Forthcoming childrens and YA historical novels for 2020

The Historical Novel Society lists mainstream and small press titles for readers aged 4 – 18. Details are compiled by Fiona Sheppard. The publisher-recommended age category is represented as Pic (Picture Book 4/5+), Chap or ER (Chapter Book or Easy Reader), Mid-grd (Middle-Grade 8-12), YA (Young Adult 13+).

This is a work in progress. Do visit us again soon! And other than short excerpts, please remember to link to this page rather than copying the entries – thank you!

January 2020

Beth Anderson, illus. E. B. Lewis, Lizzie Demands a Seat!, Calkins Creek, Pic 7+ (in 1854, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar)

Julia Billet, illus. Claire Fauvel, (trans. Ivanka Hahnenberger), Catherine’s War, HarperCollins, Mid-grd (based on a true survival story of World War II, graphic novel follows a Jewish girl’s journey to the free zone of France)

Tonya Bolden, Saving Savannah, BloomsburyYA, YA (Washington DC 1919 ― brings the women’s suffrage movement to life with a teen girl finding her own way to change the world)

Emily Conlan, Move the Mountains, A & U Children, Mid-grd (an interactive adventure set in 1951)

Joseph Elliott, The Good Hawk, Walker US, 10+ (a pair of teens set out on a quest to rescue their clan from Nordic raiders in a historical fantasy set in the hills of ancient Scotland)

Andrew Fukuda, The Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II, Tor Teen, YA (story of the unlikeliest of pen pals—a Japanese American boy and a French Jewish girl—as they fight to maintain hope in a time of war)

Dee Garretson, All Is Fair, Square Fish, YA (a young lady is pulled out of school and into a secret wartime mission with a dashing American spy in this historical mystery)

Dee Garretson, Gone by Nightfall, Swoon Reads, YA (a young woman is torn between her home and her dreams on the eve of the Russian revolution)

Lori Haskins Houran, illus. Luke Flowers, The Tale of Paul Bunyan, Golden books, Pic 3+

Maureen Johnson, The Hand on the Wall, Katherine Tegen, YA (conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years)

Kassandra Luciuk, illus. Nicole Burton, Enemy Alien, Between the Lines, YA (graphic novel of Canada’s first national internment operations through the eyes of John Boychuk, a Ukrainian internee held in Kapuskasing from 1914 to 1917)

Anna-Marie McLemore, Dark and Deepest Red, Feiwel & Friends, YA (straddling five centuries novel centers on a young woman uncovering her family’s history while fighting her attraction to the wrong boy)

Jerdine Nolen, illus. James E. Ransome, Freedom Bird, S&S/Paula Wiseman, Pic (an enslaved brother and sister are inspired by a bird to escape to freedom)

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, illus. Iacopo Bruno, The Story Seeker, Henry Holt (BYR), Mid-grd (mystery adventure set in the iconic New York Public Library during the Roaring Twenties)

Mary Pope Osborne, illus. AG Ford, Narwhal on a Sunny Night, Random House Books for Young Readers, 6+ (Magic Treehouse – meet famous explorer Leif Erikson and help save a narwhal)

Lana Popovic, Blood Countess, Abrams, YA (tale of intrigue, mystery, and murder set amid young royals in 1602 Hungary)

Lisa Cline-Ransome, illus. James E Ransome, Overground Railroad, Holiday House, Pic (a perceptive girl tells the story of her train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration)

Jodie Lynn Zdrok, Spectacle, Tor Teen, YA (a killer stalks the streets of 1887 Paris in this historical thriller)

February 2020

Veeda Bybee, illus. Alessia Trunfio, Lily and the Great Quake, Stone Arch, Mid-grd (a San Francisco earthquake survival story)

EM Castellan, In the Shadow of the Sun, Feiwel & Friends, YA (YA fantasy/romance novel set in 1661 Versailles)

Gwendolyn Clare, Mist, Metal and Ash, Square Fish, YA (in this alternate version of 19th-century Italy, a girl genius with the ability to write worlds into creation is the only one who can save the Earth)

