Check out some of our favorite world history books for kids, both on and off our platform!
With so many interesting people, places and events past and present, the world is filled with amazing stories. Not only is learning about our world compelling and fun, discovering other cultures illuminates many facets of our own. Whether you homeschool or want to give your kid a head start on that next big history project, your kid will love these fun, fascinating children’s books, each focusing on a different viewpoint during the history of the world, from ancient Egypt, to medieval times and more. This list has something for kids of all ages: From chapter books and historical fiction books and reference texts.
Explore our world history books for kids below!
World History Books for Kids on Epic
Cinco de Mayo
Written by: Linda Lowery
Illustrated by: Barbara Knutson
“Piñatas packed with candy! Fireworks! Dancing in the streets!” These are just a few of the special traditions enjoyed by people of Mexican descent in the U.S. and Mexico every year on May 5. This vibrantly illustrated picture book will introduce your kid to the history of this time-honored festival day commemorating Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Pueblo Day in 1861. It’s a story of friendship between two nations during the fight for the abolition of slavery, and how Mexico fought to preserve its way of life. This is a kid-friendly account of a profoundly significant event in Mexican and American history.
African Folk Tales
Written by: Hugh Vernon-Jackson
Illustrated by: Yuko Green
One of the best ways to immerse kids in a historical time and place is through the customs, beliefs and tales passed down from generation to generation. This engaging collection introduces kids to 18 traditional fables from West African folklore. Originally told by tribal members of Nigerian and other cultures, stories include “The Man with Seven Dogs, “The Magic Crocodile” and many more tales filled with valuable lessons and clever animal origin stories. Perfect for a read-aloud!
The Lady With the Books
Written by: Kathy Stinson
Illustrated by: Marie Lawrence
In World War II Munich, Germany, Anneliese and Peter follow a line of people into a building in search of food after losing their father. Instead they discover a hall filled with countless children’s books. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who encourages the children to read as much as they can. She invites them to come back, ultimately making a powerful and lasting difference in their lives. This moving picture book is based on the real-life work of Jella Lepman, founder of the International Board on Books for Young People and the International Youth Library, which brought a vast collection of children’s books from around the world throughout Germany to build understanding across countries and help children heal after the war.
Lots of Things You Want to Know About Knights
By: David West
Children’s entertainment is chock full of exciting adventures involving knights from the Middle Ages. But how much does your kid really know beyond the playful plot lines they see in movies and on TV? This fun, fact-laden kids’ book will teach your little reader all about the lives of these larger-than-life figures with full-color illustrations and detailed, informative text. Tidbits include facts about where they came from and how they lived, and some of it might even surprise you.
Buffalo Bird Girl
By S.D. Nelson
This illustrated biography recounts the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born in the 1830s. Kids can relate to the title character as this historical children’s book illustrates a daily life full of chores and friends. Young readers will also get a glimpse into some of the dangers and adventures that the Native Americans in her area faced. Your kid will become engulfed by this delightful true story while expanding their knowledge of Native American history and culture.
A Bowl Full of Peace
Written by: Caren Stelson
Illustrated by: Akira Kusaka
This moving picture book depicts the true story of Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor, Sachiko Yasui. As young girl, Sachiko and her family are just half a mile away when the bomb falls on August 9, 1945. Despite surviving the blast, over time her family experiences devastating loss. But after fleeing and returning to Nagasaki two years later, they make a remarkable discovery. A delicate serving bowl made by her grandmother, and that once served their daily meals, has remained completely intact. It comes to serve as a symbolic vessel of peace, hope and new traditions. This heart-breaking tale delivers a message of peace to kids and lessons for the future.
Blast Back: Ancient Greece
Written by: Nancy Ohlin
Illustrated by: Adam Larkum
Many kids are aware of the myths and legends of Ancient Greece, the Olympic Games and some of the stories and folktales, but what was it like to live there? This nonfiction book in the adventurous Blast Back series will take your child back in time ago the “cradle of western civilization” for a detailed glimpse. Complete with simple, easy-to-understand black and white illustrations, it’ll show them everything from what kids did for fun, to the gods and goddesses they worshipped and important contributions in health, medicine, arts and science. They’ll also discover little-known facts about their day-to-day lives, like their peculiar food superstitions and favorite activities.
