Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to medieval times. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about medieval times.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about medieval times, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto Classics) to popular sellers like Strega Nona to some of our favorite hidden gems like Bo the Brave.
We hope this list of kids books about medieval times can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona—“Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. In this retelling of an old tale, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola combines humor in the writing and warmth in the paintings as he builds the story to its hilarious climax.
A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are in this brilliantly funny medieval adventure.
Once, there lived a little girl called Bo. Bo wanted to be just like her brothers and capture a fearsome monster. Bo is small, too small to catch a monster―or so her brothers say. But Bo isn’t one to take no for an answer, so she sets off on a quest to catch a monster of her own. Can she defeat the furious griffin, conquer the hideous kraken, and triumph over the monstrous dragon? Or has Bo got the wrong idea who the real monsters are?
Author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin, the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Little Red, employs her signature style in this original fairy tale with a clever twist. Readers are sure to fall in love with Woollvin’s newest vibrant and sassy protagonist.
From the author of Catherine, Called Birdy comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat–who renames herself Alyce–gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: “A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.” Medieval village life makes a lively backdrop for the funny, poignant story of how Alyce gets what she wants. A concluding note discusses midwifery past and present. A Newbery Medal book.
The kid-friendly series that makes history approachable, engaging, and funny! From the publishing house that brought you the Who Was? books.
The Thrifty Guide to Medieval Times: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative, illustrated travel guide with everything the sensible time traveler needs to know, like:
This book is designed as a parody of Fodor’s guides, complete with humorous maps, reviews of places to stay and top attractions (don’t miss a jousting tournament . . . but watch out for lances!), and tips on whom to have lunch with (murderous Queen Olga of Kiev, naturally–just don’t eat or drink anything around her!). If you had a time travel machine and could take a vacation anywhere in history, this is the only guidebook series you would need.
Journey to the frozen north for this second spellbinding anthology of Viking myths! Enter the world of Norse mythology, where you’ll find sea monsters, shape-changers, dark forests, and cunning, gold-hoarding underground dwarves. This second volume of Viking tales features more fantastical, entrancing adventures, including Thor’s journey in the land of the giants, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the gods, retold in a way that will engage very young readers. Different illustrators bring their distinctive styles to each story.
The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter - The companion to a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Kids’ Indie Next List Pick–a heart-pounding adventure starring a strong heroine who will protect the people she loves at all costs–perfect for reading aloud with the whole family In this Scottish medieval adventure, after rescuing her war-band family and the wounded Lord Emerick from Faintree Castle, Drest learns that Emerick’s traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that Emerick has been slain . . . at her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights and take back the castle for Emerick, all the while proving to her father, the “Mad Wolf of the North,” and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that means redefining what it means to be a warrior.
The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto Classics) - The Discarded Image paints a lucid picture of the medieval world view, providing the historical and cultural background to the literature of the middle ages and renaissance. It describes the ‘image’ discarded by later years as ‘the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe’. This, Lewis’s last book, has been hailed as ‘the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind’.
Journey of the Pale Bear - A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family. The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England. Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom? Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.
Viking Raiders (Time Traveler) - Presents Viking life and customs and introduces Norse history through portrayal of Earl Knut, an important chieftain, with his family and servants at home, and with his companions raiding nearby lands.
In Camelot, King Arthur’s dog encounters a world of danger and magic… Follow Cavall as he embarks on a quest that will put the unbreakable bond between a dog and his person to the ultimate test. When Cavall and his older brother, Glessic, leave the comfort of their simple barn to join the lavish court of Camelot, Cavall wants nothing more than to prove he’s a good dog to the great knights and dogs of the castle—especially to King Arthur. But Gless says only the best dogs are worthy of greatness, and Cavall has never been as strong, brave, or fast as his brother. Meanwhile, malevolent forces lurk in Camelot, and Cavall must figure out how to protect his person. To make matters worse, Arthur’s mysterious nightmares are threatening to shake his grip on reality and undermine his authority as king. To fight back against the dangers of the dream world, Cavall will need help from some loyal hounds and the enchanting, sometimes frightening creatures who call themselves the fay. In this captivating debut from Audrey Mackaman, Cavall will have to prove not only that he can be a good dog for his person, but that he is capable of a greatness all his own.
