World History Reading List, Middle Ages
Books in the Overview section below give a broad view of the best Medieval Books for kids.
Some of our favorite Medieval Life books include Harald & the Great Stag and Castle Diary, with many selections that would appeal to the elementary grades.
Lastly are several titles from the Roman occupation of Britain, which are appropriate for the junior high or high school student.
The Greenleaf Guide to Famous Men of the Middle Ages by Robert and Cynthia Shearer.
Living in Castle Times by R Gee, illus. by R McCaig and I. Ashman. Usborne. E
A Street Through Time by Dr. Anne Millard, illus. Steve Noon. Dorling Kindersley, 1998. K-UE+
Well done! A fictional street in Europe changes on every two-page spread, beginning with the Dark Ages and ending in today’s era. Recommended.
Then and Now: The Wonders of the Ancient World Brought to Life in Vivid See-Through Reproductions by Stefania Perring & Dominic Perring. Macmillan, 1991. UE-HS
See how famous places, now in ruins, may have once looked with the help of brightly painted clear overlays. Accompanying text details the significance and history of each. Includes ancient & medieval sites.
Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess by Richard Platt, illus. Chris Riddell. Candlewick Press, 1999. E-UE+
Life of the nobility in the 13th century, and all those who attended them, is cleverly “transcribed” and “illuminated.” Entertaining. Includes the hunt, medical practices, and the dungeon. Recommended.
Favorite Medieval Tales Mary Pope Osborne, illus. Troy Howell. Scholastic Press, 1998. UE+
A collection of the tales passed down through the years by Medieval minstrels & bards. Includes Beowulf, The Sword in the Stone, and The Song of Roland (Charlemagne). Includes historical notes in the back by both the author and illustrator.
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. Robert Byrd. Candlewick Press, 2007. UE-JH
Originally written as a set of monologues for a school play, each short piece describes medieval times from the perspective of a youth from a different medieval social setting. All is interspersed with background pages & medieval-inspired illustrations. Nicely done!
Harald and the Giant Knight by Donald Carrick. Clarion Books, 1982. K-UE
Short, enchanting tale reflecting the life of peasants vs. that of knights & nobility. Pictures have authenticity & detail. Recommended for the younger child. (See Harald and the Great Stag below.)
Harald and the Great Stag by Donald Carrick. Clarion Books, 1988. K-UE
Great for the younger child. The story illustrates the peasants’ lack of rights to own land or to hunt in the Baron’s forests. Recommended. (See Harald and the Giant Knight above.)
Harold the Herald: A Book About Heraldry by Dana Fradon. E-UE+
(see The King’s Fool below by the same author)
The King’s Fool: A Book About Medieval and Renaissance Fools by Dana Fradon. E-UE+
The cartoon drawings enhance the jokes, riddles, and colorful history of the medieval jester. Well researched. Historically valuable and just plain fun.
Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman. Clarion Books, 2000. UE+
After being raised by a priest at a medieval manor, Matilda adjusts to her new life as an assistant to a bonesetter. The superstitions and unusual medical practices of the times are woven into the story, and further explained in the Author’s Note at the end.
A Medieval Feast by Aliki. K-UE+
Observe the activity surrounding the medieval feast, including preparations, customs, and typical dishes. Colorful artwork with simple main captions for the younger child, and details given in the illustrations for the older ones. Valuable guide if you are planning a medieval feast of your own!
Medieval Muck (Smelly Old History) by Mary Dobson, illus. Vince Reid. Oxford Univ. Press, 1998. E-UE
A humorous Scratch & Sniff book exploring the Middle Ages from an olfactory point of view!
Between the Forest and the Hills by Ann Lawrence. JH+
The Eagle of the Ninth & The Silver Branch (Eagle of the Ninth) & The Lantern Bearers (Eagle of the Ninth)by Rosemary Sutcliff. JH+
The first of these 3 books of adventure is set about AD 120, and the last AD 800, giving the reader a thorough perspective of the crumbling, and final collapse, of the Roman Empire in Britain
Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff. JH+