Guest Hollow’s High School Whirlwind World History Curriculum Book and Resource List

Note: This page is currently being created and is a ROUGH DRAFT. We will remove this rough draft notice when it’s finished.

Welcome to the Guest Hollow’s High School Whirlwind World History Curriculum Book and Resource List! This list is to give you an idea of what will be needed if you are using Guest Hollow’s Whirlwind World History Curriculum along with some helpful tips and other information. For details about the curriculum itself, please click here.

Literature-based history that’s engaging and fun!

In order to use Guest Hollow’s Whirlwind World History Curriculum, you will need to obtain the scheduled books and other items separately. You may be able to borrow many for FREE from your local library! Check out the F.A.Q. below for tips on how to save money when using a literature-based curriculum.

Every purchase comes with a printable book list!

Every purchase of Guest Hollow’s High School Whirlwind World History Curriculum comes with a FREE printable book list to help you with your planning and shopping.

The printable version of the book list features:

  • The ISBN number and author’s name
    You can make sure your copy of the book matches the one in the schedule.
  • Notification of when each book or item is used
    You can plan ahead when to check out books from the library. Books used throughout the year are marked “multiple weeks,” so you can decide whether you want to purchase them vs. borrow them.
  • Checklists for planning
    A handy checklist helps you plan if you are going to buy or borrow a book. It can also help you choose the format of your books (physical copy, e-book, or audio book).
  • Consumables are marked
    You’ll get advance notice of which items are consumable, so you’ll know what you may need to purchase and how many copies you may want to get if you are using the curriculum with multiple students.

Here’s an example of the printable book list:

Keep scrolling to see the full online book list (below the F.A.Q. on this page).


We’ve scheduled in lots of colorful, fact-filled, interesting and engaging books for this year’s world history study! Before taking a look, We’ve addressed some common questions:

Book and Resource F.A.Q.

No. Depending on your student, the time you have available, your budget, and other factors, you can cull some of the books without hurting the program.  Using just the spine book, the scheduled videos, and the linked activities covers quite a bit of history. The scheduled books are “frosting on the cake” that help bring topics alive in a way that is engaging and memorable.

You can also use substitutes from your own home or local library. For example: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX If you can’t obtain that book, you can substitute XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Keep in mind that the scheduled books were all hand-picked for their content, presentation, and reading pace.

Some books are marked “unscheduled.” These books are optional and are not featured in the curriculum schedule. They are intended to potentially enhance your studies, and you can fit them in whenever you have the time for them (or ignore them completely, if you wish). You can also use them as substitutions for students who don’t enjoy graphic novels.

We were once homeschoolers, and we know what it’s like living on a budget. We wrote a blog post to help you SAVE MONEY when using a literature-based curriculum. In the post you’ll find handy tips on where to get books, what subscriptions can help out, what some libraries offer for free, where our customers go for used books, and how to find books our customers are selling when they are done. Take a look:

How to Save Money When Using a Literature-Based Curriculum

Our customers frequently resell their used Guest Hollow homeschool curriculum books on our Facebook Groups. Here’s a list of groups you can join and post in! We encourage you to try and recoup some of your investment in books when you are done by posting them for sale in our groups.

You may NOT resell, share, or distribute any of Guest Hollow’s digital products (or printed out copies of our digital products) which includes but is not limited to schedules, workbooks, printables, and other materials.

We’ve scheduled in lots of engaging graphic novels & comics, which should be much easier (and fun) for students to read. Reluctant readers will also appreciate that many of the videos we schedule in cover the topics from the main text and other books (to help build comprehension and retention).

Every student’s reading ability and interest differs. If you have a reluctant reader or a student whose reading skills are not fully developed, you can do some of the following things:

  • Read books out loud
    You can read some or all of the books to or with your student. This is a terrific way to participate in what s/he is learning, too! Our children loved read-alouds, even in high school.
  • Use audiobooks
    Audiobooks can be obtained from or a variety of other places. There are some benefits to using audiobooks. They can be listened to in the car, during lunch, while doing chores, while keeping hands occupied (knitting, coloring, etc.), and other times when print books don’t work as well.
  • Don’t overwhelm
    It may not be the best choice to do more than one literature-based program at a time with a student who doesn’t like reading. Don’t be surprised if this reluctant attitude toward reading changes during the course of the program, though. Many of our customers have told us their reluctant readers learned to love reading using our curriculum!

You’ll have to check with your local educational authorities or in some other way determine if Guest Hollow meets requirements since states and colleges have different expectations.

