Historical Novels for Children: The Colonies and the United States Before 1800

The novels here take place when America was a newly discovered land mass, still struggling with the upheavals involved in European colonization and settlement, up through the point at which it became a sovereign country in its own right.

The novels here take place when America was a newly discovered land mass, still struggling with the upheavals involved in European colonization and settlement, up through the point at which it became a sovereign country in its own right.

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The Surrender of Santa Fe

Author: Penn, M. E.

Subjects: American History; Native Americans; Pueblos; Spanish Conquest

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

ISBN: 978-0-89824-396-3

Order code: 3963

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3963S

The Surrender of Santa Fe Cover

This novel tells the story of a significant event in the history of the Southwest: the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which resulted in the killing of 400 Spaniards in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the driving out of the settlers. Readers learn the complex background for this event and, unusually, see it from both sides.

At daybreak on Saturday, August 7, 1680, the peaceful Pueblo tribe and the warrior Apache and Navajo tribes rose up against their mutual enemy. This book shows how a clash of cultures, religion, and ancient traditions resulted in dreadful bloodshed. We learn of the events as they were experienced by the Pueblos themselves, and by our fictional hero, young Juan, fresh from Spain, the son of a prominent Spanish military officer. With the stormclouds of the attack gathering, Juan must try to make sense of this new world where, amidst all the hate and the killings, he sees orphaned Native American children cared for, and where a beautiful Pueblo girl becomes his friend. He also wants to get to know and gain the respect of his emotionally distant father.

Notes from the author:
The first colonists in what would become the United States were not English but Hispanic. These European settlers traveled up the Camino Real from Mexico in 1598, bringing with them the first breeding horses, cattle, sheep, the wheel, gunpowder, written language, iron, and Christianity.

This was the only time in our history that an indigenous population of Native Americans, the Pueblos, successfully drove their European conquerors, the Spaniards, from their land. Most of the early books and articles written about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 were written from the Spanish perspective using the meticulous records of the colonial government, but in recent years, articles and books, some written by Pueblo authors, represent the native point of view.

Regardless of personal bias, there is no doubt of the significance of this event, for the Pueblos accomplished something that no other Native Americans had done before and none would be able to do again: they united in an unprecedented way and took back their land. Even after the Spaniards successfully reinvaded New Mexico twelve years later, the Pueblos were allowed to preserve their culture and retain ownership of their villages. The encomienda system of forced labor was never re-established, and the aggressive missionary program was tempered by moderation.

M. E. Penn has an undergraduate degree in journalism and education and a master's degree in supervision and history. Her career includes being a teacher, a supervisor of teachers, and a Title I director working with underprivileged children. She has written several children's stories.

Reviews: 

"An excellent story of the early history of Santa Fe that is written in descriptive language that holds your attention and makes you feel like you were really there. You can feel the emotions of the Pueblos and the young man, Juan.... This is an excellent book for young people to help them understand the difficulties faced in the early history of our country with the clashes of cultures, religion, and traditions." – Emily P. Evertsen

"I am always looking for history books that come alive for middle school students. This story about the history of the surrender of Santa Fe is not only historically accurate but is written from the viewpoint of a young Spanish boy recently arrived in New Mexico to live with his father whom he grows to know, admire, and love. He meets a Native American girl of his age who has been cared for by local Spanish-Americans, and the young characters interact in a real and meaningful way. Others around them bring out the many points of view of the diverse population of New Mexico. This exciting American history book will help young students of today relate to the moving young characters of yesterday, who are expertly portrayed by the author." – Ann Berg, Ph.D., former teacher, principal, state educational consultant, and Director, Trinity University Principals’ Center, San Antonio, Texas

This novel tells the story of a significant event in the history of the Southwest: the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which resulted in the killing of 400 Spaniards in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the driving out of the settlers. Readers learn the complex background for this event and, unusually, see it from both sides.

At daybreak on Saturday, August 7, 1680, the peaceful Pueblo tribe and the warrior Apache and Navajo tribes rose up against their mutual enemy. This book shows how a clash of cultures, religion, and ancient traditions resulted in dreadful bloodshed. We learn of the events as they were experienced by the Pueblos themselves, and by our fictional hero, young Juan, fresh from Spain, the son of a prominent Spanish military officer. With the stormclouds of the attack gathering, Juan must try to make sense of this new world where, amidst all the hate and the killings, he sees orphaned Native American children cared for, and where a beautiful Pueblo girl becomes his friend. He also wants to get to know and gain the respect of his emotionally distant father.

