Young Adult Historical Novels: Nineteenth Century North America
Not all novels set in nineteenth-century America are about slavery and its aftermath, but this subject is powerfully dramatic, and most are. Several novels about pirates, the religious community of Shakers, workers in Northern textile mills, and rural Northerners are included in the listings on this page. Young adult novels set in the American Old West appear on a separate page.
From before 1800 until the Civil War, black Americans were enslaved in the South. Many heroic Americans, both black and white, helped people escape slavery through the "Underground Railway," a network of guides and friendly people's houses where escaping slaves could eat and sleep in secret while traveling to freedom in Canada.
The Civil War erupted in 1861 when white Southerners felt their way of life was threatened by pressure from the North to abolish slavery. The war raged for four years, longer than either side expected, until in 1865 the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. Slavery was abolished. Although the U.S. Constitution was amended to make black Americans citizens with the same rights as white Americans, they were not treated as such. Their struggles to achieve dignity and equality have inspired powerful fiction.
Abbreviations for Awards and Honors:
ALANCB = American Library Association Notable Children's Book
BBYA = An American Library Association "Best Books for Young Adults" pick
CM = Carnegie Medal
CMH = Carnegie Medal Honor Book
IBBY = International Board on Books for Young People Honour Book
JFA = Josette Frank Award
NA = Newbery Award
NH = Newbery Honor Book
SOA = Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
The U.S. before the Civil War
The American Civil War
The U.S. after the Civil War
Mysteries: The U.S. after the Civil War
The U.S. before the Civil War
Purchase from the Book Depository, Amazon or Powell's Books
Katherine Ayres, North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad (1998), about a sixteen-year-old girl who helps a group of women and children escape from slavery.
Katherine Ayres, Stealing South: A Story of the Underground Railroad (1998), about a sixteen-year-old boy from a family involved with the Underground Railroad who travels South to rescue two slaves while he begins his new job as a peddler.
Joan W. Blos, A Gathering of Days (1979), a novel written in the form of the diary of a thirteen-year-old New Hampshire girl in the 1830s who, after her mother's death, has to rely on a neighbor woman to teach her housekeeping skills. NA.
Elisa Carbone, Stealing Freedom (1998), about a girl who uses the Underground Railroad to escape from slavery in the 1850s. BBYA.
Wim Coleman, Anna's World (2009), about a fourteen-year-old girl sent to live with a group of Shakers in the 1840s.
Wanda Dionne, Reyna's Reward (1996), a romance about a young woman raised in a Spanish convent who is captured by pirates while on her way to become a mail-order bride in Louisiana.
Kathleen Benner Duble, Hearts of Iron (2006), about a fourteen-year-old girl in a mountain community in Connecticut in 1820 and the boy who is her best friend, who may be parted as he tries to resist his father's pressure to become an ironworker and she tries to resist her father's plans to marry her to a young man training to become a merchant.
Kathleen Duey, Louisiana Hurricane, 1860 (2000), a romance about a wealthy Creole planter's daughter who falls in love with a poor Cajun during a year when three hurricanes strike Louisiana.
Jean Ferris, Into the Wind (1996), about a sixteen-year-old girl who goes to sea in 1814 with the young captain who saves her life when her father is killed and his saloon burned down in Mexico; #1 in the Into the Wind trilogy.
Jean Ferris, Song of the Sea (1996), about a girl in love with a privateer whose life takes him into constant danger; #2 in the Into the Wind trilogy.
Jean Ferris, Weather the Storm (1996), about a girl in love with a privateer during the War of 1812; #3 in the Into the Wind trilogy.
Paula Fox, The Slave Dancer (1997), about a thirteen-year-old boy kidnapped in New Orleans in 1840 and forced to play music on a slave ship to help keep the slaves healthy by dancing. NA. Recommended for ages 11-14.
Angie Frazier, Everlasting (2010), historical fantasy about a seventeen-year-old San Francisco girl in love with the first mate on her father's ship who discovers, after her father is killed in a storm, that he and a dangerous rival were both searching for a stone with magical properties. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Kimberley Heuston, The Shakeress (2002), about a girl of almost thirteen who joins a Shaker commune in order to keep her family together after her parents die in a fire. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Janet Hickman, Susannah (1998), about a thirteen-year-old girl forced to move with her father to a Shaker community in Ohio in 1810 after her mother dies. Recommended for ages 10-14.
