Everyone thinks about Pilgrims at Thanksgiving, but there are many other time periods where Massachusetts history came into play! Celebrate the history of Boston and greater Massachusetts with this booklist of Boston favorites.
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Historic Boston Books
The Phantom Isles
Three friends and the librarian in a Massachusetts town must help each other to free the ghosts that have been imprisoned in books by a professor on a fantastical island many years ago.
Nightbirds on Nantucket
Having had enough of life on board the ship that saved her from a watery grave, Dido Twite wants nothing more than to sail home to England. Instead, Captain Casket’s ship lands in Nantucket, where Dido and the captain’s daughter, Dutiful Penitence, are left in the care of Dutiful’s sinister Aunt Tribulation.
Elephant in the Dark
Through training an elephant, the first ever seen in early 1800’s Massachusetts, orphan Will begins to feel important for the first time in his life.
Collins, Pat Lowery.
Daughter of Winter
In the mid-nineteenth-century shipbuilding town of Essex, Massachusetts, twelve-year-old Addie learns a startling secret about her past when she escapes servitude by running away to live in the snowy woods and meets an elderly Wampanoag woman.
Tony and his friends, five 13-year-old boys, all live in the same house in the same attic bedroom but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.
Dead Man’s Light
Tommy accompanies his Uncle Cyrus to Dead Man’s Light and is plunged at once into the unsolved mystery of the Light. Full of suspense and mystery, Young Tommy Brackett is in for a real adventure on the New England seacoasts.
Moss and Trouble, an Algonquin boy and girl, struggle with the problems of growing up in the Massachusetts area during the time of the first Thanksgiving.
Duble, Kathleen Benner.
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.
After injuring his hand, a silversmith’s apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution.
Fusco, Kimberly Newton.
The Wonder of Charlie Anne
In a 1930s Massachusetts farm town torn by the Depression, racial tension, and other hardships, Charlie Anne and her black next-door neighbor Phoebe form a friendship that begins to transform their community.
Oh Boy, Boston!
The Polk Street Kids are coming–on their class trip to Boston. They’re going to fly kites on Boston Common, walk the Freedom Trail, and put on a play–with Richard “Beast” Best as Paul Revere.
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.
Needing to earn money after his father’s death during the influenza epidemic of 1918, thirteen-year-old Joshua works as a newspaper boy in Boston, one day finding himself in the vicinity of an explosion that sends tons of molasses coursing through the streets.
When ten-year-old Abby Carter attends the newly established school for the blind in Boston in 1832, she proves that blind people can learn and be independent.
Salem, 1692. Elizabeth Putnam and her parents are different from many of the other village folk, and they doubt the superstitions that terrify the town. When Elizabeth herself is accused of witchcraft, her best friend George must make a difficult choice between what his community believes and what he knows to be true.
Maggie & Oliver or A Bone of One’s Own
A dog whose beloved owner has died and an orphaned ten-year-old girl find each other while enduring poverty and homelessness in early-twentieth-century Boston.
Schooled in the lessons of etiquette for young ladies of 1854, Miss Jane Peck of Philadelphia finds little use for manners during her long sea voyage to the Pacific Northwest and while living among the American traders and Chinook Indians of Washington Territory.
James Printer: A Novel of Rebellion
Although he has lived and worked as a printer’s apprentice with the Green family in Cambridge Massachusetts, for many years, James, a Nipmuck Indian, finds himself caught up in the events that lead to a horrible war.
The Mysterious Circus
With the help of a mysterious stranger and the magical gift he brought them from India, the Halls foil a new enemy’s plan to build a Henry Thoreau theme park across from their home in Concord, MA.
Daughters of the Sea: Hannah
In 1899, a fifteen-year-old orphan named Hannah obtains employment as a servant in the home of one of Boston’s wealthiest families, where she meets a noted portrait painter who seems to know things about her that even she is not aware of, and when she accompanies the family to their summer home in Maine, she feels an undeniable pull to the sea.
Horseback on the Boston Post Road
As war with the French and Indians begins in 1704, Madame Sarah Kemble Knight is instructed to bring twin servant girls Hester and Philena on a perilous journey by horse from Boston to New Haven, Connecticut. When Madame Knight decides to take only one of the sisters, the other risks her life to follow, and the group of travelers must make their way through the menacing and hazardous wilderness.
A Spirit to Ride the Whirlwind
Twelve-year-old Binnie, whose mother runs a company boarding house in Lowell, Massachusetts, begins working in a textile mill and is caught up in the 1836 strike of women workers.
Taking Care of Terrific
Taking her overprotected young charge to the public park to broaden his horizons, fourteen-year-old baby sitter Enid enjoys unexpected friendships with a black saxophonist and a bag lady until she is charged with kidnapping.
1776: Son of Liberty: a Novel of the American Revolution
African-American Caleb Jacobson, a sixteen-year-old free man living on a Maryland farm in the 1700s, is torn between loyalty to his fellow colonials and his race when rumors of war begin arriving from Boston.
At age fourteen, Ted Merritt is eager to replace his imaginary friend, a bacon-loving pirate, with real friends but soon he is led from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, into a world of discarded “abstract companions” who are intent on wreaking vengeance on the human race.
In 1931 Worcester, Massachusetts, Joey Singer, the teenage son of Jewish immigrants, suffers with his family through the early part of the Great Depression, trying to finish high school, working a milk delivery route, marching on Washington, and eventually even becoming a hobo, all the while trying to figure out how to go to college and realize his dream of becoming a writer.
Bread and Roses Too
Jake and Rosa, two children, form an unlikely friendship as they try to survive and understand the 1912 Bread and Roses strike of mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Guns for General Washington
In the bitter winter of 1775-76, Colonel Henry Knox and his younger brother Will, both of the Continental Army, become frustrated with the British blockade of Boston and decide to attempt to move 183 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga, over 300 miles of mountainous wilderness, to defend the besieged city.
Chasing the Nightbird
In 1851 New Bedford, Massachusetts, fourteen-year-old Cape Verdean sailor Lucky Valera is kidnapped by his estranged half-brother and forced to work in a mill, but while Lucky is plotting his escape he meets a former slave and a young Quaker girl who influence his plans.
What Came From the Stars
In a desperate attempt for survival, a peaceful civilization on a faraway planet besieged by a dark lord sends its most precious gift across the cosmos into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The Mourning Wars
In 1704, Mohawk Indians attack the frontier village of Deerfield, Massachusetts, kidnapping over 100 residents, including seven-year-old Eunice Williams. Based on a true story.
The Boy on Cinnamon Street
Since a tragedy she cannot remember, thirteen-year-old Louise has changed her name, given up gymnastics, moved in with her grandparents, and locked her feelings inside but through her friends Reni and Hen and notes from a secret admirer she begins to find herself again.
Fictional diary entries recount the true-life efforts of Louisa May Alcott’s family to establish a utopian community known as Fruitlands in Massachusetts in 1843.
Booklist by Julie G.
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There are plenty of other books about Massachusetts, in the past and in the present! So if you would like to read about the area where you live, just ask one of our librarians for suggestions! And Happy Reading!