We are often asked for recommendations for books to read with primary aged children during their history topic.

Here are some of our favourites:

1000 year old boy

Title: The 1000 Year Old Boy

Author: Ross Welford

History Topic: Anglo Saxons and Vikings

Age Range: KS2 (Y5/6)

Review: This book has much to recommend it from a historical perspective. Alfie is a boy who was born in the north of England at the time of the last Viking raids. Having eaten a 'life pearl' he is still alive and still a boy 1000 years later. The story is told from the perspectives of Alfie and his modern friends and the juxtaposition of language and understanding of modern life very neatly draws attention to the similarities and differences. My favourite passage describes a school trip to a reconstructed Anglo- Saxon Village, which of course Alfie finds rather silly. Aside from the historical truths which will become apparent are many others truths about the nature of communities and how people who are different are treated, leading to lessons applicable to any historical time period.

 cave baby

Title: Cave Baby

Author: Julia Donaldson, ill. Emily Gravett

History Topic: Prehistory

Age Range: KS2 (Y3/4)

Review: With her usual accessible and humourous style, Donaldson has opened the door to a common theme for lower key stage 2 prehistory topics. Many children spend time studying cave paintings and then designing their own drawings. Children may also be familiar with the scenario of a child being told off for drawing on the walls at home. This book is a great way to start thinking about what materials were available to prehistoric artists, why they drew certain creatures and even the pigments they used. There is some great use of language which makes this book perfect for repeated reading aloud.

 stone age boy

Title: Stone Age Boy

Author: Satoshi Kitamura

History Topic: Prehistory

Age Range: KS2 (Y3/4)

Review: If you’d like a book which could be used as the central pillar of your prehistory topic, this could easily fit the bill. It is a liner tale of boy who travels back in time, experiences many different elements of Stone Age life. The story most closely represents Mesolithic life (Based on the needles used to make clothes), although it may be interpreted as Palaeolithic. The illustration clearly show historically accurate techniques for clothing manufacture, cooking, fishing and shelter building, although the method of throwing spears at prey in a hunt is questioned by many. A lovely twist at the end and plenty of inspiration for creative writing about life in the Stone Age.

 amesbury archer

Title: Archer Journey to Stonehenge

Author: Jane Brayne

History Topic: Prehistory

Age Range: KS2 (Y3-6)

Review: This comic strip takes the clues from the burial of the Amesbury Archer, discovered near Stonehenge, and seamlessly weaves them into a perfectly illustrated tale. From an explanation of his lame leg, to providing the reason for his long journey to foreign shores, this delightful book is a window into the hopes and fears of our Copper Age ancestors. The book concludes with an accessible, factual account of the burial and associated archaeological evidence.

 

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