Our Favorites: American History Books for High School Homeschool

My favorite way to find great American History Books for my high school (and me) is to ask my friends. So, just for fun, I asked my Facebook friends what are their favorite American History Novels?

American history books for high school

Our Favorites: American History Books for High School Homeschool

Here’s what we came up with for American History Novels (note: the list is not vetted and is geared for various ability readers- a young readers list will come tomorrow).

The 4 American History novels that received a number of recommendations follow:

– Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes (American Revolution)
– To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pre-Civil Rights South)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Immigrant Experience)

– Christy by Catherine Marshall (Early 20th Century Appalachians)

Study Guide for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The following American History books for high school were recommended by fewer people:

– Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (Civil War)
– A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly (Mystery set in 1830s New Orleans)
– All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque (WWI)
– Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Slavery)
– Cold, Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (Early 20th Century South)
– Corporal Si Klegg and His Pard by Wilbur Hinman (Civil War)
– Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Antebellum South/Civil War)
– Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Migrant Workers)
– Hugh Glass by Bruce Bradley (Mountain Man)
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Along the Mississippi)
– Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Mississippi)
– Little Britches by Ralph Moody (The West)
– My Antonia by Willa Cather (The Prairies)
– Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Civil War)
– Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (Backwoods Florida in Early 20th Century)
– The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come by John Fox (Civil War)
– The Education of Little Tree Forrest Carter (Native American during the Great Depression)
– The Girl of Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (Old Indiana)
– The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920’s)
– The Help by Catherine Stockett (Civil Rights Movement)
– The Iron Peacock by Mary Stetson Clarke (Early America)
– The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter (Early America)
– The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Civil Rights Era South)
– The Yearling Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Backwoods Florida during the Great Depression)
– Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand (WWII)

– Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Slavery)
– Bodie and Brock Thoene’s Shiloh Legacy Series (Great Depression)
– Bodie and Brock Thoene’s Zion Covenant Series (WWII)
– Jeff Shaara’s Series (not really novels but interesting enough to be novels) Rise to Rebellion (American Revolution), To the Last Man (WWI), The Rising Tide (WWII)

– Michael Shaara’s Series: The Killer Angels, Last Full Measure, Gods and Generals (Civil War)
– Louis L’Amour Westerns

These American History novels are valuable because they make history come alive!

Still wondering about the value of books for enhancing your history curriculum? Click here to see what Tarry Lindquist has to say in her article for Scholastic.

Movies are also a great way to enhance your American History curriculum! Click here to read about our favorite history movies.

American history books for high school
Click image for more information on using movies to enhance your history curriculum

Here are a couple of examples of movies that can double as literature and history!

High Noon Cinema Study Guide

Places in the Heart Cinema Study Guide

While you are choosing your American History novels for your homeschool high schoolers, we suggest that you also have them complete some literature study guides. As you know, 7Sisters study guides are no-busywork, don’t-kill-the-book format (with only a few literary concepts addressed in each guide because we want our homeschool high schoolers to like the books). They are also levelable to different abilities, interest-levels and goals.

Download several 7Sisters’ Literature Study Guides or the entire American Literature bundle for a great literature program for your teens.


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Our Favorites: American History books for high school homeschool

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

4 Replies to “Our Favorites: American History Books for High School Homeschool”

  1. Thank you so much for all of your great resources!! I have a question about this article as I am working on putting together literature for 9th and 10th grade. For the second list of books that had fewer recommendations, are these recommended for high school? For example, Strawberry Girl was supposed to be written for ages 8-12. Can it still be considered a high school book on a transcript?

    Thank you again!

    • Great question, Ann! So much depends on what a student DOES with the book. If the book has rich layers of writing, complex themes, round characters, motif running throughout the story, then while it may be written for 8-12 year olds in terms of basic comprehension (vocabulary, plot design, etc.), there may still be lots MORE for an older reader to explore.

      I have not actually read Strawberry Girl myself, so this is not a personal recommendation one way or the other for that book. But I have often assigned a “younger book” to teens and given them study guide materials and assignments that helped them dig deeply into the elements of the book that would be beyond a younger reader’s ability to understand.

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