KEY: jP = Picture Books; jZ = 1st and 2nd Grade Readers; jE = 3rd and 4th Grade Readers; J = 5th Grade and Up

1860's

updated April 2012


Picture Books

Bradby, Marie MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
9-year-old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read. 1865, Malden, West Virginia.
1995 unpaged


1st and 2nd Grade Books

Brenner, Martha ABE LINCOLN'S HAT
Describes Lincoln's early days as an absent-minded frontier lawyer who kept letters, court notes, and even his checkbook in his trademark tall, black hat.
1994 48 p.

Coerr, Eleanor BUFFALO BILL AND THE PONY EXPRESS
16-year-old Bill finds adventure when he becomes a rider for the Pony Express (though his letters home never hint at the dangers he encounters). 1860ís.
1995 64 p.

Sandin, Joan THE LONG WAY TO A NEW LAND
Carl Erik journeys with his family from Sweden to America during the famine of 1868.
1981 63 p.


3rd - 4th Grade

Bailer, Darice THE LAST RAIL
THE BUILDING OF THE FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD

While on a field trip to the National Museum of American History, 10-year-old Lucy imagines herself as Andrew Russell, taking a picture of the joining of the Central and Union Pacific Railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869.
1996 32 p.

Battle-Lavert, Gwendolyn
PAPA'S MARK

1868. After his son helps him learn to write his name, Samuel T. Blow goes to the courthouse in his Southern town to cast a ballot on the first ever election day on which African Americans were allowed to vote.
2003 32 p.

Fuchs, Bernie
RIDE LIKE THE WIND
A TALE OF THE ONY EXPRESS

1860 Nevada. Known for their courage, self confidence, speed, and willingness to face adversity, the riders of the Pony Express quickly became legendary heroes in their time. Now dramatic oil paintings by award winner Bernie Fuchs capture the spirit, strength, and stamina of one young rider, Johnny Free, as he and his beloved pony, JennySoo, set off at top speed. After racing with his Paiute friend, Little Grey Wolf, Johnny goes on to face unexpected danger--and only JennySoo can save his life.
2004 32 p.

Glass, Andrew
THE SWEETWATER RUN

1860-61. Buffalo Bill Cody recounts his adventures as a teenage rider for the Pony Express. Includes a history of the Pony Express and facts about Cody's life.
1996 unpaged

Harvey, Brett
CASSIEíS JOURNEY: GOING WEST IN THE 1860'S

A young girl relates the hardships and dangers of traveling with her family in a covered wagon from Illinois to California during the 1860's.
1988 88 p.

Hopkinson, Deborah
A BAND OF ANGELS

The daughter of a slave forms a gospel singing group and goes on tour to raise money to save Fisk University. 1868+ Nashville, Tennessee.
1999 unpaged

Lottridge, Celia
THE WIND WAGON

Sam Peppard, a blacksmith in 1860's Kansas, builds a wind wagon/prairie schooner that sails within 80 miles of their destination, Denver, Colorado.
1995 55 p.

McCully, Emily Arnold
SQUIRREL AND JOHN MUIR

In the 1860's, a wild little girl nicknamed Squirrel meets John Muir, later to become a famous naturalist, when he arrives at her parents' hotel in Yosemite Valley seeking work and knowledge about the natural world.
2004 unpaged

Porter, Connie ADDY'S LITTLE BROTHER

The American Girls Short Stories
After her brother joins the family in Philadelphia at the end of the Civil War, Addy wants to be with him as much as possible, so she is jealous when he starts spending time with her friend's cousin.
2000 32 p.

Porter, Connie HIGH HOPES FOR ADDY
The American Girls Short Stories
Addy's new life in Philadelphia in the late 1860's continues to hold surprises, as she competes in a kite festival and her teacher recommends her for the Institute for Colored Youth. Includes informational pages about the Institute for Colored Youth and how to make a kite.
1999 31 p.

Rappaport, Doreen FREEDOM SHIP
May 13, 1862. Based on a true incident, this is the story of young Samuel, who works with his father on a Confederate steamship in Civil War-era South Carolina. They long to reach their freedom aboard the Union ships in the Atlantic Ocean.
2006 unpaged

Roop, Peter GRACEíS LETTER TO LINCOLN
On the eve of the 1860 presidential election, as war clouds gather and the South threatens to secede, 11-year-old Grace decides to help Abraham Lincoln get elected by writing and advising him to grow a beard.
2000 74 p.

