Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

Booklist: the American Revolution

  Living Books on the American Revolution

Adler, David. Picture Book of Paul Revere and Picture Book of Patrick Henry. Adler has a number of these biographies. Elementary.

Amstel, Marsha. Sybil Luddington’s Midnight Ride. Easy reader. Elementary.

Anderson, M.T. Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. Has some mature content but we liked it. Teens +.

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman and George the Drummer Boy. Easy reader. Elementary.

Blackwood, Gary. Year of the Hangman. Middle-teens.

Bodie, Idella. Secret Message. A girl in SC in 1781 has to deliver a secret message. Elementary.

Borden, Louise. Sleds on Boston Common. Fun  story. Elementary.

Brady, Esther Wood. Toliver’s Secret. Elementary.

Bruchac, Joseph. Arrow over the Door. A Quaker boy in 1777. Elementary-middle.

Bulla, Clyde Robert. Daniel’s Duck. Easy reader. Elementary.

Collier, James Lincoln. War Comes to Willy Freeman. Re an African American boy. Elementary (?).

Dahl, Michael. Row Row Row the Boats and Midnight Riders. Story songs. Elementary.

Dalgliesh, Alice. Adam and the Golden Cock and 4th of July Story. Elementary.

Fleming, Candace. Hatmaker’s Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin. Elementary.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Middle-teens.

Foster, Genevieve. George Washington’s World. Foster’s books make good spine books for a wide range of ages. Elementary +.

Fritz, Jean. Fritz has a lot of books on this era. Most are elementary with titles like: Can’t You Make them Behave King George and Why don’t You Get a Horse Sam Adams. Early Thunder is a slightly longer book.

Gauch, Patricia. This Time Tempe Wick. Elementary.

Griffin, Judith. Phoebe the Spy. Elementary.

Haugaard, Erik. Boy’s Will. Older hard to find book re John Paul Jones.

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Hays also has a number of books on this era including George Washington’s Birthdays and Fourth of July Raid. Elementary.

Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie. Middle years.

Krensky, Stephen. Dangerous Crossing. Re John Qunicy Adams. Elementary.

Kroll, Steven. By the Dawn’s Early Light and Boston Tea Party. Elementary.

Lasky, Kathryn. Voice of Her Own. Re Phyllis Wheatley. Elementary (?).

Lawson, Robert. Mr Revere and I and Ben and Me. Elementary.

Lomask, Milton. Charles Carroll and the American RevolutionThe First American Revolution, and Benedict Arnold: the Aftermath of Treason. I have not read these but Lomask is a favorite author. Middle-teens.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere’s Ride. Picture book of the famous poem. Elementary.

Lowrey, Janette. Six Silver Spoons. Easy reader. Elementary.

Marrin, Albert. The War for Independence: Story of the Revolution. Marrin is just about my favorite author for history for teens. He also has books on Thomas Paine, Washington and more. Middle-teens.

Marshall, H.E. This Country of Ours. A good spine book for this era. Elementary +.

McGovern, Ann. Secret Soldier. Elementary. 

Miers, Earl. Magnificent Mutineers. Re Mad Anthony Wayne. Older, hard-to-find book.

Monjo. King George’s Head was Made of Lead and Namesake for Nathan. Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop. Middle years.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Ben’s Revolution. The Battle of Bunker Hill. Elementary.

Pratt, Mara. American History Stories. Older book. Elementary.

Paulsen, Gary. The Rifle. The title rifle is used in the Revolution though that is not what the book is mostly about. Middle-teens.

Quackenbush, Robert. Daughter of Liberty. Elementary.

Rappaport, Doreen. Boston Coffee Party. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Reit, Seymour. Guns for General Washington. Elementary.

Rockwell, Anne. They Called Her Molly Pitcher. Picture book. Elementary.

Roop, Connie. Buttons for General George Washington. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Schick, Alice. Remarkable Ride of Israel Bissell. Elementary.

Schurfranz, Vivian. Message for General Washington. Elementary.

Syme, Ronald. Benedict Arnold and John Paul Jones. Elementary.

Turner, Ann. When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia. Picture book. Elementary.

