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Great Historical Novel Series for Girls

Updated on August 11, 2016
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Brainy Bunny is the mother of two. Together they read, craft, and play games for fun.

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The library stacks can be an overwhelming place for a pre-teen girl, and searching for books online can be just as confusing. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to help your daughter or granddaughter find new historical fiction series to enjoy without having to slog through thousands of options? Check out these series below, and get her excited to learn about how girls lived in other times.

American Girl

The American Girls series began as a way to sell dolls and other merchandise, but along the way countless girls have fallen in love with the books. There are currently a dozen girls, each representing a different time period in American history. These girls (all nine-going-on-ten years old) have to deal with adversity, but manage to do it gracefully and learn positive lessons about family, friends, and community. Whether your daughter would prefer to join Felicity dancing the minuet and riding horses in colonial times or sell eggs and write for a newspaper during the Depression with Kit, there's an American Girl for her. Don't be scared off by the merchandising machine; you do not need to buy the dolls to appreciate the wonderful stories!

My America and Dear America

The My America and Dear America series are published by Scholastic, long a purveyor of quality fiction for children. These series are also tell the stories of young American girls living through tough times in our nation's history, but they are written in diary format. The My America books are shorter, and are written with third- through fifth-graders in mind, while the Dear America series is intended for sixth- through eight-graders. (Don't worry if you have a precocious reader; while the stories are more emotionally harrowing, the subject matter is still appropriate for children.) Stories are set among historical backgrounds including immigration, epidemic diseases, labor disputes, war, slavery, and westward expansion. The books include historical information and photographs at the end for further reading. Do be aware that although these "diaries" are written in the first person, they are not true accounts of individuals' lives. They are composite characters, which is not made clear in all the books.

The Royal Diaries

The Royal Diaries is another series by Scholastic, and it uses the same conceit of diaries written by young girls throughout history. However, here the girls are real people, such as Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anastasia Romanov, the Russian princess on the eve of World War I. These "diaries" kill two birds with one stone: they are good historical fiction, and they also fulfill girls' princess fantasies.

Interactive History Adventures (You Choose Books)

Do you remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid? That type of book has been redone, and instead of fantasy, the topics are historical events! There are dozens of time periods to choose from, ranging from Ancient Egypt through life as a samurai in Japan to modern American history (including wars, westward expansion, and several waves of immigration).

Don't be turned off by the number of military titles that look designed for boys; many, if not all, of them include at least one female character (out of three options) that the reader can act as. And since the topics are so wide-ranging, your daughter can pick the time period or subject she wants to read about without having to slog through areas she's not interested in. My kids are very into the Revolutionary War, so we started with that title, but we are planning to pick up Colonial America, The Battle of Bunker Hill, and The Boston Massacre to round out our collection.

Little House on the Prairie

Last but definitely not least is that old favorite, Little House on the Prairie. It is still as magically transporting as you remember from when you were a girl, snuggled up on a winter night reading about Pa getting lost in a blizzard, or Laura's high spirits, or Mary going blind. This series is emotionally engaging and semi-autobiographical, so it can function as both a straight history lesson (for younger readers) and a jumping-off point to discuss how one can spin facts and manage one's brand when telling one's own story—very useful for older girls who may be opening Facebook accounts and deciding how to present themselves to the world.

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    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Good suggestive hub for parents who have young girls who like to read. Thank you.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
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      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, ytsenoh. My daughter is a voracious reader, and I like to stay abreast of children's fiction because of it.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 5 years ago from Northern California

      I think this will be helpful and give some direction to those looking for interesting ways to engage their daughter's in reading.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Thank you, starstream. That's my goal!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      My daughter is developing an interest in history, so I shall look out for these titles. I like the sound of the Royal Diaries - I would have loved them myself when I was young.

      Voted up etc.

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Great suggestions! It's always hard to find a good, appropriate series for young readers.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I read all of these growing up! The Dear America/My America books are excellent and the binding kind of makes you feel important and like you have 'real books.' Voted up and useful.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Judi Bee: I am so glad your daughter is getting interested in history. It may sound strange, but this year my daughter is at the top of her class in Social Studies, primarily because she loves historical novels. She has gotten a general sense of many different time periods, has studied some in depth, and learned all sorts of fascinating social history, all from these books.

      Denisemai: Thank you. I am glad to make it a little easier for others, since I've had to figure out where to find these books on my own.

      Natashalh: Yes, the Dear America/My America series is very well done, but I think the gilt edges on the Royal Diaires are the best!

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for the useful suggestions! I write family sagas. Always looking for good story ideas.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 3 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Dr Bill, you should be able to get a lot of inspiration from these tales!

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