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

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. *The link to the curriculum will be posted as soon as we are finished creating it.

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 audiobook).
  • Books are ranked in order of importance
  • Books are ranked in order of importance to help you choose which books you need the most and which can potentially be skipped.
  • 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. We’ve ranked items in the book list at the beginning of the printable schedule to help you plan your purchases. If you are on a strict budget, don’t have a good library system, or need to limit your student’s amount of reading, the ranking system will help you prioritize items.

Items we feel shouldn’t be dropped or substituted are marked with a #1.
Other items are ranked as follows:
#2: This item is not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended.
#3: This item is optional but recommended.
#4: This item is optional and less important than the others

Some customers only use books ranked 1 and 2 as well as books that are featured in the workbook.

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, which should be much easier (and fun) for students to read. Reluctant readers will also appreciate that many of the videos we schedule 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 Amazon.com 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, art, and cooking skills depending on the resources you use.

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.

Additional notes about some of the books and movies are under the images. Please note that we have not marked every possible objectionable item.

Some of the books below have the following statement in their description:

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook.

Those books are referenced in the FREE PDF workbook that is included with your world history curriculum purchase. *We just started working on the workbook, so this part of the page is not finished, yet. 🙂

Books and Items

Guest Hollow’s Whirlwind World History FREE Online Textbook
This is the “*spine book” for Whirlwind World History. It has lots of embedded videos, maps, and illustrations to help history make sense and stick!

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook.

*A spine book is the “backbone” of a study.
The History Book: Big Ideas Simply ExplainedThe History Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

*Scheduled, optional reference book

“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 Map
Note: The beginning of this book has a section on “human origins.” I don’t schedule in those pages.
History of the World Map by Map

*Scheduled, optional reference book

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.


History of the World in 1000 Objects
*Note: There is nudity via statues (Greek art), etc.
History of the World in 1000 Objects

*Scheduled, optional reference book

An older version of this book is available to check out free at the online openlibrary.org. Click here.

Students don’t need to read all the text in this book. It’s scheduled so that they can browse the pictures and associate the various objects with the different cultures. This book is a visual treat! There is also a bonus timeline in the back.

“Objects speak volumes about a civilization, telling us how our ancestors lived – as well as what they believed in and valued. A bronze cat mummy shows us how highly the ancient Egyptians valued their feline companions, while a mechanical tiger toy tells the story of rising tensions between an Indian sultan and European colonizers. With stunning, exclusive photography, History of the World in 1000 Objects shows you the objects that our ancestors treasured – from the jewelry worn by the Mesopotamians to the prized ritual vessels used by the people of the Shang Dynasty – and gives you insight into what gave each culture its own identity.

From astrolabes and airplanes to vacuum cleaners and X-rays, DK uses its hallmark visual style to weave the extraordinary legacy of our creativity into a unique view of world history that will change the way you see the objects all around us.”
Remarkable Diaries: The World's Greatest Diaries, Journals, Notebooks, & Letters
Note: There is mention that Samuel Pepys wrote about his sex life in his diary, but no details are given. Anne Lister’s diary discusses her same sex attraction (no sexual details). The Goncourt Journal mentions prostitutes (no details). Page 242 mentions how the movie director Derek Jarman made movies that celebrated gay culture.
Remarkable Diaries: The World’s Greatest Diaries, Journals, Notebooks, & Letters

*Scheduled, optional reference book

“Travel back in time and witness both everyday life and great moments in history in this fascinating compilation of diaries through the ages.

Arranged chronologically, Remarkable Diaries takes you into the pages of the world’s greatest diaries, notebooks, and letters, including those of Samuel Pepys, Henry-David Thoreau, the Goncourt brothers, Virginia Woolf, and Anne Frank. Stunning reproductions of the original notebooks and manuscripts are complemented by extracts and quotations, and illustrated features set the diaries in their cultural and historical context.”
Art That Changed the World: Transformative Art Movements and the Paintings That Inspired Them
Note: There is nudity in some of the paintings. On page 268 there is a very small sepia photograph showing the nude backside of a woman. On p. 361 (in the pop art section) There is a scantily clad woman.
Art That Changed the World: Transformative Art Movements and the Paintings That Inspired Them

*Scheduled, optional reference book

I don’t expect students to read every word in this book (if you choose to use it). It’s scheduled in so that they can get art exposure, clothing, styles, etc. from various time periods throughout history. Artworks are presented in a timeline format.

“This beautiful book brings you the very best of world art from cave paintings to Neoexpressionism. Enjoy iconic must-see works, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and Monet’s Waterlilies and discover less familiar artists and genres from all parts of the globe. Art That Changed the World covers the full sweep of world art, including the Ming era in China, and Japanese, Hindu, and Indigenous Australian art.”
Battles that Changed History
Battles that Changed History

*Scheduled, optional reference book

“Discover the stories behind more than 90 of the world’s most significant battles in this lavishly illustrated history book.

The most important battles ever to take place are brought to life in the most spectacular way. From the brutal battle of Gettysburg to the epic air-sea battle of Midway, find out how fateful decisions led to glorious victories and crushing defeats.


Journey through the battlefields of history and follow the key developments of World War I, World War II, the Cold War and more in unprecedented visual detail. Using maps, paintings, artifacts and photographs, Battles That Changed History is a guided tour of every major conflict in history.

Explore the stories behind more than 90 important battles and discover how pivotal moments and tactical decisions have altered the course of history. From medieval clashes and great naval conflicts to the era of high-tech air battles, key campaigns are illustrated and analyzed in detail. Learn incredible facts about the weapons, armor, soldiers and military strategies behind some of the greatest battles ever. 

This reference book includes profiles of famous military leaders like Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Rommel. See how kingdoms and empires have been won and lost on the battlefield. Go into the thick of combat at the Great Siege of Malta, the Battle of Stalingrad and the icy waters of Dunkirk. It is the ultimate guide to the history of military conflict.”
Map TrekMap Trek: Ancient World
Map Trek: Medieval World
Map Trek: New World
Map Trek: Modern World

You may want to consider getting the Map Trek Complete Collection instead of the separate map collections listed above to save money.

These maps highlight historical conflicts and borders. They add a geography component to your student’s studies and help your student place where things happened, not just when.
The Mode in Costume: A Historical Survey with 202 Plates (Dover Fashion and Costumes)The Mode in Costume: A Historical Survey with 202 Plates (Dover Fashion and Costumes)

*Scheduled, optional reference book

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

If your student likes this book, there are others in the series like The Mode in Hats and Headdress and The Mode in Footwear.

“The pursuit of style has prompted centuries of dramatic change in fashion—and author R. Turner Wilcox researched and documented it all in this completely comprehensive volume. From the togas of ancient Rome to the gorgeous gowns of Dior, this lavishly illustrated, thoroughly researched treasury examines men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing — plus accessories — from 3000 B.C. to 1958.”
The Elements of a Home: Curious Histories behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to ForksThe Elements of a Home: Curious Histories behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to Forks

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s also available on Scribd (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

“With tales from the kitchen, the bedroom, and every room in between, these pages expose how napkins got their start as lumps of dough in ancient Greece, why forks were once seen as immoral tools of the devil, and how Plato devised one of the earliest alarm clocks using rocks and water—plus so much more.

• Readers discover tales from every nook and cranny of a home.
• Entries feature historical details from locations all over the world, including Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa.

Amy Azzarito has crafted an engaging, whimsical history of the household objects you’ve never thought twice about.”
Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas
Multiple time periods and locations, nonfiction

Note: This book mentions breastfeeding.
Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

Students will NOT read this entire book. We only schedule in the first four chapters.

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

“Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid’s diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.”
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative
Ancient Mesopotamian mythology (Sumerian poems) written during the late 2nd millennium BCE.

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

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

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.”
The Art of War - A Graphic Novel
Chinese book written between 475 -221 BCE

The Art of War: A Graphic Novel

The Art of war is on the recommended reading list for all U.S. military intelligence personal and is often applied in the business arena where lessons are adapted to office politics and corporate strategy. The concepts from this book are also applied by lawyers, coaches, and others!

“Hailed as the oldest philosophical discussion on military strategy, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has been adapted as a graphic novel by award-winning illustrator Pete Katz. In this collectible thread-bound edition, the narrative focuses on a teacher instructing a pupil on the main points of Sun Tzu’s treatise, with vibrant battle scenes interspersed throughout. Issues such as planning, tactics, maneuvering, and spying are illustrated with full-color scenes, so that readers may gain a greater understanding of principles from the fifth century BC.””
Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians
Ancient Egyptians, nonfiction
Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians

An older version of this book is available free at openlibrary.org. Click here.

An easy, but informative read. 🙂
Nefertiti: A Novel
1351 BCE, Egypt, fiction

Note: There are a few instances where characters “make love” but no intimate details are given (See pages 67, 297, and 339.). There is a miscarriage, some violence (poisoning, etc.), and deaths due to the plague (but not much in the way of gruesome details).

Middle school substitutions for this book:
Mara, Daughter of the Nile
Hittite Warrior
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah
The Golden Goblet
The Golden Bull
Tales of Ancient Egypt
Any novel about ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia will work.
Nefertiti: A Novel

*This book comes with a free reader’s guide at the back with discussion questions. I also link to it in the schedule, in case you get an edition that doesn’t have it.