Vinton, Iris. Story of John Paul Jones. Older hard to find book. Elementary ?.

Walker, Sally. 18 Penny Goose. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Werstein, Irving. 1776: The Adventure of the American Revolution told in Pictures. I love Werstein. Not sure of the level of this one.

Booklist: the Settlement of the US

Living Books on the Settlement of the United States

Aliki. Story of William Penn. Picture book. Elementary.

Avi. Finding Providence. Re Rhode Island. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Brill, Ethel. Madeline Takes Command. Re New France. Middle years.

Bulla, Clyde Robert. Bulla is a favorite author for elementary. He has books on John Billington and Squanto (Plimoth colony) and Pocahontas and the Jamestown colony (A Lion to Guard Us) is about the latter. Elementary level.

Campbell, Elizabeth. Carving on the Tree. About the lost colony of Roanoke. Elementary.

Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Wishing Pear. New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Curtis, Alice Turner. Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony. There are a number in this series. Elementary-middle.

Dalgliesh, Alice. Courage of Sarah Noble. A girl in the early 1700s. Elementary. Her America Begins is talked up a lot in homeschool circles and it is a good book if you can find it but not worth the jacked-up prices. Also elementary.

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Pocahontas. The d’Aulaires’ books are lovely long picture books. Elementary.

de Angeli, Marguerite. Elin’s Amerika and Henner’s Lydia. Wonderful books on Swedish immigrants. Set in Pennsylvania I believe. Elementary. See also her Bright April about a black child in Philadelphia.

Edmonds, Walter. Matchlock Gun. 1750s New York. Elementary.

Field, Rachel. Calico Bush.  Set in Maine. Middle years.

Foster, Genevieve. The Year of the Pilgrims, 1620, World of Captain John Smith and The World of William Penn. Foster’s books make wonderful spine books because they cover so much territory, often including international events too. I use them even with older children and they would work well for a family with a wide range of ages. Elementary +.

Friskey, Margaret. John Alden and the Pilgrim Cow. Elementary.

Fritz, Jean. The Lost Colony of Roanoke and Who’s That Stepping on Plymouth Rock. Fritz is a prolific author. The Roanoke book is one of her longer ones and is middle school level. The Plymouth one would be elementary. She also has one on Pocahontas; I don’t remember the level of that one.

Guerber, Helene. Stories of the Thirteen Colonies. A good spine book. Elementary.

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. A favorite author with a lot on this period. Look for her books on Plimoth colony and Seige The Story of Saint Augustine 1702 for the settlement in Florida. Elementary. She also has one on the French-Indian wars called Drummer Boy for Montcalm and one set in New Hampshire — Trouble at Otter Creek.

Howard, Ginger. William’s House. House building in the 1600s. Early elementary.

Leeper, John. Meet the Dudleys, Not quite living but tells how a family in Connecticut lived. Elementary (?).

Lobel, Arnold. On the Day Peter Stuyvesant Sailed into Town. From the author of the Frog and Toad books. Re New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Lomask, Milton. Cross among the Tomahawks. Re missionaries in the 1600s. A hidden gem of an older author if you can find his books. They tend to be middle school level but this one might be elementary.

Longfellow, Henry Wordsworth . “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” The poem itself is quite long but you should be able to find a picture book version.

Marshall, H.E. This Country of Ours. A good spine book for this era. Elementary +.

Monjo. House on Stink Alley. The Plimoth colonists before they came over. Elementary.

Moskin, Marietta. Lysbet and the Fire Kittens. New Amsterdam. Easy reader. Elementary.

North, Sterling. George Washington Frontier Colonel. Washington’s early career. From another wonderful author. Elementary (?).

O’Dell, Scott. Serpent Never Sleeps (re Jamestown) and Carlota. Middle years.

Otis, James. Ruth of Boston. Middle years.

Pratt, Mara. Stories of Massachusetts. Probably not necessary if you don’t live in MA. She also has American History Stories. Elementary-middle.

Pumphrey, Margaret. Pilgrim Stories. Elementary.

