Historical Young Adult Fiction Around the World

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Article in Young Adult Fiction, Location, Historical, and Diversity categories.

North America

Canada

When an injury keeps his father from going into northern Canada with fur traders, 13-year old Pierre decides to take his father's place.
  • Dust by Arthur Slade (1930s)
A stranger shows up in Robert's Saskatchewan town during the Dust Bowl years of the Depression, promising to bring rain to the community, but at the same time area children begin to mysteriously disappear.


Dominican Republic

In the midst of a reign of terror in the Dominican Republic, Anita discovers that her father and uncle are in a plot to overthrow the dictator.

Latin America

Argentina

Silvia is determined to save her brother after he is captured and imprisoned because of his political activism.

Europe

Elenor and Thomas, unhappy at being chosen by their families to be wed, discover love and respect for each other during a pilgrimage taking them across Europe to Spain.

Check the titles in Holocaust fiction for stories from the era of World War II.

Great Britain

An inexperienced Roman army officer is sent to England as a punishment to command a group known as the Frontier Wolves.
Galwyn, son of a Roman Celt, escapes from his tyrannical uncle and joins King Arthur to acquire the Libyan horses that Arthur hopes to use in battle against the Saxons.
Evyn's experiences as slave to King Harold of England.
Will's dreams of experiencing the adventure and excitement of aknight come true when, as a page at his uncle's castle, he becomes involved in a battle for control of the English throne.
Catherine knows the limitations of women in the Middle Ages, but her diary tells of her dreams of adventure and her efforts to avoid being married off until she experiences those adventures.
In medieval England, a homeless girl is taken in by a midwife and finds stability and a purpose in life.
King Arthur prepares to assure his role as the rightful ruler of England, which will be guaranteed to the person who removes a sword placed in a stone by the magician Merlinnus...until someone else removes the sword first.
Sally, recently orphaned, becomes involved in a deadly search for a mysterious ruby.
Sally tackles the mystery surrounding the 1878 collapse of a shipping firm and its ties to the sinister North Star.
In London in 1881, Sally finds her young daughter and her possessions assailed by an unknown enemy, while a shadowy figure involves her in his plot to defraud and exploit recent immigrants.
In Victorian-era London, a badly injured thief is brought back to health by an innovative physician and uses the knowledge he has gained about the city's new sewer system to create a profitable dual life for himself. Continued in *Montmorency on the Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer?, *Montmorency and the Assassins, and *Montmorency's Revenge.
A battered child learns to trust again when he is adopted by an old man during World War II.

France

In a very oppressive, hysterical era, Rose's mother is accused of being a witch, and Rose is challenged with clearing her name.
In this gripping story of one soldier's efforts to save a Jewish boy from the Nazis, the quiet heroics of ordinary people caught in war come to life.

Netherlands

A modern story of Jacob, an English teen who travels to Amsterdam and meets a Dutch woman who had cared for his soldier grandfather when he was wounded in battle alternates with an historical tale narrated by the woman about her relationship with Jacob's grandfather during World War II.
  • I am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen (Mid-1600s)

Denmark

Annemarie helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis during Germany's occupation of Denmark during World War II.

Germany

On a school trip to Germany in 1937, a Danish boy becomes involved in the activities of the anti-Nazi underground.
Death tells the story of a young girl in World War II-era Germany, whose book stealing helps to sustain her and others around her through the horrors of the war.

Austria

A Jewish girl and the daughter of a Nazi have been best friends for years, but with the onset of World War II, they find their friendship difficult to maintain.

Italy

Working as an artist's apprentice in Renaissance Florence, Arduino makes a discovery that may cost him the chance to become a painter.
During World War II, Roberto is captured by Nazi soldiers and taken out of Italy to a concentration camp in Ukraine, where he struggles to escape. The story continues in *Fire in the Hills.

Poland

Upon his father's death, Matt becomes both an orphan and a king. His hope is for children and adults to truly understand one another, but his idealism is viewed with suspicion by others in power.


Africa

Morocco

In this sequel to *The Ramsay Scallop, Etienne reaches the Middle East in 1302, where he meets an engaged couple who are separated because of warring tribes.


Egypt

A retelling of the story of Moses and his sister Almah, told from both their viewpoints.

Nigeria

Okonkwo and his family see their native ways challenged when his favorite son converts to Christianity.


Middle East

Israel

The story of Miriam, who grows up in ancient Israel to become Mary Magdalene.
Having survived the Holocaust, Ruth is recruited by the Jewish underground to help smuggle children into Palestine.


Asia

India

Thirteen-year-old Leela's structured life and arranged marriage comes to an end when her husband dies, leaving her a widow but also aware for the first time of the changes taking place in India during the era of Gandhi's reforms.

China

  • The Examination by Malcolm Bosse (15th Century)
Brothers Chen and Hong experience adventure and a secret society while traveling across the country in order for Chen to take government examinations that will determine his future.
After being abducted by bandits, Wang Lee is rescued from slavery by a girl who introduces him to a secret society planning the overthrow of the Manchu government.

Mongolia

Oyuna's dream is to become a great horsewoman, but when Kublai Khan's soldiers raid her village and take all the horses, she disguises herself as a boy to remain with the herd.

Japan

The daughters of a Japanese feudal lord, barred from being samurai due to their gender, disguise themselves as boys to seek revenge against a relative who had betrayed the family. The story continues in *Chasing the Secret and *Journey through Fire.
Taro, an orphan, is taken in by a great warlord and grows up to be a samurai fighting for the enemies of his dead family.
Sixteen-year-old Toyo is receiving a modern education in the changing Japanese society of the 1890s but learns to draw from traditional practices as well when playing on his school's baseball team.

Korea

Sookan survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation of North Korea and later escapes to freedom in South Korea.