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“Fast-paced and historically accurate, Nefertiti is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods.

Teeming with love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict, Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail.

“Meticulously researched and richly detailed . . . an engrossing tribute to one of the most powerful and alluring women in history.”
Boston Globe
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat
Nonfiction, various time periods and places

Middle school substitution for this book:
Food Fight!: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here. It’s also available on Scribd as an audiobook. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

“Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious — or at least edible. But these tools have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson takes readers on a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of objects we often take for granted. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide machines of the modern kitchen, but also the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks. Blending history, science, and personal anecdotes, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be and how their influence has shaped food culture today. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.”

Choose one of the following four options (in no particular order):

Middle school substitutions for these books:
The Tale of Troy (unabridged)
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (which is one of the options below)
D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Greek Myths: Meet the heroes, gods, and monsters of ancient Greece
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (Option 4 in the list)
Any children’s book about the Trojan War, the Iliad & Odyssey, or Greek myths
Option 1:
Mythos: (Ancient Greek Mythology Book for Adults, Modern Telling of Classical Greek Myths Book) (Stephen Fry's Greek Myths 1)
Mythos: (Ancient Greek Mythology Book for Adults, Modern Telling of Classical Greek Myths Book) (Stephen Fry’s Greek Myths 1) 

Ancient Greek mythology, fiction

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s also available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link) .

Note: The sensual/lusty nature of the gods is made apparent but the text is not explicit. Kronos cuts off his father’s testicles and other gods rise up from the spilled semen they contained. There are a few comments such as “Poseidon spent almost all his time pursuing a perfectly exhausting quantity of beautiful girls and boys and fathering by the girls an even greater number of monsters, demigoes, and human heroes – Percy Jackson and Theseus to name but two.” There is infrequent cursing. Cygnus is briefly noted to be Phaeton’s lover (both are males – there are no intimate details). This matches the original commentary of Virgil by Servius. The Erote Hermaphroditus is noted as being the protector of effeminate males, mannish females and those that are now called a more fluid gender (the footnotes talk about how the Greeks were comfortable with this, but the Romans were not). Hephaestus tries to force himself on Athena, but is unsuccessful and spills semen on her thigh which she disgustedly wipes off (which then impregnates Gaia, the earth). There is other sexual content of a similar nature.
Nudity is shown in classical art that illustrates the text.

Because of these details, I wouldn’t recommend this book for students under 15 or 16. You could possibly adapt it as a read-loud and skip any sexual references that may not be appropriate. I wouldn’t just hand it over to a less mature student, but that’s me. You know what’s best for your student(s)! Otherwise, it’s an entertaining book that is a humorous and detailed introduction to Greek mythology. It’s one of my favorite mythologies.

“Here are the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths, stylishly retold by Stephen Fry. The legendary writer, actor, and comedian breathes life into ancient tales, from Pandora’s box to Prometheus’s fire, and transforms the adventures of Zeus and the Olympians into emotionally resonant and deeply funny stories, without losing any of their original wonder. Classical artwork inspired by the myths and learned notes from the author offer rich cultural context.



Option 2:
Circe
Circe

*A free reader’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

Ancient Greek mythology, fiction

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).



















Option 3:
Troy
Troy: The Greek Myths Reimagined (Stephen Fry’s Greek Myths Book 3)

13th century BCE, Trojan War, fiction

Note: There are some non-graphic sexual references. Patroclus is noted as being Achilles’ lover (quote: “Patroculs, Achilles’s friend and sometime lover himself, liked and admired the young princess and did what he could to comfort and console her.”). Rape is mentioned (no details).
A quote about Zeus: “In order to have his way with beautiful girls, boys, nymphs, and sprites of one kind or another, the King of the Gods had transformed himself in many extraordinary ways…”
There is violence and a few instances of cursing.
Nudity is shown in classical art that illustrates the text.

“Legendary author and actor Stephen Fry retells the tale of the Trojan War.

In Troy, Stephen Fry takes the reader into the heart of a story both mythical and grounded in history. It is Zeus, king of the gods, who triggers war when he asks the Trojan prince Paris to judge the fairest goddess of them all. Aphrodite bribes Paris with the hand of Helen, wife of King Menelaus of the Greeks.
A terrible, brutal war ensues, and the stage is set for the oldest and greatest story ever told.

Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.”
Option 4:
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition (Any edition of this book will work.)

Ancient Greek mythology, some Norse mythology, fiction

An older version of this book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“This 75th anniversary edition of a classic bestseller is stunningly illustrated and designed to enchant fans of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology at all ages.

Since its original publication by Little, Brown and Company in 1942, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial bestseller.

For more than seven decades readers have chosen this book above all others to discover the enchanting world of mythology — from Odysseus’s adventure-filled journey to the Norse god Odin’s effort to postpone the final day of doom. “
Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks
Ancient Greeks, nonfiction
Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks

An older version of this book is is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

An easy, but informative read. 🙂

The Celts and All That
Multiple time periods, Celts, nonfiction
The Celts and All That

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

“Myths, facts, and fascinating history about this legendary ancient culture, in a fun, illustrated volume for students.”

24 Hours in Ancient Rome: A Day in the Life of the People Who Lived There
137 CE, Rome, fiction with nonfiction quotes (primary source material)

Note: This book has 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 book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s also available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

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.”
Outcast
Sometime around 50-400 CE, Europe, fiction

Outcast

*A free teacher’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s also available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). You can also check it out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“From author Rosemary Sutcliff, author of the classic tale The Eagle of the Ninth, comes Outcast, the tale of an orphan boy in the ancient world.

When a Roman ship is wrecked off the coast of Britain, an infant, Beric, is the only survivor, saved by members of a British tribe. They name him Beric and bring him up among them, until the time comes when they can ignore his ancestry no longer. Then Beric is cast out from the only home he has ever known and forced to find his one place in a treacherous world.”
Augustus Caesar's World
44 BCE – 14 CE, Various parts of the world, fiction based on true events

Note: I skip the few religious references in this book such as the sections on Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha, etc. (they are not scheduled in). I am a Christian, but don’t like what I personally believe are some inaccuracies in how things are quoted and/or presented. The other religions are covered more accurately via our geography curriculum. I focus on the secular history portions of the book only (and skip ALL religions mentioned). I do not consider this a religious or Christian book.
Augustus Caesar’s World

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“In Augustus Caesar’s World, Foster traces the seven major civilizations of Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, China, India, and Persia from 4500 B.C. to the time of Augustus Caesar in 44 B.C. and culminating in 14 A.D. Within this timeframe readers will learn not only the stories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony, but also the historian Livy and how Virgil came to write the Aeneid. Foster will then take her readers all over the world to learn what was happening at this same time in China, Persia, India and so on.

Foster’s detailed pen and ink drawings are fresh and appealing, and her illustrated timelines give a clear sense of chronology, enriching the engaging text”
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine
129-216 CE (and other time periods like the Middle Ages), Roman Empire, Galen (and medicine)
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine

*A FREE study guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

Since Galen’s teachings were fundamental to medical beliefs for over 1000 years (especially concerning the body’s “four humors”), I’ve included this book for a quick and informative read.

“We know about Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. But we owe nearly as much to Galen, a physician born in 129 A.D. at the height of the Roman Empire. Galen’s acute diagnoses of patients, botanical wisdom, and studies of physiology were recorded in numerous books, handed down through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Not least, Galen passed on the medical tradition of respect for life. In this fascinating biography for young people, Jeanne Bendick brings Galen’s Roman world to life with the clarity, humor, and outstanding content we enjoyed in Archimedes and the Door to Science. “
The Last Kingdom
9th century England, Saxons & Danes, fiction

There are 13 (!) books in this series, so if your student likes this one, there is plenty more to read through. 🙂

Note: This book contains descriptive violence, some cursing (not too frequent), and references to sex as well as rape (the sexual content is not too graphic or descriptive in my opinion). The main character is a pagan.

I do NOT recommend the video series as a replacement for the book because of the nudity and sex (unless you are on hand with a fast forward button). That sort of content is toned down in the book compared to the video series.

Middle school substitution:
Raiders from the Sea
Guts & Glory: The Vikings
The Last Kingdom (Saxon Tales Book 1)

*A free study guide for this book (written for high schoolers) is linked in the schedule.

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here. This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). You can also check it out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.
The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.
This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.”

The Viking Hondbók: Eat, Dress, and Fight Like a Warrior
9th century , Vikings, nonfiction

Note: There is a mild sexual reference (no graphic details) and some mentions of violence.






The Viking Hondbók: Eat, Dress, and Fight Like a Warrior

“Learn what it was like to live as a Norseman in this fun and fascinating look at Vikings and the Viking Age.

Vikings, those ancient Norse seafarers, have inspired plenty of pop culture phenomena, from the A&E hit show Vikings to Thor: Ragnarök, to the ever-expanding world of Viking LARP. Known for being skilled craftspeople, accomplished merchants, hardworking farmers, and masters of the sea, the Vikings were a complex and captivating people.

