Many books intended for children feel like reading books for adults, just a bit shorter. Particularly historical fiction. Having access to the Poly library was fun - my new school has a lot of books, just not in a library. They lend them out for book club classes. With any luck, I'll get to teach some. Here's a couple I've read recently:
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakutsuki Houston & James D. Houston - Jeanne was sent to Manzanar Internment camp in 1942 in the States. One of the most poingant parts of the book are when she returns at the end with her family to see the ruins and her description of how the camp wrecked her family structure, seperating her family from her father, destroying the ability to have family dinners, and making them live seperately.
The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig. Her family was sent as capitalists to Siberia from Poland - they lived there for five years, though only as actual prisoners at the beginning. Being sent to Siberia may have actually saved their lives, because the Rudomins were a Jewish family.
To Be a Slave by Julius Lester using info form the 1930's Federal Writers' Project book, The Negro in Virginia and B. A. Botkin's Lay My Burden Down, along with narratives of ex-slaves from the period before the Civil War.