Quackenbush, Robert. Old Silver Leg Takes Over. Re New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Sewall, Marcia. James TowneThe Pilgrims of Plimoth and Thunder from the Clear Sky.(also re Plimoth).  Picture books. Elementary.

Spier, Peter. Legend of New Amsterdam. He has lovely books. Elementary.

Syme, Ronald. John Smith of Virginia and William Penn. Elementary.

Vinto, Iris. Boy on the Mayflower. Older book. Elementary.

Winter, Jeanette. Klara’s New World. A Little girl emigrates from Sweden. Not sure of the time frame. Elementary.

Yates, Elizabeth. Sarah Whitcher’s Story. Set in New Hampshire. I loved this one. Elementary.

Yolen, Jane. Roanoke: the Lost Colony. Elementary.

Booklist: Exploration and Discovery

Living Books on Exploration and Discovery

New World Exploration

Adler, David A. Picture book of Christopher Columbus. Adler has a lot of biographies that make good introductions. Elementary.

Averill, Esther. Cartier Sails the St Lawrence. An older, hard to find book. Middle years (?).

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Christopher Columbus. Wonderful books. Elementary.

Foster, Genevieve. World of Columbus and Sons. Foster’s books are wonderful because they give so much of the historical context of what is going on in an era. I use them even for older grades. They make great spine books. Elementary+.

Fritz, Jean. Around the World in 100 Years and Where do you think you’re going Christopher Columbus. Fritz had a lot of good books. Around the World is longer than her usual and is middle school-teens. Where do you . . . is elementary.

Lawson, Robert. I Discover Columbus. A harder to find book by a good author. Middle school (?).

Lomask, Milton. Ship’s Boy with Magellan. Another good author. Middle years.

Noble, Iris. Honor of Balboa. We like this older author. Middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. King’s Fifth. Re Conquistadors. O’Dell has lots of good historical fiction. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Amerigo VespucciCartier, Syme is a wonderful older author and has books on just about every explorer you could name. Elementary.

Arctic and Antarctic Exploration

Burleigh, Robert. Black Whiteness. Elementary.

Curlee, Lynne. Into the Ice. Elementary.


Bulla, Clyde Robert. Viking Adventure. Elementary.

Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Door to the North. Elementary.

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Leif the Lucky. Elementary.

Steele, William O. Story of Leif Ericson. Steele’s books are usually middle school level but this one might be elementary.


Gerrard, Roy. Sir Francis Drake His Daring Deeds. Elementary.

Monjo. Sea Beggars Son. We like Monjo too. Re a Dutch sea captain fighting the Spanish. Elementary.

Noble, Iris. Spain’s Golden Queen Isabella. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Captain Cook and Francis Drake. Again, wonderful biographies. Elementary.

Booklist: Native Americans

Living Books on Native Americans

Averill, Esther. King Phillip: the Indian Chief. A wonderful older author but may be hard to find. Elementary?

Bruchac, Jospeh. Arrow over the Door. Elementary.

Colver, Anne. Bread and Butter Indian. Illustrated by Garth Williams. Chapter book. Elementary.

Garst, Shannon. Picture Story and Biography of Red Cloud. Older book. May be hard to find. Elementary?

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Little Yellow Fur. Wonderful author. Elementary.

Holling,  Holling C. The Book of Indians. I don’t love all of Holling’s books but I do like this one. Elementary.

Lenski, Lois. Indian Captive and Little Sioux Girl. We love Lenski’s books. Elementary-middle.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha’s Childhood. A famous poem about a Native American boy. There is a lot of idealization here but it is worth reading because a) it is famous and oft-quoted and b) you can discuss how Hiawatha is portrayed and if this is fair and/or accurate.

McGovern, Ann. Defenders. Another good author. Her books are usually chapter books. Elementary.

Monjo. Indian Summer. Love Monjo too. Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. Zia and Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. O’Dell has lots of wonderful historical fiction. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Calico Captive and Sign of the Beaver. Middle years.

Spradlin, Michael P. The Legend of Blue Jacket. Long picture book. Elementary.

Steele, William O. Flaming Arrows and Buffalo Knife, et. al. Steele has wonderful, adventurous books. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Geronimo. Older author. Syme writes great elementary level biographies.

