An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

1900-1949: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about 1900-1949?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to 1900-1949. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about 1900-1949.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

We hope this list of kids books about 1900-1949 can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

Share this list
Add to list
Tonight on the Titanic
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Titanic trouble! Jack and Annie are in for an exciting, scary, and sad adventure when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the decks of the Titanic. Is there anything they can do to help the ill-fated ship? Will they be able to save anyone? Will they be able to save themselves?

Add to list
Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood up and fought for what she believed in. From an early age, she knew that women were not given rights equal to men. But rather than accept her lesser status, Elizabeth went to college and later gathered other like-minded women to challenge the right to vote. Here is the inspiring story of an extraordinary woman who changed America forever because she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Elizabeth Leads the Way is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Add to list
The Moffats
Written by Eleanor Estes & illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Meet the Moffats. There is Sylvie, the oldest, the cleverest, and-most days at least-the responsible one; Joey, who though only twelve is the man of the house…sometimes; Janey, who has a terrific upside-down way of looking at the world; and Rufus, who may be the littlest but always gets in the biggest trouble.Even the most ordinary Moffat day is packed with extraordinary fun. Only a Moffat could get locked in a bread box all afternoon, or dance with a dog in front of the whole town, or hitch a ride on a boxcar during kindergarten recess. And only a Moffat could turn mistakes and mischief into hilarious one-of-a-kind adventure.

Add to list
The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
Written by Natascha Biebow & illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This gloriously illustrated picture book biography tells the inspiring story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world’s most beloved toys. A perfect fit among favorites like The Day the Crayons Quit and Balloons Over Broadway. purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz… What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

Add to list
What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C. McKissack & illustrated by April Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service— the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack—with stunning illustrations by Harrison—delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom - Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis. Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.

  • Amelia Earhart - Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

  • Bud, Not Buddy - The Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning classic about a boy who decides to hit the road to find his father—from Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963, a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree. It’s 1936, in Flint Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud’s got a few things going for him: He has his own suitcase full of special things. He’s the author of Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!! Bud’s got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road to find this mystery man, nothing can stop him—not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself. AN ALA BEST BOOK FOR YOUNG ADULTS AN ALA NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOK AN IRA CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD WINNER NAMED TO 14 STATE AWARD LISTS “The book is a gem, of value to all ages, not just the young people to whom it is aimed.” —The Christian Science Monitor “Will keep readers engrossed from first page to last.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred “Curtis writes with a razor-sharp intelligence that grabs the reader by the heart and never lets go. . . . This highly recommended title [is] at the top of the list of books to be read again and again.” —Voice of Youth Advocates, Starred

  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect. “[A] vivid story…. Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence.”—Booklist, starred review

Add to list
The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams
Written by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Kathryn Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.

Add to list
Echo Mountain
Written by Lauren Wolk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

“Soothing and exquisitely written.” -People “Surely there has never been a better time to read about healing, of both the body and the heart.” -The New York Times Book Review”A supple tale of struggle, ingenuity and the restorative power of generosity even in bitter times. This is a book that will soothe readers like a healing balm.” -The Wall Street Journal “Brilliant.” -Lynda Mullaly Hunt, bestselling author of Fish in a TreeWhen the Great Depression takes almost everything they own, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie. Determined to help her father, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal and, with them, a fresh chance at happiness. Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Lauren Wolk, the Newbery Honor- and Scott O’Dell Award-winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families, set against the rough and ragged beauty of the mountain they all call home.

Add to list
Day the World Stopped Turning
Written by Michael Morpurgo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Michael Morpurgo’s The Day the World Stopped Turning is a middle-grade novel about an extraordinary boy who sees the world differently. In the unique landscape of the Camargue (France) during World War II, Lorenzo lives among the salt flats and the flamingos. There are lots of things he doesn’t understand-but he does know how to heal animals, how to talk to them; the flamingos especially. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother. It’s there he meets Kezia, a Roma girl, who helps her parents run their carousel-and who shows him how to ride the wooden horse as the music plays. But then the German soldiers come, with their guns. Everything is threatened, everything is falling apart: the carousel, Kezia and her family, even Lorenzo’s beloved flamingos. Yet there are kind people even among soldiers, and there is always hope. . .

