Forthcoming children’s and YA historical novels for 2021

The Historical Novel Society lists mainstream and small press titles for readers aged 4 – 18. Details are compiled by Fiona Sheppard using publisher descriptions and recommended age suitability.

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Last updated Feb 7, 2021

January 2021

Gill Arbuthnott, illus. Mike Phillips, The Amazing Life of Mary, Queen of Scots, Kelpies, Age 7-10 (life of Mary told for Young Readers)

Glenda Armand, illus. Brittany Jackson, Song in a Rainstorm, Albert Whitman, Age 5-6 (story of musical prodigy Blind Tom Wiggins in 19th-century)

Natasha Bacchus-Buschkiel, illus. Francesca Ficorilli, Maria and the Plague, Stone Arch, Age 8-11 (a graphic format Black Death survival story)

Anne Blankman, The Blackbird Girls, Puffin Books, Age 9-12 (dual-timeline story shows that hatred, intolerance, and oppression are no match for the power of true friendship)

Sarwat Chadda, City of the Plague God, Rick Riordan Presents, Age 8-12 (13-year-old Sikander teams up with the hero Gilgamesh to stop the ancient god of plagues)

Maya Chhabra, illus. Eric Freeberg, Stranger on the Home Front, North Star Editions, Age 8-14 (a story of Indian immigrants and World War I – I Am America series)

Judy Dodge Cummings, illus. Eric Freeberg, When the Earth Dragon Trembled, North Star Editions, Age 8-14 (a story of Chinatown during the San Francisco earthquake and fire – I Am America series)

Deborah L. Delaronde, illus. Sheldon Dawson, Louis Riel Day, Theytus Books, Age 4-6 (with help from his grandfather a boy discovers how the fur trade began)

Melanie Dickerson, Court of Swans, Thomas Nelson, YA (first in new series set in late 14th-c England)

Fabrice Erre, illus. Sylvain Savoia, Magical History Tour #1: The Great Pyramid, Papercutz, Age 8-12 (new series where kids travel through time to follow the Threads of History and uncover its secrets!)
Also: Magical History Tour #2: The Great Wall of China

Julie Gilbert, illus. Francesca Ficorilli, Constance and the Dangerous Crossing, Stone Arch, Age 8-11 (a graphic format Mayflower survival story)

Nikki Grimes, Legacy, Bloomsbury Children’s, Age 10+ (new collection of poetry celebrating little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance)

Susan Kusel, illus. Sean Rubin, The Passover Guest, Neal Porter Books, Age 4-8 (picture book retelling of the classic I.L. Peretz story, best known through Uri Shulevitz’s 1973 adaptation The Magician)

Malinda Lo, Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Dutton BfYR, YA (story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the 1950s)

Donna Jo Napoli, In a Flash, Wendy Lamb, Age 8-12 (story of two devoted sisters, Italian citizens, who must survive in WWII Japan)

Peter Sis, Nicky & Vera, Norton BfYR, Age 8-12 (story of Nicholas Winton who rescued nearly 700 children from Nazi-occupied Prague)

M.J. Thomas, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Worthykids, Age 6-8 (time-traveling chapter book sends Peter and Mary back to Jerusalem, where a teacher named Jesus has started teaching and performing miracles)

Jenni L. Walsh, illus. Jane Pica, Hettie and the London Blitz, Stone Arch, Age 8-11 (a graphic format WWII survival story)

February 2021

Kate Albus, A Place to Hang the Moon, Margaret Ferguson, Age 9-12 (tale of three orphaned siblings who are evacuated from London in 1940 to live in the countryside with the secret hope of finding a permanent family)

Amy Bearce, Rome Reframed, Jolly Fish Press, Age 10-14 (after a cryptic palm reader hands him a weird-looking coin to throw in the Trevi Fountain, Lucas finds himself transported to ancient Rome)

Caroline George, Dearest Josephine, Thomas Nelson, YA (dual-narrative love story that prompts us to reimagine what it means to be present with the people we love)