Turner, Ann. Dakota Dugout and Sitting Bull Remembers. Elementary.

Various. If You Lived with the . . . (series). Maybe a little less living but a good series for reading about how various tribes lived. Elementary.

Whelan, Gloria. Indian School. Middle years (?).

Booklist: the Middle Ages

Living Books about the Middle Ages

The first time we studied the Middle Ages, I went to Heritage History for a lot of our resources. If you are willing to use older books (which are often better anyway) and don’t mind have them in a digital format, this is a wonderful site.  We went through the Middle Ages once in broader perspective in the first 12-week term and then once focusing in on specific countries in our second term.

Ackroyd, Peter. The Canterbury Tales . There are of course other versions of these classic stories. I happened to find the version edited by Peter Ackroyd  so that is what we used. The original tales are bawdy and this version includes those bits so I was discriminating. We did not read every tale and I occasionally edited on the spot while reading aloud.

Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. This time period is as good as any other for covering Muslim history. I have liked many of the short books in this series. Middle-teens.

Avi. Crispin (series). We loved these books. Middle years.

Baldwin, James. The Story of Roland. Version of the medieval tale. Middle years-teens.

Bonner, John.  A Child’s History of Spain. Middle years (?).

Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice. Middle years.

D’Angeli, Marguerite. Door in the Wall. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. Marco Polo. Demi mostly does picture books on China. Elementary.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. White Company. From the author of Sherlock Holmes. Middle years +.

Florian, M. The Moors in Spain. Available from Heritage History. Middle years.

Gray, Elizabeth Janet. Adam of the Road. Historical fiction. Middle years.

Harding, S.B.  Story of the Middle Ages. Another older book. Middle years.

Kelly, Eric. Trumpeter of Krakow. A wonderful, don’t-miss book on Poland. Middle years but you can read it aloud earlier.

Konigsburg, E.L. Proud Taste of Scarlet and Miniver. Historical fiction re Eleanor of Aquitaine. Middle years +.

Marshall, H.E. The Story of Europe. An older spine book. She also has books on specific countries, eg. The Story of Germany and Scotland’s Story. Our Island Story covers English history. Heritage History uses Marshall’s books and I find them very engaging. Middle years but could be used with a wide range of ages.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. El Cid. Spanish hero. McCaughrean has lovely illustrated books. Elementary.

Meigs, Elizabeth. Crusade and the Cup. Older book. Middle years.

The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History of the Church from 900 to 1300. This is a book I stumbled across some years ago. It is not the best living book though it is somewhat engaging. I like that it gives church history. Middle years but can be used for a wide range of ages.

Mills, Dorothy. The Middle Ages. Middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. The Road to Damietta (about Francis of Assisi) and Hawk that Dare Not Hunt (about Tyndale). Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. King’s Equal. Chapter book. Upper elementary-middle.

Pyle, Howard. Men of Iron and Otto of the Silver Hand. An older author. Middle years.

Riley-Smith, Jonathan. Crusades, Christianity and Islam. A good, scholarly consideration. Teens.

Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe and Talisman. Classic. Teens.

Seraillier, Ian. Beowulf, the Warrior. A fairly short version of the story. Various ages.

Seredyk, Kate. White Stag. Re Attila the Hun and the Huns and Magyars in modern day Hungary. Elementary.

Skurzynski, Gloria. Minstrel in the Tower. Upper elementary-middle.

Stanley, Diane. Saladin and Lionhearts. Stanley had lots of biographies. Elementary.

Tappan, Eva Marie. When Knights were Bold. Middle years.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Classic version of the King Arthur tales. Middle-teens.

Withrow, Mindy and Brandon. Monks and Mystics. This volume of the Withrows’ church history series fits the period. Elementary-middle.

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Rome

Living Books about Ancient Rome

Angeletti, Roberta. Vulcan the Etruscan. The Etruscans preceded the Romans. Elementary.

Asimov, Isaac. The Roman Empire. From the famous scientist and science fiction writer. Teens.

Balit, Christina. Escape from Pompeii. Elementary.