Beverly Jenkins, Belle (2002; also titled Belle and the Beau), historical romance about a sixteen-year-old girl who has escaped from slavery and finds shelter in the North with the family of an educated eighteen-year-old boy who is engaged to another girl.
Beverly Jenkins, Josephine (2003; also titled Josephine and the Soldier), historical romance about a seventeen-year-old college-educated black girl in Michigan who runs her own hairdressing shop and can't decide between two Union soldiers who are courting her; sequel to Belle and the Beau.
Lisa Klein, Two Girls of Gettysburg (2008), about a quiet girl and her more outgoing cousin who comes to stay with her family in Gettysburg in 1860 as tensions that will lead to the Civil War are rising. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Trudy Krisher, Uncommon Faith (2003), about a girl in Millbrook, Massachusetts, who begins to question slavery and the low status of women after a disastrous fire in 1837. BBYA. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Julius Lester, Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue (2005), about an 1859 slave auction which was the largest in American history. BBYA. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Mary E. Lyons, Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs (1992), about a slave struggling for freedom; based on the autobiography of Harriet Jacobs. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Gladys Malvern, Ann Lawrence of Old New York (1947), about an orphaned farm girl in 1811 who struggles to keep her siblings together as a family while the growing city of New York expands outward, threatening the surrounding farmlands.
Gladys Malvern, Mamzelle (1955), about a French girl who is the guest of President James Madison and his wife Dolley during the burning of Washington D.C. in the War of 1812.
Joan Lowery Nixon, A Family Apart (1987), about a thirteen-year-old girl, the eldest of six children, whose widowed mother sends them away to be adopted; #1 in the Orphan Train Adventures series. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Caught in the Act (1988), about a eleven-year-old boy taken in by a German immigrant couple after his widowed mother sends her children away to be adopted; #2 in the Orphan Train Adventures series. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Joan Lowery Nixon, In The Face of Danger
(1988), about a twelve-year-old girl taken in by a couple living on the Kansas prairie after her mother sends her and her siblings away to be adopted; #3 in the Orphan Train Adventures series. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Joan Lowery Nixon, A Place to Belong
(1989), about a ten-year-old boy and his younger sister who try to persuade their foster father to marry the widowed mother who sent them away to be adopted; #4 in the Orphan Train Adventures series. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Joan Lowery Nixon, A Dangerous Promise
(1994), about a sixteen-year-old boy who joins the Union Army in 1861 as a drummer boy; #5 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Keeping Secrets
(1995), about an eleven-year-old Missouri girl who begins to wonder whether the woman visiting her family may be a Confederate spy; #6 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Circle of Love
(1997), about a nineteen-year-old girl who agrees to accompany an orphan to New York, and then travels back with thirty other orphaned children looking for new families to adopt them in the West; #7 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Lucy's Wish
(1998), about a ten-year-old girl who lives on the streets of New York after her parents die, until she discovers she can be sent west on the Orphan Train to find adoptive parents in the West; #8 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Will's Choice
(1998), about a twelve-year-old boy whose father, a circus performer, sends him to Missouri to be adopted because he's not good at circus tricks; #9 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, Aggie's Home
(1998), about a twelve-year-old orphan adopted by a family with unusual ideas, such as giving women the right to vote; #10 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Joan Lowery Nixon, David's Search
(1998), about an eleven-year-old orphan boy adopted by a strict farming family with a kind black farm hand who helps the boy learn what to do; #11 in the Orphan Train Adventures series.
Katherine Paterson, Jip, His Story (1997), about a thirteen-year-old orphan boy who lives on a poorhouse farm and the lunatic he befriends. SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Katherine Paterson, Lyddie (1991), about a girl who goes to work in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, hoping to raise enough money to save her family's farm.
Gary Paulsen, Nightjohn (1993), about a twelve-year-old slave girl who learns to read from a man who escaped from slavery but returned so he could secretly teach other slaves to read and write.
Gary Paulsen, Sarny (1993), about a young woman freed from slavery at the end of the Civil War who sets out to find her children, sold South just days before the war ended; sequel to Nightjohn.
