Historical Fiction as Teacher Prep

Over the years I have found that nothing quite puts me in the frame of mind for teaching a particular period of history than a good historical novel. Though historical fiction books don’t usually give me content that I can directly impart to my students, when it comes to giving me the “feeling” of a particular time period, historical fiction just can’t be beat. Here are some titles worth looking up. Some of them are definitely adult reading, others can be readers for students.

Grade Five

India — The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander, Buddha by Deepak Chopra

Egypt — Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Greece — The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Grade Six

Rome —

I, Claudius From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius Born 10 B.C. Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 (Vintage International)
Roma ($9.99 Ed.)
other titles by Steven Saylor

The Eagle

Middle Ages —

Muhammad: A Story of God’s Messenger and the Revelation That Changed the World
The Midwife’s Apprentice
Crispin – The Cross Of Lead
Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life (Ballantine Reader’s Circle)

Grade Seven

Renaissance — The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Grade Eight War and Peace by Tolstoy, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell,


  1. Cathy says

    Thanks for the recommendations Meredith. I am about to start preparing for 5th grade and the start of history and feeling very excited about this change of direction into history. I look forward to checking out some of these books.

  2. says

    Ooh, lucky you, Cathy! Fifth grade is such a great grade to teach! Definitely read the Deepak Chopra book on Buddha. It’s an adult-only read, but I felt like I really knew Buddha after reading it. Enjoy!

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