Banks, Lynne Reid. Tiger, Tiger. From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard. Middle years.

Church, Alfred. Aeneid for Boys and Girls. A good retelling of the classic Roman story. I find it to be a poor man’s Odyssey but that’s for the Romans and Greeks to duke out, I suppose. Elementary+.

Connolly, Peter. Connolly has some books with lovely illustrations including Greece and Rome at War, The Roman Army, The Roman Fort and Pompeii.

DiPrimio, Pete. How’d They do That: Ancient Rome. Not the most living. Elementary-middle.

Douglas, Lloyd. The Robe, Really a negative recommendation — I assigned this one  to myself, and honestly couldn’t get through it all. The writing is okay, though not stellar. At times it was engaging. But it is set at the very end and just after Christ’s time and says a lot about Him and His disciples and I found that it plays with the biblical story too much. Teens.

Foster, Genevieve. Augustus Caesar’s World. Foster’s books make wonderful spines that can be used for a variety of ages. Elementary +.

Gerrard, Roy. The Roman Twins. Elementary.

Hamilton, Edith. The Roman Way. Good older book on the culture and influence of Rome. Teens.

Harris, Jacqueline. Science in Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Rome from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Lawrence, Caroline. Roman Mysteries (series). Middle years.

Macaulay, David. City and Rome Antics. All his books are lovely. Elementary+.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Roman Myths. Her books are lovely. Elementary +.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Romans. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Moss, Marissa. Galen: My life in Imperial Rome. Elementary.

Sinkiwicz, Henryk. Quo Vadis. Historical fiction set in the time of Christ. Teens.

Snedden, Robert. Technology in the Time of Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Snedeker, Caroline. White Isle, Forgotten Daughter and Triumph for Flavius. White Isle is about Romans in Britain. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Bronze Bow. Middle years.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of Rome. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages.

Usher, Kerry. Heroes Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology. Rome largely borrowed the mythology of Greece so it is harder to find books on Roman religion (but see this post for some books on Greek mythology). This is one. Middle years.

Wallace, Lew. Ben Hur, You really should watch the movie too. Teens.

Winterfield, Henry. Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom. Middle years.

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Greece

Living Books about Ancient Greece

See also my post on myths and tales

Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks: A Great Adventure. From the famous science and science fiction writer. Teens.

Church, Alfred.  The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer. There are so many versions of these classic sagas. While it is worth reading the full stories with older children, there are also many good versions for younger ones. Elementary-middle.

Colum, Padraic. Children’s Homer ,  The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tale of Troy, and The Golden Fleece. Wonderful retellings of these classic stories. Can be read aloud to elementary and used for a wide variety of ages.

Connolly, Peter. Ancient City and Greece and Rome at War and others. Lovely illustrations in these books.

Cottrell, Leonard. The Mystery of Minoan Civilization. Read about the Greeks’ predecessors. Middle years (?). 

Hamilton, Edith. The Greek Way and Echo of Greece. Good older books on the culture and influence of Greece. Teens.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Greece from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Homer’s the Odyssey, trans. by Robert Fagles. I really enjoyed reading this with my high schoolers and was surprised how accessible it was. If you want a study guide for it, try the one by Leland Ryken. Teens.

Macrone, Michael. By Jove! Brush Up Your Mythology. Maybe not the most living but I liked this book. It has short chapters which discuss words we sue in English which come from Greek myths. Middle-teens.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Greeks. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Osborne, Mary Pope. Tales from the Odyssey (series). From the author of The Magic Treehouse Series. Elementary-middle.

Robinson, Charles Alexander. First Book of Ancient Crete and Mycenae. An older book but good if you can find it. Middle years.

Strauss, Barry. The Battle of Salamis. For the battle loving boy. Middle-teens.

Sutcliffe, Rosemary. The Wandering of Odysseus and Black Ships Before Troy. Elementary-middle.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of the Greek People. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages. She also has a volume called Greece and Rome from her World’s Story series which has primary source documents.


Booklist: Living Books on Egypt

Living Books about Ancient Egypt

Asimov, Isaac. The Egyptians. From the famous scientist and science fiction writer. Teens.

