World History Reading List
Middle Ages, the 1200’s

This section of the Middle Ages Reading list features Marco Polo books! The Far East comes center stage when you are teaching history of the 1200’s. Topics that include Ghengis Khan, the Mongols, the Great Wall, and Marco Polo will keep history exciting!

But it doesn’t stop there. William Wallace books are every bit as exciting, and the hero seems almost super-human at times. The Scottish Rebellion comes center stage, led by William Wallace. This was dramatized in the classic movie Braveheart for older students.

Speaking of Scottish history, the older student who can handle old-style English will love the book The Scottish Chiefs. There is a reason it’s been in print since 1809…it’s a great story!

World History Crafts

1200’s: Marco Polo, the Silk Road,
& the Far East

Chingis Khan by Demi. Henry Holt and Co., 1991. E-UE
Follow the life of the legendary leader who united the Mongols to conquer much of the East. Illustrated with an oriental flair. Caution for the sensitive child: Mentions that he kills his half-brother for stealing food, and later an adversary is suffocated (to avoid shedding blood).

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams, illus. Mercer Mayer. Four Winds Press, 1976. E-UE
When warned that the “Wild Horsemen of the North” were coming, a Chinese city is saved by its most humble citizen. Delightful & award-winning tale woven within an historical setting!

The Great Wall: The Wonders of the World Series by Elizabeth Mann, illus. Alan Witschonke. Mikaya Press, 1997. UE+
Surrounded with Chinese history, starting with the Mongol’s persistent attacks, the text explains why the Wall was built on to why it was stopped.

He Went With Marco Polo by Louise Andrews Kent, illus. C. Leroy Baldridge & Paul Quinn. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1935. UE-JH+
The traveling companion of Marco adventures with the Tartars, meets the Kublai Khan, and returns home loaded with rich treasure and extravagant tales.

The Khan’s Daughter: A Mongolian Folktale by Lawrence Yep, illus. Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng. Scholastic Press, 1997. E-UE
This story acquaints the reader with the Mongolian culture and the lavish court of a khan. Fun.

Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everythingby Kathleen Krull, illus. Robert Byrd. Viking, 2010. E-UE
Amazing, full-color artwork make this book stand out before you read even a word. Kid’s books on this topic are hard to find, and this one fills the gap with flair. The text seems to cover everything! Might be a little detailed for the younger E student, but a great source of entertaining information for the older ones.

Marco Polo by Gian Paolo Ceserani, illus. by Piero Ventura. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1977. UE+
The Mongols in China and Kublai Khan are also explained in this account of Marco’s travels. Colored line drawings illustrate, and a simple map is inside both covers.

Marco Polo by C. P. Graves.
Favorite of many Christian homeschoolers. Black & white illustrations.

Marco Polo: His Notebook by Susan L. Roth. Doubleday, 1990 E-UE
A fictional diary, based on stories from his own book. Fun, easy-to-read adventure story, despite its lack of colorful illustrations.

Marco Polo: Marco Polo and the Silk Road to China (Exploring the World) by Michael Burgan. Compass Point Books, 2002. UE-JH
One of the more thorough books on the life and impact of Marco Polo, with plenty of photos and illustrations.

A Samurai Castle (Inside Story series) by Fiona MacDonald.

The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History by John S. Major, illus. Stephen Fieser. HarperCollins, 1995. E-UE
Each two-page spread describes yet another stop on the Silk Road, giving a good overall picture of how it connected the cultures of the Far East with those of Byzantium in the West.

1200’s:  The Scottish Rebellion & William Wallace, 1296-1305

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli. UE+
With his father fighting for the king in Scotland, an English nobleman’s son faces challenges of his own. The story incorporates the Black Death and also portrays a castle under attack.

Braveheart, VIDEO, starring Mel Gibson. 1995. JH+
William Wallace leads the Scottish Rebellion against England to restore Robert the Bruce to the Scottish throne. Caution: Rated R. Excessive violence. See your favorite video review site for other possible objectionable elements.

In Freedom’s Cause : A Story of Wallace and Bruce by G. A. Henty. JH+
Click on Book Reviews to read the general review of stories by G.A. Henty.

The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter. JH+
First published in 1809, this book took Europe by storm, lasting through the years as the classic story of a Scottish hero. Wallace surmounted incredible odds to lead the Scots against England, climaxing with Robert the Bruce crowned to his rightful Scottish throne. Occasional footnotes document authenticity of details. The current (1921) edition retains its beautiful illustrations.

Back to the main Medieval Reading List

Suggested Reading Levels

share this

Reading Grade Levels

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest Hands On History Ideas...&

get the "Top 10 History Teaching Ideas" eBook Free!