Notes from the author:
The first colonists in what would become the United States were not English but Hispanic. These European settlers traveled up the Camino Real from Mexico in 1598, bringing with them the first breeding horses, cattle, sheep, the wheel, gunpowder, written language, iron, and Christianity.

This was the only time in our history that an indigenous population of Native Americans, the Pueblos, successfully drove their European conquerors, the Spaniards, from their land. Most of the early books and articles written about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 were written from the Spanish perspective using the meticulous records of the colonial government, but in recent years, articles and books, some written by Pueblo authors, represent the native point of view.

Regardless of personal bias, there is no doubt of the significance of this event, for the Pueblos accomplished something that no other Native Americans had done before and none would be able to do again: they united in an unprecedented way and took back their land. Even after the Spaniards successfully reinvaded New Mexico twelve years later, the Pueblos were allowed to preserve their culture and retain ownership of their villages. The encomienda system of forced labor was never re-established, and the aggressive missionary program was tempered by moderation.

M. E. Penn has an undergraduate degree in journalism and education and a master's degree in supervision and history. Her career includes being a teacher, a supervisor of teachers, and a Title I director working with underprivileged children. She has written several children's stories.

Reviews: 

"An excellent story of the early history of Santa Fe that is written in descriptive language that holds your attention and makes you feel like you were really there. You can feel the emotions of the Pueblos and the young man, Juan.... This is an excellent book for young people to help them understand the difficulties faced in the early history of our country with the clashes of cultures, religion, and traditions." – Emily P. Evertsen

"I am always looking for history books that come alive for middle school students. This story about the history of the surrender of Santa Fe is not only historically accurate but is written from the viewpoint of a young Spanish boy recently arrived in New Mexico to live with his father whom he grows to know, admire, and love. He meets a Native American girl of his age who has been cared for by local Spanish-Americans, and the young characters interact in a real and meaningful way. Others around them bring out the many points of view of the diverse population of New Mexico. This exciting American history book will help young students of today relate to the moving young characters of yesterday, who are expertly portrayed by the author." – Ann Berg, Ph.D., former teacher, principal, state educational consultant, and Director, Trinity University Principals’ Center, San Antonio, Texas

The Surrender of Santa Fe Cover

The Surrender of Santa Fe Sample Pages:

Links

The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre

Author: Reber, Jack

Subjects: American History; Adventure; Ghost Stories

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

Order code: 5477

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5477S

The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre Cover

It is the first day of school, and fifth grader Marsh (short for Marshall) Mayo has secretly taken his pet white mouse to school. It has escaped through a hole in his pocket. Fortunately, there is an early dismissal, and Marsh is able to walk the short distance from his home back to school to try to find it. With the permission of the janitor, he gets into his classroom to look for “something he left behind.” While Marsh is in the process of catching his mouse, a sudden chill and a smoky odor fill the room—a ghost is present! Marsh is thrilled that the rumor of Stockade Elementary School being haunted is true. He has always been interested in ghosts, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out what is happening.

Unceremoniously he touches a part of the ghost’s aura and is inadvertently transported by the ghost into its time and dimension. The ghost is the minister of Schenectady, Dominie Perrtus Tesschenmaeker, who cannot rest until he finds his Liturgy and conducts the Service for the Dead for his massacred congregation. The dominie’s body is also Marsh’s portal back to the present. Coincidentally, Marsh’s class is studying the Schenectady Massacre.

Marsh is quickly able to involve two classmates, Albert, the brain, and John, the bully, in the quest for the Liturgy, and author Jack Reber is into a double storyline that entertains and teaches an action-packed history lesson. While the class studies the textbook version, Marsh, Albert, John, Casper the mouse, and readers are interactive witnesses to the activities on both sides and to the realities of February 8, 1690, the day when the French and their Native American allies attacked the Dutch settlement. Through the boys, readers are involved in the historical moment, sharing in the lifestyle of the period and the horror of the massacre. The boys do find the Liturgy, now displayed as an artifact in their church. The indentifier tag says that the book is opened to the Service for the Dead. A copy machine is used to duplicate the pages, and the boys get them to the ghost.

Jack Reber is the author of The Eerie Canal, a historical time travel novel, and Saratoga Captive, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

It is the first day of school, and fifth grader Marsh (short for Marshall) Mayo has secretly taken his pet white mouse to school. It has escaped through a hole in his pocket. Fortunately, there is an early dismissal, and Marsh is able to walk the short distance from his home back to school to try to find it. With the permission of the janitor, he gets into his classroom to look for “something he left behind.” While Marsh is in the process of catching his mouse, a sudden chill and a smoky odor fill the room—a ghost is present! Marsh is thrilled that the rumor of Stockade Elementary School being haunted is true. He has always been interested in ghosts, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out what is happening.

