Historical fiction provides a window into diverse periods and a range of human endeavors.

The genre also features unfamiliar words and concepts that can pose a challenge for your students. Vocabulary.com makes it easy to prepare students for deeper, more enjoyable reading by explicitly teaching the specific words they'll encounter in the text.

Our curriculum team has created curated vocabulary lists for dozens of classic and contemporary historical fiction titles that will appeal to the range of readers in your classroom.

Implementation Ideas

Prep students for closer reading with paired practice activities.

  1. Before students tackle their reading assignment, search for the book in our list library. Using our curated lists, you can pair the title you're teaching with text-based vocabulary instruction.
  2. Assign a Practice activity based on the list you selected. Our tools make it easy to assign work to multiple classes, create a series of assignments for an entire book, and adjust due dates.
  3. Have students independently complete the Practice assignment. As they work, they'll learn the key vocabulary words from the book, presented in usage examples from the source text.

Give students a choice of books within the genre.

Genre study is a perfect match for student-selected reading, but it can be a challenge to provide instruction to multiple students reading different titles within one class. You can support individual choice by having students select their books from our list library, and then complete the Practice activity on their own.

Recommended reading:

The following recommendations are a great place to start. Bear in mind that the titles below are just a sample of our historical fiction titles. Search our list library for thousands of other curated lists and collections.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Under a War-Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Typical American by Gish Jen
Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko 
What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper
Arcadia by by Tom Stoppard
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
White Rose by Kip Wilson
The Downstairs Girl by Stacy Yee

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