9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

I received these books for free and compensated only for my time. These are my real opinions, no fluff or fake sunshine here.   

I don't know about your home, but my kids are strange reading beasts.

I love to read and have loved to read since I can remember. When I say love, I mean looooove, as in I'm a middle schooler crushing on my latest Teen Bop Magazine, writing my married name and my crush's initials all over my paper, love.

Ya feel me?

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Then there's my children. They aren't obsessed. Not even mildly. I have to enforce reading time. Where I got in trouble for reading too much, they don't read enough and it hurts my heart.

Well, no more! I am officially on the hunt for books that speak to my children, so they too can get in trouble for reading too much! ;)

Enter Candlewick Press.

 

My kids love history, especially ancient history. With that in mind, I knew these 9 books were the way to go. I was right!

The kids' top 3 favorite books

https://youtu.be/y4_EXD2Momk

https://youtu.be/MA4bfxdkgRU

 

How we are using our new history books

Ancient Greece

The Odyssey -- by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

Mom's Review:

This was the biggest success to me. I could not stand The Odyssey. I knew it was a fantastic story and was something that could not be missed in my children's education. I just didn't like it. At all.

I am so glad I got it. It is amazing. The book is written for 12 years old and up, but my children have had no trouble at all with it. In fact, they love it. It's full of adventure, wars, scary, creepy things. My kids love that kind of stuff. No wilting flowers in this house!

The writing is superb and the pictures are gorgeous! My son even loves the pictures.

We are reading this together as a family and my kids are engrossed. These are the kids who make faces during family read aloud time and barely pay attention to the story. They are riveted to this book. They didn't want me to stop reading!

Win!!!

Application Activity

When we're finished with The Odyssey, we're going to create a board game!

We started to sketch it out as we read the book so we don't miss or forget anything important, or any fun details that can really make the game fun.

After we have designed it, we'll create it, and then make a video playing it. As we get more into the game making phase I'll do a special post (or series of posts). I know it's going to be amazing! My family is a board game family.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Greek Myths for Young Children -- by Marcia Williams

Mom's Review

I love how much my eldest son loves this book. He was giggling, laughing, and wanted to point out every little thing he read. He sat down for an hour straight after I handed him the book and didn't want to stop when it was lunch time.

Is that my son? Yes, yes it is. Sweet victory.

He's reading and he's learning.

What I love about the book is that the myths are accurate and yet they are not so graphic and horrible as I remember them being when I was younger.

You aren't going to have pretty pictures, there is a picture of Prometheus having a bird eat parts of his insides (yuck), but it's the cleanest safest way you could draw it while staying true to the story. My kids aren't squeamish so I wasn't worried about this part.

Application Activity

My kids each will select their favorite story and then we are going to act it out freeze-frame style. What does that mean?

Since the book is a comic book, the kids will be one picture at a time as they act it out. They just hold their position, looking as much like the picture as they can. I'll take a picture of it. Then we'll compile each picture into a homemade book and they can decorate the book and add little speech bubbles and narration (in their own words) of the story.

This is going to be a blast! I have a post already in the works for this.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

Medieval Ages

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! -- by Laura Amy Schiltz

Mom's Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. I was thinking it was going to be more of a breakdown of what life was like in the castle in the medieval ages. It is, but it's not at the same time. The book is full of monologues and dialogues for children to perform instead.

The monologues and dialogues are absolutely brilliant. It may not be what I expected to read, but it was a great pick.

Application Activity

My kids may struggle to memorize such long passages to perform, but I think it will be something worthy of attempting as we get nearer to the end.

As we study castles and the medieval ages this winter the monologues will all be read and discussed. I know they will love that each monologue is a child telling their story.

 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman

Mom's Review

My sons are over the top thrilled to be reading a book about a green knight and dragons, and fighting, and swords. My 3 year-old daughter is pretty into it as well. She's off sword fighting while we're reading.

Application Activity

This is one we're reading together as a family. We are incorporating our art into a final project for this book and painting our favorite scene on a canvas to hang in our school room.

 

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Castle Diary -- by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell

Mom's Review

I had to have this book. It's a journal of a young boy becoming a page to his uncle. It is so awesome. Each day there is an entry with him telling what he is doing and how he feels. There are fantastic pencil drawings that give great enhancement to the story.

My eldest really enjoyed a drawing about the different types of horses they used for various tasks. He then went through the book and found all the different horses shown and compared them to the first drawing.

I love that the picture doesn't take away from the text, but adds another layer to it.

