Depictions of Colonial People / Colonial Times
Best Books for Grade 6-8



The following books depict colonial people and colonial times for young people in grades 6-8. There are non-fiction books, activity books, and historical fiction stories set in one of the 13 colonies.


If you have students who do not appear to be interested in learning about 'those things that happened long ago', try requiring a little historical fiction reading. It may just turn the tides and spark an interest once the student "knows" some colonial people! Teachers have seen it happen before. :)

These books are for 6th grade, 7th grade, & 8th grade. We also have books set in colonial America for younger grades. To see these book lists, please click below:
Colonial America---K-Gr.2  -or-
Colonial America---Gr. 3-5


Hasty Pudding
Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes and Other
Good Stuff:
Cooking in Colonial America

Summary: A fun and informative look at colonial cuisine, with chapters on food preservation, table manners, different food items (ie: corn), and regional/cultural foods (ie: popular foods among slaves). Includes colorful illustrations and recipes (with modern and colonial preparation methods).

Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 3-6    Difficulty Level-- age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Great Colonial Projects
Great Colonial America Projects
You Can Build Yourself!

Summary:
Teachers wanting to incorporate hands-on activities into their curriculum will appreciate this activity book full of simple activities that teach children about daily life in Colonial America. (ie: directions on common household activities like making rugs and candles; instructions on playing Native American games...) Also includes short biographies of key colonial people and other interesting factoids.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-10    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 by Mary Pope Osborne
Standing in the Light:
 The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan

Summary:
This Dear America educates readers on Quaker and Lenape Indian beliefs and cultures though the journal entries of a young Quaker girl named Caty, who is captured from her 18th century Pennsylvania home by Lenape Indians. Through living with her captors, she comes to understand their culture and beliefs, and when she is eventually rescued, she has a hard time adjusting back to Quaker life.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-7     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...




 Pilgrims & the Plymouth Plantation

A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 by Kathryn Lasky
A Journey to the New World:
The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple

Summary:
This exceptional Dear America title provides an 'eye- witness account' of the dangerous and miserable voyage of the Mayflower--a cargo ship!--via fictional journal entries of one of the children on board. Readers also learn about what awaited the group in the new world, which was almost as bad! This title "demonstrates how vigorous historical fiction can enliven the facts found in most textbooks." (Kirkus)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-6      Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets, Massachusetts-Rhode Island, 1653 by Patricia Clark Smith
Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets, 1653
The Royal Diaries

Summary:
A fictional diary of a 14-year-old Wampanoag girl living near the Pilgrim settlement in the mid 17th century. Weetamoo is destined to lead her people and spends much time with her father, the current leader. Through her journal, readers learn about Wampanoag daily life and about their eventual interactions with the 'white-skinned Coat-men.' Booklist called this title "a lively yet ultimately tragic tale that vividly evokes the time period."


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-7     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Mayflower by Philbrick
The Mayflower and the Pilgrims' New World
by Nathaniel Philbrick

Summary:
Adapted for young people from the best-seller Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, this book recounts the dangerous Mayflower voyage and the determination of those aboard to settle in a new land. Philbrick replaces myths about colonial people and times (ie: Plymouth Rock, the first Thanksgiving) with true accounts, providing a "realistic, readable portrayal of the Pilgrims and their first 50 years in America." (SLJ)


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 7+    Difficulty Level--young adult

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...




 Massachusetts Bay Colony & the Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials:
An Unsolved Mystery from History

Summary:
A girl and her detective father investigate the Salem Witch Trails, presenting their case evidence in this book, then suggesting possible causes (based on actual theories). The investigative format engages readers, who will learn about the Salem Witch Trails and must think deeply enough about the 'case facts' to formulate their own conclusions, as the book leaves that open to the reader to decide. Large, 'serious' illustrations create just the right mood.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 3-6    Difficulty Level--age 4-8

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
I Walk in Dread: The Diary of
Deliverance, Witness to Salem Witch Trials

Summary:
Deliverance Trembley spends each day caring for her sick sister and carrying out her daily chores, always wary of upsetting her hot-tempered uncle. When four girls in her Salem, Massachusetts village start to accuse some village women of being witches, quiet Deliverance at first believes them, until someone she knows and trusts is accused. Then she's not so sure anymore.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 4-6    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
A Break with Charity:
A Story About the Salem Witch Trials

Summary:
Recollecting the dramatic events over a decade after they happened, Susanna provides an eye-witness account of the drama and fear that pervaded Puritan Salem during the Witch Trials. When one of the girls who 'cried out' confides in Susanna that they made everything up, Susanna cannot tell the truth for fear that they will turn their accusations on her family. "Finely tuned, well researched and very accessible, this novel ranks with Rinaldi's finest work." (PW)


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-10    Difficulty--young adult

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Jim Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise
John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell,
and the Land of Promise

Summary: This title brilliantly draws connections between the religious zealotry of the Puritans and the religious extremists today, and through the story of two key colonial people, reminds us that "we're the heirs of the radicals, not of the established govern- ment." SLJ called it "fascinating and provocative", but also recommends it to those "with a basic grounding in history and current events."

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 7+    Difficulty Level--young adult

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Witch Child
Witch Child
by Celia Rees

Summary:
Mary's grandmother was executed as a witch in England. Now in America, Mary is being accused because of her knowledge of healing remedies, which she learned from her grandmother. SLJ called this book captivating and said "the historical setting is sound...and Mary is an entirely believable character." Booklist and Kirkus were equally glowing, but PW didn't seem too fond of it. Most importantly, however, it's a hit with young readers!


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 7+    Difficulty Level--young adult

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...




 Jamestown and the Virginia Colony

1607 : A New Look at Jamestown
1607: A New Look at Jamestown
by Karen Lange

Summary:
This title demonstrates how continuing archaeology changes what we know about history and also provides new insight into Jamestown, from how they lived to how they interacted with the native peoples (ie: new evidence points to intermarrying.) Photos of costumed interpreters and reconstructed buildings add to the presentation. In a starred review, SLJ urges that "this title should be in every collection."

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-6     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Teachers: 1607 A New Look at Jamestown

blood river
Blood on the River:
James Town 1607

Summary:
The voyage to the New World and the early years of the Jamestown settlement are vividly brought to life through the observations of an 11-year-old orphan named Samuel, who describes the dreadful first winter, key figures like Smith, Pocahontas, and Powhatan, and details about daily life (food, chores, etc...) In a starred review, Kirkus called this book "lively historical fiction at its best."


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 5-7      Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
Written in Bone: Buried Lives
of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland

Summary:
A fascinating look at forensic anthropology and the new insights it has revealed regarding Chesapeake Bay colonial people and their settlements, most notably Jamestown. Walker describes how blending scientific knowledge with open-minded detective skills has resulted in greater understanding about how colonial people lived. Includes photographs, diagrams, maps, and historical documents.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-9     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
Pocahontas
Pocahontas
by Joseph Bruchac

Summary:
A "vivid, detailed historical novel" (Booklist) told through the alternating points of view of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. This enables readers to see how their different backgrounds and points of view resulted in very different ways of seeing their relationship and the key events of the period. This title exposes myths, provides a wealth of historical detail, and even includes an appendix with 'what happened next' at the back.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-12    Difficulty--young adult

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...





Do you know of a good children's book depicting colonial people and the colonial era?  If so, please let us know by completing the Suggest a Book form (right hand column).  Thank you.

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Return -from- Books depicting colonila people / times  -to- the Best Childrens Books home

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