Add to list
Marie Curie
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Frau Isa
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Meet Marie, the Nobel Prize winning scientist! New in board book format in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Marie Curie, from her childhood in Poland to conducting pioneering research on radioactivity and going on to become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Add to list
Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot - A True Story of the Berlin Airlift and the Candy that Dropped from the Sky.Life was grim in 1948 West Berlin, Germany. Josef Stalin blockaded all ground routes coming in and out of Berlin to cut off West Berliners from all food and essential supplies. Without outside help, over 2.2 million people would die. Thus began the Berlin Airlift, a humanitarian rescue mission that utilized British and American airplanes and pilots to fly in needed supplies. As one of the American pilots participating in the Airlift mission, Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen helped to provide not only nourishment to the children but also gave them a reason to hope for a better world. From one thoughtful, generous act came a lifelong relationship between Lt. Gail and the children of Berlin. This is the true story of a seven-year-old girl named Mercedes who lived in West Berlin during the Airlift and of the American who came to be known as the Chocolate Pilot. Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen’s evocative paintings illuminate Margot Theis Raven’s powerful story of hope, friendship and remembrance. About the Author: Margot Theis Raven has been a professional writer working in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and children’s books for thirty years. She has won five national awards, including an IRA Teacher’s Choice award. Ms. Raven earned her degree in English from Rosemont College and attended Villanova University for theater study, and Kent State University for German language. Ms. Raven splits her time living in Concord, MA, Charleston, SC and West Chesterfield, NH. About the Illustrator: Born in the Netherlands, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen studied at the Royal Academy of Arts inHolland. He immigrated to the United States in 1976, and years later he became a children’s book illustrator. “Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot” is Nick’s ninth children’s book with Sleeping Bear Press.

  • Hedy Lamarr's Double Life - To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling’s critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today’s technology.

  • Before She Was Harriet - A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life.

  • Mary Wears What She Wants - Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

Add to list
Lumber Jills: The Unsung Heroines of World War II
Written by Alexandra Davis & illustrated by Katie Hickey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In World War II, Great Britain needed lumber to make planes, ships, and even newspapers—but there weren’t enough men to cut down the trees. Enter the fearless Lumber Jills! These young women may not have had much woodcutting experience, but they each had two hands willing to work and one stout heart, and they came together to do their part. Discover this lyrical story of home front heroism and female friendship.

Add to list
A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story
Written by Caren Stelson & illustrated by Akira Kusaka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11

In this deeply moving nonfiction picture book, award-winning author Caren Stelson brings Sachiko Yasui’s story of surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and her message of peace to a young audience.

Sachiko’s family home was about half a mile from where the atomic bomb fell on August 9, 1945. Her family experienced devastating loss. When they returned to the rubble where their home once stood, her father miraculously found their serving bowl fully intact. This delicate, green, leaf-shaped bowl–which once held their daily meals–now holds memories of the past and serves as a vessel of hope, peace, and new traditions for Sachiko and the surviving members of her family.

Add to list
Who Was Winston Churchill?
Written by Who HQ
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Born into aristocracy, Churchill cut his teeth as a young army officer in British India, the Sudan, and the Second Boer War. He rose in the ranks to First Lord of the Admiralty and was a staunch opponent of the encroaching German Nazis. Churchill served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British Prime Minister to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.

Add to list
Making Bombs for Hitler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For readers who were enthralled by Alan Gratz’s Prisoner B-3087 comes a gripping novel about a lesser-known part of WWII.Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish. She will be fine, won’t she? But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II. Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs… and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught? And if she’s freed, will she ever find her sister again? This pulse-pounding novel of survival, courage, and hope shows us a lesser-known piece of history – and is sure to keep readers captivated until the last page.

Add to list
History Smashers: Pearl Harbor
Written by Kate Messner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Myths! Lies! Secrets! Uncover the hidden truth behind the infamous Pearl Harbor attack with beloved educator/author Kate Messner. The fun mix of sidebars, illustrations, photos, and graphic panels make this perfect for fans of I Survived! and Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a completely unpredictable attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Right? Well, that’s not quite the real deal. Some military experts had suggested that Pearl Harbor was a likely target. There were other warning signs, too, but nobody paid much attention. From the first wave of the Japanese bombers to the United States’ internment of thousands of Japanese Americans, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known truths behind the story of Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. Don’t miss History Smashers: The Mayflower and Women’s Right to Vote

Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • All the Light We Cannot See - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book A National Book Award Finalist From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Soon to be a Netflix limited series from the producers of Stranger Things Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

  • The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game - All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires’ calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William “Dummy” Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!

