Books and Stories to Take Your Child Around the World and Through Time

I received these books free of charge, but all opinions are entirely my own and I was not required to post a positive review of these products.

Books and Stories to Take Your Child Around the World and Through Time

If your child has an obsession, whether it be an animal, a hobby, a book, or a tv show, you should most certainly try to capitalize on that interest by incorporating it into your homeschool. One of the many beauties of the homeschooling lifestyle is the ability to go on rabbit trails, off the beaten path, by using anything and everything to make learning relevant and interesting.

Unit studies can easily be created from a simple collection of books. So, in the spirit of my son’s favorite show, Doctor Who, this collection of books that I’d like to introduce you to is a compilation that can take your child not only around the world, but through time as well.

History has always been one of my son’s favorite subjects, but I personally know several families who have children who hated studying history until they discovered Doctor Who. The Doctor and his friends showed these children how amazing the past really is.

Candlewick Press has always been one of my favorite publishers. Started by a Londoner in his spare bedroom in the 1970’s, Candlewick is not only one of those companies that you want to devour books from, but one of those companies that you truly feel good about supporting. They are independently owned by the employees, authors, and illustrators, and they have a staunch commitment to not publishing what we homeschoolers like to call twaddle.

General History

Who Do You Think You Are

Who Do You Think You Are? Be a Family Tree Detective fromDan Waddell

Genealogy is a very big part of my life and Who Do You Think You Are? is one of MY favorite shows. This book is an adorable introduction to the process of tracing your roots. Almost every page has some sort of hands on activity, like lifting the flap, envelopes to open, maps to pull out.

There are lots of tips that can teach families how, where, and why to investigate.There is even a specialmini keepsake treasure book in the back. It is like two books in one.

The History of Money: From Bartering to Banking

The History of Money: From Bartering to Banking by Martin Jenkins

This book will take you an adventure of the history of currency. From shellstoclay tokens (even IOUs written on clay tablets!), precious metals, coins, and modern paper money. You’ll learn abouttaxes, interest, credit cards, exchange rates, inflation and so much more.This is a great book for math, history, economics and even logic.

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond by Patrick Dillon

One of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who is when he said that every person is a story. Well, every building is a story as well. This book will take you back in time to explainwhy and how people start making buildings. You’ll learn the fascinatingstories of remarkable buildings and the amazing people who not only designed them, but built them as well. Each page shows of gorgeously detailed, double spreads with flaps.

Age of Exploration

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross

It takes a very brave person to become an explorer. Whether exploring on camel-back, over the sea, up a mountain or even into space, these fearless men and women are heroes. This book covers adventuresfrom Marco Polo’s journey on the silk road,Neil Armstrong’s unbelievable trip to the moon,Leif Eriksson voyage to North America,Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, and so very much more. Visually, it is a stunning book with hundreds of maps and illustrations. There are also dozens of two-page spreads.

History News: Explorers News

History News: Explorers News by Michael Johnstone

Another great book to incorporate into your history lessons when learning about individual explorers and their adventures. This book, which is about the size of a workbook or magazine, is part of Candlewick’saward-winning News series.The stories are written in news format,withbrief eyewitness accounts of the Polynesians, Leif Eriksson, Christopher Columbus, Magellan, Peary and others. It is a very unique book and takes the reader back in time like you are really there, witnessing the events for yourself.



Be wary of page 12, there are nekkid cartoon Finnish. 

Maps by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski

I LOVE this book. It is the kind of book you’ll want to leave out on your coffee table or display on an open shelf. Candlewick’s description of this book is perfect …”a visual feast for readers of all ages, with lavishly drawn illustrations from the incomparable Mizielinskis. It features not only borders, cities, rivers, and peaks, but also places of historical and cultural interest, eminent personalities, iconic animals and plants, cultural events, and many more fascinating facts associated with every region of our planet.” A note for all parents though: be wary of page 12, there are nekkid cartoon Finnish people. I simply taped a piece of paper over the image in our book.

Dublin: Panorama Pops

Dublin: Panorama Pops by Nina Cosford

I have a special place in my heart for Ireland and this little book just made me melt. The Panorama Pops are a series of foldout books that are so gorgeous you could leave them opened up to display as a decoration on a shelf or mantel.

British History

The Story of Britain from the Norman Conquest to the European Union

The Story of Britain from the Norman Conquest to the European Union from Patrick Dillon

I have to admit that this book was more for me than for my son. I have an utter fascination with our cousins across the pond. If you think the cover is pretty, you won’t believe the inside. This book is absolutely gorgeous inside.

Since this book covers everything from William the Conqueror’s arrival in 1066 to modern times, you could easily use The Story of Britain as a complete history curriculum when you are learning about this time period. Candlewick Press said it perfectly on their product page: this book is easy to pick up and hard to put down.