Inspired by the legendary legacy of the Vikings, author Kjersti Egerdahl presents a compelling and entertaining guide exploring who the Vikings were and how they lived, from ancient Norse daily life to battles and adventuring. You’ll learn how Vikings ate, dressed, and fought, and even how they weaved the perfect beard braid and built warships and weapons. Interspersed throughout are revealing historical anecdotes about Viking conquests, famous warriors, mythology and afterlife, and much more.”
Beowulf
Old English epic poem, unknown composure date, manuscript found dating to around 975, graphic novel

Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.
Beowulf

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

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.

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
1100s, Japan, nonfiction/biography

Note: There is violence in this book (a mention of seppuku – ritual suicide, battles, etc.) and a couple very mild PG sexual references.
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

*A free discussion and activity guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). You can also check it out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.

This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family—and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.”
Chose one of the following two options:
Option 1:
The Tudors: A Very Peculiar History
1485-1600s, England, nonfiction

The Tudors, A Very Peculiar History

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). You can also check it out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. An older version of this book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

This is an easy-to-read, quick overview of the Tudors that is stuffed with interesting tidbits.

Note: This book mentions beheadings and executions (especially in chapter 3 under the section “Off with Their Heads”) and the accusation of adultery (no graphic details).

“The Tudors were an odd bunch, more odd than their subjects, perhaps. When they weren’t beheading wives and enemies they were threatening to, or going around earning themselves nicknames like ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘The 9 Day Queen’. The Tudors: A Very Peculiar History tells the story of the Tudor monarchs, their castles, their lives and their subjects in a time when it was fashionable to slash up your clothes for that “fresh from battle” look. “
Option 2:
Terrifying Tudors
1485-1600s, England, nonfiction

Horrible Histories: Terrifying Tudors (newspaper edition)

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

This is an easy-to-read, quick overview of the Tudors.

Note: This book mentions beheadings and other similar facts.
The Seventh Sun
Fiction that incorporates Mesoamerican myths

Note: This book mentions human and animal sacrifice. Proceed with caution if you don’t want your student to read kissing scenes/romance. The main characters are saving sex until marriage. They sleep (as in snooze) together one time after kissing. The publisher says the reading age for this book is 12-17.
The Seventh Sun

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Rich in imagination and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Maya people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.”

”Mesoamerican mythology gets a long overdue epic fantasy treatment…Though debut author Forbes uses Aztec mythology as her inspiration, she takes poetic license with the actual history and geography of the Aztec empire…In the vein of Percy Jackson, take these wanderings from the source material with a grain of salt and simply enjoy the captivating story. A page-turning adventure that…highlights a rich and relatively unknown mythological heritage that begs to be explored.” —Kirkus Reviews

”Reading this book is like time-traveling to the Inca and Mayan empire. You are completely immersed in the culture with historical accuracy. Every moment puts you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what the fate of Mayana and the other princesses will be as well as the Chicome people as their sun appears to be fading. I can’t wait for the next book!” —Seattle Book Review
Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs
Before 1299-1620s, Aztecs, nonfiction

Note: Human sacrifices and violence are mentioned. There is also mild sexual content (mention of multiple wives, forced prostitution, etc. – no crude details).

Middle school substitution for this book: History News: The Aztec News
Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). You can also check it out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“In November 1519, Hernando Cortés walked along a causeway leading to the capital of the Aztec kingdom and came face to face with Moctezuma. That story–and the story of what happened afterwards–has been told many times, but always following the narrative offered by the Spaniards. After all,
we have been taught, it was the Europeans who held the pens. But the Native Americans were intrigued by the Roman alphabet and, unbeknownst to the newcomers, they used it to write detailed histories in their own language of Nahuatl. Until recently, these sources remained obscure, only partially
translated, and rarely consulted by scholars.

For the first time, in Fifth Sun, the history of the Aztecs is offered in all its complexity based solely on the texts written by the indigenous people themselves. Camilla Townsend presents an accessible and humanized depiction of these native Mexicans, rather than seeing them as the exotic, bloody
figures of European stereotypes. The conquest, in this work, is neither an apocalyptic moment, nor an origin story launching Mexicans into existence. The Mexica people had a history of their own long before the Europeans arrived and did not simply capitulate to Spanish culture and colonization.
Instead, they realigned their political allegiances, accommodated new obligations, adopted new technologies, and endured.

This engaging revisionist history of the Aztecs, told through their own words, explores the experience of a once-powerful people facing the trauma of conquest and finding ways to survive, offering an empathetic interpretation for experts and non-specialists alike.”
1493 for Young People: From Columbus's Voyage to Globalization
Various time periods and locations, nonfiction

Note: Older students (and fast readers) may want to try reading the adult version of this book: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. It is unscheduled. You can plug it in when the young people’s version is scheduled. I did not make content notes for the adult version.
1493 for Young People: From Columbus’s Voyage to Globalization

*A free discussion and activity guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

1493 for Young People by Charles C. Mann tells the gripping story of globalization through travel, trade, colonization, and migration from its beginnings in the fifteenth century to the present. How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of sixteenth-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement.

Mann’s language is as plainspoken and clear as it is provocative, his research and erudition vast, his conclusions ones that will stimulate the critical thinking of young people. 1493 for Young People provides tools for wrestling with the most pressing issues of today, and will empower young people as they struggle with a changing world.”
Books about Chinese history
220-1912, China, graphic novels, nonfiction

Note: The Way Forward: From Early Republic to People’s Republic (1912–1949) (Understanding China Through Comics) will be published in 2022. I will schedule it in, when it’s available.
Division to Unification in Imperial China: The Three Kingdoms to the Tang Dynasty (220-907)

Barbarians and the Birth of Chinese Identity: The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms to the Yuan Dynasty (907 – 1368)

The Making of Modern China: The Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty (1368-1912)
This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link).

(Understanding China Through Comics Books 2-4)

I like this series of graphic novels. They make the history of China visual and easy-to-digest. The first book is scheduled in Guest Hollow’s Geography & Cultures Curriculum.

“These graphic novels cover all the great Chinese dynasties, upheavals, population movements, uprisings, invastions, and political alliances and rivalries that have produced the China we know today.”

Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine
The history of various drugs/medicines

Note: Chapter 3 mentions a date rape drug (which is, in my opinion, a good opportunity for a discussion). Chapter 7 is about the Pill and Viagra. That chapter is not scheduled.

Middle school substitution:
Exploring the History of Medicine
*Exploring the History of Medicine is a Christian book.
Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Behind every landmark drug is a story. It could be an oddball researcher’s genius insight, a catalyzing moment in geopolitical history, a new breakthrough technology, or an unexpected but welcome side effect discovered during clinical trials. Piece together these stories, as Thomas Hager does in this remarkable, century-spanning history, and you can trace the evolution of our culture and the practice of medicine. “

Choose one of the following 3 options:
Option 1:
The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined
The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

1400s, Joan of Arc and France, the Hundred Years’ War, fiction (novel in verse)

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

Note: This book contains: violence and mild sexual references. Rape is mentioned as a possible threat (no details).

The Language of Fire is a lyrical, dark, and moving look at the life of Joan of Arc, who as a teen girl in the fifteenth century commanded an army and helped crown a king of France.

This extraordinary verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill dares to imagine how an ordinary girl became a great leader, and ultimately saved a nation.

Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose—to save France.
Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. She runs away from home, dresses in men’s clothes, and convinces an army that she will lead France to victory.

As a girl in a man’s world, at a time when women truly had no power, Jehanne faced constant threats and violence from the men around her. Despite the impossible odds, Jehanne became a fearless warrior who has inspired generations.”
Option 2:
Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc

1400s, Joan of Arc and France, the Hundred Years’ War, graphic novel

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“Acclaimed graphic-novel creators Tony Lee and Sam Hart present a dynamic retelling of the heroic and tragic tale of Joan of Arc.

It is 1424. France and England have been fighting for more than a hundred years, and Jehanne D’Arc experiences her first saintly vision. Even her parents think she’s delirious—until her next vision allows them to save the village. From a small town to the besieged city of Orleans and on to the cathedral of Reims, Joan follows her faith and leads the French to victory after victory. But not everyone believes in the divine voices she hears. Some call her a heretic and want her burned at the stake. From the creators of Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood and Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur comes a visually striking, action-packed story of a young woman facing the men who lead her country, her enemies’ deadly arrows, and her own fears, to become a heroine whose name would be remembered for centuries to come.’
Option 3:
The Magna Charta
1200s, England, fiction based on real events
The Magna Charta

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here. You can also check it out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“It was Ben Franklin who coined the phrase, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” and if any historical drama fulfills that maxim, it is surely the saga of King John and the drafting of the Magna Charta. Out of the rich turbulence of English history, June 15, 1215 stands apart as a significant milestone in the progress of human liberty. On that day, a brave band of barons, led by the noble Stephen Langton, and calling themselves the Army of God, stood up to the wicked King John and demanded that he restore the ancient laws of England that he had so unabashedly trampled underfoot.