  • Catherine's War - “A shining story of a young girl who struggles to come of age and find her place in a world fraught with danger.” –Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Newbery Honor-winning author of Hitler Youth Winner of the Youth Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival (voted by readers) Winner of the Artémisia Prize for Historical Fiction Winner of the Andersen Premio Prize A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that asks universal questions about a young girl’s coming of age story, her identity, her passions, and her first loves.At the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, Rachel Cohen has discovered her passion–photography. Although she hasn’t heard from her parents in months, she loves the people at her school, adores capturing what she sees in pictures, and tries not to worry too much about Hitler’s war. But as France buckles under the Nazi regime, danger closes in, and Rachel must change her name and go into hiding.As Catherine Colin, Rachel Cohen is faced with leaving the Sèvres Home–and the friends she made there–behind. But with her beautiful camera, Catherine possesses an object with the power to remember. For the rest of the war, Catherine bears witness to her own journey, and to the countless heroes whose courage and generosity saved the lives of many, including her own.Based on the author’s mother’s own experiences as a hidden child in France during World War II, Catherine’s War is one of the most accessible historical graphic novels featuring a powerful girl since Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi–perfect for fans of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Anne Frank, or Helen Keller.Includes a map and photographs of the real Catherine and her wartime experiences, as well as an interview with author Julia Billet.”Many of the settings are beautifully detailed, and the characters undeniably expressive. Catherine’s ability to find beauty in the world makes for a forward-looking read.” –Booklist (starred review)“This story will make readers want to join the Resistance. Characters are drawn so vividly that, long afterward, readers will remember their names.” –KirkusAn Indie Next List Pick!A Junior Library Guild selection

  • What Were the Roaring Twenties? - Flappers, flag-pole sitting, and the Ford Model T–these are just a few of the things that instantly conjure up a unique era–the Roaring Twenties. It was the bees’ knees, the cat’s meow. If you’re not familiar with 1920s slang, all the more reason to read this fascinating look at that wild, exciting decade. It began on the heels of one tragedy–the flu pandemic of 1918–and ended with another: the start of the Great Depression. But in between there were plenty of good times–the Model T cars that Henry Ford made were cheap enough for the masses, the new sound of jazz heated up speakeasies and nightclubs during the time of Prohibition. Women, recently given the right to vote, cut their long hair into bobs, wore short skirts and makeup, and danced the Charleston (sometimes in marathons that lasted days). Michele Mortlock hits all the highlights of this heady age that still feels modern even a hundred years later.

Add to list
The Nightingale
Written by Kristin Hannah
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

A #1 New York Times bestseller, Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, and soon to be a major motion picture, this unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation. With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime. Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year - People’s Choice Favorite Fiction Winner - #1 Indie Next Selection - A Buzzfeed and The Week Best Book of the Year Praise for The Nightingale: Haunting, action-packed, and compelling. –Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author Absolutely riveting!…Read this book. –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute Beautifully written and richly evocative. –Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author “A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival–and the essence of what makes us human.” –Family Circle “A heart-pounding story.” –USA Today An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it. –Anne Rice A respectful and absorbing page-turner. –Kirkus Reviews Tender, compelling…a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France. –Jewish Book Council “Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won’t allow any rest until all of their fates are known.” –Shelf Awareness I loved The Nightingale. –Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author Powerful…an unforgettable portrait of love and war. –People

Add to list
Rent Party Jazz
Written by & illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Notable Children’s Book, American Library Association (ALA) Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, National Council for the Social Studies/ Children’s Book CouncilAn African American boy living in New Orleans in the 1930s raises money to pay the rent with the help of a popular jazz musician.In New Orleans in the 1930s, young Sonny Comeaux has to work before school to help his mother make ends meet. When Mama loses her job, Sonny is worried. Rent day is coming soon, and if they miss paying by just one day, the landlord will put them out on the street and sell off their belongings. Sonny wanders sadly through Jackson Square after school one day. His attention is caught by Smilin’ Jack, a popular jazz musician. Sonny returns day after day, and soon finds himself explaining his problem to Smilin’ Jack. What Smilin’ Jack offers Sonny then-how to raise money for the rent while having the world’s best party-changes both their lives forever. Award-winning author William Miller tells his most affecting story yet, accompanied by Charlotte Riley-Webb’s brilliantly-colored paintings that perfectly capture the lively rhythms of New Orleans jazz. This is a powerful story of family, friendship, and people coming together to help others in a time of need.

