Books to Supplement ANY Historical Time Period

Books to Supplement ANY Historical Time Period

History is very important in our homeschool. It is truly our favorite part of the day. Currently, we are in the middle of early British-European History, and are thrilled to be nearing the reign of King Alfred the Great. There are literally hundreds of books to choose from when studying each historical era and culture, and those books need to be cycled through, not only because of the era, but also for age and reading level. I hate getting rid of books, it breaks my heart, but it is a must. There is no reason for us to hang onto elementary level books for any of the historical eras, because we’ll never use them again. However, there is a small collection of books that will remain on our bookshelves forever.

These are the books that can supplement ANY historical time period and can be adapted for any age level. 

1,000 Inventions and Discoveries1,000 Inventions

From making fire to building the gadgets of the 21st century, uncover the stories behind the remarkable ideas and devices that have shaped our world. Innovations in science, space, technology, transportation, medicine, mathematics, and language are covered, along with a timeline of history highlighting all inventions and discoveries from the airbag to DNA, lie detectors to hormones, and money to the signs of the zodiac. Feature boxes delve into the details of the lives of Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and more, while amazing images and archive materials bring their achievements to life. 1,000 Inventions and Discoveries will AMAZE and inspire a love of history in kids.

History of the World in 1000 objectsHistory of the World

From the watch Napoleon used to synchronize with his generals at Waterloo and Chinese David vases believed to be the oldest example of blue and white porcelain to the US Constitution and the Mayan Dresden codex, the oldest book written in the Americas, History of the World in 1,000 Objects provides a completely fresh perspective on the history of the world. With objects revealing how our ancestors lived, what they believed and valued, and how these items helped shape civilization, History of the World in 1,000 Objects contains a treasure trove of human creativity from earliest cultures to the present day. Objects are grouped chronologically, under key themes, from art to the history of technology, and together help paint a unique picture that provides detailed insight into each culture. In addition to stunning specially-commissioned photographs, History of the World in 1,000 Objects is packed with timelines and maps that make it easy to compare how people lived at different times and in different parts of the world.

History Year by YearHistory Year by Year

History Year by Year presents the world through a detailed timeline, letting children follow the influences, patterns, and connections between historical events. Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution and featuring more than 1,500 images, this illustrated book brings the story of the past to life. Beginning with prehistory and running up to the Arab Spring, budding historians will learn about the history of humans across the world. Spreads highlight major historical eras including the Renaissance and the French Revolution, while quotations from primary and secondary sources alongside insight from experts give proper historical context. Children will love the “child of the time” feature, telling the experience of children at important historical periods including Ancient Egypt, Viking England, the Industrial Revolution, and World War II. History Year by Year is a visual journey throughout time and an invaluable reference for kids looking to connect the dots of history across the world.

The Kingfisher Atlas of World HistoryThe Kingfisher Atlas

This colorful and fact-packed book is not only informative but well organized. Sections cover “The Ancient World,” “The Medieval World,” “Exploration and Empire,” and “The Modern World,” and each section contains 15 or 16 thematic maps presented in chronological order, leading the reader through time and place. The text, images, simple maps, and use of picture symbols are all designed to make the atlas accessible to students in second grade and up. Time lines accompany each map, and several feature spreads cover topics such as “The City of Rome” and “Islamic Culture.” “How We Know about the Past” features, introducing the sections on the ancient and medieval worlds, provide some insight into historical research. The pages might be a little busy for some users, but with guidance younger or more distractible readers can find their desired information. The index lists only the main people, places, and topics found in the work, making it easier for the novice user but not as complete as it could be. This work would be a good addition to any elementary school or public library’s children’s room and an excellent addition to a middle school library as well. The size makes it cumbersome as a circulating book, but as a reference book, it is very useful and entertaining as well as data-filled.

A Street Through Timedownload

In a series of fourteen intriguing illustrations, the award-winning A Street Through Time tells the story of human history by exploring a street as it evolves from 10,000 BCE to the present day. Watch the landscape and daily lives of the street’s inhabitants change, as the small settlement grows into a city, is struck by war and plague, and gains trade and industry. Throughout, children are asked to study the photos in order to find a time traveler in each scene, as well as to pick out interesting details, encouraging them to pore over the unique illustrations and more easily learn about the historical background.