On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints. Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning villa≥ and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.
The Allegory of Love is a landmark study of a powerful and influential medieval conception. C. S. Lewis explores the sentiment called ‘courtly love’ and the allegorical method within which it developed in literature and thought, from its first flowering in eleventh-century Languedoc through to its transformation and gradual demise at the end of the sixteenth century. Lewis devotes particular attention to the major poems The Romance of the Rose and The Faerie Queene, and to poets including Chaucer, Gower and Thomas Usk.
Ellie Dray and her League of Archers are keeping Robin Hood’s legacy alive by stealing from the rich to help the poor, but when they discover someone is trying to steal the crown, they learn that some things may be out of their league. Ellie and her League of Archers are still on the run—living in Sherwood Forest, trying to protect the good parts of Robin Hood’s legacy by helping the poor in the neighboring villages and eluding the Baron’s men. But then King John dies unexpectedly and Ellie learns of a plot to kidnap the new king—who’s just a boy—and steal the throne. Can the League stop this scheme before it’s too late? Kirkus Reviews described League of Archers as a book that “doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes.” And Booklist said that it was a “highly enjoyable adventure story that should appeal to a wide range of readers.”
Will you survive this arduous voyage in a fragile open boat? This interactive series will enthrall young and reluctant readers by making them part of the story, inviting them to become the main character. Each book uses humorous illustrations to depict the sometimes dark and horrific side of life during important eras in history. It is the late 10th century, and you are one of a hardy band of young adventurers who plan to sail all the way from Scandinavia to Vinland in North America.
Anya and the Dragon - This lush tale of magic and dragons is a gem for any adventure-seeking middle grader and perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time. Anya and the Dragon is the story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.
Who Wants to Be a Princess? - “A comparison of the life of a fairy tale princess vs. that of a real medieval princess”–
The Story of Rolf: A Viking Adventure - Rolf, a young and determined Viking bowman, faces many dangers after he vows to pursue and bring to justice the men responsible for his father’s death. Set in ancient Iceland, Allen French’s suspense-filled novel pits Christians against pagan warriors during the early years of Christianity. Brimming with exciting tales of brave men and women who led legendary lives, this thrilling tale will captivate today’s young readers just as it enthralled audiences generations ago.
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table - Embrace your inner geek with Puffin Pixels Puffin Pixels is a collection of classics featuring pixelated, 8-bit video game cover artwork in the Minecraft style. King Arthur is one of the greatest legends of all time. From the magical moment when Arthur releases the sword in the stone to the quest for the Holy Grail and the final tragedy of the Last Battle, Roger Lancelyn Green brings the enchanting world of King Arthur stunningly to life.
A castle with a secret passage! That’s what Jack and Annie find when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the Middle Ages for another wild adventure. In the Great Hall of the castle, a feast is under way. But Jack and Annie aren’t exactly welcome guests!
In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.
Jack and his younger sister take a trip in their tree house back to ancient Egypt, where they help a queen’s mummy continue her voyage to the Next Life.
The third action-packed story in Matt Phelan’s acclaimed Knights vs. series!
Five daring heroes face their most difficult challenge yet: saving Camelot itself. Can the band of friends survive an evil queen, a powerful Faerie King, and one nasty dragon? This heavily illustrated middle grade adventure is a hilarious tale of derring-do, perfect for reluctant readers as well as fans of The Terrible Two and The Wild Robot.