The era is a rollicking one filled with colorful characters like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Richard the Lionheart, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, and many more. Newbery and Caldecott medal-winner James Daugherty brings his own passion for freedom’s story to this wonderful saga of the thirteenth century. Daugherty devotes the last part of the book to a history of the “documents” of freedom, what he calls the “Children of the Magna Charta”, demonstrating how liberty has progressed over the ages. “
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition
Stories compiled during the 1800s, based on old folk stories (some of them going back thousands of years)

Note: There is violence and/or sexual innuendo in some of the stories.
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition

*A free study guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

Students will read selections from this book when learning about Romanticism during the early 1800’s (they will not read the entire book -some may want to, though!). The Grimm brothers were the quintessential Romantic nationalists.  Many Romantics like them believed that nations had spirits, which were invested with the core identity of their “people.”  The point of the Grimm brothers’ work was reaching back into the remote past to grasp the “essence” of what it meant to be “German.”  At the time, there was no country called Germany, and yet romantic nationalists like the Grimms believed that there was a kind of German soul that lived in old folk songs, the German language, and German traditions.  They worked to preserve those things before they were further “corrupted” by the modern world.


“Zipes, who edited and translated the new collection, has done splendid work, first in arguing for the early tales’ significance. . . . Zipes’ most important achievement, though, is simply putting the complete, uncensored tales before readers to judge for themselves. . . . The Original Folk and Fairy Tales―beautifully illustrated by Andrea Dezsö, by the way―isn’t the Disneyfied version of the Brothers Grimm that we all grew up with. But for readers whose tastes lean more to, say, Tim Burton, wading into the collection might feel like stumbling into an agreeably dark and Gothic forest.”—Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Blades of Freedom (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #10): A Tale of Haiti, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase
Haitian Revolution, 1791-1804, graphic novel

Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.
Blades of Freedom (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #10): A Tale of Haiti, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook.

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Discover the story of the Haitian Revolution—the largest uprising of enslaved people in history—in this installment of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series
 
Why would Napoleon Bonaparte sell the Louisiana Territory to the recently formed United States of America? It all comes back to the island nation of Haiti, which Napoleon had planned to use as a base for trade with North America. While Napoleon climbed the ranks of the French army and government, enslaved people were organizing in Haiti under the leadership of François Mackandal, Dutty Boukman, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and Touissant L’Ouverture, who in 1791 led the largest uprising of enslaved people in history—the Haitian Revolution.”
Pride and Prejudice
1795-1810, England, fiction
Pride and Prejudice

*A free teacher’s guide and a study guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

Any version of the unabridged book will do. I used the cover for this version here, because I think it’s pretty, lol.

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“Celebrated as one of the most famous and influential books of all time, “Pride and Prejudice” stands as a literary masterpiece that has touched millions’ hearts. 
This touching tale uses a delightful sense of humor and an honest look at the customs and rules of the 19th-century upper-class society to grapple with essential questions about marriage, economic inequality, reputation, and above all… true love.”*Free study and teacher’s guides for this book are linked in the schedule.*Free study and teacher’s guides for this book are linked in the schedule.
A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England
1775-1820, England, nonfiction

Note: Prostitutes are mentioned (p. 112 – no graphic details)
A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Immerse yourself in the vanished world inhabited by Austen’s contemporaries. Packed with detail and anecdotes, this is an intimate exploration of how the middle and upper classes lived from 1775, the year of Austen’s birth, to the coronation of George IV in 1820. Sue Wilkes skillfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature, and archives. 
 Were all unmarried affluent men really “in want of a wife”?
Where would a young lady seek adventure?
Would “taking the waters” at Bath and other spas kill or cure you?
Was Lizzy Bennet bitten by bed-bugs while traveling?
What would you wear to a country ball or a dance at Almack’s?
Would Mr. Darcy have worn a corset?
What hidden horrors lurked in elegant Regency houses?
 
“A delight. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that paints such a vivid picture of daily life in late 18th and early 19th century England. It makes a perfect companion for Austen’s beloved novels.” —The Heritage Traveller
How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life
Mid to late 1800s, England, nonfiction

Note: This book has some frank discussions about sex in chapter 15 (the last chapter) “Behind the Bedroom Door.” That chapter is NOT scheduled. There is also a sentence about how some sick adults were fed by a woman directly from her breast and that this was an old and accepted nursing technique (p. 274). Sanitary napkins are discussed at the end of chapter 1. Page 73 has a drawing of a nude female’s torso to show how a corset affected the waist.
How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

Students will NOT read this entire book (it’s over 400 pages and fairly detailed). Instead, they are encouraged to browse and read the parts that interest them beyond what is scheduled (but please read the note below the book cover to the left before handing it over).

“Lauded by critics, How to Be a Victorian is an enchanting manual for the insatiably curious, the “the cheapest time-travel machine you’ll find” (NPR). Readers have fallen in love with Ruth Goodman, an historian who believes in getting her hands dirty. Drawing on her own firsthand adventures living in re-created Victorian conditions, Goodman serves as our bustling guide to nineteenth-century life. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, this charming, illustrative work “imagines the Victorians as intrepid survivors” (New Republic) of the most perennially fascinating era of British history. From lacing into a corset after a round of calisthenics to slipping opium to the little ones, Goodman’s account of Victorian life “makes you feel as if you could pass as a native” (The New Yorker). 131 illustrations.”
Black Ships: Illustrated Japanese History--The Americans Arrive
1853-1854, Japan, manga, nonfiction

Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.
Black Ships: Illustrated Japanese History–The Americans Arrive

“On the 14th of July, 1853, the USS Plymouth, Mississippi, Saratoga, and Susquehanna sailed into Yokosuka, Japan. The mysterious “Black Ships” had arrived.

In this stirring account of a pivotal moment in modern Japanese history, award-winning author and illustrator team Sean Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima tell the story of the four American “Black Ships” that arrived in Japan in 1853 under the command of Commodore Perry to force Japan to open up to trade. The book compellingly portrays the apprehension and confusion of the Japanese people witnessing the Black Ships steaming into view over the horizon; the anxious response of the samurai; the cat-and-mouse game that ensued; the protracted negotiations; and the eventual agreement signed on March 31st, 1854, as the Treaty of Kanagawa.

Historically accurate and with an easy-to-read visual format, Black Ships conveys the personalities of the key figures in the drama: on one side, Commodore Perry and his captains, and on the other, Shogunate officials Abe Masahiro and Hayashi Akira. Wilson and Shimojima vividly capture the atmosphere of threat and change that pervaded Japan during Bakumatsu, the final years of the Edo period, as the feudal Tokugawa shogunate took its last breaths and gave way to the new Meiji government.”
Boxers and Saints graphic novel boxed set
Boxer Rebellion in China, 1899-1901, graphic novel set

Note: Violence is portrayed in a graphic novel format.
Boxers & Saints Boxed Set

*Free study and teacher’s guides for this book are linked in the schedule.

Boxers (the first book) is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

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.”
World War I: The Definitive Visual History
World War 1, nonfiction

Note: This book contains: violence

Middle school option: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (A World War I Tale) which is scheduled in our Geography & Cultures curriculum
World War I: The Definitive Visual History

Look inside this book here (click on the thumbnails).

World War I: The Definitive Visual History takes you from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the Treaty of Versailles. Each chapter begins with a map and visual timeline to set the scene for the events to follow, highlighting when, where, and why things happened and changed history as they did.

This is an engaging and visually stunning guide for anyone interested in learning more about the First World War, offering a true understanding of a war that changed the course of history.”
Guts & Glory: World War II
World War 2, nonfiction

This book contains: violence
Guts & Glory: World War II

*A free educator’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

The Guts and Glory books were written for kids and reluctant readers but are meaty enough that even adults and history buffs have enjoyed and learned from them. I concur with the multitude of reviews – these are entertaining books that help students (and even adults) retain what they are reading. I’ve scheduled in the one for World War II to help students get through this difficult topic with a minimum of effort.

Choose one of the following two books:

Option 1 is a harrowing, yet profound book. This is my #1 recommendation of the 2 choices. The violence mentioned is much more graphic than option 2. It’s also a longer book. Out of the Holocaust books I’ve read for this age group, it’s one of the most detailed.


Option 2 is probably more appropriate if you are using this program with a middle schooler or sensitive student.
Option: 1
A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust
A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust

1920s-1940s, Poland and Germany, nonfiction

Note: This book mentions graphic violence and sensitive subjects.

From National Book Award Finalist Albert Marrin comes the moving story of Janusz Korczak, the heroic Polish Jewish doctor who devoted his life to children, perishing with them in the Holocaust.

This is not just a book about Korczak, it’s also about the Warsaw Ghetto, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Holocaust, Poland and the Polish during the war, the Nazis, Hitler, and more. I like how primary source poems and songs are woven into the narrative.
Option: 2
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow

1920s-1940s, Germany, nonfiction

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

Note: This book mentions violence and sensitive subjects.

“In this Newbery Honor and Sibert Honor award-winning book, Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores the riveting and often chilling story of Germany’s powerful Hitler Youth groups.

By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. It would become the largest youth group in history. Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany’s young people. Her research includes telling interviews with surviving Hitler Youth members.

“I begin with the young. We older ones are used up . . . But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these men and boys! What material! With them, I can create a new world.” — Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg 1933″
I wanted a book that covered less known WW2 topics, so I chose these.
Choose one of the following four books:
Option 1:
When My Name Was Keoko
World War II, Korea, fiction

When My Name Was Keoko

*A free study guide and a free teacher’s guide for this book are linked in the schedule.

“Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee stays behind, entrusted with the life-and-death secrets of a family at war.”
Option 2:
Under the Broken Sky
World War II, rural Manchuria, novel-in-verse (fiction)

Under the Broken Sky

“A beautifully told, award-winning novel-in-verse about a Japanese orphan’s experience in occupied rural Manchuria during World War II.

Twelve-year-old Natsu and her family live a quiet farm life in Manchuria, near the border of the Soviet Union. But the life they’ve known begins to unravel when her father is recruited to the Japanese army, and Natsu and her little sister, Asa, are left orphaned and destitute.

Literary and historically insightful, this is one of the great untold stories of WWII.”
Option 3:
Between Shades of Gray
Between Shades of Gray

Alternate: Between Shades of Gray: The Graphic Novel

WW2, fiction

This book is available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

Note: This book mentions: violence, death, and sexual content (a girl’s breast is grabbed, and it is known that a woman is prostituting herself to save her son’s life)

*A free reader’s guide (with discussion questions) is included at the end of the book. We also link to a free educator’s guide in the schedule.

“Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?”

Option 4:
This is my favorite of the 4 books.
Salt to the Sea
Salt to the Sea

WW2, fiction based on real events

Note: This book contains: violence, death

*A free study guide is linked to in the schedule.

“Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept . . .”

Choose one of the following two options:
Option 1:
A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War
A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War

Cold War, nonfiction

Note: There is cursing (via quotes of famous figures) and violence (including factual descriptions of torture and/or killing) in this book. Rape is mentioned, but not described. The persecution of homosexuals is mentioned in the chapter about McCarthyism.

This is a book about American history, but quite a bit of Cold War world history is included for context.

“In twentieth century America, no power–and no threat–loomed larger than the communist superpower of the Soviet Union. America saw in the dreams of the Soviet Union the overthrow of the US government, and the end of democracy and freedom. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the United States attempted to use deep economic and racial disparities in American culture to win over members and sympathizers.

From the miscarriage of justice in the Scotsboro Boys case, to the tragedy of the Rosenbergs to the theatrics of the Hollywood Ten to the menace of the Joseph McCarthy and his war hearings, Albert Marrin examines a unique time in American history…and explores both how some Americans were lured by the ideals of communism without understanding its reality and how fear of communist infiltration at times caused us to undermine our most deeply held values. The questions he raises ask: What is worth fighting for? And what are you willing to sacrifice to keep it?”
Option 2:
Cold War Correspondent (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #11): A Korean War Tale
Cold War Correspondent (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #11): A Korean War Tale

Korean War, graphic novel

I love all the Nathan Hale books, and I’m an adult. Many of our customers have shared that their teens are a fan of this series as well. 🙂

“In 1950, Marguerite Higgins (1920–1966) was made bureau chief of the Far East Asia desk for the New York Herald Tribune. Tensions were high on the Korean peninsula, where a border drawn after WWII split the country into North and South. When the North Korean army crossed the border with Soviet tanks, it was war. Marguerite was there when the Communists captured Seoul. She fled with the refugees heading south, but when the bridges were blown over the Han River, she was trapped in enemy territory. Her eyewitness account of the invasion was a newspaper smash hit. She risked her life in one dangerous situation after another––all for the sake of good story. Then she was told that women didn’t belong on the frontlines. The United States Army officially ordered her out of Korea. She appealed to General Douglas MacArthur, and he personally lifted the ban on female war correspondents, which allowed her the chance to report on many of the major events of the Korean War. “



Fatherland: A Family History
1940s – 1970s, Balkans, graphic novel, biography

Note: This book features violence, a small bit of cursing, a mention of domestic violence, nudity of young male children on a page about Jasenovac (a system of detention and concentration camps), a boy hurting an animal.
Fatherland: A Family History

New York Times Bestseller
An NPR Best Book of the Year
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection
Winner of the Doug Wright Award for Best Book
Shortlisted for the PACA Literary Award

“A heartfelt and extremely absorbing examination of exile, reconciliation and destructive politics…as vividly immediate as any headline.” ―Rachel Cooke, Guardian

Standing alongside Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Joe Sacco’s Palestine, Nina Bunjevac’s Fatherland renders the searing history of the Balkans in the twentieth century through the experiences of the author and her family. Nina Bunjevac provides a sweeping account of the former Yugoslavia under Fascism and Communism, telling an unforgettable true story of how the scars of history are borne by family and nation alike.”
Choose one of the following two options:
Option 1:
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

1970s, Cambodia, memoir

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

Note:
This is an intense and emotional book with some adult content (an attempted but unsuccessful rape on p. 180 where the character mentions the soldier’s penis), infrequent cursing, and violence.


*A free teacher’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“From a childhood survivor of the Cambodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit.
One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing Ung’s family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.
Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung’s powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.”
Option 2:
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
Red Scarf Girl 

1966, China, Cultural Revolution, autobiography

This book is available on Scribd. Click here (get 60 days for free when you join via our link). It’s also available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. You can also check it for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

Note: This book contains: violence (people are beaten), suicide (not graphic), minor cursing

*A free teacher’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“It’s 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, popularity, and a bright future in Communist China. But it’s also the year that China’s leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li’s world begins to fall apart.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, this page-turning, honest, and deeply personal autobiography will appeal to readers of all ages”.
There are many teacher’s guides online for this book. Click here for one.
Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63
Saigon, early 1960s, graphic novel (autobiography/true story)

Note: There is some mild sexual content (a boy uses the word “titties”, etc.) There is also violence.

There is a 2nd novel that follows this one (which is NOT scheduled): Saigon Calling: London 1963-75. If your student wants to read it, preview for some sexual content (a young man’s room has centerfolds taped to the wall), drug use (a teen smokes pot), and violence (including a suicide), etc.

Middle school substitution:
Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam
Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

I thought this book was interesting (and unique) because it’s about the beginning of the Vietnam War through the eyes of a family living in Vietnam. You get a different perspective than the usual books about this war.

“This riveting, beautifully produced graphic memoir tells the story of the early years of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of a young boy named Marco, the son of a Vietnamese diplomat and his French wife. The book opens in America, where the boy’s father works for the South Vietnam embassy; there the boy is made to feel self-conscious about his otherness thanks to schoolmates who play war games against the so-called “Commies.” The family is called back to Saigon in 1961, where the father becomes Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem’s personal interpreter; as the growing conflict between North and South intensifies, so does turmoil within Marco’s family, as his mother struggles to grapple with bipolar disorder.

Visually powerful and emotionally potent, Such a Lovely Little War is both a large-scale and intimate study of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of the Vietnamese: a turbulent national history intertwined with an equally traumatic familial one.”
Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes
1989, China, graphic novel based on a true event

Note: This book contains: violence.
Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription.

“Follow the story of China’s infamous June Fourth Incident—otherwise known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre—from the first-hand account of a young sociology teacher who witnessed it all. Over 30 years ago, on April 15th, 1989, the occupation of Tiananmen Square began. As tens of thousands of students and concerned Chinese citizens took to the streets demanding political reforms, the fate of China’s communist system was unknown. When reports of soldiers marching into Beijing to suppress the protests reverberated across Western airwaves, the world didn’t know what to expect. Lun Zhang was just a young sociology teacher then, in charge of management and safety service for the protests. Now, in this powerful graphic novel, Zhang pairs with French journalist and Asia specialist Adrien Gombeaud and artist Ameziane, to share his unvarnished memory of this crucial moment in world history for the first time. Providing comprehensive coverage of the 1989 protests that ended in bloodshed and drew global scrutiny, Zhang includes context for these explosive events, sympathetically depicting a world of discontented, idealistic, activist Chinese youth rarely portrayed in Western media. Many voices and viewpoints are on display, from Western journalists to Chinese administrators. Describing how the hope of a generation was shattered when authorities opened fire on protestors and bystanders, Tiananmen 1989 shows the way in which contemporary China shaped itself.”

Materials for Optional Projects
Please refer to the list of projects in the supply section of the printable schedule to determine if you need any of the following (based on what you/your student would like to do). This list does NOT include all necessary supplies for projects. See the printable supply list that comes with the curriculum for additional supplies.

Popsicle sticks
Craft sticks

Square dowels
1/4 inch square dowels
India ink
Waterproof Indian ink
Tempera cakes
Tempera cakes (not the tempera paint in tubes)
Charcoal pencils
Charcoal pencils
Emmer flour
Emmer flour
Air Dry Clay
Air dry clay
Mosaic kit
Choose a mosaic kit that appeals to your student.
Drawing compass
Drawing compass
Trebuchet
Choose one of the following kits to assemble: trebuchet, catapult, or siege tower.
Speedball Super Value Block Printing Starter Kit
Speedball Block Printing Starter Kit
Any of the Speedball block printing kits will work.
LEGO Ideas Medieval Blacksmith 21325 Building Kit; Impressive Build-and-Display Model for Adults
Optional: LEGO Ideas Medieval Blacksmith 21325 Building Kit; Impressive Build-and-Display Model for Adults

LIGHTAILING Light Set for Medieval Blacksmith Building Blocks Model – Led Light Kit Compatible with Lego 21325

If your teen needs an excuse to still build with Legos, this is an awesome kit that fits with this year’s studies. 😉
Paint Your Own Butterfly Holocaust Kit
Paint Your Own WWII Holocaust Butterfly Kit

Art In History’s “Butterflies of Terezin” project focuses on one of the most tragic events in history, the Holocaust. This is a story of teachers and students their lives and ultimate demise, in a Czech ghetto Theresienstadt. The butterflies are brought to life in their honor. 

