World History Reading List
Middle Ages, 1000 – 1100’sBooks from 1000 – 1100’s
Books on William the Conqueror & the Battle of Hastings in 1066 are at the top of the list for this section of medieval history!
All the titles listed for the Norman Invasion & William Conqueror are favorites! Although it’s hard to single one out, The King’s Shadow is simply amazing. Include this one in your medieval history lesson plans for students Junior High and up.
Next in this section of the booklist comes the British Monarchy of the 1100’s: Kings Stephen & Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and King John. And while you are teaching this part of history, be sure to read one of the books on the Magna Carta listed there as well!
Harald the Ruthless: The Saga of the Last Viking Warrior by Andrea Hopkins, illus. Leo Duranona. UE+
Story originates from a Viking saga, written down c. 1230. Harald’s
climax was his fateful invasion of England in 1066. Historical details
are included in boxes to the side and a separate section at the end.
The King’s Shadow by Elizabeth Alder. JH+
Terrific story, giving an up-close & personal look at the king of England who was conquered at the Norman Invasion. Dramatically portrays how social class affected one’s life. Recommended.
The Norman Conquest by C. Walter Hodges. UE+
Short story with lots of color illustrations. Loaded with information, yet still fun to read.
The Striped Ships by Eloise McGraw. JH+
The Norman invasion forever changed the privileged world of a thane’s daughter. This intriguing story also incorporates the Bayeux Tapestry, dramatizing its probable origin and the history it portrays. Caution: In Chapter 1 the heroine narrowly escapes being physically accosted by a Norman soldier; however, it is vague enough to be read without trauma.
The Tower of London by Leonard Everett Fisher. Macmillan Publishing Co., 1978. E-UE+
William the Conqueror began building the Tower, although it changed greatly and served many different purposes through the years. This book reveals its intriguing past. Large illustrations on every page.
William the Conqueror by Robert Green. Franklin Watts, 1998. UE+
Well done, like all of Green’s biographies. Photographs of artwork, statues, or places illustrate every page. Also briefly reviews England before William.
King Stephen, 1140
The Winter Hare by Joan Elizabeth Goodman. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1996. UE+
When King Henry dies, a civil war rages in England as his daughter Matilda tries to regain her crown from his nephew Stephen. In this story a young boy trains for knighthood and proves his worth in his loyalty to his queen. (see sequel Peregrine under Middle Ages 1100’s: Religion.
King Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine; Thomas a Becket
Becket, VIDEO, starring Richard Burton & Peter O’Toole.
Caution: See your favorite video review site for possible objectionable elements.
Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France, 1136 (The Royal Diaries) by Kristiana Gregory. E-UE
The Hidden Treasure of Glaston
by Eleanore M. Jewett, illus. by Frederick T. Chapman. The Viking Press, 1946. UE+
Newbery Honor. Hugh must live in the monastery due to a family tragedy, and soon meets Dickon, another boy who lives there as well. Dickon has found part of a secret treasure and includes Hugh in solving the treasure’s mystery and finding the missing pieces to it. This adventure story is set in medieval England in the uncertain times of King Henry’s feud with Thomas a Becket and gives a glimpse at monasteries, illumination, monks, and even the legends and traditions of King Arthur.
If All the Swords in England: A Story of Thomas Becket by Barbara Willard, illus. Robert M. Sax. UE+
The feud between King Henry and Thomas a Becket set the stage for this story.
The Lion in Winter, VIDEO, starring Katherine Hepburn & Peter O’Toole. JH+
Depicts Henry II and his family with all of their problems. He has imprisoned his wife Eleanor, while his mistress and sons vie for his favor and a share of his kingdom. Lots of conversation, and not much action, but gives a good picture of castles, medieval life, and the monarchy of the time. Caution: In one scene Philip of France discusses his previous homosexual relationship with one of the sons; however, this can be easily fast forwarded. The movie also depicts Henry’s open unfaithfulness to his wife.
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot. HS
The murder of Thomas a Becket.
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg. Atheneum, 1973. JH+
Eleanor of Aquitaine is portrayed as waiting with her her mother-in-law (Empress Matilda) for Henry II to join them in Heaven—if he is able to come. She and Matilda, along with a knight and an abbot, reflect back on their lives on earth & tell their stories.
Queen Eleanor: Independent Spirit of the Medieval World by Polly Schoyer Brooks. JH+
Walk through the fascinating life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of 2 kings and mother of 2 others. Most illustrations are from medieval manuscript paintings. Recommended.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. HS
A classic tale of brave knights and chivalry, set in England when John tried to take the throne during Richard’s absence. For the UE-JH student, try this adaptation with fabulous illustrations: Ivanhoe by Marianne Mayer, illus. John Rush. 2004.
The Magna Charta by James Daugherty. JH+
Answers the why and how of the Magna Carta. Explains King John’s monarchy, his unfair practices, and why he signed an agreement he did not want to sign. Recommended.
Magna Carta by C. Walter Hodges. Coward-McCann, Inc., 1966. UE+
History of the document told in story format, with lots of color drawings. Loaded with information.
The Story of Liberty by Charles Coffin. Maranatha Publications, orig. pub. 1879. JH-HS
Starts with John Lackland, and continues on until the Pilgrims, defining the meaning of liberty, and showing the hand of God in history. Also tells of the Inquisition. Lots of illustrations and intriguing side to history not found anywhere else.