A year has passed since the knights battled monsters on the mist-covered Orkney Isles. The knights have searched high and low for the elusive Queen Morgause, who is bent on destroying King Arthur and all of Camelot. Finally, a tip from the legendary Green Knight sends the heroes searching for the Faerie Realm, an eerie world where nothing is what it seems. Together, the knights will lose an old friend, discover a new ally, face a dangerous dragon, and learn what it means to be a legend.
With art on nearly every page, including an epic fight scene depicted in several graphic-novel–style spreads, this engaging story is ideal for reluctant readers, aspiring knights, and action-adventure fans. Camelot may never be the same after these heroes come to the rescue!
Eleven-year-old Adam loved to travel throughout thirteenthcentury England with his father, a wandering minstrel, and his dog, Nick. But when Nick is stolen and his father disappears, Adam suddenly finds himself alone. He searches the same roads he traveled with his father, meeting various people along the way. But will Adam ever find his father and dog and end his desperate search?
The Trumpeter of Krakow - For well over thirty years, Eric P. Kelly’s Newbery Award winner has brought the color and romance of ancient times to young readers. Today, The Trumpeter of Krakow is an absorbing and dramatic as when it was first published in 1928. There was something about the Great Tarnov Crystal…Wise men spoke of it in hushed tones. Others were ready to kill for it. Now a murderous Tartar chief is bent on possessing it. But young Joseph Charnetski was bound by an ancient oath to protect the jewel at all costs.
Time Sight - Castles, battles, the ancient Scottish Highlands, and a boy who is determined to bring everyone safely home combine in this absorbing middle grade time-travel adventure. Will’s mother is in danger overseas, and his father must find her, so Will and his little brother are packed off to relatives in Scotland. Will feels useless. He can’t save his mother. He can’t help his father. And when he tries to amuse his brother on the plane ride, he can’t even locate the images in Jamie’s book—the hidden pictures that everyone else can see. Once at the family’s ancestral castle, though, Will tries again. And as he delicately adjusts his focus, suddenly his eyes tune in to a different visual frequency—the past. Looking back five hundred years is interesting . . . at first. But when Jamie impulsively leaps through the opening in time, Will and his cousin Nan must follow, into a past so dangerous that Will isn’t sure how he will get everyone safely home.
Matilda Bone - Into the fascinating, pungent setting of Blood and Bone Alley, home of leech, barber-surgeon, and apothecary, comes Matilda, raised by a priest to disdain worldly affairs and spend all her time in study and prayer. To Matilda’s dismay, her new occupation will not involve Latin or writing, but practical tasks: lighting the fire, going to market, mixing plasters and poultices, and helping Red Peg the Bonesetter treat patients. She is appalled by the worldliness of her new surroundings, and the sharp-tongued saints she turns to for advice are no help at all. Filled with witty dialogue and richly authentic detail, Matilda Bone is a compelling comic novel about a girl who learns to see herself and others clearly, to laugh, and to live contentedly in this world.
The Door in the Wall - Winner of the Newbery Award, this “enthralling and inspiring tale of triumph. . . . make[s] life in England during the Middle Ages come alive” (The New York Times). Ever since he can remember, Robin, child of Sir John de Bureford, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin’s destiny is changed suddenly when he falls ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing a plague, his servants abandon him, and Robin is left alone. A monk named Brother Luke rescues Robin and takes him to the hospice of St. Mark’s, where he is taught woodcarving and patience and strength. Says Brother Luke, “Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it.” Robin learns soon enough what Brother Luke means. When the great castle of Lindsay is in danger, Robin discovers that there is more than one way to serve his king. “A poignant story, full of action, and a strongly painted canvas of the times as well.” —The New Yorker
With breathtaking illustrations and informative text, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns magnificently captures the world of Islam, celebrating its beauty and traditions for even the youngest readers. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, this entrancing volume is equally at home in the classroom as it is being read to a child on a parent’s lap.
Ellie Dray and her League of Archers are keeping Robin Hood’s legacy alive, but when Ellie is accused of Robin’s murder, she must learn what it really means to be a hero in this exciting adventure story. Twelve-year-old novice nun Elinor Dray has always idolized Robin Hood. She and her friends try to be like him by sneaking out to hunt on the lands belonging to the village Baron, stealing from him to feed their poor neighbors. They call themselves the League of Archers. While returning from a hunting trip late one night, Ellie meets a man in the forest—a hunter like herself. But suddenly the man is shot with a poisoned arrow. She manages to help him back to the abbey, but it’s too late and he dies. Only in his final moments, does Ellie realize that the hunter is Robin Hood, and that the abbess of the nunnery is Maid Marian. With her secret revealed, the Baron immediately arrests Marian. But he needs a scapegoat for the murder of Robin Hood, and who better than a young novice nun? He calls Ellie a hero, but the villagers don’t agree. A mob forms, vowing to hunt Ellie down and exact their own vengeance. Will Ellie and her League of Archers be able to find the real killer, free Maid Marian, and keep Robin Hood’s legacy intact? Kirkus Reviews described League of Archers as a book that “doesn’t shy away from deep moral dilemmas often unexplored in middle grade novels and important to acknowledge in a story with life-or-death stakes.” And Booklist said that it was a “highly enjoyable adventure story that should appeal to a wide range of readers.”
Retells in poetry the daring adventures of the explorer who was the first Englishman to sail around the world; helped to defeat the Spanish Armada; and who, encouraged by Queen Elizabeth I, was a feared pirate in his time.
Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters. Winner of the Newbery Medal.
Maidens, monks, and millers’ sons — in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more. With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates twenty-two riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd — inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany — this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England.
“Avi’s plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns, and treachery aplenty. . . . A page-turner to delight Avi’s fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel.”-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“ . . . [T]he book is a page-turner from beginning to end . . . [A] meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.” -School Library Journal (starred review)
“Historical fiction at its finest.”-VOYA
The Player King - “Swiftly moving and utterly engrossing.” —Shelf Awareness Parents’ Choice Recommended From Newbery Award–winning author Avi comes the gripping and amazingly true tale of a boy plucked from the gutter to become the King of England. England, 1486. King Henry VII has recently snatched the English Crown and now sits on the throne, while young Prince Edward, who has a truer claim, has apparently disappeared. Meanwhile, a penniless kitchen boy named Lambert Simnel is slaving away at a tavern in Oxford—until a mysterious friar, Brother Simonds, buys Lambert from the tavern keeper and whisks him away in the dead of night. But this is nothing compared to the secret that the friar reveals: You, Lambert, are actually Prince Edward, the true King of England! With the aid of the deceitful Earl of Lincoln, Brother Simonds sets out to teach the boy how to become the rightful English king. Lambert has everything to gain and nothing to lose, or so he thinks. Yet in this dangerous battle for the throne, Lambert is not prepared for what’s to come—or for what it really means to play at being a king.
Knights vs. Monsters - Renowned for their courage, their chivalry, and their ability to fight mythical creatures, the Knights of the Round Table face a new band of dangerous opponents—MONSTERS! In the rip-roaring sequel to Matt Phelan’s acclaimed Knights vs. Dinosaurs, four daring knights and one intrepid archer face off against legendary monsters. This heavily illustrated middle grade adventure is a hilarious tale of derring-do that is perfect for reluctant readers and fans of The Terrible Two and The Wild Robot. Award-winning creator Matt Phelan’s Knights vs. Monsters is a highly illustrated, fast-paced adventure full of uproarious knightly hijinks, surprising secrets, and terrifying monsters. When a magical boat sweeps the Knights of the Round Table off to Scotland, they take on the evil Queen Morgause and her horde of monsters. With art on nearly every page, including an epic fight scene depicted in several graphic-novel style spreads, this engaging story is ideal for reluctant readers, aspiring knights, and fans of Gordon Korman’s Masterminds.
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