Marianne Hering, Terror in the Tunnel, Focus on the Family, Age 6-8 (Book 23 in the Imagination Station series finds cousins Beth and Patrick nearing Washington, D.C., on the train with Abraham Lincoln, heading to his first inauguration)

Lori Banov Kaufmann, Rebel Daughter, Delacorte Children’s, YA (a young woman survives the unthinkable in this tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE)

Liz Kessler, When the World Was Ours, S&S Australia, Age 10+ (novel about three childhood friends living during the Second World War)

Sigal Samuel, illus. Vali Mintzi, Osnat and Her Dove, Levine Querido. Age 4-8 (Osnat was born 500 years ago – at a time when very few believed that girls should learn to read)

Diane Zahler, Daughter of the White Rose, Holiday House, Age 8-12 (based on the real royal scandal of the Princes in the Tower)

March 2021

Mary Kay Carson, Escape from . . . the Titanic, little bee, Age 7-10 (an Irish bellboy and a young girl passenger try to survive the sinking of the unsinkable ship)

Kathleen A. Dinan, illus. Iris M. Kirkwood, Kite to Freedom, Age 9-12 (fictionalized account of actual events that occurred during the construction of the Niagara International Suspension bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada at Niagara Falls)

Anne Dublin, Jacob and the Mandolin Adventure, Second Story Press, Age 9-12 (Jacob and a group of Jewish orphans cross the sea to a new life in the 1920s)

G. D. Falksen, The Secret Life of Kitty Granger, Carolrhoda Lab, YA (portrait of 16-year-old Kitty Granger, a working-class girl on the autism spectrum, who was recruited to spy for the British government in 1967)

Annelise Gray, Circus Maximus: Race to the Death, Zephyr, Age 9+ (twelve-year-old Dido dreams of becoming the first female charioteer at the great Circus Maximus)

Dan Gutman, Houdini and Me, Holiday House, Age 8-12 (when Houdini asks for his help in coming back to life, it seems like a chance 11-yr-old Harry Mancini doesn’t want to miss!)

Vanessa Harbour, Flight, Feiwel & Friends, Age 8-12 (a Jewish boy and a Roma girl lead a group of horses across the mountains to escape the Nazis during WWII)

Susan Hughes, illus. Marianne Ferrer, Carmen and the House that Gaudí Built, Owlkids, Age 4-8 (picture book inspired by the real Batlló family and the house Gaudí designed for them)

I Musici de Montréal, Colm Feore, Ana Gerhard, illus. Marie Gerhard, That’s My Piano, Sir!, The Secret Mountain, Age 7-9 (travel through time following a mouse called Minim as he witnesses the arrival of young Mozart and his family)
Also: A Delicious Taste of Mozzarella: Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (April 2021)
Also: Some Creatures Have All the Luck: Antonio Vivaldi (May 2021)

J. M. Lee, The Nightland Express, Erewhon, YA (in antebellum America, two teens bury their secrets and join the historic Pony Express, and soon discover the mortal world is not the only one on the brink of war)

Peter Lerangis, Throwback: Out of Time, HarperCollins, Age 8-12 (13-yr-old Corey has the power to travel back in time and try to fix some of history’s worst evils)

Lisa Maxwell, The Devil’s Thief, Margaret K. McElderry, YA (sequel to The Last Magician, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic)

Jennifer A. Nielsen, Rescue, Scholasstic, Age 8-12 (World War II story of espionage and intrigue, as one girl races to save her father and aid the French resistance)

Wendy Orr, Cuckoo’s Flight, Pajama Press, Age 9-12 (Bronze-Age coming-of-age story as Clio battles the political power of the palace and her own feelings of inadequacy to save her town, her horses, and perhaps even herself)

Mary Pope Osborne, To the Future, Ben Franklin, Random House BfYR, Age 6–9 (Magic Tree House adventure set in Old Philadelphia in 1787)

