World History Reading List
Present Era

Scroll below for the best history books on World History in the early 1800’s. Find several books on Queen Victoria as well as books by Charles Dickens that describe the Victorian England of her time.

Book topics for 1800 – 1850 range from the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, Africa’s Zulu kingdom in the 1810s, England in the Victorian Era in the 1830s, the Potato Famine in the 1840s, and Florence Nightingale in the 1850s. Read on!

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World History Books: 1800s

The Gate In The Wall by Ellen Howard. Atheneum Books, 1999. UE+
Depicts the hard life of a child in the Industrial Revolution until her fortune changes and she finds a place working on a canal boat.

Victorian Vapours (Smelly Old History, Scratch N Sniff Your Way Through the Past) by Mary Dobson, illus. Chris Smedley. Oxford Univ. Press, 1997. E-UE
A humorous look at the absence of cleanliness in British Victorian society.

World History Books: 1810s

Shaka, King of the Zulus by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema. Morrow Junior Books, 1988. UE
Fascinating story of the great leader of Africa’s Zulu kingdom. Well written and illustrated.

The Thieves of Tyburn Square (Trailblazer Books) by Dave & Neta Jackson. Bethany House Pub., 1995. E-JH
Christian historical fiction based on Elizabeth Fry, who worked for better treatment of female prisoners in England, and the plight of the lower classes, especially the children.

World History Books: 1820s

Imprisoned in the Golden City (Trailblazer Books) by Dave & Neta Jackson. E-JH
Christian historical fiction based on Adoniram & Ann Judson.

World History Books: 1830s

Charles Dickens: The Man Who Had Great Expectations by Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema, illus. D. Stanley, Morrow Junior Books, 1993. UE+
This book not only bring Dickens to life in rich detail, it also gives a glimpse of the post-Industrial Revolution England that Dickens lived in and wrote so much about.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. HS
Although the characters are not historical, the setting is.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. HS
Although the characters are not historical, the setting allows a look at the British culture of the time. Usborne published an abridged edition of Oliver Twist (Young Reading Series) for E-UE with great illustrations.

Queen Victoria by Robert Green. Franklin Watts, 1998. UE
In typical Robert Green style, Queen Victoria becomes fascinating through the dialogue and strategically placed photographs and illustrations. Additional resources (internet and books) recommended in the back.

Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829 (The Royal Diaries) by Anna Kirwan. E-UE

The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002. UE+
Whaling in the 1800’s is vividly portrayed in this riveting story! A young girl & her brother accompany their father on his voyage, where she uses her mathematical skills to learn the art of navigation and then keeps a clear head to respond to the threat of mutiny. The tale is well-told, and kids will like the description of the dangers of whaling and life aboard ship.

World History Books: 1840s

Katie’s Wish by Barbara Shook Hazen, illus. Emily Arnold McCully. Dial Books, 2002. K-E
Caldecott Medal. The Irish potato famine sends a girl from her native land to America. Gives background into the plight of the Irish under English control.

Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries by Emily Arnold McCully. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008. E-JH
Picture book with longer paragraphs tells of Japan’s attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the world, and one brave boy’s actions to challenge and change this.

World History Books: 1850s

Clipper Ship (I Can Read) by Thomas P. Lewis, illus. Joan Sandin. E
Travel east on a clipper ship from New York around Cape Horn to San Francisco with the ship’s captain and his family.

The Drummer Boy’s Battle (Trailblazer Books) by Dave & Neta Jackson. E-JH
Christian historical fiction based on Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale: War Nurse (A Discovery Biography series) by Anne Colver, illus. Gerald McCann. Chelsea Juniors, 1961. E-UE
Easy to read. Includes her life from childhood thru the Crimean War.

A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler, illus. John & Alexandra Wallner. Holiday House, 1992. K-E
The words are printed in the colorful illustrations on every page to tell of Florence’s life & influence on society and the nursing profession.

Shanghaied to China (Trailblazer Books) by Dave & Neta Jackson. E-JH
Christian historical fiction based on Hudson Taylor, famous missionary to China.

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