Winnick, Karen MR. LINCOLNíS WHISKERS
When an 11-year-old girl named Grace wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln suggesting that he should grow chin whiskers to improve his looks, Mr. Lincoln followed her suggestion and the rest is history. 1860.
1996 unpaged


5th Grade and Up

Coleman, Evelyn SHADOWS ON SOCIETY HILL
An Addy Mystery

When her family moves to Philadelphia's Society Hill neighborhood in 1866, Addy discovers that her new home holds dangerous secrets, including one connected to the North Carolina plantation she had escaped from only two years earlier.
2007 180 p.
Beatty, Patricia TURN HOMEWARD, HANNALEE
Twelve-year-old Hannalee Reed, forced to relocate in Indiana along with other Georgia millworkers during the Civil War, leaves her mother with a promise to return home as soon as the war ends.
1984 193 p.

Beatty, Patricia BE EVER HOPEFUL, HANNALEE
Sequel to: Turn Homeward, Hannalee
In 1865 with the war recently over 14-year-old Hannalee and her recently reunited family decide to start a new life in Atlanta where, because of the need to rebuild the devastated city, jobs are plentiful.
1988 207 p.

Couloumbis, Audrey THE MISDAVENTURES OF MAUDE MARCH
1869. After the death of the stern aunt who raised them, orphans Sallie and sister escape their self-serving guardians and begin an adventure resembling those in the Western adventure dime novels Sallie loves to read.
2005 295 p.

Ernst, Kathleen HEARTS OF STONE
Orphaned when her father dies fighting for the Union and her mother expires from exhaustion, and also estranged from their Confederate neighbors, fifteen-year-old Hannah struggles to find a way for her family to survive during the Civil War in Tennessee.
2006 248 p.

Gibson, Fred OLD YELLER
late 1860ís. Salt Licks, Texas on the Birdsong Creek 14-year-old Travis Coats manages the homestead while his father drives the cattle to market with the help of a stray dog whose courage saves his life.
1956 158 p.

Gregory, Kristiana A JOURNEY OF FATITH
Prairie River v.2

Nessa can't remember a home other than the orphanage, and she has no choice but to leave. Her plan is to escape on the next stagecoach west, one headed toward Prairie River, Kansas.
2003 213 p.

Gregory, Kristiana A GRATEFUL HARVEST
Prairie River v.2

The town doesn't trust her, but Nessa must prove her dedication to her students.
2003 192 p.

Gregory, Kristiana WINTER TIDINGS
Prairie River v.3

It is December 1865, and Nessa feels safe and at home in Prairie River. But when on a blustery night Reverend McDuff arrives unexpectedly at the Lockett's door, Nessa's hopes of leaving her past behind are shattered. Only Ivy and Mrs. Lockett know her secret - her reason for fleeing Independence. Now she fears the town will judge her and revoke her position as schoolteacher. Furthermore, her dear friend Albert had promised to warn her if the McDuff headed west, yet no word. Nessa's sense of self is shaken. In what promises to be a long and fierce winter, Nessa must be stronger than ever.
2003 192 p.

Haas, Jessie WESTMINSTER WEST
Two sisters struggle with their roles as women within the family and within society as an arsonist threatens their post-Civil War Vermont community.
1997 164 p.

Hansen, Joyce THE HEART CALLS HOME
sequel to: Out from This Place
Reconstruction 1866 - 1869, South Carolina
After the Civil War, former slave Obi Booker tries to make a new life on a South Carolina island while waiting to be joined by his beloved Easter, who is studying in the North.
1999 176 p.

Hill, Kirkpatrick DANCING AT THE ODINOCHKA
In the 1860s, Erinia Pavaloff's life at a trading post in Russian America gets more complicated when the region is annexed to the United States and members of the small community become American Alaskans.
2005 257 p.

Hughes, Pat GUERRILLA SEASON
Two fifteen-year-old boys in Missouri in 1863 find friendship and family loyalty tested by Quantrell's raiders, a Rebel guerrilla band who roamed under the black flag of "no quarter to be given by Union troops."
2003 328 p.

Hughes, Holly HOOFBEATS OF DANGER
American Girl History Mysteries
In 1860, 11-year-old Annie, who lives at the Red Buttes Pony Express station in the Nebraska Territory, asks Pony Express rider Billy Cody to help her find the person responsible for sabotaging her favorite pony Magpie.
1999 123 p.

