For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next. Molly and Felicity and Kaya and Kirsten and all the rest are great, but what’s to read after you’ve devoured all of the American Girl books?
The Childhood of Famous Americans (often abbreviated as COFA) series is written on a similar reading level to the American Girls series, and the books, although not exactly fiction, are also not exactly nonfiction biography. They are biography told as a story, somewhat fictionalized, emphasizing the childhood years of famous Americans. Many of the titles are about girl heroines such as Martha Washington, Clara Barton, Jessie Fremont, Elizabeth Blackwell, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others. Following up fictional American girls with the stories of real American girls is sure winner for the fourth of July or anytime of the year.
Once Upon America is a series for ages seven to eleven, about fictional children living through changes and events in American history. The following titles feature female protagonists (there are also several that feature boys):
Hannah’s Fancy Notions: A Story of Industrial New England by Pat Ross.
Close to Home: A Story of the Polio Epidemic by Lydia Weaver.
The Day It Rained Forever: A Story of the Johnstown Flood by Virginia T. Gross.
Fire!: The Beginnings of the Labor Movement by Barbara Diamond Goldin.
A Long Way to Go: A Story of Women’s Right to Vote by Zibby Oneal.
Night Bird: A Story of the Seminole Indians by Kathleen V. Kudlinski.
Tough Choices: A Story of the Vietnam War by Nancy Antle.
My America, a series of fictional diaries of young children during American history, written for the same age group about seven to eleven, offers the following titles:
Elizabeth’s Jamestown Colony Diaries by Patricia Hermes:
Our Strange New Land
The Starving Time
Season of Promise
Hope’s Revolutionary War Diaries by Kristiana Gregory:
Five Smooth Stones
We Are Patriots
When Freedom Comes
Meg’s Prairie Diaries by Kate McMullan:
As Far As I Can See
For This Land
A Fine Start
Sofia’s Immigrant Diaries by Kathryn Lasky:
Hope in My Heart
Home at Last
An American Spring
Virginia’s Civil War Diaries by Mary Pope Osborne:
My Brother’s Keeper
After the Rain
A Time to Dance
A step up from the American Girl and the My America books are the fiction books in the series Dear America, which are also written in diary or journal form and tell the tale of a fictional participant in some of the most compelling events and eras of American history. These books are suitable for girls ages 12 and up. Some titles (there are many more) in this series are:
A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 by Kathryn Lasky.
The Winter of Red Snow: The Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 by Kristiana Gregory.
The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson (September 2010)
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, RMS Titanic, 1912 by Ellen Emerson White.
A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859 by Patricia McKissack.
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 by Lois Lowry.
A Light in the Storm: The Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861 by Karen Hesse.
When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 by Barry Denenberg.
Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 by Kristiana Gregory.
Standing in the Light: The Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 by Mary Pope Osborne (May 2011)
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 by Joyce Hansen.
With the Might of Angels: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson, Hadley, Virginia, 1954 by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino.
Behind the Masks: The Diary of Angeline Reddy, Bodie, California, 1880 by Susan Patron.
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Diary of Hattie Campbell, The Oregon Trail, 1847 by Kristiana Gregory.
Christmas After All: The Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932 by Kathryn Lasky.
A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 by Judy Blundell.
Hear My Sorrow: The Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker, New York City, 1909 by Deborah Hopkinson.
Happy Fourth of July, and may those who want them find many, many American girls to read about and admire.