When we were teaching our kids, we usually had what we thought of as a “core” curriculum (science, geography, or history). Because these programs were so literature-rich, we didn’t do a separate literature course. This enhanced our children’s retention and enjoyment of the material they were learning, since their reading assignments complimented their studies. Of course our kids also did plenty of reading in their free time as well!

Guest Hollow’s Whirlwind World History Curriculum covers a lot of different types of information. We think the BEST curriculums are those that are multidisciplinary. We believe subjects don’t exist in a vacuum, so we like to tie different subjects together, when possible, to expand students’ understanding of specific topics or things they encounter in various scheduled books and/or videos.

Additional credits could possibly be earned for literature.

Don’t forget to research your local requirements and consult the local experts in your area! We are in NO way advising what credits you should assign. You are ultimately responsible for researching this topic and deciding what will work for you and your family based on your local requirements, future plans, college requirements, and other considerations.

Using just the *spine book, the scheduled videos, and the linked activities covers quite a bit of history. The scheduled books are “frosting on the cake” that help bring topics alive in a way that is engaging and memorable.

*A spine book is the “backbone” of a study.

We do schedule in quite a few graphic novels and some easier fare (amidst some more difficult titles written for adults), but my goal is to get students to not only learn history, but to RETAIN it and LOVE it. We do this using a mix of materials that even adults could learn from. Information is information. It doesn’t have to by dry and difficult to get through in order to be valuable (in my opinion).

When we were homeschooling, we always used what we believed to be the BEST vehicles for teaching information, no matter what the “level” of those materials. The feedback we’ve received about our programs has been amazing. Students who used to think history was dry and boring have remarked how much they love it after using Guest Hollow’s history curriculums!

You can take a look at the unscheduled list of books and choose some from there to substitute. The unscheduled books are listed on this page in the book list below.

The graphic novels were chosen to break up the amount of reading and to convey information in a quick-to-digest way while giving a break in the reading load. Also, in this increasingly visual world, I felt it was important for students to be able to read and digest a variety of materials. They aren’t a match for every student, though. In that case, the unscheduled books make good substitutes.

The curriculum is still very rich and full, even if you skip some of the graphic novels!

Most high schoolers should be able to handle the reading. There is plenty of “easier fare” to balance things out.

You can easily adapt this program to work with a younger student. Instructions on how to do that are included with the curriculum guide. Look for the “middle school substitutes” for some of the books in the list below or consult the printable curriculum schedule.

Warning! Preview all materials! I strongly recommend you preview all items to see if they are appropriate for your student. Every family is different in what they find offensive! Additional notes about some of the books are in the descriptions below.

Note: This page is currently being created and is a ROUGH DRAFT. We will remove this rough draft notice when it’s finished. We may remove or add books and videos to this list before the curriculum is released.

Books and Items

Guest Hollow’s Whirlwind World History FREE Online Textbook
The History Book: Big Ideas Simply ExplainedThe History Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

“Travel thousands of years into our past and discover the significant events that shaped the world as we know it.

This book includes short, descriptive explanations of key ideas, themes, and events of world history that are easy to understand. Explore topics such as the founding of Baghdad, the colonization of the Americas, and the inception of Buddhism without complicated jargon.”
History of the World Map by MapHistory of the World Map by Map

I LOVE how this book illustrates history with maps and timelines. It helps you visualize what was going on where and when.

It’s a hefty, big, beautiful book that gives you a good overview of world history. There are 140 colorful maps combined with timelines for main world events from prehistory through modern times. There is also a 75 page timeline in the back illustrated with photos, paintings, and items. Even if your student doesn’t read every word, the maps alone are worth buying this book to have on your homeschool shelf as a reference.

24 Hours in Ancient Rome: A Day in the Life of the People Who Lived There
Note: Some sexual content (nothing too graphic) – The chapter “The Prostitute Finds a Client” is not scheduled.
24 Hours in Ancient Rome: A Day in the Life of the People Who Lived There

This books is entertaining as well as informative. The part I like the best: the book’s characters are based on real quotes, speeches, correspondence, and more from the people who actually lived in Rome at the time.

“Walk a day in a Roman’s sandals.
What was it like to live in one of the ancient world’s most powerful and bustling cities – one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York?

In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to the people who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character – from emperor to slave girl, gladiator to astrologer, medicine woman to water-clock maker – and discover the fascinating details of their daily lives.”
The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply ExplainedThe Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

“Storytelling is as old as humanity itself. Part of the Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Literature Book introduces you to ancient classics from the Epic of Gilgamesh written 4,000 years ago, as well as the works of Shakespeare, Voltaire, Tolstoy, and more, and 20th-century masterpieces, including Catch-22, Beloved, and On the Road. The perfect reference for your bookshelf, it answers myriad questions such as what is stream of consciousness, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and what links the poetry of Wordsworth with that of TS Eliot.”
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative
Note: A prostitute is mentioned. There is a line about a man putting his hands on the breasts of a goddess.
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative

Gilgamesh is an epic poem written in ancient Mesopotamia and is known as the earliest surviving notable literature. It was composed sometime around 2100-1200 BCE). Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BCE Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.