Benjamin Richmond, Escape from . . . Pompeii, little bee, Age 7-10 (Mount Vesuvius is ready to erupt and two friends have to find a way to escape)

Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. Julia Iredale, Amber and Clay, Candlewick, Age 10-14 (blending verse, prose, and illustrated archaeological “artifacts,” this is a tale that vividly transcends time, an indelible reminder of the power of language)

Tara Sim, Scavenge the Stars, Little, Brown BfYR, YA (gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo)

Gloria Whelan, illus. Kirbi Fagan, Summer of the Tree Army, Sleeping Bear, Age 7-8 (in Depression-era northern Michigan, a young boy meets a teenager serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps)

April 2021

Alane Adams, The Medusa Quest, Spark Press, Age 8-12 (Phoebe Katz is on a new mission to save Olympus, to undo the fallout from her last visit)

Naama Benziman, Lenny and Benny, Green Bean Books, Age 5+ (story Inspired by the midrash about Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza, in which an inter-communal squabble ultimately leads to the destruction of the Second Temple)

Laura Best, The Family Way, Nimbus Publishing, Age 9-13 (based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies,; an exploration of family and of Nova Scotia’s history)

W. N. Brown, Michael Burgan, James Buckley, Jr., Great Escapes #5: Terror in the Tower of London, HarperCollins, Age 8-12 (fifth book in the historical fiction series based on real events)

Devora Busheri, illus. Menacham Halberstadt, The Donkey and the Garden, Green Bean Books, Age 8-12 (based on Midrash Hagadol, about how Rabbi Akiva overcame his fear of embarrassment to go from humble shepherd to legendary Jewish leader)

Chief Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill, My Indian, Breakwater Books, YA (In 1822, William Cormack sought the expertise of an indigenous guide who could lead him across Newfoundland)

Alyssa Colman, The Gilded Girl, FSG BfYR, Age 8-12 (set in Gilded Age New York City, follows two girls at an elite magical boarding school who form an unlikely friendship to save magic)

Karen Cushman, War and Millie McGonigle, Knopf BfYR, Age 8-12 (humorous story of WWII on the Homefront in California)

Hédi Fried, illus. Stina Wirsén, The Story of Bodri, Eermans BfYR, Age 6-10 (story about a faithful dog, a Jewish family in danger, and the power of hope in unimaginable circumstances)

Julia Golding, The Abbey Mystery, Lion Fiction, Age 9+ (it’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey)

Michaela Maccoll, View From Pagoda Hill, Calkins Creek, Age 9-12 (set in late 1800s – story of a Chinese American girl struggling to find her place in the world when she is forced to leave Shanghai to go to America with a father she barely knows)

Yona Zeldis McDonough, illus. Kaja Kajfez, The Woodcarver’s Daughter, Kar-Ben, Age 8-9 (after a pogrom forces Batya’s Russian Jewish family to leave their home and come to America, Batya hopes she will have a chance to become a woodcarver like her father)

Sarah Miller, Violet & Daisy, Schwartz & Wade YR, YA (story of Violet and Daisy Hilton, conjoined twins who were the sensation of the US sideshow circuits in the 1920s and 1930s)

Michelle Paver, Skin Taker, Zephyr, Age 9+ (next in the Wolf Brother series set in the Stone Age)

Chris Raschka, Saint Spotting, Eerdmans BfYR, Age 4-8 (illustrated picture book introduces readers to saints and symbols through the warm bond between a mother and son)

Pauline Vaeluaga Smith, illus. Mat Hunkin, Dawn Raid, Levine Querido, Age 8-12 (story of one ordinary girl living in extraordinary times, learning how to stand up and fight)

Ted Staunton, illus. Josh Rosen, The Good Fight, Scholastic Canada, Age 10-13 (set amidst Toronto’s turbulent summer of 1933, this graphic novel sheds light on prejudice and social injustice)

Shirley Reva Vernick, Falling Stars, Cinco Puntos, Age 8-12 (historical fiction explores a true story of the only WWII casualties in the continental U.S.)

