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Children's Literature: Historical Fiction

Research guide for Children's Literature

About the Genre

Historical fiction takes place in the past. The stories may contain real people, places and situations but the author makes up parts of the story. 

Catalog Search

To search for historical fiction, pick a key word and juvenile fiction.

For example:

Civil War juvenile fiction

Great Depression juvenile fiction

To search for fiction and related nonfiction, search a key word and juvenile literature.

For example:

Civil War juvenile literature

Great Depression juvenile literature


Jackdaws are collections of primary source materials. Jackdaws, a British name for a relative of a crow that collects brightly colored objects, can be used to help students make connections to historical periods and events.  These collections often include facsimiles of the following types of materials:



newspaper articles



time lines


sheet music




The Curriculum Resource Center has many commercially created Jackdaw sets. The collection of Jackdaws can be accessed through the catalog by using keyword searching for historical periods or events or by using Jackdaws as a keyword. There is a physical list of the collection on the shelf above the Jackdaw collection.

Teachers can make their own Jackdaw collections for literature to be used in their classrooms.  Each book will determine its own specific items to collect. 

Connecting Fiction to Nonfiction: Japanese Internment

In order to understand historical fiction, it is useful to explore the historical time period or events. With background knowledge, students will enjoy a greater understanding of the historical fiction book.

For example, the following nonfiction books and historical fiction books can be used together to enhance background knowledge about Japanese internment during World War II:

Connecting Fiction to Nonfiction: Segregation in Professional Baseball

Another Example

The following nonfiction books and historical fiction books can be used together to enhance background knowledge about the years when professional baseball was segregated:

A Sampling of Historical Fiction in the CRC- picture books