Henry Cole, Another Quest for Celeste, Katherine Tegen, Mid-grd (It is 1822 and a mouse called Celeste meets a tall, lanky boy wielding an ax: a young Abraham Lincoln)

Sassafras De Bruyn, The Hunter and His Dog, Eerdmans BfYR, Pic (the hunter and his dog begin a madcap chase across the world of Pieter Bruegel the Elder introducing young readers to the Flemish Renaissance)

Jim Di Bartolo, The Boy Who Became a Dragon, Scholastic Inc, Mid-grd (fictional biography of Bruce Lee)

Mario Escobar, Children of the Stars, Thomas Nelson (an inspirational story of escape, sacrifice, and hope amid the perils of the second World War)

Julie Gilbert, illus. Matt Forsyth, Daisy and the Deadly Flu, Stone Arch, Mid-grd (a 1918 influenza survival story)

Marthe Jocelyn, illus. Isabelle Follath, Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano, Tundra, Mid-grd (middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector in England, 1902)

Mackenzi Lee, The Madness Blooms, Flatiron, YA (LGBT coming-of-age romance set in Holland in 1637)

Tricia Levenseller, Warrior of the Wild, Square Fish, YA (an 18-year-old chieftain’s daughter is banished after being betrayed during her coming-of-age trial in this Viking-inspired historical fantasy)

Adriana Mather, Killing November, Ember, YA (thriller set at a secretive boarding school where students are trained to carry on family legacies that have built—and toppled—empires)

Brad McLelland, Louis Sylvester, The Fang of Bonfire Crossing: Legends of the Lost Causes, Square Fish, 10+ (middle-grade western adventure series about a ragtag group of vigilante orphans)

Margi Preus, Village of Scoundrels, Amulet, 10+ (true story of a group of French teenagers who helped save refugees in WWII)

Doreen Rappaport, illus. Eric Valasques, Ruth Ojects, Hyperion, Pic 6+ (fictional biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

Andrea L. Rogers, illus. Matt Forsyth, Mary and the Trail of Tears, Stone Arch, Mid-grd (a Cherokee removal survival story)

Geoff Rodkey, illus. Hatem Aly, The Story Pirates Present: Stuck in the Stone Age, Yealing, Mid-grd (time-travel adventure doubles as a creative writing guide for young writers!)

Danielle Rollins, Twisted Fates, HarperTeen, YA (follow up to time travel romance Stolen Time)

Alisha Sevigny, The Lost Scroll of the Physician, Dundurn, Mid-grd (Sesha, daughter of the pharaoh’s royal physician, must find the scroll her father was transcribing before his death, to save the kingdom and her brother’s life)

Nikki Shannon Smith, illus. Alessia Trunfio, Sarah Journeys West, Stone Arch, Mid-grd (an Oregon Trail survival story)

Geronimo Stilton, Time Warp, Scholastic, Mid-grd (Geronimo visits Plato in Ancient Greece, the mythical Atlantic and Stonehenge)

Jane Yolen, illus. Christine Davenier, Emily Writes, Henry Holt (BYR), Pic (imagined childhood biography of Emily Dickinson’s poetic beginnings)

Jodie Lynn Zdrok, Sensational, Tor Teen, YA (follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World’s Fair of 1889)

March 2020

Avi, Gold Rush Girl. Candlewick, Mid-grd (story of a mud-caked, tent-filled San Francisco in 1848 with a willful heroine who goes on an unintended — and perilous — adventure to save her brother)

Michelle Barker, My Long List of Impossible Things, Annick, YA (explores the chaos and destruction of WWII from the perspective of the implications of the Soviet occupation on a German population grappling with the horrors of Nazism and its aftermath)

Helaine Becker, illus. Liz Wong, Pirate Queen, Pic (China early 1800s – a story of Zheng Yi Sao)