Add to list
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
Written by Margarita Engle & illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

Add to list
The Bravest Man in the World
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One afternoon, Jonathan Harker Weeks didn’t feel like practicing the piano. So his grandfather decided to tell him a story to show how much of an impact music can have. When he was a child growing up poor in Ireland, his mother made sure he learned to play the fiddle, despite their challenges. After his mother passed away and he was on his own, Jonathan’s grandfather fell asleep hiding in a mail sack and was taken to a ship. When he woke up, he realized he was on the Titanic on its maiden voyage, and it was there that he met Wallace Hartley and Mrs. Weeks, a kind man and woman who took him in. Then one night, the majestic ship hit an iceberg. He and Mrs. Weeks were put on a lifeboat—and Mr. Hartley and his band bravely continued to play to calm the crew and passengers. The story of Wallace Hartley is true and he is known throughout the world as a hero. The New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of The Keeping Quilt Patricia Polacco offers this stunning and heartbreaking picture book to celebrate the memory and bravery of a single man who used the power of music to comfort thousands of people during a catastrophic situation.

Add to list
The Titanic Treasure
Written by Eric Luper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Getting lost in a good book has never been this dangerous!Cleo and Evan have a secret. A collection of books so dangerous they are locked up tight. And only they can find the keys to release the magic inside!A FORTUNE LOST AT SEA!When Cleo and Evan set sail on the Titanic, time is not on their side! The famous ocean liner is destined to hit an iceberg. If they can stop a thief from stealing a priceless jeweled book – and find their next key – they might avoid sinking with the ship in this historic disaster!

Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • Before the Devil Breaks You - The Diviners are back in this thrilling and eerie third installment by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray. New York City.1927.Lights are bright.Jazz is king.Parties are wild.And the dead are coming… After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows. With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves. Heart-pounding action and terrifying moments will leave you breathless in the third book of the four-book Diviners series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.

  • Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code - As a young Navajo boy, Chester Nez had to leave the reservation and attend boarding school, where he was taught that his native language and culture were useless. But Chester refused to give up his heritage. Years later, during World War II, Chester—and other Navajo men like him—was recruited by the US Marines to use the Navajo language to create an unbreakable military code. Suddenly the language he had been told to forget was needed to fight a war. This powerful picture book biography contains backmatter including a timeline and a portion of the Navajo code, and also depicts the life of an original Navajo code talker while capturing the importance of heritage.

  • Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time - Time is relative! Award-winning, illustrator Torben Kuhlmann’s brilliant new book bends time and imagination When an inventive mouse misses the biggest cheese festival the world has ever seen, he’s determined to turn back the clock. But what is time, and can it be influenced? With the help of a mouse clockmaker, a lot of inventiveness, and the notes of a certain famous Swiss physicist he succeeds in traveling back in time. But when he misses his goal by eighty years, the only one who can help is an employee of the Swiss Patent Office, who turned our concept of space and time upside down. From the creator of Lindbergh-The Tale of a Flying Mouse, Moletown, Armstrong - The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon, and Edison - The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure comes Einstein. Torben Kuhlmann, in his fourth mouse adventure, explores the question: Suppose Albert Einstein’s famous theories first came into being through an encounter with a little mouse? Rave Reviews for Einstein: His unique ability to combine fun, facts, science and biography makes Einstein a real triumph. BookPage, Starred Review “As in Armstrong (2016) and Edison (2018), Kuhlmann employs a mix of narrative and fantastically detailed mouse’s-eye-view pencil-and-watercolor scenes to portray a small, furry investigator intrepidly tackling scientific and technological challenges in a human-sized world–here involving old records in a certain Swiss patent office, clock gears and computer parts, trial and error, and equations on chalkboards.” - Kirkus, Starred Review