Shelley Pearsall, Trouble Don't Last (2002), about an eleven-year-old boy who escapes slavery with a risky trip north on the Underground Railroad in 1859. SOA.
Ann Rinaldi, Wolf by the Ears (1991), about the daughter of Thomas Jefferson's slave and rumored mistress Sally Hemings, and the decision she must make whether to leave Monticello or remain as a pampered slave.
Ann Rinaldi , Mine Eyes Have Seen (1998), about Annie, the daughter of the radical abolitionist John Brown, and her experiences in the summer of 1859 as her father was planning and carrying out his violent raid at Harper's Ferry. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Ann Rinaldi, The Ever-After Bird (2007), about a girl who travels south with her uncle, an ornithologist, in search of a rare scarlet ibis and learns that he also works with the Underground Railroad, helping people escape from slavery.
Ann Rinaldi, The Letter Writer (2008), about an eleven-year-old girl who lives on her brother's plantation and inadvertently becomes involved in Nat Turner's rebellion after she begins writing letters to an uncle in England who opposes slavery.
Dianne Salerni, We Hear the Dead (2010), about Maggie and Kate Fox, sisters in the 1850s who pretend they can speak with the dead, a hoax that spirals out of control as they become famous for their supposed talents.
Virginia Frances Schwartz, Send One Angel Down (2000), about a beautiful light-skinned slave-girl whose master decides to sell her as a "breeder" or prostitute. BBYA. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Nancy Covert Smith, The Dare (1994), about a nine-year-old German-American girl in rural Pennsylvania who goes to stay with her great-aunt in Philadelphia for five years during the 1820s; #1 in the Apple Valley series.
Nancy Covert Smith, The Proposal (1994), about a German-American teen in rural Pennsylvania who discovers the minister's daughter is her rival for the affection of the boy she loves; #2 in the Apple Valley series.
Nancy Covert Smith, The Journey (1994), about a new bride who leaves Pennsylvania to travel west with her husband; #3 in the Apple Valley series.
Nancy Covert Smith, Destiny (1995), about a sixteen-year-old bride who settles in Ohio with her husband; #4 in the Apple Valley series.
Mildred D. Taylor, The Land (2001), about a fourteen-year-old boy, the son of a slave mother and a plantation-owner father, who dreams of owning his own land. BBYA, SOA.
Joan Weir, The Brideship (1998), about a fifteen-year-old British orphan sent to British Columbia during the 1860s to be the wife of a gold miner.
Gloria Whelan, Once on this Island (1995), about a twelve-year-old farm girl on Mackinac Island, Michigan, which is occupied by the British during the War of 1812; #1 in the Island series.
Gloria Whelan, Farewell to the Island (1998), about an sixteen-year-old girl from Mackinac Island, Michigan, who travels to England at the end of the War of 1812 to visit her sister and finds herself being courted by a young aristocrat; #2 in the Island series.
Gloria Whelan, Return to the Island (2000), about an eighteen-year-old girl who returns to Mackinac Island, Michigan, and the Indian boy who is her dearest friend; #3 in the Island series.
The American Civil War
Purchase from the Book Depository, Amazon or Powell's Books
Jennifer Armstrong, The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan (1996), about a sixteen-year-old Irish immigrant who lives in Washington D.C. with her family and works as a nurse during the Civil War; available with it sequel Mary Mehan Awake in a single volume as Becoming Mary Mehan. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Jennifer Armstrong, Mary Mehan Awake (1997), about an Irish immigrant who falls in love while working as a servant girl for a naturalist in upstate New York; sequel to The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan, both of which are available in a single volume as Becoming Mary Mehan. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Jennifer Armstrong, Becoming Mary Mehan (2002), an omnibus edition containing The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan and Mary Mehan Awake in a single volume. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Patricia Beatty, Charley Skedaddle (1987), about a twelve-year-old boy who runs away to become a drummer boy in the Union Army. SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Miriam Brenaman, Evvy's Civil War (2002), about a fourteen-year-old Southern girl who must take charge after the Civil War breaks out and her father goes away to fight.
L.M. Elliott, Annie, Between the States (2004), about a teenage girl in Confederate Virginia who falls in love with a wounded Yankee officer and begins to question her previous assumptions about the war. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Zetta Elliott, A Wish After Midnight (2009), about a fifteen-year-old girl from a tough neighborhood in present-day Brooklyn who goes back in time to the Civil War era.
