Here are a few titles I have read lately:
Penny From Heaven
by Jennifer L. Holm
Newbery Honor 2007
The story takes place in 1953 New Jersey. Penny is girl who spend half of her time with her mother and her mother's side of the family, and the other with her father (who has passed away) and his large Italian family. It takes place the summer, not long after World War II, and delves into the era when when being Italian-American meant that you encountered much prejudice and stereotypes.
This book was really enjoyable. I loved the 1950's references and the insight into a large American-Italian family.
Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse
Newbery Medal Winner, 1998
Billie Jo is 14 and lives in Oklahoma during the devastating dust bowl years of the depression. Her story is sad and devastating, just as those years must have been. The girls mother and infant brother die and everyone in the story experiences great hardship. It is a young person's version of The Grapes of Wrath.
It is written verse style, which seems to be quite popular now, but also means it is much shorter than first appears.
The Bronze Bow
by Elizabeth George Speare
I am currently reading this aloud with my 15-year-old. We are both enjoying it. This is such a wonderful story, I can't praise it enough. I recently blogged about Elizabeth George Speare here:
Elizabeth George Speare Historical Writer Extraordinaire
Another author's books I adore, and have also blogged about before are the books written by Karen Cushman. Catherine Called Birdy is one of my favorite books.
Corpus Bones! Karen Cushman Writes Some Great Historical Fiction