The Age of Industrial Revolution


The Hero Schliemann by Laura Amy Schlitz

From the time Heinrich Schliemann was a boy — or so he said — he knew he was destined to dig for lost cities and find buried treasure. And if Schliemann had his way, history books would honor him to this day as one of the greatest archaeologists who ever lived. Following this larger-than-life character from his poor childhood in Germany to his achievement of wealth as a merchant in Russia, from his first haphazard dig for the city of Ilium to his final years living in a pseudo “Palace of Troy,” this engrossing tale paints a portrait of contradictions — a man at once stingy and lavishly generous, a scholar both shrewd and reckless, a speaker of twenty-two languages and a health fanatic addicted to cold sea baths. (Description taken from Candlewick’s product page.)

Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation

Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation by Martin W. Sandler

In the 1850s, gold fever swept the West, but people had to walk, sail, or ride horses for months on end to seek their fortune. The question of faster, safer transportation was posed by national leaders. But with 1,800 miles of seemingly impenetrable mountains, searing deserts, and endless plains between the Missouri River and San Francisco, could a transcontinental railroad be built? It seemed impossible. Eventually, two railroad companies, the Central Pacific, which laid the tracks eastward, and the Union Pacific, which moved west, began the job. In one great race between iron men with iron wills, tens of thousands of workers blasted the longest tunnels that had ever been constructed, built the highest bridges that had ever been created, and finally linked the nation by two bands of steel, changing America forever. (Description taken from Candlewick’s product page.)

It is great to make friends on social media!

You can learn about Candlewick Press on their Facebook page, watch their videos on YouTube, follow them on Twitter at @Candlewick, add them to your circles on Google+, and check out what they are into on Pinterest.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Belle, Book Clubs and Spock

Belle Cake

My birthday is next week. It is one of those milestone years. You can guess what year. I want this Belle cake. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and Belle is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Every time I take one of those goofy Which Disney character are you? tests, I always get Belle. Did you know that a live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out next year?

Things that made me happy this week

I’ve been an avid reader all of my life, but have never joined a book club. This week, some friends (Maggie from Bright Ideas Press,  Kim from WriteShop, Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations, and Kendra from HomeschoolIRL) and I started a book club. A cyber book club, entirely online. Our first book is going to be The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.  We have lofty goals too…making sure everyone gets through this list.

Something I’ve made


Does a puzzle count? This is a fascinating 4D puzzle of New York City. The puzzle is built in layers, showing the history of the development of the city. I am not really sure where to put this when I finish, so I’ll probably just take it apart and put the pieces back in the box.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love


I finally read The Giver and couldn’t put it down. My son has read the entire series, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I read The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life by Dr. Laura, 3 history books by Morgan Llywelyn, and I just started The Last Kingdom, a book I discovered from a BBC commercial. 

All of these books can be read on Oyster, with just a $9.99 per month subscription.

In our homeschool

After taking a few weeks off, we are now back to school full time this week. Our school district started on Tuesday, so to celebrate our freedom, my son had several friends over and one ended up staying the night. Lots of history, math, science, engineering and logic are taking place this year! Now that our bookshelves are 100% organized, there are many things that we forgot we had and now want to use this year.

On my blog, in case you missed it


Linking up with my friends Kris and Mary.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Win a History Timeline Gift Basket

This giveaway is now over. Congratulations to Amber Y in Pennsylvania!


Every year around this time, the bloggers of iHomeschool Network come together to bless other homeschoolers by hosting a massive gift basket giveaway. Each blogger creates her own basket and gives it away on her own blog. This year we have 34 participants! Be sure to visit them all!

My gift basket this year is full of resources to help you get started with using timelines in your homeschool.


In addition to those books, I am including these supplies:

  • Crayola colored pencils
  • A complete 6000 year timeline printable on cardstock
  • double sided tape


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Timeline Resources for Homeschooling History


Before I get started talking about timelines, I want to let you know that soon you’ll have a chance to win almost every single one of these books, plus a basket full of resources to help you incorporate history timelines into your homeschool. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media to be notified of the giveaway next month!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Keeping a history timeline has been one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. We have had a timeline in some form or another for 9 years now. It started out with one super long strip of black tape stretching all across two walls. This lasted through our first 3 cycles of history: ancient, middle ages, and renaissance.  When we hit American history, we took the whole thing down, and started using smaller strips that covered an entire door.

When our second round of history began and we restarted ancient history, I thought it would be more convenient to place the timeline in an accordion style book. Since I could never seem to find the perfect template with dates already added, I made my own, using Excel.

Keeping a timeline has helped us perceive time in a different way. Since we often study different civilizations independently of each other, it may not occur to us that certain events or lives from different civilizations overlapped, until we place the figures on the timeline.

For example, did you know that in the same year Robert Bruce became king of Scotland, the Mongols invaded India? And that during the years that Joan of Arc campaigned with the French army, the emperor Itzcoatl began to lay the foundations for the future Aztec Empire? During the short reign of El Cid in Spain, the king of Norway conquered several areas of Scotland and Wales, while much of the world was focused on the Crusades.

Timeline Day

Timeline Day happens once every week or two. This is the day that I pull out the History Through the Ages CD, the Classical Conversations timeline cards, along with half a dozen or so other general history books.