Planet Fashion: 100 Years of Fashion History
Written by: Natasha Slee
Illustrated by: Cynthia Kittler
picture book will take your kid through 100 years of history by looking at fashions through the ages. With fun illustrations and lively narration, it follows two curious kids around the globe as they explore the evolution of hems and sleeves and everything in between, from Victorian-era high society to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. Your child will get a kick out of learning the when’s and where’s of different fashions, the designers behind them and a whole lot of history along the way.
Calico Illustrated Classics: A Tale of Two Cities
Written by: Charles Dickens, Karen Kelly
Illustrated by: Ute Simon
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Who can forget this iconic opening line from this acclaimed classic set during the French Revolution? A remarkable piece of historical fiction, this book will transport your kid from the calm streets of London to the heart of the unrest as Lucie Manette and her family find themselves drawn into a dangerous mob in Paris. With vivid black and white illustrations, this version is a kid-friendly adaptation of the original by Charles Dickens, and will give them an inside look at the events of this tumultuous period through the eyes of a courageous girl and her father.
Rebel Girls Explore
By: Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo
From aviators and sailors to zoologists and astrophysicists, history is filled with gutsy “rebel girls,” and this book will introduce your kid to some of the best. It’ll take them under the ocean with marine biologist Sylvia Earle, digging for fossils with paleontologist Mary Anning and so much more. With a new fascinating—often thrilling—true story on each page and bright, colorful illustrated portraits, this illuminating text will inspire greatness in boys and girls, alike.
The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale
By: Trinka Hakes Noble
Gettysburg turned the tide of the American Civil War. If your child is a fan of American history, they’ll love learning about this famed battle from the perspective of an eleven-year-old bugle boy named Gabe. As Gabe marches with the Union Army and at Gettysburg, he wrestles with his desires to both fulfill his duty and protect the people he loves. This dynamic picture book offers a unique and beautifully illustrated glimpse into this turbulent period.
Arts and Culture in the Ancient World
Written by: Lynn Peppas, Paul Challen, Shipa Mehta-Jones
Illustrated by: Hazel Richardson, William Band, Roman Coforth
This is your child’s one-stop shop for all things ancient. Part of the outstanding Ancient World series, this comprehensive text explores the similarities and differences among different ancient cultures, including that of Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, China and more. With detailed color illustrations, and helpful maps, timelines and diagrams—plus a glossary of terms—it offers kids an easy-to-understand and thorough look at the arts and customs of these lost civilizations.
It’s A Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History
Written by: Stephen Shapiro
Illustrated by: Ross Kinnaird
This holistic guide gives kids a super-detailed overview of the medieval world. With eye-catching infographics and cartoons, and upbeat, often humorous text, it’ll grab your kid’s attention and fill them in on the dynamics of this period, from Europe to the Byzantine, Ottoman and Islamic empires. They’ll learn about the roles, trade routes, conquests, adventure and politics of the era, as well as interesting facts about the daily lives of individuals across all walks of life.
National Geographic Kids Everything Vikings
By: Nadia Higgins
Hats with horns, flying dragons and mighty war gods! This riveting book from the acclaimed National Geographic Kids series will keep your kid on the edge of their seat as they learn about these often misunderstood seafaring Norsemen and women. With stunning visuals and detailed timelines and text, it’ll take them through 250 years of history, teaching them about viking customs, society, religious beliefs and everything in between. It even includes games, Q&A and a fun, interactive glossary to keep them extra engaged.
Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled
Written by: Sarah Tsiang
Illustrated by: Martha Newbigging
Among the most advanced societies of the ancient world, it’s no secret China’s achievements in areas such as medicine, art and education outpaced the Europeans. It also included a myriad of fascinating jobs, and some not so great. This book will give your kid an overview of some of these roles—from peasant and silk maker to emperor and wailer (Yup, people were paid to cry). It also includes funny, bizarre and sometimes dangerous jobs too weird to be believed.
That’s our book list! Looking for more world history books for kids? Check out our post: 17 Best History Books for Kids of All Ages. You also find some inspiring tips to get your kid fired up to read about history here. If your kid is still hankering for more historical reads, here are a few more of our favorite world history books for kids, all available on Amazon.
- “A Really Short History of Nearly Everything,” by Bill Bryson
- “Hazardous Tales #11: Cold War Correspondent, A Korean War Tale,” by Nathan Hale
- “Magic Tree House Book 2: The Knight at Dawn,” by Mary Pope Osbourne
- “Number the Stars,” by Lois Lowry
- “Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes,” by Eleanor Coer