  • L. M. Montgomery - From the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the famous Canadian author of Anne of Green Gables. Born in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, Lucy Maud Montgomery lost her mother when she was very young. Left in the care of less-than-encouraging grandparents, she found comfort in reading, writing, and her imagination. When Maud grew up, she wrote about the childhood she wished she had, creating one of the best-loved characters of all time: Anne of Green Gables. This moving book features stylish illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the author’s life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

Add to list
Who Was Anne Frank?
Written by Ann Abramson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Looks closely at Anne Frank’s life before the secret annex, what life was like in hiding from the Nazis, and the legacy of her diary.

Add to list
I Survived the Galveston Hurricane, 1900
Written by Lauren Tarshis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

More than a century later, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is still America’s deadliest disaster. Lauren Tarshis’s story of one child surviving the horrible event churns with page-turning action and bold hope.The city of Galveston, Texas, was booming. Perched on an island off the southern coast of Texas, Galveston had been founded in the 1830s. By 1900, it was Texas’s richest and most important city. Boats loaded up with American cotton and wheat steamed from Galveston to countries around the world. Arriving ships were crowded with immigrants. The streets, paved with crushed oyster shells, sparkled like they’d been sprinkled with diamonds.True, this glittering city was prone to flooding. But just a few years before, a weather forecaster had said the idea of a hurricane striking Galveston was absurd.So when a storm started brewing on September 8, 1900, no one believed it would be any worse than previous storms. They gathered on the beach to cheer on the wild waves. But what started as entertainment soon turned into a nightmare as those wild waves crashed into the city. By morning, hundreds of homes were destroyed. Eight thousand people were dead. The city had all but disappeared.In this thrilling next installment of Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series, one child finds safety only to head back into the treacherous waters to make sure his neighbors are safe.

Add to list
The Butterfly
Written by Patricia Polacco
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Ever since the Nazis marched into Monique’s small French village, terrorizing it, nothing surprises her, until the night Monique encounters ?the little ghost? sitting at the end of her bed. She turns out to be a girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique’s basement. Playing after dark, the two become friends, until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight.

Add to list
Sink or Swim: A Novel of World War II
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Inspired by the true story of the youngest boy who served in World War II, Steve Watkins weaves a story of courage in the face of danger and hope in the face of defeat.It’s been a month since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. America is officially at war with Germany and Japan, and everyone wants to do their part. In twelve-year-old Colton’s case, that means stepping up at home once his older brother, Danny, ships out with the navy. But before Danny leaves for boot camp, the brothers are fishing on the Atlantic Ocean when Danny’s boat is capsized by a Nazi U-boat, nearly killing him.When more U-boats start attacking the next day, Colton realizes just how close the enemy is to American shores. With Danny’s life in the balance, Colton does the only thing he can think of to help his family and his country: He steals his brother’s enlisting papers and joins up instead.Colton’s bold decision leads to a deadly journey. Even if he can keep his age a secret and survive boot camp, he’ll have to face Hitler’s ruthless submarines. But the longer he’s on the seas, the less sure Colton is that he and his shipmates can stop such a relentless enemy . . .

Add to list
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This poetic book is a resounding tribute to Tubman’s strength, humility, and devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses.

Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  • Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen? - It’s up, up, and away with the Tuskegee Airmen, a heroic group of African American military pilots who helped the United States win World War II. During World War II, black Americans were fighting for their country and for freedom in Europe, yet they had to endure a totally segregated military in the United States, where they weren’t considered smart enough to become military pilots. After acquiring government funding for aviation training, civil rights activists were able to kickstart the first African American military flight program in the US at Tuskegee University in Alabama. While this book details thrilling flight missions and the grueling training sessions the Tuskegee Airmen underwent, it also shines a light on the lives of these brave men who helped pave the way for the integration of the US armed forces.

  • Schindler's List - During the Holocaust at the German concentration camp near Plaszow, thousands of Jews lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis. More than a thousand others would have been counted among the dead if not for a womanizing, heavydrinking, German-Catholic industrialist and Nazi Party member named Oskar Schindler. One of the most remarkable narratives of the Holocaust, “Schindler’s List” masterfully recreates the daring exploits of Schindler, who used his enormous fortune to build a factory near the concentration camp and saved the lives of over 1,300 Jews. An absorbing, suspenseful and moving account of Oskar Schindler’s legacy of life, this is an unforgettable audio program.

