History Books for Kids

Instructor: Cara Rogers
Teaching kids about history can be fun! A great way to introduce historical topics is through storytelling. Take a look at this list of exciting history books with descriptions, lessons, and videos that are sure to keep your students' attention.

Exciting History Books for Kids

Gilgamesh the King by Ludmila Zeman

As the first of the Gilgamesh Trilogy, Gilgamesh the King introduces young readers to ancient Mesopotamia through the tyrant of Uruk. When Gilgamesh commands his citizens to build a nearly impossible wall, the Sun God sends Enkidu to change the course. To give your students some background on the hero, show the class this video on Gilgamesh.

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson

In the award winning tale, Marguerite Makes a Book, a girl must pick up a few of her father's skills in the art of manuscript illumination. When a demanding client begins to get impatient, Marguerite decides to help finish the piece. Set in medieval Paris in the 1400s, this book can be used alongside the brief lesson about illuminated manuscripts to show students beautiful images of these medieval works. Or have students check out the lessons in chapter 14 of the middle school world history course to learn more about medieval Europe.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola

Before reading this story, be sure to introduce Native American history and folklore to your class. Get started by using lessons from the Native American History chapter of our course on social studies for kids. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush recounts a Native American tale of how the Indian Paintbrush flower came to be. In this story, a boy named Little Gopher struggles to keep up with the other kids his age. In time, however, Little Gopher learns about his hidden abilities, and that with his own skills, he can create something extraordinary.

When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest

Hest's story of a young girl's voyage to America is filled with P.J. Lynch's elaborate illustrations depicting the life of an immigrant in the early 1900's. At just thirteen years old, Jessie journeys alone, leaving her beloved grandmother behind in search of a new life. Upon arrival at Ellis Island, she soon begins long laborious work in the hopes of earning enough to bring her grandmother to America. As you and your students read, you can show this video about immigration and settlement in America to teach your class about Ellis Island and the struggles of immigrant life.

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz

The whimsical illustrations of this book keep young readers engaged in this fun recount of the birth of the U.S. Constitution. The book includes an account of the integral players and exciting events that let up to the creation of the Constitution. Once you and your class have read Shh! We're Writing the Constitution, be sure to show them that they, too, have constitutional rights through chapter one of our course for social studies for kids.

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