Baum, L. Frank. The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt.. A geography choice from the author of the Wizard of Oz. Middle years.

Brier, Bob. Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians. Not truly living but useful. Middle+.

Fisher, Leonard. Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. More of a reference than something to read straight through. Early-upper elementary.

Frank, John. Tomb of the Boy King. Story in verse. Elementary.

Gerard, Roy. Croco-Nile. Picture book. Elementary.

Giblin, James Cross. Secrets of the Sphinx. I believe this was upper elementary-middle.

Glubok, Shirley. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Elementary.

Green, Roger Lancelyn. Tales of Ancient Egypt.. Various ages.

Macaulay, David. Pyramid. Macaulay’s books are lovely ones on architectural elements. Elementary +. Elementary-middle.

McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Historical fiction. These are popular. I don’t think they are very well written. Middle years.

Meyerson, Daniel. In the Valley of the Kings. Archaeology. A wonderful find. Teens.

Mike, Jan. Gift of the Nile: An Ancient Egyptian Legend. An older book.

Mills, Dorothy.  The Book of the Ancient World. Mills’ books are popular spines. I actually find this one a bit thin on information. Middle years.

Morley, Jacqueline. Egyptian Myths.

Noble, Iris. Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra. Middle years.

Payne, Elizabeth. Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. A wonderful spine book for this period that can be used with all ages. Reading level is probably middle school. The Greenleaf guide uses this book.

Rumford, James. Seeker of Knowledge: The Man who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Elementary.

Ryan Donald. Beneath the Sands of Egypt. Teens.

Sabuda, Robert. Tutankhamun’s Gift. Elementary.

Scott, Geoffrey. Egyptian Boats. Elementary (?).

Silverberg, Robert.  The Mask of Akhnaten (Fiction about a boy looking for the mask) and Akhnaten the Rebel Pharaoh  (non-fiction). Middle-teens.

Walsh, Jill Paton. Pepi and the Secret Names. Elementary.

Warringtons. The Warringtons Abroad. An older geography book about a family’s travels. Middle years.

Woods, Geraldine. Science in Ancient Egypt. These books are not the most living but provide good information. Elementary-middle.

Booklist: Living Books on China

Living Books about China

First off, if you (like I) am a bit lost on the history of China and want a guide to walk you through it, try Judy Wilcox’s  Ancient China to the Great Wall . . . and Beyond. What I liked about this guide is that it gave me a framework on which to hang any topics we might study. It goes through Chinese history dynasty by dynasty and along the way also deals with other topics like art and poetry. It suggests other resources and readings as well as providing summaries for each dynasty. It also suggests activities such as doing one’s own calligraphy, but we did not use these. I did find that it gave different dates for the dynasties than other sources I looked at so I would use those with caution. You can see how we divided up the readings when my kids were little in this post.

Bell, M.C. Little Yellow Wang Lo. The name probably tells you this is an older book. Upper elementary, I believe.

Beshore, George. Science in Ancient China. Not the most living but a good resource. Elementary; could be used in middle school as well.

Brother Yun. The Heavenly Man. The account of a modern Christian. See my blurb here. Teens.

Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. A classic. Teens.

Coerr, Eleanor. Chang’s Paper Pony. Easy reader level chapter book.

Compestine, Yin Chang. Revolution is not a Dinner Party. 20th century. We really enjoyed this one. Middle-teens.

DeJong, Marguerite. House of Sixty Fathers. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. This one-named author has lots of lovely picture books on all things Chinese. Some are folk tales and others are biographies of famous people. Elementary.

Flack, Margorie. Story about Ping. Classic picture book.

Fritz, Jean. China’s Long March. 1930s. Middle-teens.

Goldstein, Peggy. Long is a Dragon. On Chinese writing.

Greenberger, Robert. The Technology of Ancient China. Not the best living bok. Elementary.

Hong, Lily Toy. Empress and the Silk Worm. Picture book on silk.

Lattimore, Eleanor. Little Pear. Wonderful older story. I believe there is a sequel as well. I think it is chapter book level.

Lewis, Elizabeth. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Chapter book level. Upper elementary-middle school.