Student Kit contains:
8″ Bisque Tile
Acrylic Paints
2 Plates
Sponge
Paint Brush
Craft Paper
Lesson Plan Download ( Lesson contains: history of the artifact, history of the time period, full color map, designs & motifs, and step-by-step decorating instructions)
1 Flash Card Featuring the Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
Butterfly Common Name
First Reference Date and by Whom
Name in Czech, German, and English
Habitat and Food
Stencil Cross Reference
Decorating Instructions
1 Stencil with Cross Reference to Flash Card  & 1 Non-Waxed piece of Transfer Paper

Electronic Resources

Note: These items are TOTALLY optional. We understand that some families may not allow their children to play electronic games for various reasons. Just skip the related assignments in the schedule, if this is the case. 🙂

Minecraft Egyptian Mythology Mash-upOptional: Minecraft Egyptian Mythology Mash-up
(Purchase via the Minecraft Marketplace.)

This is for an optional assignment. You need the Minecraft base game for it to work.

Other fun Minecraft add-ons you may want to consider:
Free: Mount Olympus (by Razzleberries)
Free: Stonehill Castle (by Fall Studios)
Free: Gendry’s Tavern (by Fall Studios)
Greek Mythology Mash-Up
Norse Mythology Mash-Up (by Minecraft)
Chinese Mythology Mash-Up (by Minecraft)
Civilization VIUNSCHEDULED: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Available for PC, Switch, Xbox, Playstation, etc.

“Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Explore a new land, research technology, conquer your enemies, and go head-to-head with history’s most renowned leaders as you attempt to build the greatest civilization the world has ever known.”

Scheduled Videos
This list doesn’t include the free videos, movies, and documentaries linked in the schedule (full-length History Channel, National Geographic, and other documentaries, along with shorter YouTube videos).
The following videos are videos you may need to pay for, in order to view/stream them.

China's Dragon Emperor
Documentary about Zin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin dynasty of China, 247-221 BCE
China’s Dragon Emperor

This documentary is also available via The Smithsonian Channel (online) if you have a cable TV subscription with this channel.

“The story of Qin Shi Huang is as epic in life as it is in death. Crowned as a boy king over 2,000 years ago, he grew to unify China for the first time, establishing a new form of government, uniform laws, and a single writing system that is still in use today. He also ordered the construction of a royal tomb that is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza and is guarded by a massive army of terracotta warriors. Explore the transformative life and magnificent afterlife of China’s first emperor.”
Ancient China From AboveAncient China From Above

Disney+ may also have this series. A free episode is linked in the schedule.

“Archaeologist Dr. Allan Maca leads a team of intrepid experts on an epic adventure to solve mysteries, explore secrets and reveal amazing wonders of Ancient China like never before.”
Ben Hur
29 CE, Jerusalem, movie
Ben-Hur (1959)

“A member of the Jewish nobility living in Jerusalem, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) lives a religious life and peacefully opposes the tyrannical occupation of Judea by Rome.”
China's Emperor of Evil
Documentary about Wu Zetian during the Wu Zhou dynasty of China, 624-705
China’s Emperor of Evil

This documentary is also available via The Smithsonian Channel (online) if you have a cable TV subscription with this channel.

“In China’s Valley of the Kings, there stands a tall, carved stone. It honors the resting place of a woman named Wu Zetian, who rose from concubine to become China’s only female emperor. For more than a millennia, history claimed she killed her own children, held power through a ruthless rule of terror, and brought China to the edge of ruin. But are any of these claims true? Join the investigation as we revisit old evidence and reveal new truths, using artifacts and forensic tools to tell the true story of China’s Emperor of Evil.”
Angkor: Land of the Gods
Documentary about Angkor Wat which was built in the early 12th century in Cambodia
Angkor: Land of the Gods

This documentary is also available via The Smithsonian Channel (online) if you have a cable TV subscription with this channel.

Buddhists, Hindus, and hundreds of thousands of travelers from around the globe flock to Cambodia every year to experience the grandeur of Angkor. Its famous temples were built over the span of five centuries by the rulers of the Khmer Empire, and endure today as one of Earth’s greatest archaeological wonders. Join us as we shed light on one of the most enigmatic, mesmerizing civilizations in the history of mankind. We peel away the myth and legend to uncover the hidden story behind the creation of this ancient city.
The Lion in Winter (1968)
1183, France, classic movie

Note: Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie.
The Lion in Winter (1968)

“An ageing King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) looks to name his successor, however, palace politics create animosity amongst the Royals, with perilous consequences.”
The King
The Hundred Years’ War, Henry V, The Battle of Agincourt

Note: This movie contains violence and a brief scene of sensuality. Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie.
The King (Netflix)

Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.
Marie Antoinette
1770+, France, movie

Note: Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie. There is brief nudity.
Marie Antoinette

“An electrifying yet intimate re-telling of the turbulent life of history’s favorite villainess, Marie Antoinette, who married France’s young and indifferent King Louis XVI.”
Amazing Grace
1797, England, movie
Amazing Grace

“The idealist William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.”
Master and Commander
1805 during the Napoleonic Wars

Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie.
Master and Commander

“During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.”
Les Miserables (2012)
1830s France, musical/movie

Click here for the parent’s guide to this movie.
Les Miserables (2012)

“In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.”

Victorian Slum House
Victorian age (1837-1901 time period)
Victorian Slum House

“In this landmark living history series, a Victorian tenement in London’s East End has been painstakingly brought back to life. Host Michael Mosley joins a group of 21st century families as they move in and experience the tough living and working conditions of the Victorian poor, discovering the extraordinary story of how the Victorian East End changed Britain’s attitude to poverty forever.”
The Last Samurai
1870s, Japan, movie based on parts of a true story

Click here for a Christian review of this movie that lists possible objections.
The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai is rated R – mostly for the violence. I would feel totally comfortable with a mature teen watching it (but that’s me), especially because there are no sex scenes. It’s loosely based on a true story and does a terrific job of showing aspects of Japanese samurai culture / bushidō. Bushidō continues to resonate in modern Japanese culture. This movie illustrates it beautifully.
PBS Victoria
1800s, England, series based on a true story

Note for this series: There is an adulterous affair, there are two men who are attracted to each other and kiss, and 2 bare backsides are shown from a distance as males go skinny dipping in season 2. Click here to read parent reviews on commonsensemedia.org for more details and possible objectionable material. Season 1 has the mildest content. It’s the only season I scheduled in.
Victoria

In 1837, a diminutive, neglected teenager is crowned Queen Victoria, navigates the scandal, corruption, and political intrigues of the Court, and soon rises to become the most powerful woman in the world.

This series has 3 seasons. If you like the first season, you can watch the rest!
North & South
1851, England
North and South

“North & South is a British television historical drama, produced by the BBC and originally broadcast in four episodes on BBC One in November and December 2004. It follows the story of Margaret Hale, a young woman from southern England who has to move to the North after her father decides to leave the clergy. The family struggles to adjust itself to the industrial town’s customs, especially after meeting the Thorntons, a proud family of cotton mill owners who seem to despise their social inferiors. The story explores the issues of class and gender, as Margaret’s sympathy for the town mill workers clashes with her growing attraction to John Thornton.”
Gandhi
1893-1948 India, movie based on a true story
Gandhi

“A critical masterpiece, GANDHI is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom.”
The Last Emperor
1908-1980s (mostly earlier) China, movie based on a true story

Note: This movie contains: a woman nursing a baby and later a young child, mild sexual content (see the link below for details – PG-13 stuff), eunuchs, opium use, violence
Click here for a Common Sense Media review.
The Last Emperor

I watched this movie as a teen (and again as an adult). It’s a beautiful film that covers six decades of Chinese history.

“Bernardo Bertolucciâ’s The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated – quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast.”
War Horse
WWI, movie
War Horse

“Steven Spielberg’s epic World War I drama centers on a young man who embarks on an extraordinary journey to be reunited with his horse.”
Downton Abbey
1912-1914 (Season 1), England, PBS costume drama

Click here for a parent’s guide to this show.
Downton Abbey

“The lives of the Crawley family and Downton Abbey’s servants are changed forever when the sinking of the Titanic leaves the estate without its heir and his son.”
Chariots Of Fire
1924, England, movie
Chariots of Fire

Two British runners are driven by personal compulsions to win at the 1924 Olympics.
The Sound of Music
1938, Austria, movie
The Sound of Music

“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s cinematic treasure, “The Sound of Music” is the winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In this true-life story, Julie Andrews lights up the screen as Maria, a spirited young Austrian woman who leaves the convent to become a governess for Captain von Trapp’s (Christopher Plummer) seven unruly children. Her charm and songs soon win the hearts of the children – and their father. But when Nazi Germany unites with Austria, Maria is forced to attempt a daring escape with her new family.”
Schindler's List
World War 2, movie based on a true story
Schindler’s List

This is a must-see (in my opinion), powerful, emotionally wrenching movie. All of our teens watched it.

