Living Books for Medieval & Modern History: Classical Conversations Cycle 2
Our list for Living Books for Medieval & Modern History: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 is below! I hope you enjoy!
Most of the books below could be found in your local library. I always suggest searching online, from home, and holding lots of books and going in to pick them up without children. This is helpful when you want to make a quick trip, and also don’t want to argue with children who want to bring home “books” that are simply just worthless twaddle.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Narration is best. This is when a child tells back what they just read. What parts they remember, what parts are important. This is oral until fourth grade when we will begin written narrations which will lend itself to composition in the future. You can find more about narration at Simply Charlotte Mason for a free narration guide or Karen Glass’ Know and Tell: The Art of Narration, which I highly recommend!
To start, Beautiful Feet Books has a beautiful Ancient History Intermediate Pack that I highly recommend. Their guides are beautiful and well thought out, and the literature choices cannot be beat! I have scoured many of theses books and cannot wait to get them into my children’s hands when they are developmentally ready for the material!
Recommendations that bring your child through all of Ancient, Medieval, to Early Modern History:
First, The Story of the World series, by M. B. Synge. Each book goes into depth about each topic, I wish there were an audio version available (though it may be on Librovox): On the Shores of the Great Sea, The Discovery of New Worlds, The Awakening of Europe, The Struggle of Sea Power, The Growth of the British Empire. Ages 9 to adult.
The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer touches on all history from creation to about the present day, we listen to them in the car about once a year. I love listening to Jim Weiss and will never tire of them, I think. There are Volume 1: Ancient Times Book and CD, Volume 2: The Middle Ages Book and CD, Volume 3: Early Modern Times Book and CD, Volume 4: The Modern Age Book and CD. Activity books are also available.
John H. Haaren’s Famous Men series has been redone by Memoria Press. Memorial Press has a beautiful student guide (and teacher guide), this is question/ answer, so I will not be using them, but this is helpful for you to have some of this information during lively narrations and discussions. Famous Men of Greece, Famous Men of Rome, Famous Men of the Middle Ages, and Famous Men of Modern Times.
If you have older readers (fifth grade and up), you may be interested in Dorothy Mills accounts, which are wonderfully written: The Book of the Ancient World, The Book of Ancient Greeks, The Book of the Ancient Romans, The Middles Ages.
Usborne Books for History
My children love to research using books from PaperPie, and they are wonderful even for the ones that are not yet confident readers, as the illustrations are very engaging and they can learn history on their own just from looking at the pictures!
Timelines of World History: This book is an absolute gem and I recommend it to anyone! I did a comparison and most timeline events are covered!
Time Traveler: This books goes back in time into Egyptian, Roman (and Medieval and Vikings) civilizations.
The Encyclopedia of World History has four sections covering the Ancient World, Medieval World, Prehistoric World, and The Last 500 Years. It is a wonderful overview of many of the civilizations studied (the prehistoric section does mention evolution) in the Classical Conversations timeline.
Medieval World. This wonderfully illustrated book takes the reader through the medieval world, from the big battles to kings and warriors, from peasants to palaces; we love looking and the pictures and reading the small chunks of information. We also love Medieval Messenger, which is a parody newspaper written from the Middle Ages perspective!
Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Living Book Recommendations
Week 1: Charlemagne (800 AD)
Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
Week 2: William the Conqueror (1054)
The King’s Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
Week 3: Crusades (1095 – 1291)
The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur by Margaret Hodges
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Squire and the Scroll: A Tale of the Rewards of a Pure Heart by Jennie Bishop
Pippo the Fool by Tracey E. Fern
Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson
The Minstrel in the Tower by Gloria Skurzynski
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Grey
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
Week 4: Magna Carta (1215)
Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow by Robert D. San Souci
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
The Magna Charta by Richard Daugherty
Week 5: Hundred Years’ War (1337), Joan of Arc, Plague (1340s)
Joan of Arc, Warrior Saint by Stephen Richey
Week 6: Renaissance (da Vinci, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Copernicus) (1350 – 1600)
Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz
Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley
Good Queen Bess : The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley
Along Came Galileo by Jeanne Bendick
Week 7: Reformation, Martin Luther, John Calvin (1517)
Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier
Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation―from A to Z by Stephen J. Nichols
Week 8: European Explorers (Dias, Vespucci, Balboa, Magellan, Coronado) (late 1400s – mid-1500s)
Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620 by Betsy Maestro
Magellan’s World by Stuart Waldman
Who in the World Was The Forgotten Explorer?: The Story of Amerigo by Lorene Lambert
Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan by Jean Fritz
Week 9: Absolute Monarchs (Henry VIII, Louis XIV, Phillip II, Peter the Great, Frederick the Great) (1500s – 1800s)
The King’s Day: Louis XIV of France by Aliki
Henry VIII and His Wives Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney
Week 10: History of Russia: Vladimir I (900s), Czar Ivan the Terrible (1500s), Peter the Great & Catherine the Great (1700s)
The Littlest Matryoshka by Corinne Demas Bliss
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
Week 11: French Revolution (1789)
Week 12: Battle of Waterloo & Napoleon (1812)
The Story of Napoleon by H. E. Marshall
Napoleon: The Story of the Little Corporal
My Napoleon by Catherine Brighton
Week 13: Industrial Revolution (Watt, Cartwright, Whitney) (1860s)
Industrial Era: 1865-1915- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.s. History)
The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Latham
Week 14: World War I Leaders (1914 – 1918)
Casey Over There by Staton Rabin
The French Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins
Bold Leaders of World War I by Col. Red Reeder
Week 15: World War I Countries (Allies and Axis)
Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy: This story explores life on the Hungarian plains during World War I.
Anna’s Fight for Hope by Joann A. Grote
Week 16: World War II (1939 – 1945)
The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy
The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
The Harmonica by Tony Johnston
The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco
The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in WWII by Louise Borden
The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Night Crossing by Karen Ackerman
The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum: This book is set during the trials of the Nazi occupation.
Week 17: World War II Leaders
A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America by Kathleen Krull
Week 18: United Nations
Week 19: Korean War (1950)
So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting
Week 20: Vietnam War (1965)
Week 21: Cold War (1980s)
World War II & the Cold War: 1940-1960- Graphic U.S. History (Saddleback Graphic: U.s. History)
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Week 22: Fall of Communism (1989)
The Patriots’ Revolution by Mark Frankland
Week 23: Gulf War (1990)
Desert Storm by John Perritano
Week 24: End of Apartheid & South Africa (1994)
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Chris van Wyk
The Day Gogo Went to Vote by Elinor Sisulu
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
Living Books for Medieval History and Modern History
Reading is the most valuable thing we can do for our children. Snuggling up with a wonderful historical picture book or novel is going to benefit you and your child more than any memory drills or rote skills. Remember to slow down and enjoy this special time together!! If you have any suggestions to add, please let me know! I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of living books for medieval and modern history!
You can find a printable list here or to easily reference at the library!