Living Books List: Indian History

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In the world of classical education, Charlotte Mason’s philosophy champions the use of “living books” as a powerful tool for shaping young minds. These are not just any books but thought-provoking, well-crafted texts that immerse readers in a firsthand, narrative-style exploration of a subject. When delving into the realms of India, Hinduism, and Buddhism within the context of a Charlotte Mason education, the advantages become even more apparent.

These living books offer a living connection to the culture, allowing students to directly engage with the rich history and heritage of the region. Opting for works authored by Indians or those intimately familiar with the culture adds authenticity to the learning experience. The narrative style employed by living books not only captivates children but also breathes life into historical events, religious practices, and cultural nuances. Vivid descriptions ignite the imagination, enabling young minds to visualize ancient India’s settings, rituals, and daily life.

What sets these books apart is their ability to forge personal connections between young readers and the characters populating the stories. This emotional bond transforms the learning experience into something deeply meaningful. In the classical tradition, holistic education is highly prized, addressing not just the mind but also the body and soul. Living books on India, Hinduism, and Buddhism provide a multifaceted exploration, covering history, philosophy, art, and spirituality, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of these subjects.

Living books navigate the delicate task of presenting information in a respectful and unbiased manner. In the classical pursuit of knowledge, this approach allows young learners to explore various worldviews without preconceived notions, fostering open-mindedness and an appreciation for the diverse tapestry of beliefs and practices. Through the lens of Charlotte Mason’s classical education, these living books become indispensable tools in shaping well-rounded, informed, and thoughtful individuals.

living books classical Charlotte mason homeschool


Gandhi by Demi: Demi is able to poignantly tell the story of the peace-minded leader of the Indian people.  Choosing non-violence and peaceful dissent, Gandhi led the Indian people into the cause for independence from Britain.

Mother Teresa by Demi: Another gem from the amazing Demi, this time telling the story of the gentle young girl turned saint who devoted her life to helping the smallest among us, the most downtrodden, the untouchables.

The Wheel of King Asoka by Ashok Davar: Telling the story of the emperor whose wheel is on today’s flag of India.  Once a conquering king, he was touched by the negative effects of violence and ruled his empire in peace the latter part of his life.  We found this one at our library!!

Buddha by Demi: The author is Buddhist herself, so it is written factually, though you may like to read with caution. It gives and accurate portrayal of what Buddhists believe using glorious illustrations and simple prose.

Dalai Lama by Demi: This beautifully illustrated biography has a forward by the Dalai Lama himself and explores Tibet and its struggle for freedom through peace and Tibetan Buddhism.

Daughter of the Mountains by Louise S. Rankin: Momo, a young Tibetan girl, chases the man who stole her Lhasa terrier–from high in the Himalayas to the Bengal plains and the city of Calcutta. Stunning introduction to landscapes, peoples and customs of which most of us are wholly unaware. Exciting and thought-provoking!



Mimosa, A True Story by Amy Carmichael: A beautifully written memoir of the amazing missionary, written by my namesake.

Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet and Geoff Benge: life was one of simple, determined obedience to God, regardless of the consequences. Her service in India is a vivid example of the impact one person who will fear God and nothing else can have. Driven by love, sustained by faith and determination, this young woman from Northern Ireland defied the cruel barriers of India’s caste system.

Teresa of Calcutta: Serving the Poorest of the Poor by D. Jeanene Watson: The inspiring and challenging story of Mother Teresa who, for more than 40 years sought to be “the arms of Christ” to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.  An unlikely hero who went against the grain of our me-first culture.


Diving into these rich living books about the history and culture of India is like unlocking a treasure chest of wisdom for our little ones. These stories don’t just teach facts; they transport our kids to vibrant landscapes, weaving a tapestry of understanding and respect for India’s rich heritage. Through these tales, our children embrace a broader perspective, fostering curiosity, empathy, and a love for learning about the world. It’s more than just reading – it’s a journey of heart and mind, making bedtime stories an adventure!


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