You may want to be on hand to fast forward through the sex scene (where bare breasts are shown) and possibly the nudity in the concentration camp scene(s) (although it illustrates the humiliation the Jews suffered).

This movie may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.

“Winner of 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List follows the true story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust.”
The Pianist
World War II, movie based on a true story

Note: This movie contains graphic violence and some cursing.
Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie.
The Pianist

This movie may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.

“A brilliant pianist in Warsaw witnesses the restrictions Nazis place on Jews in the Polish capital during the occupation in World War II. His family is rounded up, forced to live in a ghetto, then shipped off to Nazi labor camps.”
Bridge of Spies
1960s, Cold War, East Berlin
Bridge of Spies

“In a dramatic thriller inspired by true events, Tom Hanks stars as James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on a near impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U2 pilot.”
The Hunt for Red October
Cold War, movie
The Hunt for Red October

“In November 1984, the Soviet Union’s best submarine Captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the U.S. Is he trying to defect or to start a war?”
Netflix: First They Killed My Father
1975, Cambodia, movie

Note: This movie has some scenes of graphic violence (mostly toward the end). Extreme violence is kept to a minimum (except for the one part that is around the timestamp of an hour and 51 minutes to about 1 hour and 57 minutes).
Click here for a parent’s guide to this movie.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

This is the movie based on the book I’ve scheduled in. I watched the movie after reading the book and have scheduled it in like that as well.

This movie may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.
Chernobyl
1986, Russia, TV series based on a real event

Note: This movie contains: male nudity in episode 3 where miners excavate a tunnel for a heat exchange under the plant (the tunnel is so hot that the miners must dig the tunnel in the nude), graphic depictions of the effects of radiation, a suicide is implied (but not shown) at the beginning of episode 1, cursing
Click here for the Common Sense Media review of the series.
Chernobyl
This mini-series may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.

“Starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson, ‘Chernobyl’ tells the story of the 1986 nuclear accident in this HBO Miniseries.”
Hotel Rwanda
1994, Rwanda, movie
Hotel Rwanda

“Three Oscar(R) nominations went to this drama starring Don Cheadle as a real-life hotel manager who risked his life to save over a thousand refugees during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.”

Optional, Unscheduled and/or Substitution 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.

National Geographic Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Time Line
Timeline reference book
National Geographic Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Time Line

I looked at tons of different timeline books. I like this one because it shows events from 4 different areas in a single spread: The Americas, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia and Oceania. It has separate columns for politics & power, geography & environment, culture & religion, science & technology, and people & society. I didn’t schedule it in, because it’s not really necessary for the curriculum, but it’s a nice resource for your reference shelf!

“From the dawn of humankind to today’s global complexities, this monumental volume presents world history from an original perspective that provides fresh insights with every colorful spread. For readers of all ages, world history is easily accessible, depicted as never before-so that events occurring simultaneously around the world can be viewed at-a-glance together. This remarkable resource also contains dozens of maps; scores of sidebars; hundreds of illustrations; and thousands of events, milestones, personalities, ideas, and inventions.”
The History of the World Quiz Book: 1,000 Questions and Answers to Test Your Knowledge
Trivia book that spans a variety of time periods
The History of the World Quiz Book: 1,000 Questions and Answers to Test Your Knowledge

“From the first empires and civilizations, through the Ancient world of the Middle East and Africa; the Parthian Empire; the Golden Age of India; the ancient dynasties of China; the founding of Rome and the Roman republic; Peruvian cultures; The Middle Ages; the Byzantine Empire; Mayan culture; the Crusades; the rise of the Ottoman Empire; the Renaissance—this far-reaching book will test the knowledge of any history lover and provide the ultimate challenge for even the most knowledgeable historian. With questions ranging from multiple choice, truth or fiction, map and picture and quotation questions, you will find there is always something new to learn about the world.”
Mara, Daughter of the Nile
Ancient Egypt ca. 1508– 1458 BCE , fiction
Mara, Daughter of the Nile

*A FREE study guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom in ancient Egypt, under the rule of Queen Hatshepsut. Mara is not like other slaves; she can read and write, as well as speak the language of Babylonian. So, to barter for her freedom, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies—each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.
 
Against her will, Mara finds herself falling in love with one of her masters, the noble Sheftu, and she starts to believe in his plans of restoring Thutmose III to the throne. But just when Mara is ready to offer Sheftu her help and her heart, her duplicity is discovered, and a battle ensues in which both Mara’s life and the fate of Egypt are at stake.”
Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book
Ancient Egypt, drawing book with history tidbits
Ralph Masiello’s Ancient Egypt Drawing Book

This book is available to check out for free on Hoopla. Check if your library has a free subscription. It’s also available to check out for free via openlibrary.org. Click here.

“Emerging on the fertile banks of the Nile River over five thousand years ago, ancient Egypt was a place of mummies and pharaohs, pyramids and temples–a place that sparks the imagination. Young artists can dive into the underworld with Anubis, jackal god of the dead; creep past a sentinel sphinx with the body of a lion and the head of a falcon; bow down to the beautiful Queen Nefertiti; or give praise to the murdered god Osiris, all while learning to draw the symbols of the mysterious and ancient civilization of Egypt.

Step-by-step instructions help young artists create their own representations of this incredible culture, and annotations throughout the book provide a glimpse into the history and mythology of ancient Egypt. Bonus steps provide ways to customize drawings with historically accurate symbols and other details.”

Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined (Stephen Fry's Greek Myths Book 2)
Greek mythology, fiction
Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined (Stephen Fry’s Greek Myths Book 2)

“In this sequel to the bestselling Mythos, legendary author and actor Stephen Fry moves from the exploits of the Olympian gods to the deeds of mortal heroes.

Perseus. Jason. Atalanta. Theseus. Heracles. Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths. Whether recounting a tender love affair or a heroic triumph, Fry deftly finds resonance with our own modern minds and hearts.

Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.

• Each adventure is infused with Fry’s distinctive voice and writing style.
• Connoisseurs of the Greek myths will appreciate this fresh-yet-reverential interpretation, while newcomers will feel welcome.
• Retellings brim with humor and emotion.”
Hittite Warrior
1200 BC, fiction

Note: This is a Christian book.
Hittite Warrior

*A FREE learning guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“When Uriah Tarhund’s Hititte home is destroyed by invading Greeks, his dying father tells him to go seek a Canaanite named Sisera. “He will help you. For my sake….” When Uriah reaches Judea and saves a young boy from being sacrificed to Molech, he is given succor for a time by the Hebrews. Later, he finds Sisera and joins him in war against these same people. When the Canaanites are defeated, the young Hittite has the opportunity to come to a peace with himself, the Hebrew people and their God.”
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah
701 BCE in ancient Egypt, fiction

Note: This is a Christian book.
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah

“A never-before published tale by the author of the best-selling Hittite Warrior, carries the reader back to Ancient Egypt and biblical Jerusalem. It is 701 B.C-rule of the Kushite dynasty in ancient Egypt. Young Prince Taharka, a very minor royal son, succeeds unexpectedly to the throne of Kush and Egypt-a divine rulership.

It’s not long, however, before a treacherous plot pushes him into sudden exile and into the hands of Amos, an emissary of King Hezekiah seeking help against the Assyrians. Posing as a medical assistant, Taharka journeys with Amos to Judea where he encounters two kings in conflict. His true identity suddenly uncovered, he must choose with whom he will fight-the mighty Assyrian, Sennacherib, promising alliance or Hezekiah, the Jew who trusts in Yahweh.
A novel inspired by research on the historical King Taharka and his period.”
Choose one of the following versions of Beowulf if you don’t want to use the graphic novel in the scheduled books.

Old English epic poem, unknown composure date, manuscript found dating to around 975

*FREE learning resources for this book are linked in the schedule.
Option 1:
Beowulf: A New Translation
Beowulf: A New Translation

*A FREE teacher’s guide for this version of Beowulf is linked in the schedule.

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. The intIt’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.
Beowulf
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)
An illustrated retelling of a Sanskrit epic of ancient India (originally written around 350-400 CE)
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.”

Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
Various time periods, fiction based on true stories

Note: This is a Christian book.
Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History

“In this collection of forty-six brief biographies for children, Hannula sketches the stirring trials and triumphs of many famous and some lesser known figures in our family of faith including Augustine, Charlemagne, Anselm, Luther, Bunyan, and C.S. Lewis. “
National Geographic Kids Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture: Stories, Timelines, Maps, and More
Nonfiction reference
National 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.
The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno
Written in the 1300s, narrative poem, pre-eminent work in Italian literature
The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno

Click here for a free audio version.

*A FREE teacher’s guide for this version of Beowulf is linked in the schedule.

“This vigorous translation of Inferno preserves Dante’s simple, natural style, and captures the swift movement of the original Italian verse. Mark Musa’s blank verse rendition of the poet’s journey through the circles of hell recreates for the modern reader the rich meanings that Dante’s poem had for his contemporaries. Musa’s introduction and commentaries on each of the cantos brilliantly illuminate the text.”


