Ah, history–if you look, it’s all around us! Massachusetts was often the center of activity, with Boston being one of the best-known and populated cities at that time. Check out these books of what happened in and around Massachusetts and other New England states (and territories) during the Colonial period (1600 – 1775), right before the American Revolution. (I’m leaving out the Pilgrims and Plymouth for a later list.) See if you have anything in common with kids who lived back then! Would you have survived some of their daily chores?
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Buckley, Sarah. An Enemy in the Fort.
In 1754, with her own parents taken captive, twelve-year-old Rebecca must confront her fear and hatred of the Abenaki when a boy raised by members of that tribe is brought to the fort at Charleston, New Hampshire, just before a series of thefts occurs.
Bulla, Robert. Charlie’s House
A poor, friendless English boy, shipped to America as an indentured servant in the early eighteenth century, runs away from a cruel master and dreams of building a house of his own.
Butters, Dorothy Gilman. Ten Leagues to Boston Town.
Rushing to their ailing father in the dead of winter 1750, Deborah and Ben meet counterfeiters during their exciting journey.
Clapp, Patricia. Witches’ Children: A Story of Salem.
During the winter of 1692, when the young girls of Salem suddenly find themselves subject to fits of screaming and strange visions, some believe that they have seen the devil and are the victims of witches.
Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Boston Bells.
A fictionalized story about young John Singleton Copley and his adventures with his best friend Alexander during the Knowles Riots; thirty years before the Boston Tea Party.
Cooney, Caroline B. The Ransom of Mercy Carter.
In 1704, in the English settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts, eleven-year-old Mercy and her family and neighbors are captured by Mohawk Indians and their French allies, and forced to march through bitter cold to French Canada, where some adapt to new lives and some still hope to be ransomed.
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Courage of Sarah Noble.
Eight-year-old Sarah finds the courage to accompany her father into the Connecticut wilderness and remain with her new native friends when her father goes back to bring the rest of the family.
Duble, Kathleen. The Sacrifice
Two sisters, aged ten and twelve, are accused of witchcraft in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1692 and await trial in a miserable prison while their mother desperately searches for some way to obtain their freedom.
Duey, Kathleen. Silence and Lily: 1773
In 1773, twelve-year-old Silence works to please her mother through household chores and weekly etiquette lessons in hopes of spending time with her beloved horse, Lily, while the men of Boston, discuss a possible war.
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Thirteen-year-old Marguerite Ledoux is a young French emigrant who finds herself all alone in the New World after her uncle and grandmother die. She agrees to be “bound” to a family who are moving to begin a farm on an isolated section of the coast of colonial Maine.
Fleischman, Paul. Saturnalia.
In 1681 in Boston, fourteen-year-old William, a Narraganset Indian captured in a raid six years earlier, leads a productive and contented life as a printer’s apprentice but is increasingly anxious to make some connection with his Indian past.
Fritz, Jean. Early Thunder.
Traces a youth’s growth to maturity as he resolves his political conflicts in pre-revolutionary Salem, a center of high feeling between the British and colonists.
Hapka, Catherine. Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery
John Raleigh Gates’ job as a post rider on the eve of the Revolutionary War puts him in contact with Paul Revere and a search for a hidden treasure.
Hoobler, Dorothy. Priscilla Foster: The Story of a Salem Girl.
Hannah hears Granny Priss recount her involvement in the Salem witch trials of 1692 and the terrible consequences that occured when Granny Priss, as a young girl, joined Ann Putnam in accusing many innocent women of being witches.
Hurst, Carol. A Killing in Plymouth Colony
In Plymouth Colony in the 1630s, John continually disappoints his father, Governor Bradford, during a difficult time as the colony faces its first murder and subsequent trial.
Kelley, Nancy. The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts
In 1659, fourteen-year-old Hannah Pryor is troubled by the persecution of Quakers by Puritan Boston’s leading citizens, one of whom is her father, especially after learning of her deceased mother’s friendship with a Quaker woman.
Kirkpatrick, Katherine. Trouble’s Daughter: The Story of Susanna Hutchinson, Indian Captive
When her family is massacred by Lenape Indians in 1643, nine-year-old Susanna, daughter of Anne Hutchinson, is captured and raised as a Lenape.
Lasky, Kathryn. Beyond the Burning Time.
When, in the winter of 1691, accusations of witchcraft surface in her small New England village, twelve-year-old Mary Chase fights to save her mother from execution.
Lawlor, Laurie. Horseback on the Boston Post Road, 1704.
As war with the French and Indians begins in 1704, Madame Sarah Kimble Knight is instructed to bring twin servant girls Hester and Philena on a perilous and journey from Boston to New Haven. When Madame decides to take only one twin, the other risks her life to follow.
Petry, Ann Lane. Tituba of Salem Village.
In this compelling novel Tituba, a young girl, is brought from her native Barbados to be a slave in 17th-century Salem, where she is suspected by the villagers of practicing witchcraft.
Rees, Celia. Witch Child.
In 1659, fourteen-year-old Mary Newbury keeps a journal of her voyage from England to the New World and her experiences living as a witch in a community of Puritans near Salem, Massachusetts.
Rinaldi, Ann. A Break with Charity.
While waiting for a church meeting in 1706, Susanna English, daughter of a wealthy Salem merchant, recalls the malice, fear, and accusations of witchcraft that tore her village apart in 1692.
Schwabach, Karen. The Pickpocket’s Tale
When Molly, a ten-year-old orphan, is arrested for picking pockets in London in 1731, she is banished to America and serves as an indentured servant for a New York City family that expects her to follow their Jewish traditions.
Smith, Mary P. The Boy Captive of Old Deerfield.
An account of Stephen Williams, a ten year old taken captive in Deerfield, Massachusetts during the Indian Raid of 1704 and taken on foot to Canada. Also try Boys and Girls of Seventy-Seven for another book about the Williams family in Deerfield.
Speare, Elizabeth. Calico Captive.
One early morning in 1754 an Indian raid on a small New Hampshire settlement shatters all young Miriam Willard’s hopes and dreams. Forced to march north into Canada she will either be held captive by the Indians or sold into slavery to the French.
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As always, ask any of our librarians if you need a book on a specific topic, time period or genre. We’re happy to help!