Forthcoming children’s and YA historical novels for 2023

The Historical Novel Society lists mainstream and small press titles for readers aged 4 – 18. Books are set in eras up to the early 1970s. Details are compiled by Fiona Sheppard using publisher descriptions and recommended age suitability.

Other than short excerpts, please remember to link to this page rather than copying the entries – thank you!

See our guide to Forthcoming Children’s and YA Historical Novels for 2022 for the previous year’s releases. We also have a guide to Forthcoming Historical Novels for 2023.

This is a work in progress.

Last updated; August 26, 2022

January 2023

Patience Agbabi, The Circle Breakers, Canongate, YA (14-yr-old Elle and her friends end up in 1880, face-to-face with the criminal mastermind of The Vicious Circle – Millennia’s Leapling ancestor)

Kwame Alexander, illus. Dare Coulter, An American Story, Little, Brown BfYR, Age 4-8 (picture book that tells the story of American slavery through the voice of a teacher struggling to help her students understand its harrowing history)

Alfreda Beartrack-Algeo, The Roan Stallion, 7th Generation, YA (adventure set on a Dakota prairie farm in 1929)

Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. Nikkolas Smith, That Flag, Age 6-10 (fictional picture book challenges the meaning behind the still-waving Confederate flag through the friendship of two young girls)

Brittany Cavallaro, Manifest, Katherine Tegen, YA (conclusion to YA duology set in an alternate history American monarchy)

Tami Charles, illus. Bryan Collier, We Are Here, Orchard Books, Age 4-8  (picture book that celebrates the rich history of Black and brown men and women)

Lesa Cline-Ransome, Loud and Proud, Paula Wiseman, Age 4-8 (inspirational picture book story of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress)

Lisa Cline-Ransome, For Lamb, Holiday House, YA (an interracial friendship between two teenaged girls goes tragically wrong in this novel set in the Jim Crow South)

Antonio Iturbe (trans. Lilit Thwaites), adap. Salva Rubio, illus. Loreto Aroca, The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel, Henry Holt BYR, YA (inspired by the true story of Dita Kraus who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. Adapted for young readers)

Krystal Marquis, The Davenports, Dial, YA (series set in 1910 Chicago offers a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked)

Katherine Marsh, The Lost Year, Roaring Brook, Age 8-12 (middle-grade survival story that traces a harrowing family secret back to the Holodomor, a terrible famine that devastated Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s)

Kyrie McCauley, All the Dead Lie Down, Katherine Tegen, YA (queer gothic romance in which a newly orphaned teen girl accepts a nanny position only to discover that the estate is drowning in its history)

DoanPhuong Nguyen, Méo and Bé, Tu Books, Age 8-12 (historical novel about a girl who, after being sold by her stepmother, follows a precocious kitten through the war-torn streets of Vietnam)

Virginia Frances Schwartz, Among the Fallen, Holiday House, YA (historical novel, full of real characters, celebrates the strength and resilience of young women throughout history)

Lucy Strange, Sister of the Lost Marsh, Chicken House, Age 8-12 (story of six sisters who must fight against circumstance and fate)

Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. E.B. Lewis, You Are My Pride, Astra YR, Age 4-8 (historical picture book written in the voice of Mother Africa, who speaks to all her children)

February 2023

Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, Little Rosetta and the Talking Guitar, Doubleday, Age 4-7 (picture book biography of guitarist and musical prodigy Rosetta Tharpe)

Kalynn Bayron, My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix, Feiwel & Friends, YA (London 1885 — a teen boy tries to discover the reason behind his best friend’s disappearance and the arrival of a mysterious and magnetic stranger)

Miya T. Beck, The Pearl Hunter, Balzer + Bray, Age 8-12 (debut fantasy novel about pearl divers in pre-Shogun era Japan)

Anna Ciddor, The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, A & U Children, Age 8-12 (an accidental trip back to the Roman Empire sets off a race against time to save a friendship)

Lois Lowry, The Windeby Puzzle, Clarion, Age 10+ (blend of fiction and history, transporting readers to the Iron Age and exploring the mystery and life of the 2,000-year-old Windeby bog body)

