Thursday, March 3, 2016

Middle Grade Historical Fiction with Fantastic Female Characters #wmnhist #whm

Chris Eboch with The Eyes of Pharaoh #MGlit in ancient Egypt
Blogger/author Chris Eboch
In honor of Women's History Month, I wanted to cover some middle grade historical fiction that included real women from history. But how does one find such offerings?

Cleopatra is certainly popular in historical fiction for various ages. Several middle grade novels on this GoodReads list of “YA & Middle Grade Historical Fiction set in Ancient Egypt” feature her. Queen Hatshepsut also shows up, and Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
by Julius Lester tells the story of Moses with a focus on his sister, mother, and the Egyptian princess who adopts him. I've read a few of these novels, but none recently enough to give a good review. I'm assuming mileage may vary in regards to historical accuracy.

The Royal Diaries series also features Cleopatra along with many other real-life princesses from around the world throughout history. Here's a list of the books from GoodReads.

Far more middle grade historical novels feature strong fictional girls in a realistic setting. Teachers and librarians are likely familiar with many of these, including Out of the Dust by Karen Hess, The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, and Esperanza Rising
by Pam Muñoz Ryan. These three are all set during the Great Depression but have wildly different characters and styles; find more titles on this GoodReads list: “Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction Set During the Great Depression.”

Caroline Starr Rose May B historical fiction on the prairie
Many other historical eras are represented in historical fiction with strong female characters. Consider the Revolutionary War novels Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson and Sophia’s War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi. Dash by Kirby Larson and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry are among the offerings set during World War II. As a bonus, several of these feature diverse characters: a black slave girl in Chains, a Japanese American girl in Dash, and a Jewish friend in Number the Stars.

Bookworm for Kids lists these titles and many more (including many with male main characters) on its Historical Fiction page. Keene Public Library of New Hampshire offers "The Best in Historical Fiction for Young People” with pages for different regions of the world. (The Mayan Culture list features my novel The Well of Sacrifice!)

Jennifer Bohnhoff the Bent Read Civil War historical fiction
Caroline Starr Rose takes readers to a Kansas prairie homestead in May B., and all the way back to 1587 in Virginia for Blue Birds. Fellow blogger Jennifer Bohnhoff features strong girls near Gettysburg in The Bent Reed, and in occupied France in 1940 in Code: Elephants on the Moon.

And of course, a couple of my novels take readers to the distant past. The Eyes of Pharaoh is set in ancient Egypt while The Well of Sacrifice is set in the last days of a great Mayan city in the ninth century.

Do you have any suggestions for great middle grade historical fiction with strong female characters? Are any of them based on real people? Let's celebrate Women's History Month! #wmnhist #whm

Chris Eboch the Well of Sacrifice middle grade historical fiction about the Maya
Chris Eboch writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages, with several novels for ages nine and up. The Eyes of Pharaoh is an action-packed mystery set in ancient Egypt. The Genie’s Gift draws on the mythology of 1001  Arabian Nights to take readers on a fantasy adventure. In The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. Learn more at or her Amazon page. You can also sign up for Chris’s newsletter or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog.

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