Good Revolutionary War stories are hard to find. In all honesty, many of them are downright boring. This wasn’t an easy list to create. I tried to cover many different aspects of the war. These are my top picks for books that are the most likely to keep young people’s attention.
The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi
As rebellious activities in Boston increase, Britain sends troops to restore order. Rachel, a servant of John Adams, has begun developing her own opinions about the war. When her secret friend, a British soldier, ends up being one of the soldiers who fired on the mob on March 5th, she will sacrifice everything to exercise her liberty to see him.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Told through the eyes of a slave girl in New York City during the British occupation. Living with a loyalist family who mistreats her, she decides to spy against them for the patriot cause. She befriends another slave who is a spy for the patriots and when he is imprisoned by the British she risks her own life to bring him food.
Sophia’s War by Avi
Sophia’s family lives in New York City when it is captured and occupied by the British. Eventually, high-ranking British officer John Andre moves into their house. Never could she imagine that in several years she would be called to spy on Andre and discover his plot to capture West Point with hero, turned traitor, Benedict Arnold.
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 by Lauren Tarshis
Nathaniel is an 11-year-old boy living with his abusive uncle when he decides to run away to New York City. He finds himself caught up in the middle of the Revolutionary War as the British and Americans prepare for what will be known as the Battle of Brooklyn.
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
When Tim’s brother, Sam, joins the Continental Army against the wishes of his loyalist father, Tim is torn. He tries to make sense of a war where both sides are equally brutal. In a bizarre twist of fate, both his brother and father are sentenced to death, not by the enemy, but by the very side they are supporting.
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Samuel returns from a hunting trip to find his small settlement ravaged by British and Indian soldiers. He sets off to find his parents. Along the way, he is struck in the head with a hatchet, witnesses Hessians murder a helpless family, and pulls off a rescue at a British prison facility in New York City.
The Fighting Ground by Avi
Jonathan begins a day in 1778 with a glorified image of how it must feel to take up arms for your country. The next thing he knows, he’s fighting a group of Hessians and is captured. The story is told in time segments. It begins at 9:58am and ends at 10:30pm. In one 24-hour period Jonathan’s life is completely altered.
Five 4ths of July by Pat Raccio Hughes
A year has passed since the Declaration of Independence was signed. Jake is 15 and carefree, but his father forces him to join the Connecticut militia. He and his friend Tim, barely 16, are captured and taken to a British prisoner ship, where he endures starvation and disease. The story follows Jake on one day, July 4th, over 5 years.
Scar by J. Albert Mann
16-year-old Noah is shocked when he stumbles upon a wounded Indian in the woods. Wounded himself, he lies down next to the Indian. As the two lie there, sick and wounded, not knowing whether they will live or die, Noah recalls the events that led to him lying there.