Daniel Nayeri, illus. Daniel Miyares, The Many Assassinations of Samir the Seller, Arthur A Levine, Age 8-12 (middle grade adventure through the Silk Road narrated a boy whose only protector, Samir, has many mortal enemies)

Richard Panchyk, Escape ’56, Triangle Square, YA (a novel of escape during occupation and wartime and of starting life over in a new country)

Lyssa Mia Smith, Revelle, Balzer + Bray, YA (inspired by Moulin Rouge and set on an island in a magical version of Prohibition-era New York)

Caren Stelson, illus. Selina Alko, Stars of the Night, Carolrhoda Books, Age 7-11 (story of the Czech Kindertransport, which rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution on the eve of World War II)

Gretchen Woelfle, illus. Rebecca Gibbon, A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress, Calkins Creek, Age 7-10 (picture book biography of Jeannette Rankin, the first US congresswoman)

March 2023

Jeff Alt, illus. Hannah Tuohy, The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through Yellowstone National Park, Beaufort Books, Age 9-12 (a brother and sister duo travel back hundreds of years on a mission to preserve and protect our national parks)

Jairo Buitrago, illus. Rafael Yockteng, Afterward, Everything Was Different: A Tale of the Pleistocene, Greystone Kids, Age 4-8 (almost wordless picture book set in the dawn of human life imagines how art and storytelling were born from the power of one young girl’s observation)

Tziporah Cohen, illus. Yaara Eshet, Afikomen, Groundwood, Age 4-6 (wordless picture book in which three children at a Passover seder visit ancient Egypt to help baby Moses find his way safely to Pharaoh’s daughter)

L. M. Elliott, Bea and the New Deal Horse, Katherine Tegen, Age 10+ (novel, set during the Great Depression, is a tale of the spirit of American persistence, found family, and the magical partnership between girl and horse)

Bonnie Farmer, illus. Marie Lafrance, Oscar Lives Next Door, Owlkids, Age 4-8 (set in Oscar Peterson’s childhood neighborhood of St-Henri, picture book provides a strong sense of this 1930s neighborhood where much of Montreal’s Black working class population lived)

Kristen Mai Giang, illus. Dow Phumiruk, Last Flight, Age 4-8 (picture book story of a family’s escape from Saigon, Vietnam, just before its fall)

Kimberly Annece Henderson and Ciara LeRoy, Dear Yesteryear, Dial, Age 4-7 (a picture book letter connecting Black history with the present)

Ysabelle Lacamp (trans. Emma Ramadan), George Sand: No to Prejudice, Triangle Square, YA (tells the story of George Sand’s courageous fight for women’s rights in the 19th century)

Margaret Littman, illus. by Sara Luna, It’s Her Story: Irena Sendler, Sunbird, (graphic novel of Sendler, who worked with the Polish resistance during WWII to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto)

Joy McCullough, Enter the Body, Dutton BfYR, YA (in the room beneath a stage’s trapdoor, all of Shakespeare’s tragically dead teenage girls compare their experiences and retell the stories of their lives)

Mireille Messier, illus. Anna Bron, No Horses in the House!, Orca, Age 6-8 (picture book biography based on the life of the pioneering, feminist and queer artist Rosa Bonheur)

Jennifer A. Nielsen, Iceberg, Scholastic Press, Age 8-12 (story of a girl who stows away on the Titanic)

Nimrod (trans. Emma Ramadan), Aimé Césaire: No to Humiliation, Triangle Square, YA (tells the story of Aimé Césaire and the crusade for Black African and Caribbean independence from colonial rule)

Aida Salazar, illus. Molly Mendoza, Jovita Wore Pants, Scholastic Press, Age 6-9 (a true story of Jovita Valdovinos, a Mexican revolutionary who disguised herself as a man to fight for her rights!)

