20 Book Series to Get Your Kids Hooked on History

Need help getting your kiddos interested in the stories of past cultures and places? Good news, today we’re sharing our favorite history books for kids.

20 Book Series to Get Your Kids Hooked on History - history books for kids

It usually starts innocently.  I’ll be working on my homeschool lesson plans and come across a book — usually from a series — that works well with the topic we’re covering in history at the time.  

In no time at all,  my son is hooked.  He blows through the entire series because he can’t get enough.  

Let’s face it, though, there are way worse things to be dealing with.  I’ll gladly take a kid who’s hooked on history and a series of books over the other options.

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Maybe you’re looking for history books for your kids or maybe you’ve just got a series aficionado on your hands like I do.  Either way, this list of history book series for kids is full of reasons to make a trip to your local library (or favorite bookseller) if you’re like me and your small-town library can’t always support your kiddo’s book habit).

History Book Series for Kids

Before we jump into the list, here are two things to keep in mind. First, all of the links in the descriptions below lead to Amazon. If you prefer to support local bookstores through your purchases, see this Bookshop.org list. It has several titles from each series so that you can get an idea of what each one offers.

Speaking of the overviews, it is also worth noting that each description contains a link to a single book from the series. Feel free to use that link to “dip your toes in the water” and see if that series is a good fit for your kiddo.

1.  Who Was … ?

We’ve turned to the Who Was…? biography series time and time again, and it never disappoints.  We’ve used some of these as read-alouds, but both of my kiddos also read them alone. The series covers all sorts of key figures in history, but there are also What Was…? books that cover key historical events.

2.  The Childhood of Famous Americans Series

What sets these books apart from other biography books for kids is that they focus on the childhoods of famous Americans.  These are some of our favorite biographical history books! Also worth noting, they’re especially good for older elementary students and middle schoolers.

3.  Blast to the Past Series

We’ve recently discovered these Blast to the Past books and are loving them!  Think fiction meets history, but not in a historical fiction way. Instead, modern characters step back into historical moments and help key figures face various problems.

4.  Magic Tree House

There’s no way I could leave Jack and Annie off of a list of history books for kids!  Like the Blast to the Past series, Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House focuses on the adventures of modern kids who magically travel to all kinds of places and times.

There are more than fifty of these fun and surprisingly educational books. If your kids are the kind to get hooked on a series, Magic Tree House would keep them busy for a long, long time!

5.  Dear America

The Dear America books are journal-style books written from the perspective of a child from various points in history. Worth noting, they’re out of print now but are usually available at libraries.

History Books & Bookshop.org

You can support local bookstores through your purchases by shopping this list on Bookshop.org. You’ll find LOTS of books from these series waiting for you there.

6.  My America

These My America books are considered a part of the Dear America series, but are still categorized separately (or at least they are at all of our libraries!).  They’re also journal-style books that help kids step inside the lives of other children throughout history.

7. Magic Tree House Fact Tracker

We love Magic Tree House Fact Trackers! These are non-fiction books that go along with the Magic Tree House adventures and they’ve been a huge part of our homeschool history. They’re not just for supplementing history topics, though! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found my son reading these for fun.

8. If You Were a Kid …

These If You Were a Kid… books are exactly what the title implies: what it was like to live with specific people groups or to live during certain points in history.  These are great for early elementary years and are generally easy to find at local libraries.

9.  Landmark Books

The Landmark Books series is an older living book series that primarily covers events in American history.

10.  The Little House Collection

If you’re looking for a series that highlights life in the American Midwest during the 1800s, there’s no better choice than the Little House collection! That’s not to say that everything in these books is to be idealized. However, they do provide opportunities for meaningful discussion when themes like racism come up in the story.

11.  The American Girls Historical Collection

This huge collection is divided into smaller collections based on the fictional lives of the American Girl historical characters. Within each smaller collection, readers get to experience what life was like in the United States during various points in history.

12.  You Wouldn’t Want To Be Series

The You Wouldn’t Want to Be books are non-fiction history books for kids who don’t love history (and certainly those who do love it as well)!  The graphics are great, the information is engaging, and the overall approach is fantastic.  If you haven’t checked into this series yet, you’re missing some fun stuff!

13.  Heroes of History

This Heroes of History biography series is told from a narrative perspective and is a favorite among many families I know. If you’re looking for a biography series that appeals to your entire family, this is the one to consider.

14.  Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station

These Adventures in Odyssey books are some of our favorites. Readers will voyage with Vikings, visit the Roman Colosseum, and even come face to face with one of Herod’s soldiers on the night of Christ’s birth over the course of this series.

15.  Trailblazers

This series of history books for kids follows the lives of Christians pioneers all over the world.

