Does anybody think that librarians of early last century cared less for children or had poorer taste in books? Of course not. Here is a curated database of books recommended by librarians from ago, books that are now widely available as free e-books.
Start your e-book collection development here; find great books that you can recommend to your students and even pre-install on your school's iPads.
I searched collection development articles from the late 1800's and early 1900's and then cross-checked (using my own special free e-book search engine) books available online as free e-books, and this site is the beginning of what I found.
This site is a resource and a forum -- come back and review these e-books and authors, and, collectively, we can establish a pretty nifty e-book curriculum, a gift from 19th and 20th century librarians to the 21st century and, through us, to future centuries.
I do not guarantee that each book on this list will be appropriate for your situation. Please don't recommend any of these titles without first reading it.
That said, it's certainly reasonable to see cultural differences in historical writings as an extra opportunity to teach media literacy to children. We are already teaching our students how to evaluate messages from the popular media; teaching them to put writings in historical context can only improve their analytical abilities as well as their understanding of history. An educated populace, think of that.