Dana Schwartz, Immortality: A Love Story, Wednesday Books, YA (Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message says she has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, daughter of King George IV. Sequel to Anatomy: A Love Story)

Sarah Underwood, Lies We Sing to the Sea, Harper Teen, YA (an epic tapestry of lies, love, and tragedy inspired by Greek mythology)

Elizabeth Wein, Stateless, Penguin Teen/Little Brown BfYR, YA (thriller in which Stella tryies to prove herself when she represents Britain as the only participating female pilot in Europe’s first air race)

Diane Zahler, Wild Bird, Roaring Brook Press, Age 8-12 (middle-grade adventure following Rype, an abandoned girl in 14th-century Europe, as she walks from Norway to England looking for safety from the plague)

April 2023

Hanh Bui, illus. Minnie Phan, The Yellow Áo Dài, Feiwel & Friends, Age 4-6 (picture book about a little girl who connects to her Vietnamese heritage when she accidentally rips her late grandmother’s ceremonial dress)

Arthur Conan Doyle, adapt. & illus. Hannes Binder (trans. David Henry Wilson), Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem, North South, Age 10+ (Sherlock Holmes’ most famous adventure, now in a graphic novel format)

Jason Cockcroft, A Song of Sun and Sky, Henry Holt BYR, Ages 4-8 (picture book about an imaginary chance meeting between a little girl and the artist Georgia O’Keeffe)

Kevin Crossley-Holland, illus. Chris Riddell, Arthur, the Always King, Candlewick Studio, Age 10+ (Carnegie Medalist Kevin Crossley-Holland and former British Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell welcome another generation to Camelot)

DK, The Timekeepers: First Flight, DK Children, Age 7-9 (adventure in which the Timekeepers are whirled back in time to 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where Orville and Wilbur Wright are trying to fix their airplane)
Also: The Timekeepers: Ancient Olympics

Fabrice Erre, Magical History Tour #12: The Samurai, Papercutz, Age 7-12 (Annie and Nico will peel back the curtains on the Samurai mystery and explain their origins)

Rosalyn Eves, An Improbable Season, FSG BfYR, YA (Regency Romance)

J. M. Farkas and Emily Vizzo, illus. Jasmin Dwyer, Starflower, Cameron Kids, Age 4-8 (lyrical picture book biography about American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s childhood and the two sisters who inspired her)

Margaret Peterson Haddix, Running Out of Time (c.1995), Katherine Tegen, Age 8-12 (time-bending adventure set in Clifton, Indiana, 1840)

Martine Leavitt, Buffalo Flats, Margaret Ferguson, YA (based on true-life histories, novel shares the coming of age of Rebecca Leavitt as she searches for her identity in the Northwest Territories of Canada during the late 1800s)

Camilo Moncada Lozano, Codex Black, IDW, YA (graphic novel series set in 15th-century Mesoamerica where a Zapotec girl goes on a harrowing journey to find her father)

Heather B. Moore, Allison Hong Merrill, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown, Shadow Mountain, Age 10+ (adapted for young readers; based on the true story of two friends who unite to help rescue immigrant women in the most dangerous corners of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1890s)

Martine Leavitt, Buffalo Flats, Groundwood, YA (a resourceful young woman discovers that it is the bonds of family, faith and friendship that will tie her to the wild and unpredictable land she comes to love so fiercely)

Jessica S. Olson, A Forgery of Roses, Inkyard Press, YA (Gothic fantasy based in magic, romance and murder)

Rebecca Ross, Divine Rivals, Wednesday Books, YA (World War I-inspired fantasy in which two young rival journalists find love through a magical connection)

May 2023

John Agard, illus. Sophie Bass, Windrush Child, Candlewick, Age 4-7 (recalls the journey made by the thousands of Caribbean children and their families who traveled to Britain between 1948 and 1971 as part of the Windrush generation)

Rona Arato, illus. Isabel Muñoz, Nothing Could Stop Her, Kar-Ben, Age 8-12 (showcasing Jewish American Ruth Gruber whose career as a renowned journalist spanned seven decades, reporting on places like Nazi Germany)

Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, illus. James E. Ransome, Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation, Candlewick, Age 6-9 (offering both a hopeful tale of friendship and a window into a dark period of history that still resonates today)

June 2023

Tami Lehman-Wilzig, illus. Oliver Averill, Luis de Torres Sails to Freedom, Kar-Ben, Age 5-10 (centering on a secret de Torres who joins a sailing expedition during the Inquisition to explore new worlds)

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