16.  101 History Facts Series

I stumbled upon this 101 History Facts series while exploring my Kindle options, but I’ve been surprised by how much we’ve enjoyed it.  These books are reasonably priced and have lots of great topical information and resources.

17.  For Kids Series

This For Kids series digs into history like no others on this list of history books for kids. Not only does it give biographical information for person or event showcased, it also includes activities and suggestions for further learning and exploration. We love these books!

18.  Religious Heritage Series

We started reading these living books from Louise Vernon’s Religious Heritage series when my kids were younger, and we learned so much through them. This historical fiction series is a wonderful way to gain an understanding of the lives of key figures of the Christian faith. They’re particularly helpful if you want to explore the Protestant Reformation and explore the formation of prominent Christian denominations.

19.  Ordinary People Who Changed the World

Younger kids don’t have to miss out on the history fun! The Ordinary People Who Changed the World series explores the lives and impact of key figures in history, but does it in a fun and engaging way for little ones.

20.  I Survived Series

From Pompeii to events in modern history, the I Survived series gives readers an opportunity to experience significant moments in history from the perspective of a child living through the events.

What are your favorite history books for kids? Do any of these series make your list of favorites?

Looking for more books to add to your homeschool shelves?  See our other reading suggestions about women in history, artists, and seasons.

20 Book Series to Get Your Kids Hooked on History - history books for kids

This list was included in My Joy-Filled Life’s Top 100 Homeschool Posts of 2016.

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55 thoughts on “20 Book Series to Get Your Kids Hooked on History”

  1. Dianne Culbertson

    I am looking for the name of a series of books that I had for my children. I found them at a flea market, brand new., early 80’s. Each book was about one subject, Liberty Bell, Declaration of Independence, Star Spangled Banner, Mt Rushmore, USS Constition, ect. The books were hard cover maybe 8″ x 10″, maybe 1/2 inch thick. My kids used them to write reports all the way through grade school. Has anyone seen them? Would like to find out the name of the series. Thank you for any help you can give.

  2. Some graphic novel options: Action Presidents; History Comics; Show Me History

  3. Brenna Manasco

    FYI- History Smashers series by Kate Messner is GREAT! We purchased the first 2 for our children’s collection, and they were grabbed up quite quickly by adults!

  4. What age group are these books gear towards? Are all of them chapter books?

    1. They’re generally appropriate for all elementary kids and most are chapter books, but some titles within each series deal with sensitive topics and may be better enjoyed a few years down the road.

      They are mostly chapter books, but could be enjoyed as read alouds if you’ve got a younger kiddo or one who’s not quite ready to tackle the books alone.

  5. Jennifer

    This is a great list! Do you have one for science?

  6. Jenifer Johnston

    G. A. Henty books! My son loved them. And me too 🙂

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I just downloaded several of them on my Kindle a couple of weeks ago. 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for these book ideas! I bought 2 off your list already. My son enjoys history but it has to be presented in an entertaining way for him to read on his own. I found a couple that I think he’ll like!

    One series I loved when I was young — but I don’t think it’s in print anymore — is the Value Of books. My dad bought me a set and I read them over and over.

    1. I need to look into those, Dianna. Usually those hard-to-find books are some of the best! 🙂

  8. More like I survived. Books so like time machines and historical fiction books

  9. yep ive read the who was, magic tree house, and now the i survived series. do you have a recomendation for books like them but for a little older kids

    1. What direction are you wanting to go next? More historical fiction, nonfiction, or something history-based, but blended with modern day life?

  10. Emily thank you for this great list!! My daughter’s favorite books are historical fiction and this list gave me some new ideas. My oldest boy loves history too. One of our favorite series is called the American Adventure Series (Christian based), I believe there are around 30 books. For younger children the You Choose books are wonderful, my 8 year old son loves them. some of his favorites are The Titanic, The Revolutionary War and the Civil War..

    1. Thank you for those suggestions, Melinda. Can’t wait to check into them! 🙂

  11. I have a friend who is expecting. She told me she doesn’t want to read fairy tales to her baby. She wants to read history books! Which books would you recommend for your youngest readers?

    1. Hi Janet, that’s a fun idea! The first ones that pop into my head for little ones is the Ordinary People Change the World Series. (They’re #19 on this list.) There’s also a similar series to that one called Little People, Big Dreams. Those are listed for preschool to early elementary, but that’s not to say that a little one wouldn’t enjoy them!

      Other than that, I came across a cute group of board books that would make a good gift. There’s This Little Explorer, This Little President, and This Little Trailblazer.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Dear Emily
    Thanks! Good list. Have you tried the”My Story ” series? Written in the first person by a variety of authors, the kids in my school approve.