He really enjoyed this book and devoured it. He was a bit broken hearted when I told him that Tobias wasn't a real kid.

Application Activity

My son is picking a new skill he is learning this year and is going to document it each day on what he does and what he thinks about it. He will draw simple pictures as he feels inspired. The hardest part for him is picking which skill he's going to document.

 

The Romans

 

The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice by Marcia Williams

Mom's Review

This one is similar to Greek Myths, but with just a bit different format. It is another winner. My kids are totally in love with this style of reading and I'm a pretty big fan as well. I love a little switch up with our reading. So many of the books we read every day are living and whole books. Which are fantastic and lovely.

I love to infuse in some fun to our homeschool because we are a family that laughs and does goofy stuff.

My eldest daughter was a bit reluctant at first to read it since she said there was naked people in it and it was gross.

There aren't naked people in it. The man was just shirtless. When she read it with her brother after he was determined to show her otherwise, she laughed and enjoyed it. I think she was just trying to be dramatic. Oi.

Application Activity

For this book we will draw our own comic strip to show what our life is like during a typical week. We are using a big sized drawing pad that I got at Target. They are using their rulers to draw their own boxes and then coloring the pictures with whatever medium they wish.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Roman Diary -- Richard Platt and David Parkins

Mom's Review

I knew my daughter would love this book. She loves to read stories about girls and their lives. This was the first book she dove for. She read quite a bit through it. She loves that there's a glossary and index at the end of the book that helps her learn the tricky words.

She was a bit perplexed about why this girl was a slave. She hopes that at the end of the book she won't be a slave anymore.

Application Activity

My daughter will also have a project similar to my son's. She is starting her own diary (with  her lock on it) and is writing about her adventures and daily life. She is going to focus on something that is challenging for her and the stories of her days.

She already has filled a back log of her life and doesn't need any prodding from me to write in her diary. In fact, I have to tell her to put it down so she can get other things done. Mean mom, I know.

General History

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

Mesmerized -- by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno

Mom's Review

I love American history, so this book was a must!

The illustrations and typography are gorgeous! They make this book lovely. I love the natural working in of the Scientific Method. It is a fun story that had my children giggling.

Application Activity

Design our own experiment and use the steps similar to Benjamin Franklin. Use our science notebook to record our observations and conclusion.

 

Maps -- by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Mom's Review

I knew my kids were going to fall all over themselves to read this book and I was right! This book is huge! I mean that in a good way. It's the size of a typical coffee table book.

The illustrations are beautiful. They have this lovely vintage feel to them that are simple, yet detailed.

Each continent is broken down into chapters and then a few countries from each continent are featured with a full 2-page spread.

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

Application Activity

The kids are writing research papers this year. They are picking one of the countries featured in the book and will use the illustrations that are used to represent different aspects of the country as a jumping off point for their research.

My daughter loved to see what the girls and boys looked like and their names and clothes they wore. My son loved the facts about the country size, the language, the flag, and the population size.

They both adored the drawings of the animals, people, and all the little things in each country.

This is a fantastic book to pull out when you just want to look at something fascinating and beautiful. This book will be used quite a bit when the kids are waiting for me to help them with their school work when I'm working with another kid. It's also a fantastic book to sit and find new things and learn at the same time.

 

They're reading their books with joy!

9 History Books for Reluctant Readers to Fall in Love With

 

It does a mom's heart good to see this.

Our family has been blessed by these new additions to our library. My children are eager to read the books and there is no greater joy than to see the world inside a book open up to a child.

Final Thoughts

Pick books that contain topics that will draw your children in, even if they may not be your favorite subjects. My son loves nonfiction and my daughter loves reading about people. My younger kiddos love adventure and humor. The youngest love seeing seeing children and animals.

When you add activities to your books, don't overthink it. What naturally flows with the reading. Above all else, make sure it doesn't take away from the book and the love of reading it.

If it becomes too much, you'll all resent the project.

Don't give in too easily, but make sure it is actually worth it to do and not just something to do.

Here's the whole list of all the books we received so you can have a handy dandy list so you too can grab these treasures!

 

The Odyssey -- by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! -- by Laura Amy Schiltz

Castle Diary -- by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell

Roman Diary -- Richard Platt and David Parkins

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman

Greek Myths for Young Children -- by Marcia Williams

The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice by Marcia Williams

Maps -- by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Mesmerized -- by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno

 

Check out all the Candlewick has to offer -- I guarantee you're going to find THE perfect book for your child.

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