Dan Walker, Back Home, Alaska Northwest Books, YA (set in 1960s Alaska; continues Sam Barger’s story with the homecoming of his older brother, wounded from war)

Frances Watts, The Chicken’s Curse, A & U Children, Age 8+ (amusing adventures of a runaway boy and girl, and a delightfully self-obsessed sacred chicken, set in the time of Ancient Rome)

Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker, illus. Amanda Perez Puentes, Championess, Legendary Comics, YA (based on a true story, in 18th century London, Elizabeth Wilkinson struggles to make ends meet for her and her sister Tess while facing the fiercest female bare-knuckle boxers of her day)

May 2021

Katherine Factor, Choose Your Own Adventure Spies: Spy for Cleopatra, Chooseco, Age 9-12 (interactive series whereby mid-graders can learn about different times in history)

Aida Gale, Willie Sawgrass, Pineapple Press, YA (takes place in the wilderness of Southwest Florida in the early 1900s, when the cattle and fishing industry were strong but rum running was more lucrative)

Gabriele Goldstone, Tainted Amber, Ronsdale Press, YA (1937 – coming-of-age story of two young couples living under Nazi rules of sterilization and breeding perfect Aryans)

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, My Calamity Jane, HarperTeen, YA (irreverent tale bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and romance)

Justina Ireland, Ophie’s Ghosts, Balzer + Bray, Age 8-12 (Ophelia used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922 and the cruel act that took her father from her)

Maureen Buchanan Jones, Maud & Addie, Fitzroy Books, Age 9-12 (tale that demonstrates the courage and the resilience of two young girls when confronted with adversity. Set in 1910)

Sophie Jordan, Sixteen Scandals, HMH BfYR, YA (newly minted sixteen-year-old Primrose Ainsworth finds herself on a wayward birthday adventure through London with a mysterious hero)

Kathy Kacer, Call Across the Sea, Annick Press, Age 9-12 (brings to life a little-known part of World War II and highlights the unsung acts of heroism that moved history forward)

Barbara Krasner, 37 Days at Sea, Kar-Ben, Age 8-12 (story of a twelve-year-old Jewish refugee fleeing war-torn Europe for the US – and being turned away)

Stacey Lee, Luck of the Titanic, G.P. Putnam’s Sons BfYR, YA (imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage)

Mariana Llanos, illus. Mariana Ruiz Johnson, Run, Little Chaski!, Barefoot Books, Age 3-6 (picture books set in the ancient Inka Empire)

Zoe Maeve, The Gift, Conundrum Press, YA (fantastical / horror retelling of the story of Anastasia Nikolaevna and the Romanov family, the last rulers of Imperial Russia before the revolution. Graphic format)

Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Da Vinci’s Cat, Greenwillow, Age 8-12 (time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present)

Ellen Oh, Finding Junie Kim, HarperCollins, Age 8-12 (while facing racist vandalism at her middle school, Junie learns of her grandparents’ experiences as lost children during the Korean War and finds her inner strength)

Manuela Santoni, Brontë, Graphic Universe, YA (story of the lives of the three famous literary sisters)

Rita Williams-Garcia, A Sitting in St. James, Quill Tree, YA (novel about the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America – 1860 Louisiana)

June 2021

Claire M. Andrews, Daughter of Sparta, jimmy Patterson, YA (reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo)

Brian Bowman, illus. Richard Rudnicki & Susan Tooke, Dusty Dreams and Troubled Waters, Nimbus, Age 8-12 (story of HMCS Sackville and the Battle of the Atlantic)

Michelle Jabès Corpora, Dust Bowl: American Horse Tales, Penguin Workshop, Age 8-12 (1930s Oklahoma; story of a young girl and her family as they make the difficult decision to sell the family horse and move to California)

Sharon Dogar, Monsters, Andersen Press, YA (story of Mary Shelley—radical, rebellious and entranced, who defies tradition and society, and who draws upon the monstrous elements of her own life to create the most memorable monster of them all)