    1. I love HP, but I don’t think of it as a history series. 😉

  13. Great list of history books. We are reading through the Little House books with my five-year-old. She loves listening to the adventures of Laura and her family. My daughter also loves the American Girls Collection. Thank you for some other series ideas!

    1. We love those Little House books! <3

      I'm planning to start reading some of the American Girls books with my daughter this year. I know she'll love them!

  14. I would definitely add Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales graphic novel series to this list. They are amazing books!

  15. Catherine

    Wow, what a great list. Another series that my daughter just loves and begs for is the Rush Revere series on American History.

  16. My Middle schooler loved the wicked history books and in turn the Horrible Histories books and on-line site. Please note these books are for older children and you may want to read them first if you are concerned about content.

    1. Adding those to my wishlist. Thanks for the suggestions, Melissa! 🙂

  17. Love this. I’m such a fan of history and I think it gets a bad rep! Definitely better to start discovering it early – this are great recs. Thanks for sharing ?

    1. You’re right, Chris. It does get a bad rep, but it’s so interesting. I’m grateful for resources like these that get our kids loving history early on. 🙂

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  20. You have some great suggestions here. If you would like a series that focuses on learning about historic places and monuments that makes learning about history fun, check out my Little Miss HISTORY Travels to…nonfiction picture book series at http://Littlemisshistory.com It’s available online at amazon, barnes & noble and Walmart and in many local bookstores.

  21. I love historical fiction for early readers. I recommend the Young Wolf series, Sam the Minuteman and George the Drummer Boy, Josefina Story Quilt, Wagon Wheels, lots of others.

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  23. The Magic Treehouse books were very popular with my oldest a few years ago!
    We also really love the You Wouldn’t Want to Be series. My oldest also loves the Asterix books.

    1. Ooh, thanks for the suggestion, Alison. Going to check out the Asterix books now!

  24. We just discovered the Time Warp Trio. A bit like Magic Tree House. Three friends get a magic book that transports them back in time. There are a numer of titles in the series. Also Blast From the Past. It is a non-fiction series but the picture are fun and the material is concise and accesible especially for youngest
    My 8 and 6yr old loved the one we read about ancient Egypt.

    1. We like the Blast from the Past series also! I just wish they had more in the series.

      I need to check into Time Warp Trio… sounds great! Thanks for passing it along. 🙂

  25. TJ Galliard

    What do you recommend for high school level that give an honest account of historical US events?

    1. Have you looked into All American History from Bright Ideas Press? That’s where I would start with American history for that level. I don’t know of any book series that would fit this criteria, but I’ll update you if I come across some!

  26. I second the recommendation for the Rush Revere books. We started the year with a curriculum that was supposed to cover all of American history but added in the Rush Revere books and spent almost the entire year studying the Revolutionary war period. So much fun!!

    1. Isn’t it amazing how a good book series can bring a subject to life? 🙂

  27. I love the You Wouldn’t Want To Be series. They’re greats books and I’ve even gleaned some useful research information from them for my own writing. Love the Magic Treehouse too.

    1. Those are the best kind of books: captivating, but useful! 🙂

  28. Thank you so much for posting this! It was exactly what I was looking for.

    1. You’re so welcome, Stefany. Happy to help!

    2. I read the American girl books as a kid, and honestly learned more history from them than any school class! Now I am blessed with a history buff daughter and even though she is 8 and has been reading chapter books on her own for over a year, we still are working our way through the series and the little house series together ?

  29. Great list! Thank you! I have a question for you: Are there are any of these that would be best for my 7-year-old to read on her own? She is a pretty good reader but would struggle with some that are a little more advanced. I find it difficult to find historical fiction at her level.

    1. I would check your library for the Magic Tree House books. The earlier ones in the series are shorter and easier to read than the more recent ones. They aren’t exactly historical fiction, but do a great job of mixing fun and history (and science too). Magictreehouse.com has lots of fun games and teacher activities to go along with the books and could be great incentive to get started with them. Hope this helps!

  30. Striderswife

    This is a good list! Our son loves the Magic Treehouse, and the I Survived series. I started reading the American Girls in 1988 or so, and of course had the Little House books before that. So pleased to see them on this list.

    Last year, I started reading the Rush Revere series to our son, who is now 8. They’re so fun, and we are both totally in to them. Now he listens to the CD version every night as he falls asleep. Please check them out!!

    1. Definitely checking on the Rush Revere series. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  31. This list makes me smile!! So many wonderful books. We’ve read several of them, but I love to be reminded of all of these resources.

  32. Mother of 3

    Great list! We love I Survived and Magic Tree House! We’ve just started the Who was… series and love those too.

    1. I love how all three of the ones you mention take completely different approaches, but are all so captivating! Happy reading to you all!

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