Rob Currie, Hunger Winter, Tyndale, Mid-grd (story of one boy’s quest to find his father and protect his younger sister during the great Dutch famine of World War II)

Daphne Kalmar, A Stitch in Time, Square Fish, Mid-grd (an orphan grapples with her unpleasant aunt and the even more unpleasant idea of moving to Boston)

Patricia Lyfoung, Scarlet Rose #5: You Should Let Me Die, Charmz, YA 12+ (in this installment, the Scarlet Rose must free her friend Guilhem from prison)

Adriana Mather, Hunting November, Knopf BfYR , YA (can November Adley find her missing father before her enemies find her? Sequel to Killing November )

Helen Moss, illus. Misa Saburi, Time Dogs: Barry and the Great Mountain Rescue, Henry Holt (BYR), Chap (in 3rd adventure, Time Dogs are transported back to Swiss Alps in 1800)

Benjamin Read, Laura Trinder, The Midnight Hour, Chicken House, Mid-grd (fantasy adventure in which Emily has to negotiate a Victorian London frozen in time and full of magic and monsters)

David Salter, 28 Days, Feiwel & Friends, YA (a novel of resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto)

Marcus Sutter, Soldier Dogs #6: Heroes on the Home Front, HarperFestival, Mid-grd (twin siblings give their dog to the Coast Guard during WWII—only to discover a German threat on their own home turf)

Lila Quintero Weaver, My Year in the Middle, Candlewick, Mid-grd (in 1970, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign, in the classroom Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide

April 2020

Samira Ahmed, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, Soho Teen (follows a Muslim-American teenager who partners with a descendant of French author Alexander Dumas to unravel a 19th-centry mystery)

Cindy Anstey, Deadly Curious, Swoon Reads, YA (a young lady who aspires to be a detective investigates the murder of her cousin in this thriller set in London 1834)\

Riccardo Guasco, What a Masterpiece, Eerdmans BfYR, Pic (a boy’s daily routines bring him face-to-face with Escher’s winding stairs, Banksy’s balloon girl, Picasso’s dancing fauns, and many more)

Dan Gutman, Flashback Four #4: The Hamilton-Burr Duel, HarperCollins, Mid-grd (four brave friends head back in time to record the most infamous duel in U.S. history)

June Hur, The Silence of Bones, Feiwel & Friends, YA (Joseon (Korea), 1800 ― a 16-year-old indentured servant within the police bureau becomes entangled in the politically charged investigation into the murder of a noblewoman)

Kathy Kacer, Louder Than Words, Annick, Mid-grd (3rd in Heroes Quartet series – based on the true story of one woman’s incredible heroism in the most dangerous of circumstance)

Andy Marino, The Conspiracy (The Plot to Kill Hitler #1), Scholastic, Mid-grd (based on the real-life scheme, this trilogy puts two courageous kids at the center of the plot to kill Adolf Hitler)

Angela Misri, The Detective and the Spy, Cormorant, YA (4th in adventure series set in 1930s London)

Sheila Seifert, Chris Brack, The Imagination Station: Poison at the Pump, Focus on the Family, Chap (Patrick and Beth travel back in time to London, England, during the cholera epidemic of 1854)

May 2020

David Almond, illus. David Litchfield, War is Over, Candlewick, Mid-grd (1918 – story, explores the fear and hope of children in time of war)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illus. G. Brian Karas, The Village Blacksmith, Candlewick, Mid-grd (a contemporary envisioning of Longfellow’s 19-century poem. Afterword about tools and trade of blacksmithing)

Tessa McWatt, illus. Zuzanna Celej, Where Are You, Agnes, Groundwood, Pic (Agnes Martin was born on the Canadian prairies in the early twentieth century and grew up to become a famous abstract expressionist artist)

T. R. Simon, Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground, Mid-grd (fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood adventures explores the idea of collective memory and the lingering effects of slavery)

Angie Smibert, The Truce, Boyds Mills, 10+ (final book in the supernatural trilogy Ghosts of Ordinary Objects)


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