Judith Eagle, illus. Jo Rioux, The Secret Starling, Walker Books US, Age 10-14 (a tattered ballet slipper found under the floorboards of Braithwaite Manor may be the key to Clara’s sinister family secrets in this lightly Gothic mystery)

Erin S. Evan, The Bone Wars: The Pirates of Montana, Inkshares, YA (for 65 million years, the Badlands of Montana have held a secret hidden in their depths. Multi-period)

Lucy Ivison, illus. Lucy Truman, The House of Serendipity, Razorbill, Age 8-12 (middle-grade novel about two girls with a talent for dressmaking set in 1920s London)

Gary Northfield, Julius Zebra: Grapple with the Greeks!, Candlewick, Age 7-10 (fourth action-packed, hilarious adventure brimming with facts about the ancient world)

David Ross, Scott Lauder, The Three Hares: The Gold Monkey Key, Neem Tree, Age 8-12 (in The Met in New York, Sanjeev is catapulted to 6th century Byzantium, becoming an accomplice to murder)

Brit Sandstrom, Hollow Chest, Walden Pond, Age 8-12 (WWII-era fantasy about a young boy who braves the claws and teeth of monsters both real and fantastical in order to save his brother, his family, and himself)

Amanda Strong, Four Faces of the Moon, Annick Press, YA (brings alive the oral and written history of the Michif, Cree, Nakoda and Anishinaabe Peoples and their cultural link to the buffalo)

July 2021

Sonis Corvaglia, illus. Anna Láng, The Adventures of Ulysses, Starry Forest Books, Age 3-7 (picture book)
Also: Hercules and Theseus and the Minotaur

Lindsay Galvin, A Discovery of Dragons, Chicken House, Age 8-12 (1835. Cabin boy Simon Covington is on the voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world-famous scientist, Charles Darwin)

Jerry Mikorenda, The Whaler’s Daughter, Fitzroy Books, YA (an environmental call-to-action story set in 1910, New South Wales)

August 2021

Lesa Cline-Ransome, Being Clem, Holiday House, Age 8-12 (trilogy recreates mid-twentieth century America through the eyes of three boys – Langston, Lymon and now, Clem)

Stacy Gregg, The Forever Horse, HarperCollinsChildrensBooks, Age 9+ (Maisie finds the childhood diary of famous horse artist, Rose Bonifait, and meets the beautiful black stallion, Claude)

Lisa Sukenic, Miles from Motown, Fitzroy Books, Age 9-12 (novel in verse explores what it’s like for a young African American girl to move to a mostly white suburban neighborhood)

September 2021

Patricia Miller-Schroeder, Sisters of the Wolf, Dundurn, Age 12+ (can two Ice Age teens separated from their tribes, overcome their differences to outwit their pursuer and survive the unforgiving wilds?)

H. S. Norup, The Hungry Ghost, Pushkin Children’s Books, Age 7-11 (a mysterious white-clad figure leads a girl towards an old family mystery)

Edeet Ravel, A Boy is Not a Ghost, Groundwood Books, Age 9-12 (sequel to the A Boy Is Not a Bird, a boy is exiled to Siberia during World War II. Based on a true story)

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Traitors Among Us, Scholastic Press, Age 8-12 (World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe)

October 2021

Sharon Cameron, Bluebird, Scholastic Press, YA (historical novel, set in postwar New York City)

Wai Chim, Freedom Swimmer, Scholastic Press, YA (story of friendship, bravery, and a desperate bid for freedom, inspired by true events after China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’)

November 2021

December 2021

Rodman Philbrick, Stay Alive, Scholastic, Age 8-12 (the Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds, The Donner Party Expedition, 1846)

January 2022

Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illus. Yas Imamura, Love in the Library, Candlewick, Age 6-9 (set in an internment camp where the US detained Japanese Americans during WWII, this love story finds hope in heartbreak)


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