Unceremoniously he touches a part of the ghost’s aura and is inadvertently transported by the ghost into its time and dimension. The ghost is the minister of Schenectady, Dominie Perrtus Tesschenmaeker, who cannot rest until he finds his Liturgy and conducts the Service for the Dead for his massacred congregation. The dominie’s body is also Marsh’s portal back to the present. Coincidentally, Marsh’s class is studying the Schenectady Massacre.

Marsh is quickly able to involve two classmates, Albert, the brain, and John, the bully, in the quest for the Liturgy, and author Jack Reber is into a double storyline that entertains and teaches an action-packed history lesson. While the class studies the textbook version, Marsh, Albert, John, Casper the mouse, and readers are interactive witnesses to the activities on both sides and to the realities of February 8, 1690, the day when the French and their Native American allies attacked the Dutch settlement. Through the boys, readers are involved in the historical moment, sharing in the lifestyle of the period and the horror of the massacre. The boys do find the Liturgy, now displayed as an artifact in their church. The indentifier tag says that the book is opened to the Service for the Dead. A copy machine is used to duplicate the pages, and the boys get them to the ghost.

Jack Reber is the author of The Eerie Canal, a historical time travel novel, and Saratoga Captive, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre Cover

The Corkscrew App

Author: Fischer, Max Willi

Subjects: Historical Adventure; Fantasy/Adventure; Time Travel

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-89824-480-9

Order code: 4809

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4809S

The Corkscrew App Cover

"A deftly crafted, consistently entertaining, and original novel from beginning to end, highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library science fiction collections for young readers." – Midwest Book Review

" ...will entertain readers...an ingenious variation of time travel..." – Akron Beacon Journal

Fourteen-year-old Justin Deveraux thinks Corkscrew is just an app on his phone. When he realizes that it actually transports the player back in time, it is too late, and he is already in what is now Southwestern Pennsylvania during the summer of 1754. With the French and Indian War making everyone wary, he has to gain the trust of the English, as he is looked at as an enemy by everyone.

Before discovering that his family is directly linked to the creation of the Corkscrew App, Justin finds himself running through the forest from Native Americans, conducting manual labor in order to survive in his surroundings, and working alongside the young George Washington, who ends up being someone completely different than the man portrayed in his history class. 

After five weeks spent in the eighteenth century, Justin must figure out how the Corkscrew App ended up on his father’s phone. And with his friend Isabella somehow tied to time traveling, he’s not sure he can trust anyone. Justin barely has time to unravel everything that has happened before he is forced back into the Corkscrew App, and this time it is not clear that he will return.

"A deftly crafted, consistently entertaining, and original novel from beginning to end, highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library science fiction collections for young readers." – Midwest Book Review

" ...will entertain readers...an ingenious variation of time travel..." – Akron Beacon Journal

Fourteen-year-old Justin Deveraux thinks Corkscrew is just an app on his phone. When he realizes that it actually transports the player back in time, it is too late, and he is already in what is now Southwestern Pennsylvania during the summer of 1754. With the French and Indian War making everyone wary, he has to gain the trust of the English, as he is looked at as an enemy by everyone.

Before discovering that his family is directly linked to the creation of the Corkscrew App, Justin finds himself running through the forest from Native Americans, conducting manual labor in order to survive in his surroundings, and working alongside the young George Washington, who ends up being someone completely different than the man portrayed in his history class. 

After five weeks spent in the eighteenth century, Justin must figure out how the Corkscrew App ended up on his father’s phone. And with his friend Isabella somehow tied to time traveling, he’s not sure he can trust anyone. Justin barely has time to unravel everything that has happened before he is forced back into the Corkscrew App, and this time it is not clear that he will return.

The Corkscrew App Cover

The Corkscrew App sample pages:

Links

The Shot Not Heard Around the World

Author: Damitz, Charlie

Subjects: American History; Revolutionary War; Medicine

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4403

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4403S

The Shot Not Heard Around the World Cover

Young Jeremy has hunted rabbits and squirrels many times with his father in the woods near their farm. He is a good marksman with his musket. On April 19, 1775, he is one of those alerted by Paul Revere to the British march to Concord. The Redcoats are coming! Jeremy hurries to assume his assigned place in the Minuteman plan: a sniper behind a stone wall to hunt the Redcoats. He has practiced; he is ready. All he has to do is wait.

Yet when the moment comes to shoot the enemy, who is close enough to look into his eyes, Jeremy cannot. Nor can the giant of a Redcoat shoot Jeremy. In that moment, two unsung heroes are called into action, and bloodshed is averted. An understanding passes between them.

