Farm School blog posts on history (world, Canadian, American), and history books we’ve liked and used:
Getting back to Gombrich: A Little History of the World, with a listing of some of our favorite narrative world history books, for adults and for children
Farm School bait: Children’s history book reviews, including E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World and H.E. Marshall’s Our Island Story.
Nicola Manning’s Canadian history reading list
Paula’s Archive: Movies to Supplement History; many of these can be found at Netflix, Zip.ca, or your local library; and for purchase at Amazon.ca or Amazon.com
Suggestions for copywork
* * * * *
: : History books on the Farm School shelf : :
World history books
An Illustrated History of the World: How We Got to Where We Are by Gillian Clements; this books seems to have gone out of print recently, which is a great shame. A cartoon history much enjoyed by the younger historians in the house.
The Story of the World (SOTW) series by Susan Wise Bauer (four volumes), more comprehensive than elegant; for children (grades one to four or five)
Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History; I have to confess that my kids have a fondness for the previous incarnation, The Usborne Book of World History, and its cartoons
The Golden History of the World: A Child’s Introduction to Ancient and Modern Timesby Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Cornelius de Witt, 1955. A Giant Golden book, long out of print but worth finding. Perfect for Kindergarten, first grade, and up. Well-written and beautifully illustrated.
Oxford Children’s History of the World by Neil Grant; similar to the Usborne book (above) but not as comprehensive
A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer; for children
The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon, updated by John Merriman; for children
Asimov’s Chronology of the World: The History of the World from the Big Bang to Modern Times by Isaac Asimov; for adults and older children
The Columbia History of the World edited by John A. Garraty and Peter Gay; out of print but easy enough to find
National Geographic Visual History of the World, with a foreword by Douglas Brinkley
The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant, the masterful 11-volume series, for adults and older children
The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Seekers: The Story of Man’s Continuing Quest to Understand His World by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, her Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the outbreak of World War I
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Canadian history books
The Story of Canada by Janet Lunn; beautifully illustrated narrative history book (available new only in paperback, worth tracking down secondhand in hardcover); intended for children but wonderful for the whole family
My First History of Canada by Donalda Dickie; the recent reprint is apparently out of print. Worth tracking down but not worth three figures.
The Story of Canada by Isabel Barclay; also out of print but very good for the very youngest readers
The Kids Book of Canadian History by Carlotta Hacker, for children
Kids Book of Canadian Exploration by Ann-Maureen Owens, for children
Pierre Berton’s series for children, slim yellow paperbacks in the original “Adventures in Canadian History”, recently reprinted as bindups in the new “History for Young Canadians” series: The Battles of the War of 1812by Pierre Berton, with a foreword byCharlotte Gray; Exploring the Frozen North by Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Eric Wilson; Canada Moves West by Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Arthur Slade; The Great Klondike Gold Rushby Pierre Berton, with a foreword by Ken McGoogan
Stampede for Gold: The Story of the Klondike Rush by Pierre Berton, for children
Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside’s biography series for children
The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children
The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children
Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899 by Pierre Berton, for adults and older children
The Illustrated History of Canada, edited by Craig Brown
Penguin Books Canada’s new(ish) “Extraordinary Canadians” biography series of twenty of Canada’s “most influential historical figures” by 18 of Canada’s best contemporary writers; the series editor is the writer (and husband of the formerGovernor General) John Ralston Saul.
Who Killed Canadian History? by Jack Granatstein
American history books
The History of US by Joy Hakim
Betsy and Giulio Maestro’s “The American Story” picture book series: The Discovery of the Americas: From Prehistory Through the Age of Columbus; Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620; The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689; Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars: 1689-1763;Liberty or Death: The American Revolution: 1763-1783; A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution
Out of print but very good: the multi-volume “History for Peter” by Gerald W. Johnson, illustrated by the great Leonard Everett Fisher, for ages 10 or so and up: America Is Born (volume 1, published 1960), America Grows Up (volume 2, 1961), and America Moves Forward (volume 3, 1961). I understand that most families want considerably less than a three-volume US history for children, especially when each volume is the thickness of four or five Hakim books. All three “History for Peter” volumes were selected by The Horn Book as part of its Fanfare/best books for the years they were published, and the first and third volumes were Newbery Honor books for their years. You can read more on the writer/journalist Gerald Johnson and his politics here.
Also out of print and very good is the brief, one-volume illustrated The First Book of American History by noted historian Henry Steele Commager (1957), illustrated too byLeonard Everett Fisher with muscular, energetic woodcuts; part of Franklin Watts’ very good ”First Book” series for children. For ages 6 or so and up.
The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong
Kids Make History: A New Look at America’s Story by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Randy Jones
Places in Time: A New Atlas of American History by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Randy Jones
Journeys in Time: A New Atlas of American History by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Rodico Prata
Journeys for Freedom: A New Look at America’s Story by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, illustrated by Rodico Prata
The Landmark History of the American People by Daniel J. Boorstin with Ruth F. Boorstin
1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough
American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis
To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian by Stephen E. Ambrose
General history books
Practicing History: Selected Essays by Barbara W. Tuchman
Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant