Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Blog > Favourite Historical Fiction for Children / Katherine Woodfine

Favourite Historical Fiction for Children / Katherine Woodfine

We are delighted to welcome Katherine Woodfine back to our blog today.


This month, Katherine Woodfine’s Taylor & Rose will head out on their final adventure. NIGHTFALL IN NEW YORK is the final book in her compelling series of Edwardian mystery adventures. Nightfall In New York sees top secret agents Sophie Taylor and Lil Rose set sail to New York City on an elegant ocean liner, ready to face their enemies and settle old scores. These two brave friends will need all of their detective skills, courage and derring-do as they race against time to rescue a beloved friend and uncover the deepest secrets of the Fraternitas Draconum.


Beautifully illustrated by Karl J. Mountford, with a diverse cast of characters who embody a new sense of freedom for young people in a changing society (and particularly young women), these adventures have taken readers from London to Paris and St Petersburg, Venice, and now to New York. Readers can travel the world, and travel back in history. With period detail, intricate plotting, investigations of master criminals and unforgettable characters, they are the perfect escapist read for armchair travellers and would-be detectives.


Nightfall in New York is available to order on BookShop.Org or on Amazon


Katherine is a true champion of children’s literature. Until 2015 she was Arts Project Manager for Booktrust, where she project-managed the Children’s Laureateship and YALC, the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention, curated by Malorie Blackman. She was part of the founding team at Down the Rabbit Hole, a monthly show for Resonance FM discussing children’s literature. Katherine blogs at Katherine visited our blog today to tell us about her favourite historical fiction for children…


Nightfall in New York is available to order on BookShop.Org or on Amazon



Guest Post – Five favourite historical fiction books for young readers

with Katherine Woodfine, author of Nightfall in New York (available here)



I love reading historical fiction and it’s an almost impossible task to pick my favourites! There are so many books I could include here, ranging from childhood favourites to brilliant new historical novels for young readers, that will sweep you away to another time and place — but here are five great books to start with.


1. Secrets of a Sun King by Emma Carroll (available here)

Lilian’s adventure begins when she finds a mysterious parcel on her granddad’s doorstep. Soon she is setting off on an intrepid journey to Egypt to find an ancient tomb and break a Pharaoh’s curse. I could easily have included any of Emma’s wonderful books here, but I’ve opted for this one because I love the combination of two fascinating historical periods – Ancient Egypt and the 1920s. I’m also very much looking forward to Emma’s forthcoming book, The Week at Worlds End which is set in a quite different time period — the 1960s, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.



2. Sawbones by Catherine Johnson (available here)

If you haven’t discovered Catherine Johnson’s glorious historical fiction yet, you are in for a treat! Sawbones is set in the 18th century, and is the tale of 16-year-old Ezra, apprentice to a London surgeon. A break-in at his master’s house soon sets in motion a strange and murky murder mystery, which takes Ezra all over London from Bart’s Hospital to the dark cells of Newgate Prison. Definitely one for older readers, there are some decidedly gruesome and grisly moments, but it’s a page-turner of an adventure with a brilliant hero. An equally excellent sequel Blade and Bone sees Ezra travelling to France during the Revolution.



3. Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant (available here)

There’s so much brilliant children’s fiction set during World War I and World War II – some recent favourites have included Phil Earle’s When the Sky Falls, Ross Montgomery’s The Midnight Guardians, and Lucy Strange’s Our Castle by the Sea. This book, though, is set not during, but just after World War I and deals very much with the aftermath of the conflict. Following Lotti, Ben and young teacher Clara as they set sail for France on a narrowboat, in search of their lost loved ones, it’s a delightful adventure – and a deserving winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award.




4. Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (available here)

I’m a huge admirer of Alex Wheatle’s writing, and this, his first foray into historical fiction for young adults, is just as brilliant as I’d expected. Based on a real-life Jamaican slave rebellion in 1760, it’s sometimes a tough read — but readers will be entranced with the vivid descriptions and lyrical language, as they follow 14-year-old Moa’s journey to becoming a freedom fighter.



5. The House of Serendipity: Sequins and Secrets by Lucy Ivison (available here)

I adored this delightful story of friendship and fashion, set in the London of the 1920s. Myrtle and Sylvia come from completely different worlds, but they share a passion for clothes, and soon team up to begin creating their own dazzling designs — with unexpected consequences. Lucy Ivison has clearly immersed herself in all the gorgeous and glamorous details of 1920s flapper fashions for this book, which is also an inspiring story of two determined and enterprising young heroines setting out to follow their dreams.





Many thanks to Katherine for visiting our blog and sharing her favourite historical fiction for children. For more about Katherine’s book, check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.


> Order Nightfall in New York on BookShop.Org

> Order Nightfall in New York on Amazon

> Visit Katherine Woodfine’s Website




Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl


Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments