Best Children's Books About History

87+ Children's Books About History

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book
#1
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Written by Elena Favilli and illustrated by Francesca Cavallo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

A children's book that reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 great women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

History Uncovered: Dinosaurs book
#2
History Uncovered: Dinosaurs
Written and illustrated by Dennis Schatz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Travel back in time to the age of dinosaurs with History Uncovered: Dinosaurs! Learn about different time periods, including Jurassic and Cretaceous, and the most exciting dinosaurs that lived during each one, including Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and more! Discover what dinosaurs ate, how they lived, and why they went extinct. As you move forward in time, experience the changing landscape of the Mesozoic Era as life evolved and the plates moved apart to create the globe we know today! The dynamic History Uncovered series shows kids how the world changed throughout history in an innovative format with stunning illustrations and fascinating facts. These books include die-cuts on every page that create a strong narrative thread, tying spreads together and engaging children to turn the page. Parents and children will pour over the information and images, and uncover new details as they return to read again and again.

Let the Children March book
#3
Let the Children March
Written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

The Story of Ferdinand book
#4
The Story of Ferdinand
Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A true classic with a timeless message! All the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights. Ferdinand, on the other hand, would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when Ferdinand is picked for the bullfights in Madrid? The Story of Ferdinand has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936 for its message of nonviolence and pacifism. In WWII times, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland. The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi—whose nonviolent and pacifistic practices went on to inspire Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.—even called it his favorite book. The story was adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film entitled Ferdinand the Bull in 1938. Ferdinand the Bull won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

Maya Angelou book
#5
Maya Angelou
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser and illustrated by Leire Salaberria
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The book follows Maya Angelou, from her early traumatic childhood to her time as a singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and, eventually, one of America's most beloved writers. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Maya's life at the back.

This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer book
#6
This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Learn all about scientists who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for inventors-in-training! Asking why. Then making a guess. Asking how. Then proving with tests. Little scientists make great big discoveries. In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, and This Little Trailblazer now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering scientists in history! Highlighting ten memorable scientists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this discovery primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt book
#7
Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones. In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing! The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy. Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

Martin's Big Words book
#8
Martin's Big Words
Written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America—and the world—forever.

The Wall book
#9
The Wall
Written by Eve Bunting
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A boy and his father come from far away to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and find the name of the boy's grandfather, who was killed in the conflict.

This Is the Rope book
#10
This Is the Rope
Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by James Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A rope passed down through the generations frames an African-American family's story as they journey north to New York City from the rural south during the time of the Great Migration. Full color.

Ben's Revolution book
#11
Ben's Revolution
Written by Nathaniel Philbrick and illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

History comes alive in this gripping account of a young boy caught up in the start of the Revolutionary War. Based on an episode in National Book Award–winning author Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, this engrossing story allows readers to experience history from a child’s perspective, and Wendell Minor’s stunning paintings will transport readers back to the early days of the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Russell is in school on the morning of April 19th, 1775, when his teacher announces, “The war’s begun, and you may run!” Ben knew this day was coming; after all, tensions had been mounting between the colonists and the British troops ever since the Boston Tea Party. And now they have finally reached the breaking point. Ben and his friends excitedly rush out of their classroom to bear witness, and follow the throngs of redcoats marching out of Boston toward Concord. Much to Ben’s surprise, Boston is sealed off later that day—leaving the boys stuck outside the city, in the middle of a war, with no way to reach their families. But Ben isn’t worried—he’s eager to help the Patriots! He soon becomes a clerk to the jovial Israel Putnam, a general in the provincial army. For months he watches the militia grow into an organized army, and when the Battle of Bunker Hill erupts, Ben is awed by the bravery of the Patriots, although saddened by the toll war takes. He later goes on to become an apprentice at a Revolutionary newspaper, and it’s a happy day when they get to report on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Assassin's Code book
#12
Assassin's Code
Written and illustrated by Alex Woolf
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

To read or not to read? With a pulse-pounding historical thriller series like The Shakespeare Plot there's really only one answer! Journey back in time to danger-filled Elizabethan London. Alice Fletcher is a stagehand at the Globe theatre. When her brother, Richard, goes missing, Alice seeks him with the help of Tom Cavendish, servant to the power-hungry Earl of Essex. Packed with a heady Elizabethan atmosphere of political scheming, romance and murder. The swiftly paced, suspenseful plot will keep young readers on the edge of their seats while giving them an insight into the history of Shakespeare's England.

Armstrong book
#13
Armstrong
Written and illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann's stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon—where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel—from Galileo’s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man's first steps on the moon.

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? book
#14
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?
Written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“When Barbara Jordan talked, we listened.” —Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton Congresswoman Barbara Jordan had a big, bold, confident voice—and she knew how to use it! Learn all about her amazing career in this illuminating and inspiring picture book biography of the lawyer, educator, politician, and civil rights leader. Even as a child growing up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan stood out for her big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It was a voice that made people sit up, stand up, and take notice. So what do you do with a voice like that? Barbara took her voice to places few African American women had been in the 1960s: first law school, then the Texas state senate, then up to the United States congress. Throughout her career, she persevered through adversity to give voice to the voiceless and to fight for civil rights, equality, and justice. New York Times bestselling author Chris Barton and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes deliver a remarkable picture book biography about a woman whose struggles and mission continue to inspire today.

