top of page

Settlers, Slaves, and Survivors

This Historical Fiction list is full of stories about the people who left their homelands to find and settle in new places, building new lives for themselves. Stories and adventures that takes place from the 1500s through the 1800s.


Laurie Halse Anderson (2010)

Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more.

The Annotated Northwest Passage

Graphic Novel
Scott Chantler (2010)

After Fort Newcastle is brutally captured by invading French mercenaries, Charles Lord and a band of his surviving soldiers, trackers, and explorers embark on one last great adventure to unite the people of Rupert's Land to reclaim their home. This rollicking historical adventure fights its way on land and sea, all in search of and control of the mythic Northwest Passage.

Fever, 1793

Laurie Halse Anderson (2000)

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

Copper Sun

Sharon M. Draper (2006)

Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

Baba's Kitchen Medicines

Folk Remedies of Ukrainian Settlers in Western Canada
Michael Mucz (2012)

From fever to frostbite, this encyclopedic compilation of tinctures, poultices, salves, decoctions, infusions, plasters, and tonics will fascinate and often mortify readers from all walks of life. Brimming with the cultural memory of Ukrainian settlers from the Canadian prairies.

The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor

The First Woman Settler of the Miramichi
Sally Armstrong (2007)

The epic true story of Charlotte Taylor, as told by her great-great-great-granddaughter, one of Canada's foremost journalists. In 1775, twenty-year-old Charlotte Taylor fled her English country house with her lover, the family's black butler.

Roughing it in the Bush, Or, Forest Life in Canada

Susanna Moodie (1913)

A book that expresses the hopes and defeat, the pride and the anger the early settlers felt toward their new home, the Canadian bush. The frank and colorful quality of Roughing It that has placed her in the forefront of early Canadian writers. 

Good Fortune

Noni Carter (2010)

Brutally kidnapped from her African village and shipped to America, a young girl struggles to come to terms with her new life as a slave, gradually rising from working in the fields to the master's house, secretly learning to read and write, until, risking everything, she escapes to seek freedom in the North.

The Color of Fire

A Novel
Ann Rinaldi (2005)

In 1741 New York City is on a heightened state of alert. Phoebe, an enslaved girl, watches the town erupt into mass hysteria when the whites in New York City convince themselves that the black slaves are planning an uprising.

Louis Riel

A Comic-Strip Biography
Chester Brown (2003)

A subtlety dramatic portrayal of the violent rebellion on the Canadian prairie led by Riel, who some regard a martyr who died in the name of freedom, while others consider him a treacherous murderer.


Seeds of America

Laurie Halse Anderson (2008)

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom.

The Pox Party

M.T. Anderson (2006)

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

The Glory Field

Walter Dean Myers (2008)

241 years of one family's history, from the capture of an African boy in the 1750s through the lives of his descendants and a small plot of land in South Carolina that they call the Glory Field.

White Fang

Jack London (2008)

The adventures in the northern wilderness of a dog who is part wolf and how he comes to make his peace with man.

The Call of the Wild 

White Fang & To Build a Fire

Jack London (1998)

The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

The Springsweet

Saundra Mitchell (2012)

Moving from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s, seventeen-year-old Zora experiences the joys and hardships of pioneer life, discovering new love and her otherworldly power.

Random Passage

Bernice Morgan (2011)

Forced to flee England, the Andrews family books passage to a fresh start in a distant country, only to discover a barren, inhospitable land at the end of their crossing.

Woods Runner

Gary Paulsen (2010)

In 1776 Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Samuel, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Indians who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community.

The Devil's Paintbox

Victoria McKernan (2009)

In 1866, fifteen-year-old Aidan and his thirteen-year-old sister Maddy, penniless orphans, leave drought-stricken Kansas on a wagon train hoping for a better life in Seattle.

The True Adventures of Charley Darwin 

Carolyn Meyer (2009)

In nineteenth-century England, young Charles Darwin rejects the more traditional careers of physician and clergyman, choosing instead to embark on a dangerous five-year journey by ship to explore the natural world.

bottom of page