World History Reading List
Present Era

Books on the French Revolution are key to this section of the History Reading List for kids. It starts with the best books on famous Musicians from the 1700 – 1800s, followed by the chronological lists of the 1770’s and the 1790’s, which includes the French Revolution.

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World History: 1700s-1800s — Books on Musicians

Beethoven Lives Upstairs by Barbara Nichol, illust. Scott Cameron. Orchard Books, 1993. E-UE
Set in 1822, this advanced picture book describes the eccentric composer and his music from a 10-year-old boy’s point of view. Well done. Audio tape also available: Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Famous Children series: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Haydn, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky by Ann Rachlin, illus. Susan Hellard. Alladin Books Ltd.. K-E
The large type and amusing illustrations accompany the stories, which include down-to-earth events in the musician’s childhood thru adulthood, and explain the reasons for his fame.

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers series: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Brahms, Frederic Chopin, George Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Peter Tchaikovsky by Mike Venezia. Childrens Press. E-UE
Sprinkled in with portraits and realistic pictures are the author’s cartoon-styled illustrations to add a touch of humor. Stories are told in conversational style. The series also includes later musicians not listed here.

Sebastian: A Book about Bach, by Jeanette Winter. Harcourt Brace & Co., 1999. K-E
An enchanting story decorated with whimsical paintings. Includes historical detail, yet keeps it simple.

World History Books: 1770s

Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria-France, 1769 (The Royal Diaries) by Kathryn Lasky. Scholastic Inc., New York, 2000. UE
The “diary” begins in Marie’s early teens in Austria to her young adulthood as queen of France. Fun format, with a special appeal for girls. An Epilogue contains a wealth of history about the rest of her life.

The Reb and the Redcoats (Living History Library) by Constance Savory. Bethelehem Books. UE+
An American held prisoner in a British home lets the reader see the British perspective of America’s War for Independence.

The Runaway’s Revenge (Trailblazer Books) (Trailblazers series) by Dave & Neta Jackson. E-JH
Christian historical fiction based on the slave trader, John Newton.

World History: 1790s — FRENCH REVOLUTION Books

All that Glitters by Jane Bradfield. Self-Published, 2010. UE-JH
This fictional story of a young servant in the palace of Versaille is entertaining and holds attention, even without a strong plot, while delivering an immense amount of historical detail at the same time. The story line can get a bit unbelievable at times, but books for children on the events preceding the French Revolution are scarce, and this one fills the gap nicely.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. HS
The unabridged version can be wordy, but this classic story is a riveting account, portraying the type of social injustices in France that ultimately brought the Revolution.

The Other Mozart: The Life of the Chevalier Saint-George by Hugh Brewster, illus. Eric Velasquez. Abrams Books, 2007. E-JH
This book offers several themes: slavery, the determination & success of an African-American, and French society around the time of the Revolution.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. JH-HS

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. JH-HS
A classic story of intrigue. The two cities are London and Paris, and the setting is the French Revolution.

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