18th Century Literature

A list of 18th century literature of classical children's books. This was a time when the world saw major changes. Historical fiction and stories from history makes those changes more understandable for children.

silhouette of three corner hat and wig


Matchlock Gun

By Walter D. Edmonds

True Story
New York village
1756 - French and Indian War
An exciting, true story of a ten year old boy who saves his family during the French and Indian War with his great-grandfather's matchlock gun.







Captive Indian

By Lois Lenski

True Story
Ohio and Pennsylvania
1958: Frrench and Indian War
The true story of Mary Jemmison, the daughter of white settlers who was captured and made a member of the Seneca tribe. The story is modified for a younger audience, but describes her homesicknesses for her own family and growing love for her adopted family.






Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Fiction
Starts in England, Sail to a fictitious island
A fast moving adventure story from the days of pirates. Almost everyone is familiar with the dreaded Long John Silver and Captain Flint. Enjoy the tale that got the pirate movement started.







Kidnapped

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Historic Fiction
1751
Scotland
Join David Balfour, a Scottish lowlander, as he flees for his life with an unlikely partner, an infamous highland rebel named Alan Breck Stuart. The story is continued in the sequel Catriona. The name of Catriona was later changed to David Balfour in most modern editions.






The Last of the Mohicans

By James Fenimore Cooper

Upper New York
French and Indian War
Reading Level: Middle School and high school - younger edited versions available
Interest Level: This fast paced adventure story is enjoyed by youngsters, but frequent episodes of bloodshed make it inappropriate for many young children.
One of the most famous books of 18th century, Cooper tells the hair-curling tale of of a brave woodsmen and his two loyal Native American friends and their travels through kidnapping, a massacre at a garrison, ambush and treachery.





Swiss Family Robinson

By Johann D. Wyss

Fiction with natural history
Uncharted island in the Pacific
In the era of colonization, one family headed for a new colony is shipwrecked and learn to survive on an uninhabited island. Lessons in self-reliance, character, animal husbandry.








Rip Van Winkle

By Washington Irving

Fiction
New York
Rip Van Winkle is a loyal follower of King George - and a henpecked husband. He falls asleep and wakes up 20 years later to find some surprising changes have taken place.








Tales of the Wayside Inn

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry
Sudbury, Massachussetts
Reading Level: 6th grade and above
Longfellow wrote this collection of poems as an American version of the Canterbury Tales. From within its pages come the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Other poetic tales of America's history are also recited at the historic inn, which is still in operation. The book is a treat for those with an interest in American History, literary history, and poetry.







Amos Fortune, Free Man

By Elizabeth Yates

New England
Beautifully written, this true story is about an African man who was captured, sold into slavery, bought his freedom, and became a widely respected citizen in his New England community. Amos lived in the 1700's in Africa and New England. For three centuries people have told the story of his hard work, compassion, and love of freedom.






Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe

Caribbean Island
The marooned sailor needs to live by his wits. Believed to have been derived from a true story, Robinson Crusoe is a fictitious character who lives stranded from civilization for 30 years.





See also The American Revolution

Liberty Bell silhouette

Find more books on 18th century literature in childrens books on the American Revolution. The battle between the American colonists and the British Empire was one of the most significant events in this era.



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