Historical Fiction

Students will read novels covering historical time periods ranging from the Civil War to Victorian England to Stalin's Russia to WWII South Africa to the Harlem Renaissance. Quite often, starting with fiction with ignite a student's curiosity about what really happened in the past. This leads to research questions.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 

by Mildred Taylor

Grades 6-7

  • Students will study life during the Great Depression, especially for African Americans, while reading this novel. 

  • They will also read Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a Dream" speech, A Wreath for Emmet Till, and ​"Here's to the State of Mississippi".

  • Students will write their own social justice sonnet.

  • Students will write an I-Search paper on any topic they choose as it relates to the novel and other areas we have studied with this unit. ​

    • An I-Search paper focuses not only on the research, but on the process. This allows students to reflect on themselves as researchers and grow to become better.​

  • Students will also learn about copyright, plagiarism, and website evaluation.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 

by Lewis Carroll

Grades 6-12

  • Students will research the history of the Victorian era and how children were expected to act during this time period, contrasting it with our current expectations. 

  • Lewis Carroll was known for his logic puzzles and many are found in this novel. Students will attempt to make sense of the nonsensical. 

  • Many famous artists were commissioned to do the artwork for future editions of the novel, including Salvador Dali. Students will analyze various artists and their renditions, writing critiques on the artwork and interpretations of which matches the tone of the story most appropriately.


Night by Elie Wiesel

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Grades 8-12

  • Students will first read the biography on Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, learning of his ordeal during WWII.

  • Students will then read Rose Under Fire, a fictionalized story of a female American pilot who was shot down and sent to Ravensbruck Internment Camp. 

    • Here she was a witness to the real life experimentation Nazi doctors performed on the women at this camp.​

    • After helping some of them escape, she then becomes a reporter for an American newspaper on the Nuremberg trails.

  • Students will compare and contrast the real life account from Elie Wiesel and the historical fiction​ from Elizabeth Wein, while working on a research report on a topic of their choosing related to concentration camps during WWII.


Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Grades 9-12

  • This novel looks at the story of Nigeria as the British first started colonizing Africa. It looks at the rich history of the Igbo people through their language, music, farming, and culture, and how that all changes when the missionaries arrived.

  • Students will research the effects of Colonialism on Africa and its last effects on education, farming, government, and self identity.

  • The unit culminates with an in depth study of MARVEL's Black Panther.

    • This film imagines a society that developed without British colonization​, and flourished.

    • Research into the costuming of the different tribes of Wakanda and how they represent different areas of Africa.

    • Feminism in Black Panther and  strong women as role models for African American girls.

    • The idea of an Anti-villian and if Erik Killmonger is the real hero of the story.


The Alice unit started off great!  Whatever suffragette article you had him read led him down a reading 'rabbit hole' and he found himself reading on the history of feminism. Your lessons are STUPENDOUSLY inspiring!!

You'll be happy to know that he's using what he learned in your Holocaust unit and applying it to things.  He read a news article, and became very upset about it.  It had something to do with Jews and politics and his response was AWESOME in that he cited Rose Under Fire and Night and talked about another article you had assigned to him on Hitler and the Holocaust.  He went off on an impressively well-thought through diatribe about what the Holocaust meant and why we have to remember.  I'm not sure you realize how MUCH you affect him and how much of your teachings are molding him at a fundamental level.  Kudos to you, Ms. Couch - Teacher of Awesomeness!

Mom of a 7th Grader

Dad of a 10th Grader