Kathleen Ernst, Hearts of Stone (2006), about a fifteen-year-old girl who leaves her rural mountain community with her younger siblings after her mother dies and goes to Nashville in search of their aunt, who also turns out to be dead.
Paul Fleischman, Bull Run (1993), about a group of people affected by the Battle of Bull Run. ALANCB, BBYA, SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, Picture the Dead (2010), about a young woman trying to learn the truth about the death of her fiancé, a soldier in the Civil War, by consulting a spiritualist photographer and communicating with the spirit of her dead twin brother.
Pamela Smith Hill, A Voice From the Border (1998), about a fifteen-year-old girl from a slave-owning family in the border state of Missouri who faces a difficult challenge when Union forces take over the town and a Union captain and his unpleasant wife move into her family home. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Isabelle Holland, Behind the Lines (1994), about a young Irish immigrant who works as a kitchen maid for a wealthy New York family in 1863 when the draft riots break out. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Lou Kassem, Listen for Rachel (1986), about a girl who goes to live with her grandparents in the mountains of Tennessee after her parents die. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Sally Keehn, Anna Sunday (2002), about a twelve-year-old girl who, after her mother dies, disguises herself as a boy and travels into Rebel territory with her younger brother in search of their father, a Union soldier. Recommended for ages 10-14.
Kathryn Lasky, True North (1996), about two teenage girls, one a runaway slave from Virginia, the other a Boston society girl, who meet after the Boston girl's grandfather dies, when she decides to help the runaway reach safety in Canada. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Elizabeth Massie, 1863: A House Divided (2000), about sixteen-year-old brother-and-sister twins living on their family farm in Gettysburg who are separated for the first time in 1863 when they hear rumors that the Confederates are planning to invade, and the boy runs away to join the Union Army; in the Young Founders series.
Carol Matas, The War Within (2001), about a thirteen-year-old girl whose family is forced to leave their Mississippi town because they are Jewish after the Union Army takes control of it. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Margaret McMullan, How I Found the Strong (2004), about a ten-year-old Mississippi boy who wants to enlist in the Confederate Army in 1861, but can't, and finds that the war brings many difficult changes into his life.
Margaret McMullan, When I Crossed No-Bob (2007), about a thirteen-year-old Mississippi girl who is abandoned by her racist family and taken in by a very different family after the Civil War; sequel to How I Found the Strong. BBYA.
Robert Mrazek, Stonewall's Gold (1998), about a fifteen-year-old boy in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia who kills a man who attacks his mother near the end of the Civil War and discovers a map to "Stonewall's gold" among the dead man's possessions.
Robert Olmstead, Coal Black Horse (2007), about a fourteen-year-old boy who rides a mysterious horse as he searches for his father after the Battle of Gettysburg. BBYA.
Gary Paulsen, Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers (1998), about a boy who joins the Union Army at age fifteen, looking forward to the fight as a big adventure, and learns otherwise.
Richard Peck, The River Between Us (2003), about a fifteen-year-old boy in 1916 who learns about his grandparents through a story involving two mysterious young women from New Orleans taken in by an Illinois family at the beginning of the Civil War. BBYA, SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Ann Rinaldi, The Last Silk Dress (1988), about a fourteen-year-old girl in Richmond, Virginia, who against her mother's wishes collects silk dresses to turn into a balloon that will be used to spy on the Yankees.
Ann Rinaldi, In My Father’s House (1992), about a girl whose family home was near the Battle of Bull Run and then, after they move to Appomattox to get away from the war, her new home becomes the site where General Lee surrenders to General Grant.
Ann Rinaldi, An Acquaintance With Darkness (1997), about a fourteen-year-old girl who wonders who to trust after her best friend's family is accused of plotting to murder President Lincoln.
Ann Rinaldi, Amelia's War (1999), about a twelve-year-old Maryland girl who is determined not to take sides in the Civil War, until Confederate troops led by her best friend's uncle threaten to burn the town.
Ann Rinaldi, Girl in Blue (2001), about a sixteen-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy and joins the Union Army in order to avoid being forced into marriage with a man she dislikes.
