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Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are true stories of American history that will keep your kids reading past their bedtime.

I have four kids. As of this writing, they are 18, 17, 13, and six years old. My older two both reached a point where they fell in love with reading without much effort from me; for both of them, it was around 3rd grade. But by the time my 13-year-old reached 4th grade, it still hadn’t clicked for him.

Anne Bogel of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog mentioned that these books were a hit with her son, who was the same age as mine. So I decided to give them a try. Long story short — these were the books that did the trick.

To this day, I can buy him a new Nathan Hale book, and he will devour it within a couple of days.

I highly recommend these books for those middle-grade reluctant readers in your life.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales FAQs

Who is Nathan Hale?

I’ll be honest. I originally thought Nathan Hale was a pseudonym for the author of this series because it happens to be the same name as the famous spy from the Revolutionary War, the subject of the first book in this series. But I was wrong. According to The Houston Chronicle, it is indeed the author’s real name. Nathan Hale is also the author’s historical namesake.

What is the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales Series?

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales is a graphic novel series of historical non-fiction biographical novels with a focus on American history. Hale’s books have been praised for being “lively, rigorously researched, visually engaging stories,” according to the School Library Journal.

The books have also been praised for their historical accuracy. While Hale does a good job of making the historical events accessible through humor and the graphic format, he does not sugarcoat the events.

Is Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales historical fiction?

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are closer to narrative non-fiction or historical biographies than they are to historical fiction.

Historical fiction tends to take fictional characters and place them in historical settings. While there are fictional aspects to the stories, the main characters are real men and women from history.

What grade level is Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales?

The recommended grade level for Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales books is third to seventh grade, which typically ranges from 8 to 12 years old. My son was in fourth grade when he first started reading them, and he still loves them in eighth grade.

How many books are in the Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales?

There are 13 books in the series, but book 11.5 is a tutorial on creating comics.

Do you have to read Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales in Order?

You do not have to read the Nathan Hale books in order, BUT I do recommend reading the first book in the series, One Dead Spy, first. One Dead Spy tells the story of the original Nathan Hale, who was one of George Washington’s spies who was hung for treason.

In the subsequent books, Nathan Hale is the narrator of the stories (even though the events happened long after he was dead), and he uses the stories to distract his executioners and delay his hanging.

Here’s an example:

Nathan Hale the Narrator

How do you find content warnings for Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales?

Nathan Hale provides content warnings on the back of each book. If you have a child who tends to be sensitive about certain topics, it can be helpful to review these descriptions.

Here’s an example of the content warnings:

nathan hale content warning

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales in Order

One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale

One Dead Spy: A Revolutionary War Tale

One Dead Spy introduces readers to the historical figure Nathan Hale, America’s first spy during the Revolutionary War. It humorously narrates Hale’s adventures and misadventures leading up to his capture and execution by the British, all while providing a mix of historical facts and entertaining fiction.

Big Bad Ironclad by Nathan Hale

Big Bad Ironclad: A Civil War Tale

Big Bad Ironclad covers the Civil War naval battles between the ironclad ships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (originally the USS Merrimack). Through engaging and humorous storytelling, it brings to life the technological advancements of the time and the personalities involved in this pivotal moment in naval warfare history.

Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale

Donner Dinner Party: A Pioneer Tale

Donner Dinner Party recounts the harrowing story of the Donner Party, a group of pioneers who became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter of 1846-47. Through vivid illustrations and dark humor, it explores the extreme conditions and desperate measures the party members faced in their struggle for survival.

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood provides an engaging overview of World War I, illustrating the complex web of alliances, political tensions, and the brutal reality of trench warfare. The book uses a mix of humor and factual storytelling to depict the major events, battles, and figures of the war.

The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale

The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman

The Underground Abductor narrates the remarkable life of Harriet Tubman, from her early years in slavery to becoming a key figure in the Underground Railroad. It highlights Tubman’s incredible courage, intelligence, and dedication to freeing others from the bonds of slavery, making significant contributions to American history.

Alamo All-Stars

Alamo All-Stars: A Texas Tale

Alamo All-Stars brings to life the iconic Battle of the Alamo, focusing on the diverse group of figures who defended the fort against Mexican forces in 1836. The book combines historical facts with engaging storytelling and humor, showcasing the bravery, strategy, and camaraderie of the defenders in this pivotal event in Texas history.

Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale

Raid of No Return: A World War II Tale of the Doolittle Raid

Raid of No Return recounts the daring Doolittle Raid, the first American air raid to strike the Japanese mainland during World War II four months after the Pearl Harbor attack. It captures the courage and desperation of the American airmen as they embark on a risky mission with uncertain outcomes, highlighting a critical turning point in the Pacific theater.

Lafayette by Nathan Hale

Lafayette: A Revolutionary War Tale

Lafayette explores the adventurous life of the Marquis de Lafayette, a young French aristocrat who became a Revolutionary War hero. The book highlights Lafayette’s vital contributions to the American cause and his enduring friendship with key figures like George Washington, showcasing his role as a hero in both American and French history. My son told me that this book is one of his personal faves in this series.

Major Impossible (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #9): A Grand Canyon Tale

Major Impossible: A Grand Canyon Tale

Major Impossible tells the story of John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 expedition, where he became the first person to navigate the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The book depicts the challenges, dangers, and scientific discoveries Powell and his crew made during their groundbreaking journey through one of America’s most treacherous landscapes.

Blades of Freedom by Nathan Hale

Blades of Freedom: A Tale of Haiti, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase

Blades of Freedom explores the complex history of the Haitian Revolution and its impact on the Louisiana Purchase. The book highlights the intertwining of these events, showcasing how the rebellion in Haiti led to Napoleon’s decision to sell Louisiana to the United States, thus significantly altering the course of American history.

Cold War Correspondent by Nathan Hale

Cold War Correspondent: A Korean War Tale

Cold War Correspondent transports readers to the Korean War, offering a unique perspective through the eyes of war correspondent Marguerite Higgins. The narrative explores the complexities and human experiences of this often-overlooked conflict in the context of the broader Cold War tensions when the North Korean Army made its way into South Korea with Soviet tanks.

Lets Make History by Nathan Hale

Let’s Make History: Create Your Own Comics

Let’s Make History is an interactive activity book that encourages young readers to engage with history in a creative and hands-on manner. It is filled with a variety of puzzles, comics, and drawing challenges, all designed to make learning about historical events and figures an entertaining and immersive experience. Great for those artistic storytellers in your life!

Above the Trenches by Nathan Hale

Above the Trenches: World War I Flying Ace Tale

Above the Trenches takes readers to the skies above the battle-scarred landscapes of World War I, focusing on the daring pilots and aerial combats of the time. The book captures the innovation, bravery, and tragedy of early aviation warfare, highlighting the personal stories of those who fought above the trenches.

Other Books by Nathan Hale

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