Here at the Leicestershire Young Archaeologists’ Club we love reading historic fiction. A good book cannot be put down and will be read over and over again, and a good story really brings history alive!
Below are Branch Leader Mathew’s top six historic stories for young readers. What are your favourite historical books, we’d love to know?
1. THE BOY WITH THE BRONZE AXE by Kathleen Fidler (Neolithic)
Kali and Brocken are in trouble. They have been using their stone axes to chip limpets off the rocks, but they’ve gone too far out and find themselves trapped by the tides. Then, an unexpected rescuer appears, a strange boy in a strange boat, carrying a strangely sharp axe of a type they have never seen before. Conflict arises as the village of Skara Brae on Orkney must decide what to do with the new ideas and practices that the boy brings. As a deadly storm threatens, the very survival of the village is in doubt.
2. ASTERIX THE GAUL by René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (Iron Age/Roman)
The year is 50BC, and all Gaul is occupied. Only one small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. But how much longer can Asterix, Obelix and their friends resist the mighty Roman legions of Julius Caesar? Anything is possible, with a little cunning plus the druid Getafix’s magic potions! Their effects can be truly hair-raising…
3. THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH by Rosemary Sutcliff (Roman)
The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of northern Britain – and they were never seen again. Four thousand men disappeared and their eagle standard was lost. It’s a mystery that’s never been solved, until now . . . Marcus has to find out what happened to his father, who led the legion. So he sets out into the unknown on a quest so dangerous that nobody expects him to return.
4. KNIGHT CRUSADER by Ronald Welch (Medieval)
Philip d’Aubigny is a young knight in the kingdom of Outremer and can’t wait to prove himself. His chance comes when he rides into battle to defend his home from attack by Saracen leader Saladin and his army. But after a disastrous campaign, Philip is taken prisoner by the Turks and must work as a servant, all the while plotting his escape. At last his opportunity arrives and Philip flees, joining Richard the Lionheart in his victorious Third Crusade before finally travelling to Britain to claim his family’s estate. Only, when he arrives he finds he must once again go into battle…
5. CUE FOR TREASON by Geoffrey Trease (Elizabethan)
Fleeing from the evil Sir Philip Morton, Peter Brownrigg finds himself on the wrong side of the law. On the run to London he makes friends with a young actor called Will Shakespeare, but a chance discovery endangers his life and soon Peter is mixed up in a murderous plot against Elizabeth I.
6. GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM by Michelle Magorian (World War Two)
The gruff and surly Mr Thomas Oakley is less than pleased when he is landed with a scrawny little city boy as a guest, but because it is compulsory that each villager takes in an evacuee he reluctantly agrees. It soon becomes obvious to Mister Tom that young Willie Beech is hiding something, and as the pair begin to form an unlikely bond and Willie grows in stature and in confidence he begins to forget his past. But when he has to return to war-torn London to face his mother again he retreats into his shy and awkward ways once more.