World History Reading List
Middle Ages , 700’s – 900’s
When teaching medieval history for kids, be sure to include the stories of the Arabian Nights. Fun for all ages, they were originally written in the late 700’s, and there are many modern editions to choose from!
Son of Charlemagne (Living History Library) by Barbara Willard. UE+
Story of Roland by James Baldwin. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1883, 1930. JH-HS
Based on legends and traditions, historical truth is mingled with fantastical tales of strength and bravery, all centered around Charlemagne’s legendary nephew, Roland.
The Namesake: A Story of King Alfred by C. Walter Hodges. Coward-McCann, Inc., 1964. JH+
In answer to Britain’s prayers to be delivered from ‘the fury of the Northmen,’ King Alfred led his people to reclaim their country from the Vikings.
Aladdin: the Magical Tale of a Boy and His Wonderful Lamp (DK Classic Readers) by Rosalind Kervin, Nilesh Mistry. Dorling Kindersley. E
The Legend of the Persian Carpet by Tomie DePaola, illus Claire Ewart. E-UE
Not from the Arabian Nights, but a Persian tale about the origin of the intricately-designed Oriental rug. Picture book.
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Oxford Illustrated Classics) retold by Geraldine McCaughrean. Oxford University Press. UE+
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. Atheneum Books, 1998. UE-JH
The story of the storyteller of “Arabian Nights.” Shaharazad entertains the Sultan with nightly stories to stop him from killing her, or another wife, in the morning. Mystery and adventure surrounded by old Arabian customs and way of life. Caution: A mother disfigures her child’s foot to protect the child from becoming one of the Sultan’s wives and then kills herself.
Sindbad: From the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books, 1999. *E-UE+
A wonderfully illustrated, advanced-E picture book. *Caution: Some of the story (such as Sindbad falling into a pit of vipers) may be frightening to a young child.
Tales from the Arabian Nights (Wordsworth Collection) by Andrew Lang. UE+
Originally translated from a French version, this classic collection of Eastern fairy tales has amused young & old for generations. Includes Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor, and Alladin.
Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli. Doubleday, 1956.* JH+
When a Viking family tries to resettle with relatives in Britain, a storm veers them off course. Now captives in Scotland, they help overthrow evil leaders to win their freedom. They also encounter stories of the Christ, comparing this with their gods. *Out of print, but still available.