Ann Rinaldi, Numbering All the Bones (2002), about a thirteen-year-old girl whose time as a plantation slave ends with the Civil War, but whose family remains lost, one brother sold away, another a missing Union soldier, and her father refusing to acknowledge her as his daughter.
Ann Rinaldi, Sarah’s Ground (2004), about a young woman who, rather than marry, lies in order to get a job taking care of George Washington's dilapidated former home, Mount Vernon, and then struggles to preserve it during the Civil War.
Ann Rinaldi, Come Juneteenth (2007), about a thirteen-year-old Texas ranch girl who feels like a member of the family she lives with, even though she is legally a slave, but then discovers they have lied to her.
Ann Rinaldi, An Unlikely Friendship (2007), about Mary Todd Lincoln and her best friend, a black dressmaker.
Ann Rinaldi, Juliet’s Moon (2008), about a girl arrested by the Yankees on the accusation of being a Confederate spy and imprisoned in a dilapidated building in Kansas City which collapses, leaving her one of the few survivors.
Ann Rinaldi, My Vicksburg (2009), about the thirteen-year-old daughter of a Confederate officer who must move into a cave with her family during the shelling of Vicksburg.
Ann Rinaldi, Leigh-Anne's Civil War (2009), about an eleven-year-old, half Cherokee girl in Georgia whose mother has left the family and whose brothers go away to fight for the Confederacy.
Cheryl Zach, Hearts Divided (1995), about the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Southern plantation owner, who falls in love with a Union soldier.
Cheryl Zach, Winds of Betrayal (1995), about a seventeen-year-old Creole girl from New Orleans who falls for another man after seeing her fiancé with another woman.
Cheryl Zach, A Dream of Freedom (1995), about a slave on a Virginia plantation who helps other slaves escape to freedom and vows never to marry until she herself is free, a vow that becomes more challenging after she meets an attractive free man of color.
The U.S. after the Civil War
Purchase from the Book Depository, Amazon or Powell's Books
Elisa Carbone, Storm Warriors (2001), about a twelve-year-old boy who moves to Pea Island after his mother's death in 1895 and hopes to join the all-black crew of the lifesaving station. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Barbara Dana, A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson (2009), about the young Emily Dickinson and the difficult path she took to becoming a poet.
Joan Donaldson, On Viney’s Mountain (2009), about a sixteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in Tennessee's rural Cumberland Mountans in the 1880s and is furious when a group of young Englishmen settle nearby to found a utopian colony.
Sherry Garland, In the Shadow of the Alamo (2001), about a fifteen-year-old soldier in Santa Anna's army as it marches across Texas to attack the revolutionaries in the Alamo. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Anna Godbersen, The Luxe (2007), about two beautiful and wealthy sisters in 1899 Manhattan who discover their position in society is threatened because of a potentially scandalous family secret; #1 in the Luxe series. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Anna Godbersen, Rumors (2008), about the rivalries of teenage girls in the wealthiest social strata of 1899 Manhattan; #2 in the Luxe series. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Anna Godbersen, Envy (2009), about a couple who have made the most brilliant marriage of the season in Manhattan, but are far from happy behind the scenes; #3 in the Luxe series. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Anna Godbersen, Splendor (2010), about a group of young socialites in Manhattan who begin to wonder about the personal costs behind their lives of luxury; #4 and last in the Luxe series. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Review at Rebecca's Book Blog
S.E. Grove, The Glass Sentence (2014), historical fantasy about a girl from a family of map-makers in 1891 Boston who goes in search of her kidnapped uncle in a world in which every continent exists in a different time period; #1 in a planned series.
Will Hobbs, Jason's Gold (1999), about a fifteen-year-old boy and his husky dog who search for gold in Alaska's Yukon Territory during the 1890s. BBYA.
Will Hobbs, Down the Yukon (2001), about a boy who enters a 2,000-mile canoe race to Nome in order to win prize money that could allow him and his brothers to buy back the sawmill they were cheated out of.
Kathleen Karr, The Boxer (2000), about a fifteen-year-old boy in 1885 New York who learned to box while he was in prison and hopes to make his living from it.
Beth Kephart, Dangerous Neighbors (2010), about a teenage girl despondent because of the death of her twin sister, who plans to end her life during a visit to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the first world's fair.