1. We quickly review the stories, events, and people we have read about since the previous timeline day, making a list of what needs to be placed on the timeline.


2. We print out 2-inch tall images of all the relevant figures from the History Through the Ages CD. Sometimes, I will print out larger versions, like the two in the photo above, for a series on the early Roman emperors.

Timeline resources for homeschooling history

3. We look through the books in the photo above. Each of these books is arranged chronologically, which makes it very easy to see if we have missed an important historical figure or event.


4. The last step is to check the wall chart. This huge 6-foot timeline is from the book Time Chart of World History. The chart compares events that took place in different parts of the world during the same period, and shows the rise and fall of empires and countries.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

DK’s Timelines of History and Military History


DK Publishing and homeschooling go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

I love them.

I love adopting all these little gems into my library.

Coming soon, you’ll have a chance to win both of these books, plus a basket full of resources to help you with incorporating history timelines into your homeschool.

Timelines of History

Timelines of History is very similar to Timelines of Science, which I shared with you in Unique Approach to Science. One thing that you have to remember with most history books is that evolution and millions-of-years are often mentioned in the first few pages. This book is no exception, but with all DK books we find it very easy to just skip over those sections since we believe that evolution and an old Earth is a theory and should not be taught as a theory and not fact.

It contains a massive amount of information, all nicely laid out…


The table of contents divides time by era from early civilizations to technology and superpowers.


A timeline that runs along the bottom of each page of the book.


Fascinating stories of significant developments, like writing and record keeping.


Stunning photos of artifacts.




Engrossing charts that this one that shows the output of planes and warships during WWII.


Lots of maps. A book after my own heart.


Data. Lots of random tidbits demonstrated with numbers.


Artwork, like this 1830 painting from Edward Hicks.


Quotes throughout.


An excellent and very thorough index, full of directories like the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire.

Military History

Military History

Military History follows the same format as Timelines of History.


Loads of stunning photos of artifacts and equipment used throughout military history.


Stories about the development of new weapons and transitions from old.


Little known facts, like this one…Roman commanders were spoiled with heated floors.


A photo of the timeline that is spread out along the bottom of each page.


More artifacts.

Both of these books can be purchased in hardcover or paperback on Amazon. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media to be notified of the timeline resources giveaway next month!

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Cornfields, Graves, and True Love

Cemetery cornfield

The little things are the big things when it comes to marriage. See that patch of trees in the middle of this cornfield? There is a cemetery in those woods. A teeny, tiny cemetery with only 9 graves. My husband happily went in there to take some headstone photos while I was a scaredy-cat and hid in the car. TrueLove‬

I am a cemetery volunteer, so I take photos of old headstones for people who are too far away to visit local cemeteries. I’ve never been in a cornfield in my entire life and I never want to. Children of the 80’s probably understand why I hate cornfields.

Things that made me happy this week

Other than the fact that I have a husband who is willing to go through a cornfield, climb over an iron fence, and take pictures of headstones to satisfy my little hobby…Christmas in July is tomorrow. We put our Christmas trees and Nutcrackers back up a couple of days ago. Fandom Christmas tree loaded with DIY ornaments from Star Trek, Star Wars, Sherlock, Once Upon a Time, Middle Earth, and Harry Potter. Minecraft Christmas Tree

We put a couple of presents under the tree and we are going to eat pot roast and watch movie all day on Saturday, just like we normally do on Christmas day.

Something I’ve made

Last year, I made my son a Doctor Who/Harry Potter/Star Wars/Lord of the Rings pillow. Don’t ever use heat transfer material on fleece. It won’t last long. I tried to recreate the pillow using regular fabric and a zipper.  The instructions for sewing your own zippered pillow case look so easy. Whatever. I won’t even show you the mess it became. So I took the easy way out and bought some zippered pillowed cases instead.

Uber-Geek pillow: Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Sherlock.
This new one is so much nicer than the old one. I’ve tried to steal it from him several times, just like I stole his K9 slippers the day I took this photo.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love

Books for history loving geeks

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home is by far one of the BEST books I have ever read. A description from Amazon: Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two “dirty centuries”? Why, for centuries, did rich people fear fruit? In her brilliantly and creatively researched book, Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, covering the history of each room and exploring what people actually did in each – providing a compelling account of how the four rooms of the home have evolved from medieval times to today, charting revolutionary changes in society.

Harry Potter and History and Star Trek and History are fantastic books that explore the REAL history on which the stories are rooted. 

All three of these books can be read for free at Oyster (unlimited ebooks for only $9.95 per month.) If you use my affiliate link, you’ll get a $15 credit and I’ll get one too!

In our homeschool

Lessons   TED Ed

School this month has been consisting of just math, science and history. We’ve had a lot of lazy days full of reading and TEDEd videos. My son is also doing the Brain Chase summer challenge, which he says is a ton of fun. Because I was paid to promote the program, he is not eligible to win the prize, but he is still really enjoying the challenges.

He is also taking the CAT test this week. We use this as part of the portfolio for our end of the year assessment.

Linking up with my friend Kris.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.