A City Through TimeA City

In the bestselling A City Through Time, readers are invited to follow the progress of an imaginary city through six key periods of time, each captured by a scene of the city and zooming in on key buildings like a Roman bathhouse, medieval castle, and a modern skyscraper. Illustrations by award-winning artist Steve Noon provide a unique history of city life, transporting readers from an early Greek settlement to an industrial metropolis, while pull-outs surrounding the illustrations introduce the reader to the people who lived there, from Greek slaves to modern-day commuters. New to this edition is a photographic section exploring amazing real-life cities — from ancient Babylon to Constantinople to 21st-century Tokyo.

Mistakes That WorkedMistakes

Popsicles, potato chips, Silly Putty, Velcro, and many other familiar things have fascinating stories behind them. In fact, dozens of products and everyday items had surprisingly haphazard beginnings.Mistakes That Worked offers forty of these unusual tales, along with hilarious cartoons and weird and amazing facts. Readers will be surprised and inspired! For those readers who feel as though they’ve yet to accomplish anything in life, these discoveries will come as a great relief. None of the inventions described in these pages were planned; in fact, some of the inventors had no idea they’d stumbled on something useful until years later, when their works became popular.

Great MapsGreat Maps

The world’s finest maps explored and explained. From Ptolemy’s world map to the Hereford’s Mappa Mundi, through Mercator’s map of the world to the latest maps of the Moon and Google Earth, Great Maps provides a fascinating overview of cartography through the ages. Revealing the stories behind 55 historical maps by analyzing graphic close-ups, Great Maps also profiles key cartographers and explorers to look why each map was commissioned, who it was for and how they influenced navigation, propaganda, power, art, and politics.

Calendar Questcalendar-quest2

This historical narrative tells the story of the calendar through the eyes of two children and their guide, Father Time. Traveling through time in a refrigerator box, they visit twelve historical periods from early Sumer to 20th century America. Through learning the story of the calendar, they are exposed to every major historical period that contributed to the development of Western civilization. This novel is used to instill in its reader the flow of Western history. Calendar Quest is the literature companion to “What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization”. These two books when used together will develop within the child’s mind a mental scope and sequence of history to which all subsequent historical learning can be related.

Timelines of ScienceTimelines of Science

From the discovery of penicillin to the advent of the Internet, science has been an invaluable part of the human experience. Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution and highlighting the theories, breakthroughs, and key thinkers that shaped the history of science, Timelines of Science is an informative guide to the history of scientific discovery and technology that follows the path chronologically, and explores everything from ancient Greek geometry to quantum physics. Filled with striking visuals, including specially commissioned photography, arresting infographics, and illustrations that illuminate technological discovery, Timelines of Science includes major advances in all the sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy.

Timelines of HistoryTimelines of History

This book takes readers through the history of cultures and nations around the world to arrive at the present day, Timelines of History caters to readers who want a broad overview, a good story to read, or the nitty-gritty of historical events. With easily accessible cross-references that build bite-size pieces of information into a narrative that leads readers back and forth through time, Timelines of History makes the past accessible to all families, students, and the general reader.

Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and ArmorWeapon

For 4,000 years weapons, and the warriors who used them,have acted as the cutting edge of history, using ax, spear, bow, sword, gun, and cannon to determine the rise of kingdoms and the fall of empires. From the stone axes of the earliest warfare to the heavy artillery of today”s modern armies,this awe-inspiring book portrays for the first time the entire spectrum of weaponry. Illustrations explain key features and working mechanisms of important weapons Beautifully photographed and richly cataloged-often in actual size Details weapons that changed the face of warfare, from the sword to the Gatling gun.


From Alexander the Great’s conquest of the known world to generals leading today’s campaigns in the Middle East, Commanders illuminates the leaders who have forged history on the battlefield. Each entry features key data, a timeline, and an analysis of the commander’s strengths and weaknesses, making Commanders a truly comprehensive look at the greatest leaders in naval, field, and aerial warfare.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

2 thoughts on “Books to Supplement ANY Historical Time Period

  1. Michelle

    Hi Amy,

    I discovered your blog and have been POURING over it for the past two days! I love it. I have two boys ages 9 & 13 so they’re pretty close to your son’s age. My biggest weakness right now is history. I’m wondering, do you follow a specific curriculum or do you follow a timeline of history and choose your own books? If you choose your own books, how do you pick them? Any and all tips you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    thank you!

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