This is a fantastic translation of Gilgamesh!

“National Book Award Finalist: The most widely read and enduring interpretation of this ancient Babylonian epic.
One of the oldest and most universal stories known in literature, the epic of Gilgamesh presents the grand, timeless themes of love and death, loss and reparations, within the stirring tale of a hero-king and his doomed friend.
A National Book Award finalist, Herbert Mason’s retelling is at once a triumph of scholarship, a masterpiece of style, and a labor of love that grew out of the poet’s long affinity with the original.”
Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.

Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon poem written around 700-1000 CE in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend.

I really like this graphic novel adaptation of Beowulf. It captures the spirit of the original and uses text from the Francis Gummere translation.

If your student wants to read Beowulf as a longer book (or listen to a free audio version) instead, see the unscheduled books list.
Boxers and Saints graphic novel boxed set
Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.
Boxers & Saints Boxed Set

New York Times bestseller
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature

“In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grassroots rebellion is successful.

But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

Boxers & Saints is one of the most ambitious graphic novels First Second has ever published. It offers a penetrating insight into not only one of the most controversial episodes of modern Chinese history, but into the very core of our human nature.”

Scheduled Videos

Unscheduled Books

Instructions on how to choose from the following books as well as how to schedule them are included in the printable schedule. Even though these are unscheduled books, the schedule will have some linked resources (like free teacher’s guides, writing assignments, literary techniques, vocabulary, supporting activities, etc.) for some of the book choices, so you can incorporate them in your language arts studies, if desired.

Note: There is a rape (not very graphic), violence, witchcraft (in a mythical sense), and some cursing in this book.

“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story,” this #1 New York Times bestseller is “both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right” (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).
Choose one of the following versions of Beowulf:
Option 1:
Beowulf: A New Translation
Beowulf: A New Translation

Note: This new translation of Beowulf is highly readable, but it has quite a few curse words (including the F-bomb multiple times) and some contemporary terminology and slang. Having said that, it made something that can seem dusty and dry into something more approachable and spirited – like you are sitting in a smoky hall with a bunch of rowdy vikings sloshing mead in their mugs and rattling their swords. It’s my first pick choice for the full Beowulf book with the caveat that I’m not a fan of the cursing AT ALL. Be warned – there is a LOT. If you aren’t comfortable with that, pick from the options 2-4 instead (or do it as a read-aloud and skip those words on the fly). 🙂

“Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf―and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world―there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English, recontextualizing the binary narrative of monsters and heroes into a tale in which the two categories often entwine, justice is rarely served, and dragons live among us.”
Option 2:
Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition
Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition

Note: Whatever you do, don’t get this version on Kindle. The formatting is horrible. The print version is nice though – with photos on every other page to illustrate various things in the poem (a nice and visual addition to your history study). It’s a coffee-table style book, and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf is one of the more poetic versions.
Option 3: FREE version of Beowulf, translated by Francis Barton Gummere with a FREE audio reading to accompany the text and notes to explain some of the text.

You can listen to this version, download and print the PDF, or view it online without having to pay a penny.
Option 4:
ANY translation of Beowulf will work. 😉 You can use your favorite one, if one of our choices doesn’t work for you, or your student can just read the graphic novel version we’ve scheduled in (see the scheduled books listed above).
Ramayana: Divine Loophole (Hindu Mythology Books, Books on Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Indian Books for Kids)Ramayana: Divine Loophole

The Rāmāyana is one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.

We scheduled this book in Guest Hollow’s Geography & Cultures curriculum, so we’re not scheduling it in for Whirlwind History. We’re including it in the unscheduled booklist, as the Ramayana is an important piece of historical Indian literature. This is a beautifully illustrated easy read.

“The Ramayana is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and one of the largest ancient epics in world literature! Ramayana was an important influence on Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements.”

National Geographic Kids Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture: Stories, Timelines, Maps, and MoreNational Geographic Kids Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture: Stories, Timelines, Maps, and More

This is a beautiful reference book is a visual treat and is stuffed full of photos, illustrations, timelines, and maps. It’s the best (and most affordable) reference on Native Americans that I’ve found for any age! The book covers a multitude of tribes (over 160) across all the regions of the US. It’s a super resource that is worth the investment for your homeschool shelf.

Unscheduled Videos

Leave a Comment