We Are Music book
#15
We Are Music
Written by Brandon Stosuy and illustrated by Nick Radford
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

From the author of Music Is... Brandon Stosuy comes a second pitch-perfect board book that’s a kid-friendly music history lesson—perfect for the little record collectors in your life. From music writer and The Creative Independent/Kickstarter Editor in Chief, Brandon Stosuy, comes a new board book called We Are Music that dives into the history of music. It starts with clapping, tapping, and drums, and from there the music moves in many different directions. From classical to blues to jazz to country to rock to punk to rap to hip hop, there is one important thread that weaves through every song that has ever been created: us.

As an Oak Tree Grows book
#16
As an Oak Tree Grows
Written and illustrated by G Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This inventive picture book relays the events of two hundred years from the unique perspective of a magnificent oak tree, showing how much the world can transform from a single vantage point. From 1775 to the present day, this fascinating framing device lets readers watch as human and animal populations shift and the landscape transitions from country to city. Methods of transportation, communication and energy use progress rapidly while other things hardly seem to change at all. This engaging, eye-opening window into history is perfect for budding historians and nature enthusiasts alike, and the time-lapse quality of the detail-packed illustrations will draw readers in as they pore over each spread to spot the changes that come with each new era. A fact-filled poster is included to add to the fun.

A Is for America book
#17
A Is for America
Written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Gerald Kelley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Little ones will love learning American history in Tanya Lee Stone’s latest alphabet book. Rhyming couplets that flow through the alphabet help kids celebrate everything from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to Thomas Jefferson and Harriet Tubman!

Sinking the Sultana book
#18
Sinking the Sultana
Written and illustrated by Sally M. Walker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The worst maritime disaster in American history wasn't the Titanic. It was the steamboat Sultana on the Mississippi River--and it could have been prevented.

Lizzie Borden book
#19
Lizzie Borden
Written by Michael Burgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to be considered one of the worst figures in history, with this fourth book in a nonfiction series that focuses on the most nefarious historical figures. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. On August 4, 1892, the murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden rocked the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. But did she actually do it? And if she did, why? Lizzie had as much to gain from the death of her father as anyone. Despite his wealth, Andrew did not believe in spending money and Lizzie had grown frustrated with the situation. And her actions in the days before the murder—trying to buy a type of strong poison—as well as those after the murder—burning a dress she claimed was stained—didn’t help. On August 11, Lizzie was arrested. But after a sensational trial, she was found not guilty. Rumors lingered. Stories persisted. And Lizzie continues to fascinate even today.

Sophia's War book
#20
Sophia's War
Written by Avi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own. Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly) that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.

I Am Abraham Lincoln book
#21
I Am Abraham Lincoln
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Follows Abraham Lincoln from his childhood to the presidency, showing how he spoke up about fairness and eventually led the country to abolish slavery.

Voices from the Oregon Trail book
#22
Voices from the Oregon Trail
Written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An account of several families and individuals making the long and often dangerous trek across the United States from Missouri to the West Coast in the 1800s.

Blue Sky White Stars book
#23
Blue Sky White Stars
Written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring and patriotic tribute to the beauty of the American flag, a symbol of America’s history, landscape, and people, illustrated by New York Times bestselling and Caldecott-honor winning artist Kadir Nelson Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread, sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson, depicts a stirring tableau, from the view of the Statue of Library at Ellis Island to civil rights marchers shoulder to shoulder, to a spacecraft at Cape Canaveral blasting off. This book is an ode to America then and now, from sea to shining sea.

Decorated Horses book
#24
Decorated Horses
Written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and illustrated by Jeannie Brett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This nonfiction picture book about horses has a fresh focus: how people over the ages have decorated horses in special ways. Organized into three categories—warfare and hunting, performance and competition, performance, and ceremony—the book introduces horses such as the chariot-pulling war horse of the Persians to the rose-decorated winner of the Kentucky Derby.

The Watcher book
#25
The Watcher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After Wendy is kidnapped, the only way she can survive World War II Germany is with the help of a special dog and the family she never knew she had in this historically accurate, standalone companion to Shadows on the Sea that Kirkus Reviews calls “a stimulating blend of suspense and history.” 1942. Berlin, Germany. How did Wendy end up in such a place? Just a few months ago, she was enjoying her time in Maine, supporting the American war effort. But she was kidnapped, then betrayed by her own mother, who is actually a Nazi spy. As a new Berliner—and now a German—Wendy is expected to speak in a language she’s never known and support a cause she doesn’t believe in. There are allies, though, among the Germans. Allies who have been watching over Wendy since she arrived. And Wendy, along with her new German shepherd puppy, must confront them. If only she can find them. Her life depends on it.

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