Mahy, Margaret. Seven Chinese Brothers. Picture book.

Major, John S. The Silk Route: 7,000 miles of History.

Marx, Tricia. Elephants and Golden Thrones. Shorter stories. Elementary.

Morley, Jacqueline. You wouldn’t want to be in the Forbidden City! Not the best living book but fun. Elementary.

Nagda, Ann Whitehead. Bamboo Valley. About the bamboo forest.

Ng, Teresa. Strange Stories from Ancient China. Elementary +.

Paterson, Katherine. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. Re Christians in the 1850s. Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. Tale of the Mandarin Ducks. Picture book. Elementary.

Phillips, Eliza Caroline. Peeps into China. Elementary.

Preston, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion. Events of the early 1900s. Teens.

Raper, Eleanor. The Little Girl Lost. Elementary.

Seeger, Elizabeth.  The Pageant of Chinese History. Middle-teens.

Shepard, Aaron. The Monkey King. We loved this one. Elementary.

Silbey, David. The Great Game in China. 20th century/the Boxer rebellion. Teens.

Silverberg, Robert. The Long Rampart. Re the Wall. Middle-teens.

Tappan, Eva Marie. The World’s Story, Volume I: China, Japan, and the Islands of the Pacific. Part of her  The World’s Story series which covers different regions of the world, telling their stories and culture through their own myths, legends, songs, and historical accounts. Various ages.

Treffinger, Caroline. Li Lun, Lad of Courage. Elementary-middle.

Whelan, Gloria. Chu Ju’s House. Upper elementary-middle.

Williams, Susan.  Made in China. Not the best living book. Elementary-middle.

Yep, Laurence. Yep has a number of books set in China. Middle years.

Booklist: Our Favorite Silly Books

We love silly books so these are some of our favorites. Being silly does not mean a book is not living. It just means it is a lot more fun.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Favorite Silly Books

Adams, Douglas. Hitchhiker’s Guide (series) and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (series). We love these books. They are a bit atheistic. Dirk Gently is probably less so. Teens.

Anderson, M.T. Pals in Peril (series). With titles like Whales on Stilts and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, you know they are silly. Middle years +. (Anderson has some other good books but some also have more mature content.)

Angleberger, Tom. Horton Halfpott. Some of Angleberger’s books are fairly twaddle but we liked this one. Middle years.

Clark, Henry. What We Found in the Sofa and How it Changed the World. We still remember that rare zucchini-colored crayon. Maybe a little twaddle but we liked it. Middle years.

Dahl, Roald. The king of silly living books. I can’t pick just one. Some of our favorites are: The BFGJames and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but he has lots of wonderful lesser-known books as well. Elementary-middle.

Jinks, Catherine. How to Catch a Bogle (series). We loved these. Middle years.

King-Smith, Dick. Twin Giants. King-Smith has lots of animal stories (which also have a fair amount of silly) but this one is just silly. Elementary.

Mayne, William. Hob Stories (series). We loved Hob and his pockets. Elementary.

Lindgren, Astrid. You know her from Pippi Longstocking (classic silly) but she has lots of other great books. One favorite is The Children of Noisy Village. Elementary-middle.

Lowry, Lois. The Willoughbys. Lowry is prolific and has some series books (The Giver) and some good chapter books (Goonie Bord Greene, also a bit silly) but this one is just silly. Middle years.

MacDonald, Betty. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (series). Classic silly chapter books about kids who do wrong and get just punishments. Elementary.

Slobodkin, Louis. Round Trip Spaceship, Spaceship in the Park, and Spaceship under the Apple Tree. Wonderful older author. Elementary-middle.

Steig, William. Steig has so many great (long) picture books it is hard to pick just one. You probably know Shrek (not much like the movie) but what about Solomon the Rusty Nail and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble? Elementary.

Wodehouse, P.D. Jeeves (series). Silly isn’t just for little kids! Middle years-adults.

Wood, Mary Rose. The Incorrigibles (series). Because it is our favorite series ever, I have to include the Incorrigbles again here. Middle-teens.

What are your favorite silly books?