History Classics

Now we come to History. History was my least favorite class when I was in school. It is now one of my favorite subjects. How could I not love it, its all about people. People doing great and courageous things, people doing dumb things, people living and learning. . .great stuff.

A Children’s Book of World History by V.M. Hillyer I cannot recommend this wonderful book highly enough! It was written in 1951, and it is still a treasure. It is a little difficult to find,
but well worth the search. Mr. Hillyer has a wonderful style of writing that both informs children and entertains them. Along with history of the world, he teaches word origins. A book I could read again and again. Even more importantly, my children love it too!

I just learned that V.M. Hillyer wrote a book on American (Canada, US and Mexico) history as well. I have to get that!! AND he wrote a book about Art that I am salivating just thinking about. I would like to learn more about great art, and share that with the children. I have to get that book!!! But I digress….

Horrible Histories…”history with the nasty bits left in”. My oldest son is a whiz at history. If you ask him what his favorite “school topic” is, he will tell you history. And if you ask him what his favorite history books are he will tell you Horrible Histories. We have about 10 of them and he has read them all, and keeps begging me for more! He tells me things I didn’t know about history all the time!! He knows more about Romans, Saxons, Normans, Vikings, Egyptians and Greeks than I do! These books got him hooked on history then he branched out to other books. What more could a mom ask?!

You wouldn’t want to be a………… This is a series with many titles. You wouldn’t want to be a Roman Soldier, or a Pirate etc. My oldest son, the history buff really enjoyed these. Though they are full of pictures, they are not something you want to read to younger children, history can be gruesome.

Learning Through History….this is a magazine that again my oldest has fallen in love with. Thank goodness…when I first got it he wasn’t interested, so I just read it myself and waited for him to come around…he did. It doesn’t have any color pictures, but it is fabulous. Each issue centers on a certain time period, and it has great articles, often recipes from the time period and web links. My son loves the web stuff. One time he found one where you “make a mummy” (it was from a museum somewhere) that we all enjoyed and laughed over. You can find out more about it at learningthroughhistory.com

Personally my favorite way to learn history is through Historical Fiction. My oldest son is not interested in this genre yet. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes different styles of writing can engage different people. So for those, like me, who like Historical Fiction, here is my personal list of classics sorted by themes. Some of them I have not read yet, but put on my list to get to eventually, though I realize my reading list is longer than my potential lifetime! In case you are interested the ones with an * are the ones I have read and recommend.

Early American History and Revolutionary War
Johnny Tremain, Ester Forbes*
Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Spear*
Fever 1793, Laurie Halse Anderson*
A Peculiar Service, Corey Ford
The Story of Liberty, Charles Coffin
Sweet Land of Liberty, Francis S. Fox
The Boys of ’76, Charles Coffin
My Brother Sam is Dead
April Morning

Ships – Voyages – Survival
A Long Vacation, Jules Verne
Robinson Crusoe
Treasure Island*
Call It Courage, Armstrong Sperry*
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell*
Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George*
Naya Nuki

Native Americans
Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare*
Last of the Mohicans*
Waterlily
Naya Nuki

Pioneers
Little House on the Prairie*
Little Britches*
Summer of the Monkeys*
Old Yeller*
Where the Red Fern Grows*

World War II
The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom*
The Watchmakers Daughter, Corrie ten Boom
The Devil’s Arithmetic, Yolen*
Children of the Promise Series*
Diary of Anne Frank*

Civil War
Stealing South, Katherine Ayres*
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beacher Stowe

Medieval/Crusades
The Door in the Wall, Marguerite DeAngeli*
Adam of the Road, Elizabeth Janet Gray*
Morning Star of the Reformation, Andy Thomson
The Midwife’s Apprentice, Karen Cushman*
Crispin and the Cross of Lead, Avi*

Time of Jesus
The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas*
The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Spear*
Ben Hur, Lew Wallace
Quo Vadis, Sienkiewicez

Folk Tales
Paul Bunyon*
Mike Fink
One Grain of Rice

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