lesser-known groups who were involved in the conflict. An author's note provides thorough historical background about the incident, as well as a brief history of the Quakers and the Abenakis. A truly excellent example of historical fiction for the middle-grade/junior-high audience.

    Description from Booklist

    Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution

    By Seymour Reit
    Seymour Reit re-creates the true story of Will Knox, a nineteen-year-old boy who undertook the daring and dangerous task of transporting 183 cannons from New York's Fort Ticonderoga to Boston--in the dead of winter-to help George Washington win an important battle.

    Description from Publisher

    The importance and usefulness of the historical fiction genre shines in this well-written, accurate account of a turning point in the American Revolution. Not many children are aware of the strife and courage that took place to keep our young country in this war against the British. This story is based upon the events that helped save Boston and gave the strength and will for General Washington and his troops to carry on. The Knox brothers were like many others in the army, becoming cold and frustrated with the lack of action in the standstill war. Both sides were short on supplies and a waiting game developed about who would resupply and strike first. Will Knox devised a seemingly impossible plan to leave Boston for Fort Ticonderoga, NY to bring back 183 cannons to fight the British. The plan was approved, and so began the epic struggle to transport the weapons across 300 miles of mountainous rugged terrain in the middle of winter. They were not only fighting the elements of winter, no roads and the unforgiving terrain, but also needed to get back to Boston before the British troops resupplied and took over their stronghold. Amazingly, the team made it and was able to save their country in time. The combination of pride and unlimited determination in the fight to create our country makes this a wonderful addition for students of this time period. A map of the route is included in the front of the book.

    Description from Children's Literature

    Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison

    By Lois Lenski

    Awards:
    • 1942 Newbery Honor book

    In this classic frontier adventure, Lois Lenski reconstructs the real life story of Mary Jemison, who was captured in a raid as young girl and raised amongst the Seneca Indians. Meticulously researched and illustrated with many detailed drawings, this novel offers an exceptionally vivid and personal portrait of Native American life and customs.

    Description from Publisher

    Mary Jemison: White Woman of the Seneca

    By Rayna M. Gangi
    Basing her novel on Mary Jemison's own account of her life and a thorough study of the history of the time, Rayna Gangi tells the true story of the captive white girl who became the wife of a Seneca warrior chief during the French and Indian wars. Captured at fifteen during a raid, this daughter of Scotch-Irish parents was rapidly assimilated into full tribal membership and the responsibilities of womanhood. She bore eight children and became a respected elder in her adopted community. By "becoming" Seneca, Mary Jemison developed the strength, values, and enduring commitment that-together with her own courage-sustained Mary through wrenching personal tragedies in the aftermath of a war the Seneca could not win. An accurate account of events that helped to shape the destiny of the Seneca people, this book has been approved by the Seneca Nation.

    Description from Publisher

    Mary Jemison: White Woman Of The Seneca tells the dramatic life story of a famous Indian Captive who chose to accept the Seneca people as her own, becoming the wife of a warrior chief during the savage Indian-white wars of the eighteenth century. Drawing on painstaking research and a keen sense of time and place, Grayna Gangi's novel presents a compelling and accurate picture of the Seneca way of life and of the people who earned Mary's lifelong loyalty, despite the Seneca raid that resulted in the slaughter of her white family. Captured as a fifteen-year-old girl, this daughter of Irish parents bore eight half-Seneca children and became a beloved and honored member of her adopted community. Gangi conveys a feeling for the "Seneca way" - the integrity, simplicity, and the community ties that, together with her own courage, sustained Mary through wrenching personal tragedies in the aftermath of a war the Seneca could not win.

    Description from Midwest Book Review

    A Little Maid of Old New York

    By Alice Turner Curtis
    Ten-year-old Annette finds a way to prove her loyalty as a good American during the British occupation of New York City in the Revolutionary War.

    Description from Publisher

    Annette is a Patriot girl in 1783 New York. Her best friend is a Loyalist. The war is over but the British still haven't left New York. Still, Annette hopes and prays they will, and when that day comes, Annette is among the triumphant Americans that cheer.

    Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

    A Little Maid of Ticonderoga

    By Alice Turner Curtis
    The story of Faith Carew and her adventures in aiding Colonel Ethan Allen in his efforts to take Fort Ticonderoga.

    Description from Publisher

    Little Maid of Mohawk Valley

    By Alice Turner Curtis
    During the Revolutionary War, ten-year-old Joanne Clarke, living in a log cabin in the Mohawk Valley, delivers an important message to General Philip Schuyler at Albany after being kidnapped and abandoned by an Indian.

    Description from Publisher




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