Kidlit History Timeline

KidLit History books are books that are either semi-autobiographical or while contemporary at the time of publication, have lasted long enough to be classified as “historical.”  In all of them, bits of history can be found.  More on this can be found at my Manifesto, So to Speak post.

The timeline below is a work in progress, focusing on books with which I was either already very familiar with or books that have already been mentioned here.  If there’s a way to know a year for the novel, that year is noted.  I expect the timeline to expand as the blog itself expands.  If you have any corrections or books that you feel need to be on the list, just let me know!

Civil War Era (1860s)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


 Reconstruction through Turn-of-the-Century (1865-1900)

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (1860s)

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (late 1860s)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1871)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (early 1870s)

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1874)

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (late 1870s)

On the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1879)

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1880-81)

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1880s)

Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney (1880s)

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1882-83)

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1883-85)

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1885-89)

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (1890s)

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (1896)

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (1897-98)

Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace (1900-01)


Turn-of-the-Century until World War I (1900-1914)

The Keeping Days by Norma Johnston

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace (1902)

Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace (1900-1904)

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace (1904-05)

Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace (1906-07)

Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace (1907-08)

Betsy was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace (1908-09)

Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace (1909-10)

Carney’s House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace (1911)

Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace (1912-1913)

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (1912)

More All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor

All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (1912)

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace (1914)

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong.  (vague timeline, but definitely pre-WWI)


World War I (1914-1918)

Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy

Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes

The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes


Between the Wars (1918-1939)

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright (1930s)

Blue Willow by Doris Gates (Depression, Dust Bowl)


World War II

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright

When the Sirens Wailed by Noel Streatfeild


Post-World War II (1946-1980)

Family Grandstand by Carol Ryrie Brink

Katie John by Mary Calhoun

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright

Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary (1950)

Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson (late 1950s)

Henry Reed’s Journey by Keith Robertson (late 1950s/early 1960s)

Henry Reed’s Babysitting Service by Keith Robertson (late 1950s/early 1960s)

Light a Single Candle by Beverly Butler

The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West

Trixie Belden series by Julie Campbell

4 thoughts on “Kidlit History Timeline

  1. Melissa, could you add a description here of the type of books you’ll be including, as described in your manifesto? To clarify what kind of books I might suggest, and to answer the questions from people who might be puzzled by what is and is not included here so far.

  2. I’ve just discovered your web site–so this comment comes long after the post was written.

    This timeline is a terrific idea.

    I’d nominate the DANDELION COTTAGE series (first book published in 1904) for inclusion in your 1900-1914 list.

    I’d also suggest adding the FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS books, which would range from the 1880’s to around 1910. The first book, in my recollection, was by far the best–hardscrabble urban family struggles towards a well-earned happy ending.

    Finally–Jean Webster’s DADDY LONG-LEGS (1912). I’d forgotten how much I loved it until a tween blogger recently discovered it and gave it a rave review.

  3. Susan,
    This is definitely a page in progress, so recommendations are always welcome! I’ve not read Dandelion Cottage, so I’ll have to check it out. Not read Five Little Peppers in years, so that may be worth another look.

    And I’m shocked that I forgot Daddy Long-Legs! I adore that book!

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