Jeremy keeps his mouth shut about the incident because no Minuteman would understand. After soul-searching about being a coward or a traitor to the cause of liberty, Jeremy finally decides to confide his innermost thoughts to Doc Thorndike, whom he has known all his life.

The answer is clear: Jeremy will train with Doc Thorndike to be a surgeon’s assistant, and as a team they will help the war effort as true patriots. Events lead a wounded Roger Poole, the Redcoat of Jeremy’s previous encounter, to hide in the chicken coop on Jeremy’s farm. Finding him, Jeremy sneaks him to Doc Thorndike for treatment. Roger, too, wants to be a doctor and to study with Doc Thorndike. The good doctor invents a new identity for Roger and now has two dedicated pupils. Their instruction is rigorous, hands-on, and graphic.

Soon the team is on its way to Bunker Hill to join the makeshift medical corps already there. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, they see the true horrors of war.

Author Charlie Damitz tells his story in an extended flashback, as the now elderly Doctor Jeremy recalls why he became a doctor. This is an easy read, even with its many details about anatomical, pathological, procedural, and other medical matters, because Jeremy’s youthful yet intelligent viewpoint prevails.

Young Jeremy has hunted rabbits and squirrels many times with his father in the woods near their farm. He is a good marksman with his musket. On April 19, 1775, he is one of those alerted by Paul Revere to the British march to Concord. The Redcoats are coming! Jeremy hurries to assume his assigned place in the Minuteman plan: a sniper behind a stone wall to hunt the Redcoats. He has practiced; he is ready. All he has to do is wait.

Yet when the moment comes to shoot the enemy, who is close enough to look into his eyes, Jeremy cannot. Nor can the giant of a Redcoat shoot Jeremy. In that moment, two unsung heroes are called into action, and bloodshed is averted. An understanding passes between them.

Jeremy keeps his mouth shut about the incident because no Minuteman would understand. After soul-searching about being a coward or a traitor to the cause of liberty, Jeremy finally decides to confide his innermost thoughts to Doc Thorndike, whom he has known all his life.

The answer is clear: Jeremy will train with Doc Thorndike to be a surgeon’s assistant, and as a team they will help the war effort as true patriots. Events lead a wounded Roger Poole, the Redcoat of Jeremy’s previous encounter, to hide in the chicken coop on Jeremy’s farm. Finding him, Jeremy sneaks him to Doc Thorndike for treatment. Roger, too, wants to be a doctor and to study with Doc Thorndike. The good doctor invents a new identity for Roger and now has two dedicated pupils. Their instruction is rigorous, hands-on, and graphic.

Soon the team is on its way to Bunker Hill to join the makeshift medical corps already there. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, they see the true horrors of war.

Author Charlie Damitz tells his story in an extended flashback, as the now elderly Doctor Jeremy recalls why he became a doctor. This is an easy read, even with its many details about anatomical, pathological, procedural, and other medical matters, because Jeremy’s youthful yet intelligent viewpoint prevails.

The Shot Not Heard Around the World Cover

Saratoga Captive

Author: Reber, Jack

Subjects: American History; Revolutionary War

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

ISBN: 978-0-89824-381-9

Order code: 3819

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Saratoga Captive Cover

In September of 1777, while Ruth Anna's father and brother are away fighting the British, her mother is wounded defending the family farm. Ruth Anna tries to get help but instead finds herself captured by Native Americans. She is ransomed as a servant to a noble German family traveling with the Redcoats. Though she is treated kindly, the twelve-year-old must escape to find her father and brother. As a Saratoga captive, she sees both sides of the Revolutionary War and is a witness to a significant turning point in its history. This is a novel full of life and character, as well as historical accuracy, by a master of historical fiction.

Jack Reber is the author of The Eerie Canal and The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre, historical time travel novels, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

In September of 1777, while Ruth Anna's father and brother are away fighting the British, her mother is wounded defending the family farm. Ruth Anna tries to get help but instead finds herself captured by Native Americans. She is ransomed as a servant to a noble German family traveling with the Redcoats. Though she is treated kindly, the twelve-year-old must escape to find her father and brother. As a Saratoga captive, she sees both sides of the Revolutionary War and is a witness to a significant turning point in its history. This is a novel full of life and character, as well as historical accuracy, by a master of historical fiction.

Jack Reber is the author of The Eerie Canal and The Ghost from the Schenectady Massacre, historical time travel novels, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. He is a resident of New York.

Saratoga Captive Cover

Saratoga Captive Sample Pages:

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