Historical Novel Studies for the Middle Grades

Historical Novel Studies for the Middle Grades

 

Are you one of the many middle grade teachers who do at least one historical novel with your whole class each year?  If you are, I’d be interested in hearing which time period you chose for your novel study(-ies)?  Especially since three out of my four favorites are set during WWII.  (You’ll find a free resource for one of them, Stepping on the Cracks, below!) But I know there are lots of good ones out there for any time period in US history!  Any suggestions?  I’d love to hear some ideas for my next novel study!

 

Anyway, here are some of my favorite historical novels for middle schoolers and upper elementary kids.  All four are just novels that I really like, not actually chosen for their time period at all, except for the fact that they are all set in US history.

 

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud is on a mission to find his father. Along the way, he meets (and we get to meet, too) all-time great jazz musicians.  This story is set in the 1930s.

 

Two of my previous posts about this great middle-grades novel include helpful ideas and information for a novel study – discussion questions and extension activities.  Here are the links in case you are planning to teach  Bud, Not Buddy this year.

 

Bud, Not Buddy – Extension Activities with Non-fiction Readings 

 

Discussion Questions for Bud, Not Buddy

 

The Cay

Trying to escape the imminent dangers of World War II, Phillip gets stranded on a tiny island with Timothy and Stew Cat.

 

Here is a set of questions for The Cay, plus a lesson idea for teaching the story element of setting with the novel.

 

Theme Questions for The Cay

 

Teaching Setting with The Cay

 

Number the Stars

Annemarie, her best friend Ellen, and both of their families face challenging and even life-threatening trials as they try to escape to Sweden ahead of Hitler’s forces.

 

This post is a a short one, but it does include ideas for follow-up activities to go with  your novel study of this middle-grades classic.

 

Extended Activities for Number the Stars

 

Stepping on the Cracks

Stepping on the Cracks is about life on the Homefront, interwoven with a wonderful story about coming to understand a neighborhood bully.

 

I have two posts for this one.  One is about lesson ideas for the setting of the novel – the Homefront during World War II, and the other one gives you some discussion questions on several topics each based on a theme from the novel:  the war, bullies, friends, holidays, and family.

 

Life on the Homefront – Stepping on the Cracks

 

Stepping on the Cracks – Discussion Questions

 

The activity linked below is a free resource for this novel.

 

Novel Study Freebies

Here’s a free resource for Stepping on the Cracks.  It is an activity in which students make inferences based on quotes from the novel – in both printable and digital formats.

 

Stepping on the Cracks Inference Chart

 

Check in the novel study section of my TPT store, and you’ll find nice little freebies for more interesting historical novels for middle graders as  well!

 

Novel Studies

Bud, Not Buddy novel study

 

The Cay Novel Study

 

Number the Stars Novel Study

 

Stepping on the Cracks Novel Study

 

Historical Novel Studies for the Middle Grades


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