Aunt Claire Presents Vintage Historical Fiction for Girls

My daughters read more books than I can keep up with sometimes. That’s a good problem to have, right?

They enjoy engaging stories with adventure and purpose, generally featuring strong female characters. I look for books that are wholesome and that I think fit in with Charlotte Mason’s idea of educational living books. With so much “junk food” for the mind out there, it’s not always easy to narrow down the choices.

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To say that we were excited to find vintage historical fiction for girls from Aunt Claire Presents, published by Laboratory Books, is an understatement!

Aunt Claire Presents Historical Fiction for Girls

Aunt Claire Presents is a series of wonderful vintage books re-discovered and re-published for the girls of today to enjoy. They were originally published around the turn of the century at a time when women couldn’t vote or go to college or have many of the adventures that their fictional counterparts could in these books. I love the spirit and imagination in these stories that are more than 100 years old, yet still hold timeless truths.

Aunt Claire Presents Vintage Historical Fiction for Girls | homeschooling with living booksWe received the first two volumes in the series: The Automobile Girls at Newport by Laura Dent Crane and Grace Harlowe’s Freshman Year at High School by Jessie Graham Flower.

I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it was love at first sight for me when the Aunt Claire Presents books arrived in the mail. These are hard cover books with dust jackets. The colors, the smiling girls, even Aunt Claire up in the corner, all conspired to say, “We know you want to read these books so just drop what you’re doing and read us now.”

Aunt Claire presents books | historical fiction

Underneath those endearing and updated dust jackets, you’ll find the original covers and artwork. It’s so neat that they kept this feature!

aunt claire presents automobile girls at newport | vintage historical fiction

“Aunt Claire” begins each book with an introduction to explain the historical context and offers interesting facts to help understand the stories. My daughters and I enjoyed the chance to think about and talk about what life was like then as a young woman and how things have changed since that time.

These books are geared for the middle grades, but I think readers of all ages can appreciate them. My oldest daughter (15) thought they were good stories even though she’s a bit beyond the target age range. I read them aloud to my two youngest daughters (8 & 10). They both stayed interested in the adventures and the characters, even if they didn’t wholly understand the historical significance.

Obviously the clothes, cars, and some of the language and idioms of the times are different, but the meaning is clear overall. There are illustrations periodically throughout the book that helped them get a mental picture of the styles and the cars.

Aunt Claire Presents vintage historical fiction

So how do these books stack up with my checklist of reading material requirements?

√ Engaging adventure stories

√ Strong female characters

√ Historical living books

√ Wholesome and purposeful

They meet the criteria, for sure. Not only do my daughters like these books, I do, too. That’s as a reader and as a homeschool mom, just for the record.

In addition to the two volumes we read, there are two more that will be released in the spring of 2018: The Girl Aviators and the Phantom Airship by Margaret Burnham and Grace Harlowe’s Sophomore Year at High School by Jessie Graham Flower, A.M.

Aunt Claire presents historical fiction

Homeschooling with Aunt Claire Presents Historical Fiction

There are many learning opportunities within these books! Discussions can include:

  • stereotypes and prejudices of the day
  • women’s history
  • the Suffragette Movement
  • gender roles
  • new inventions and the Industrial Revolution

Aunt Claire’s website provides a description of the reading levels as well as writing prompts and discussion topics to help enrich the reading experience.

The bulk of our homeschooling is literature-based with living books. These Aunt Claire books are perfect for us because we can cover the study of women in history using quality living books. I believe Charlotte Mason would approve.

We can’t wait to get the rest of the Aunt Claire Presents books when they come out in the spring!


Sara (327 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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