Katherine Kirkpatrick, The Voyage of the Continental (2002), about a sixteen-year-old girl who leaves her job as a millworker to travel to the new town of Seattle in the Washington Territory.
A. LaFaye, Worth (2004), about an 11-year-old farm boy whose legs are permanently damaged in an accident, who feels jealous of the orphan his father takes in to help with the work. SOA
Elizabeth Massie, 1870: Not With Our Blood: A Novel of the Irish in America (2000), about a boy forced to work in a factory after his father is killed at Gettysburg during the Civil War.
Elizabeth Massie, The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (1999), about an eighteen-year-old girl who disguises herself as a boy to take acting work in Chicago after her parents die, shortly before the disastrous Chicago fire. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Sarah Miller, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller (2007), about young Annie Sullivan, hired to teach Helen Keller, a six-year-old girl who is both deaf and blind. BBYA.
Saundra Mitchell, The Vespertine (2011), about a girl who discovers she has prophetic abilities when she visits relatives in Baltimore. Review
Donna Jo Napoli, Alligator Bayou (2009), about a fourteen-year-old boy who immigrates to Louisiana from Sicily in 1899 and discovers Sicilians not accepted as a part of either the black or the white population there. BBYA.
Kim Taylor, Bowery Girl (2006), about two girls in New York's poverty-stricken Bowery District in 1883, one a pickpocket, the other a prostitute. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Carolyn Reeder, Shades of Grey (1989), about a twelve-year-old boy orphaned in the Civil War who goes to live on his uncle's farm, where he must do the kind of work that slaves used to do on his parent's plantation. SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Jame Richards, Three Rivers Rising (2010), about a sixteen-year-old girl whose family goes to spend the summer at a resort near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1889 just before a series of heavy rains cause the dam above the town to burst.
Ann Rinaldi, The Coffin Quilt: The Feud Between the Hatfields and the McCoys (1999), about a girl in the McCoy family who falls in love with a boy in the Hatfield family during the murderous feud between the two families.
Ann Rinaldi, The Education of Mary: A Little Miss of Color: 1832 (2000), about a thirteen-year-old girl who is a student in Prudence Crandall's school for free black girls in Connecticut. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Ann Rinaldi, The Staircase (2002), about a thirteen-year-old Methodist girl whose father leaves her to be educated by Catholic nuns in Santa Fe, where she befriends the scruffy old carpenter hired to build a staircase in the chapel. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Harriette Gillem Robinet, Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule (1998), about a twelve-year-old boy who goes to Georgia with his older brother after they are freed from slavery at the end of the Civil War and their struggle to farm land of their own. SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Sally Warner, Finding Hattie (2001), about a fourteen-year-old girl sent to a boarding school after her parents die.
Raymond Wemmlinger, Booth's Daughter (2007), about Edwina Booth, whose father was the famous actor Edwin Booth and whose uncle assassinated President Lincoln.
Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist (2009), fantasy alternate history about the twelve-year-old apprentice to a scientist who studies monsters in an 1887 New England plagued with zombie-like creatures; #1 in the Monstrumologist series.
Rick Yancey, The Curse of the Wendigo (2010), fantasy alternate history about a scientist's assistant in an 1888 New York plagued with vampire-like creatures; #2 in the Monstrumologist series.
Rick Yancey, The Isle of Blood (2011), fantasy alternate history about the thirteen-year-old assistant to a scientist, who travels with him to a remote island to track down a rare and exceptionally dangerous monster; #3 in the Monstrumologist series.
Mysteries: The U.S. after the Civil War
Will Hobbs, Ghost Canoe (1997), about a lighthouse keeper's fourteen-year-old son who finds mysterious footprints on the beach after a shipwreck, and while searching for a survivor discovers clues to a murder.
Christopher Paul Curtis, Elijah of Buxton (2007), about an eleven-year-old boy who is the first child born into freedom in the Canadian town of Buxton, founded by runaway slaves, and his dangerous trip south into the United States to catch a thief. SOA.
Allan W. Eckert, Incident at Hawk's Hill (1971), about a six-year-old boy lost in the Canadian prairie in 1870 who survives for months with the help of a badger. Recommended for ages 12 and up. NH, ALANCB.
Top of Page
Back to Adult Novels of 19th Century North America
Back to Young Adult Directory