  • It Rained Warm Bread - Moishe was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and he was sent to Auschwitz. His home was ravaged, his family torn apart by illness and abduction. Years of brutality drew on as Moishe moved from one labor camp to the next. Finally, towards the end of the war and at the peak of Moishe’s deepest despair, a simple act of kindness by a group of courageous Czech women redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated, this is a strong addition to the ever-important genre of Holocaust testimonies.

  • D-Day: Battle on the Beach - Ranger, the time-traveling golden retriever with search-and-rescue training, heads to Normandy during World War II!In this adventure, Ranger heads to Normandy on the morning of the D-Day invasion and finds himself in the middle of one of the fiercest battles of World War II. Ranger meets Leo, a Jewish boy who is hiding with a local farmer, and Walt, a young African-American soldier fighting to free France from the Nazis. Walt is in the 320th Balloon Battalion, so it’s his job to help operate the enormous barrage balloons that fly over the American troops, shielding them from enemy planes. It’s pure chaos, with thundering warplanes, falling bombs, and exploding land mines. Will Ranger, Leo, and Walt survive?

Add to list
Escape to the Hiding Place
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-

Over 1 million sold in series!Patrick and Beth arrive in World War II Holland in the farm country. They must smuggle a baby (by bicycle) into the capable hands of Corrie ten Boom at her home in Haarlem. Along the way they hide from Nazi soliders, meet a Russian surgeon forced into service by the Germans, and encourage two Jewish children who haven’t been outside in over three years. The children learn to appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of everyday people who helped the Jews.

Add to list
I Dreamed I was a Ballerina
Written by Anna Pavlova & illustrated by Edgar Degas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Every girl remembers her first trip to the ballet: the anticipation beforehand, the orchestra’s first notes, the ethereal beauty of the ballerinas. This is a tale of one such girl who was caught up in ballet’s mesmerizing spell and became one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.

In a story drawn from her memoirs, Anna Pavlova describes her first visit to the ballet to see the Sleeping Beauty. With simple, childlike language, she captures her love for her mother, the splendor of the ballet, and the moments that changed her life. The words are matched with paintings, pastels, and drawings of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, to give this story all the magic of a fairytale.

Complete with short biographies of Pavlova and Degas, I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina will delight any child with ballerina dreams.

Add to list
Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive
Written by Laura Hillenbrand
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-18

In this captivating and lavishly illustrated young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a former Olympian’s courage, cunning, and fortitude following his plane crash in enemy territory. This adaptation of Unbroken introduces a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics. On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary sagas of the Second World War. The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will. Featuring more than one hundred photographs plus an exclusive interview with Zamperini, this breathtaking odyssey–also captured on film by director Angelina Jolie–is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the ability to endure against the unlikeliest of odds. Praise for UnbrokenThis adaptation of Hillenbrand’s adult bestseller is highly dramatic and exciting, as well as painful to read as it lays bare man’s hellish inhumanity to man.–Booklist, STARRED This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. A strong, well-written work.–SLJThis fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to young readers.–Kirkus

Add to list
Tucky Jo and Little Heart
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Friendship, loyalty, and kindness stand the test of time in this heartwarming World War II-era picture book based on a true story from the beloved author-illustrator of Pink and Say and The Keeping Quilt. Tucky Jo was known as the “kid from Kentucky” when he enlisted in the army at age fifteen. Being the youngest recruit in the Pacific during World War II was tough. But he finds a friend in a little girl who helps him soothe his bug bites, and he gets to know her family and gives them some of his rations. Although the little girl doesn’t speak English, Tucky Jo and Little Heart share the language of kindness. Many years later, Tucky Jo and Little Heart meet again, and an act of kindness is returned when it’s needed the most in this touching picture book based on a true story.

Add to list
Out of the Dust
Written by Karen Hesse
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-15

Out of the Dust joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

“Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . .”

A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo’s life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can’t talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better – playing the piano – is impossible with her wounded hands.

To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma – and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.