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List of Historical Chapter Books for Kids
Book series can be a great way to teach history to elementary age children, especially if you can find a series they enjoy. There are many chapter books aimed at this age group that provide an introduction to various people, periods and events in history. Some of these books teach history in a story telling format. Others have colorful pictures and are written to be fun and appealing to young children.
This list of books includes both United States and World History. I will give approximate reading ages for each series. Many of these books are available in libraries, so check your local library first.
An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose)
The An Interactive History Adventure series covers historical events like the Revolution, Civil War, World War II, The Titanic, The Wild West, knights and ninjas. These books allow kids to make choices and see the outcome. The books are listed for ages 8 and up.
You Wouldn't Want to
This is a really colorful, fun series of books. It uses humor to discuss historical events. The books are engaging and easy to understand. They may sometimes be disturbing for sensitive children, so choose carefully if buying or borrowing for a child to read by themselves. Some historical events covered are The Great Wall of China, The Boston Tea Party, The Mayflower, Cleopatra, samurai, Mayans, Greek athletes and vikings. The series is for 2nd grade and up.
The Who Was (and sometimes Who Is) series of short biography chapter books is both informative and easy to read. First graders would understand the books and 2nd graders could likely read them by themselves. Some biographies are Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Suess, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Jane Goodall and King Tut.
Good Times Travel Agency
This is my favorite series of history books for kids. They are the most fun but still informative. The books combine a fictional story about three siblings who travel back in time and nonfiction sections. Children will learn from both the story and those nonfiction portions. I highly recommend this series. Unfortunately, it's a smaller series of books. Time periods covered include the Ice Age, Ancient China, and the Middle Ages. They could be read to 1st graders and still appeal to 5th graders.
Perspectives Flip Books
This is a very interesting series of books that is most appropriate for 4th grade and up. The books tell about historical events from the points of view of both sides. As an example, children will learn about Westward Expansion from the perspectives of both settlers and Native Americans. Other books are the Revolution, Civil War and World War II.
What Was is similar to the Who Was series but it covers events rather than people. It's a good series for 2nd grade and up. Current books in the series are the Boston Tea Party, March on Washington, Gold Rush and Battle of Gettysburg.
If You Lived
The If You Lived series explains what life was like for children at various times in history. It's best for 3rd grade and up. The books are colorful and easy to understand. Some time periods and events covered are colonial times, slavery, Sioux, Cherokees, and the women's rights movement.