Irwin, Hadley JIM-DANDY
Living after the Civil War on a Kansas homestead with his stern stepfather, 13-year-old Caleb raises a beloved colt and becomes involved in General Custer's raids on the Cheyenne.
1994 133 p.

Karr, Kathleen OH, THOSE HARPER GIRLS
1869 Texas. Forclosure on Lily Harperís daddyís ranch forces Lily and her five older sister into participating in her fatherís desperate money- making schemes. After their failure to rob a train, a New York theater manager sees a write-up about them in the paper and is convinced he can make stars of them.
1992 182 p.

LaFaye, A. EDITH SHAY
Leaving her home in Wisconsin in 1865, sixteen-year-old Katherine sets out for Chicago to prove to her family that she can make a life for herself.
1998 183 p.

Lasky, Kathryn ALICE ROSE & SAM
Alice Rose, an irrepressible 12-year-old, share adventures with Mark Twain, an outlandish reporter on her fatherís newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada, during the 1860ís.
1998 246 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery LUCYíS WISH
ORPHAN TRAIN CHILDREN, book I
1866 Missouri.10-year-old Lucy, an orphan who wants a little sister more than anything, finds a very special one in the less than perfect family which she joins.
1998 91 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Book #2 of the ORPHAN TRAIN QUARTET, 1860-1880
11-year-old Michael Patrick Kelly from New York City is sent to a foster home, a Missouri farm with a sadistic owner, a bullying son, and a number of secrets, one of which may be murder.
1988 150 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery CIRCLE OF LOVE
The Orphan Train Adventures
Recounts the efforts of Louisa May The Civil War has just ended. 19-year-old Frances Mary Kelly, an orphan train rider six years before, returns to New York and agrees to escort a group of orphans west to find new homes.
1997 167 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery A DANGEROUS PROMISE
The Orphan Train Adventures
After being taken in by Captain Taylor and his wife in Kansas, 12-year-old Mike Kelly and his friend Todd Blakely join the Union army as musicians and see the horrors of war firsthand in Missouri 1861.
1994 148 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery DAVIDíS SEARCH
Orphan Train Children
1866. 11-year-old orphan train rider David Howard settles with a strict Texas farm family, and his best friend is an ex-slave who is threatened by the growing presence of the Ku Klux Klan.
1998 103 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery IN THE FACE OF DANGER
Book #3 of the ORPHAN TRAIN QUARTET 1860-1880
Deeply unhappy about her family's separation because of poverty, Megan gradually finds contentment and purpose in her new home on the Kansas prairie with a kind and loving adopted family.
1988 151 p.

Nixon, Joan Lowery WILLíS CHOICE
Orphan Train Children Sent away on an orphan train by his self-centered father, Jesse, Will keeps hoping Jesse will return to claim him, even though the people he lives with care for him far more. 1866 train ride to Missouri.
1998 95 p.

O'Dell, Scott SING DOWN THE MOON
Arizona, Canyon de Chelly, 1864. A young Navajo girl recounts the events of 1864 when her tribe was forced to march to Fort Sumter as prisoners of the white soldiers.
1970 137 p.

Philbrick, W. R. THE MOSTLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF HOMER P. FIGG
Twelve-year-old Homer, a poor but clever orphan, has extraordinary adventures after running away from his evil uncle to rescue his brother, who has been sold into service in the Civil War.
2009 224 p.

Roberts, Willo Davis JO AND THE BANDIT
En route to stay with her uncle in Texas in the late 1860's, 12-year-old Jo experiences a stagecoach robbery and becomes involved with a reluctant young outlaw aiming to change his ways.
1992 185 p.

Robinet, Harriette FORTY ACRES AND MAYBE A MULE
Born with a withered leg and hand, Pascal, who is about 12 years old, joins other former slaves in a search for a farm and the freedom that it promises. April 1865 Reconstruction.
1998 127 p.


Teen/Young Adult

Wilson, Diane BLACK STORM RISING
aTwelve-year-old Colton, son of a black mother and a white father, takes a job with the Pony Express in 1860 after his father abandons the family on their California-bound wagon train, and risks his life to deliver an important letter that may affect the growing conflict between the North and South.
2005 295 p.
Peck, Richard THE RIVER BETWEEN US
During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.
2003 164 p.

Taylor, Mildred THE LAND
"Prequel to Newbery Medal Winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
After the Civil War Paul, the son of a white father and a black mother, finds himself caught between the two worlds of colored folks and white folks as he pursues his dream of owning land of his own.
2001 375 p.