The Canterbury Tales (No Fear)
1387/1400, a collection of stories written in verse and prose that paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time
The Canterbury Tales (No Fear)

“Why be frightened of the most wonderful collection of tales ever written?  No Fear: The Canterbury Tales makes it simple for students to love Chaucer’s masterpiece in all its humor, bawdiness, and poignancy.  It features the original text on the left-hand page, side-by-side with an easy-to-understand translation on the right; in addition, there is a complete list of characters with descriptions and plenty of helpful commentary.”
Musashi (A Graphic Novel)
Musashi Miyamoto (c. 1584 to 1645), Japan, graphic novel

Note: This book contains a scene where the characters are together intimately (no nudity is shown). There is also violence (sword fights, etc.).
Musashi (A Graphic Novel)

“Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary samurai, is known throughout the world as a master swordsman, a spiritual seeker, and the author of the classic Book of Five Rings. This graphic novel treatment of his amazing life is both a vivid account of a fascinating period in feudal Japan and a portrait of courageous, iconoclastic samurai who wrestled with philosophical and spiritual ideas that are as relevant today as they were in his time. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was about mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess. Over 350 years after his death, Musashi still intrigues us—and his Book of Five Rings is essential reading for students of all martial arts and those interested in cultivating strategic mind.”
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is shogun.jpg
1600s, feudal Japan, fiction

Note: I read this book in early high school and loved it. I have NOT previewed it for this course due to a lack of time. I believe there is some adultery and a mention of prostitution in the book, but I have no recollection of the level of descriptiveness, etc. Proceed with caution.
Read a review written by a teen here.
Shōgun: The Epic Novel of Japan (The Asian Saga Book 1)

*A FREE detailed learning resource for this book is linked in the schedule.

After Englishman John Blackthorne is lost at sea, he awakens in a place few Europeans know of and even fewer have seen—Nippon. Thrust into the closed society that is late sixteenth-century Japan, a land where the line between life and death is razor-thin, Blackthorne must negotiate not only a foreign people, with unknown customs and language, but also his own definitions of morality, truth, and freedom. As internal political strife and a clash of cultures lead to seemingly inevitable conflict, Blackthorne’s loyalty and strength of character are tested by both passion and loss, and he is torn between two worlds that will each be forever changed.
Powerful and engrossing, capturing both the rich pageantry and stark realities of life in feudal Japan, Shōgun is a critically acclaimed powerhouse of a book. Heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat action melds seamlessly with intricate historical detail and raw human emotion. Endlessly compelling, this sweeping saga captivated the world to become not only one of the bestselling novels of all time but also one of the highest-rated television miniseries, as well as inspiring a nationwide surge of interest in the culture of Japan. Shakespearean in both scope and depth, Shōgun is, as the New York Times put it, “…not only something you read—you live it.” Provocative, absorbing, and endlessly fascinating, there is only one: Shōgun.
Don Quixote
Published in the 1600s, Spain, a founding work of Western literature and often labeled the first modern novel
Don Quixote

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
Edith Grossman’s definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece, in an expanded P.S. edition

*Several FREE teacher’s guides (and activities) for this book are linked in the schedule.

“Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven’t experienced Don Quixote in English until you’ve read this masterful translation.”
Candide
1750s, French satire (novella)
Candide by Voltaire

Any version of this novella will do. There are lots of free copies online. 🙂

*A FREE study guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“Candide is a French satirical novella first published in 1759 by Voltaire. Candide has enjoyed both great success and great scandal. Immediately after its secretive publication, the book was widely banned to the public because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition, and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté. However, with its sharp wit and insightful portrayal of the human condition, the novel has since inspired many later authors and artists to mimic and adapt it. Today, Candide is recognized as Voltaire’s magnum opus and is often listed as part of the Western canon. It is among the most frequently taught works of French literature. The British poet and literary critic Martin Seymour-Smith listed Candide as one of the 100 most influential books ever written.
Oliver Twist
Early 19th century, England, fiction
Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

Any version of this book will do. There are lots of free copies online. 🙂

*FREE teacher’s notes for this book are linked in the schedule.

A gripping portrayal of London’s dark criminal underbelly, published in Penguin Classics with an introduction by Philip Horne.The story of Oliver Twist – orphaned, and set upon by evil and adversity from his first breath – shocked readers when it was published. After running away from the workhouse and pompous beadle Mr Bumble, Oliver finds himself lured into a den of thieves peopled by vivid and memorable characters – the Artful Dodger, vicious burglar Bill Sikes, his dog Bull’s Eye, and prostitute Nancy, all watched over by cunning master-thief Fagin. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.
This Penguin Classics edition of Oliver Twist is the first critical edition to faithfully reproduce the text as its earliest readers would have encountered it from its serialisation in Bentley’s Miscellany, and includes an introduction by Philip Horne, a glossary of Victorian thieves’ slang, a chronology of Dickens’s life, a map of contemporary London and all of George Cruikshank’s original illustrations.
A Tale of Two Cities
French Revolution, fiction
A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities: Abridged Edition

The French Revolution comes to vivid life in Charles Dickens’s famous novel about the best of times and the worst of times…

The storming of the Bastille…the death carts with their doomed human cargo…the swift drop of the guillotine blade—this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous work A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. With insight and compassion, Dickens casts his novel of unforgettable scenes with some memorable characters: the sinister Madame Defarge, knitting her patterns of death; the gentle Lucie Manette, unswerving in her devotion to her broken father; Charles Darnay, the lover with a secret past; and dissolute Sydney Carton, whose unlikely heroism gives his life meaning.”
Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novels)1300 or 1400s Italy, graphic novel

Note: There are some minor sexual references, innuendo, and sexual jokes (as per the original play).
Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novels)

Don’t want a graphic novel? Choose this instead.
*A FREE teacher’s guide for this book are linked in the schedule.

No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novels is a series based on the translated texts of the plays found in No Fear Shakespeare. The original No Fear series made Shakespeare’s plays much easier to read, but these dynamic visual adaptations are impossible to put down. Each of the titles is illustrated in its own unique style, but all are distinctively offbeat, slightly funky, and appealing to teen readers. Each book will feature:
★ Illustrated cast of characters
★ A helpful plot summary
★ Line-by-line translations of the original play
★ Illustrations that show the reader exactly what’s happening in each scene—making the plot and characters even clearer than in the original No Fear Shakespeare books
The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Literature through history
The 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.”
Henry V (No Fear Shakespeare)
1590s, England. play
Henry V (No Fear Shakespeare) 

This No Fear Shakespeare ebook gives you the complete text of Henry Vand an easy-to-understand translation.
Each No Fear Shakespeare contains
★ The complete text of the original play
★ A line-by-line translation that puts Shakespeare into everyday language
★ A complete list of characters with descriptions
Plenty of helpful commentary
Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World, with 21 Activities
Late 1700s
Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World, with 21 Activities

“Jane Austen is one of the most influential and best-loved novelists in English literature. Austen’s genius was her cast of characters—so timeless and real that readers today recognize them in their own families and neighborhoods. Her book’s universal themes—love and hate, hope and disappointment, pride and prejudice, sense and sensibility—still tug at heartstrings today in cultures spanning the globe.

Austen wrote about daily life in England as she knew it, growing up a clergyman’s daughter among the upper class of landowners, providing readers with a window into the soul of a lively, imaginative, and industrious woman in an age when most women were often obscured. Jane Austen for Kids includes a time line, resources for further study, places to visit, and 21 enriching activities”
Victoria: Portrait of a Queen
1800s, biography, nonfiction
Victoria: Portrait of a Queen

“Catherine Reef brings history vividly to life in this sumptuously illustrated account of a confident, strong-minded, and influential woman.

Victoria woke one morning at the age of eighteen to discover that her uncle had died and she was now queen. She went on to rule for sixty-three years, with an influence so far-reaching that the decades of her reign now bear her name—the Victorian period. Victoria is filled with the exciting comings and goings of royal life: intrigue and innuendo, scheming advisors, and assassination attempts, not to mention plenty of passion and discord.”
Heart of a Samurai
1841, Japan, fiction (based on a true story)
Heart of a Samurai

“In 1841 a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives there for some time and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the emperor to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.”
All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel
World War I, Germany, fiction

Note: This book mentions: violence, (nothing too graphic), sexual content (brief)
All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel

*FREE teacher’s and study guides for this book are linked in the schedule.

“Considered by many the greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece of the German experience during World War I.

I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. . . .

This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army during World War I. They become soldiers with youthful enthusiasm. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught breaks in pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.

Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another . . .  if only he can come out of the war alive.”

World War II: The Definitive Visual History from Blitzkrieg to the Atom Bomb
World War 2, nonfiction
World War II: The Definitive Visual History from Blitzkrieg to the Atom Bomb

“Explosive photography, international maps, accessible text, and supporting timelines combine to show the most destructive event ever known in unprecedented depth and detail. Although the complexities of World War II can be hard to fathom, this standout reference is organized in a logical order and the supporting captions are concise and clear throughout to aid understanding.”

The Complete Maus
World War 2, Germany, award-winning graphic novel

Note: This book contains: cursing, cartoon nudity (on the mice that depict people), violence in the context of the holocaust (the ovens of the concentration camps are discussed, starvation, etc.)
Click here to see a Common Sense Media review which discusses potential objectionable items in this book.
The Complete Maus

*A FREE teacher’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story.”
There are many teacher’s guides online for this book.
The Book Thief
World War II, Germany, fiction
The Book Thief

*A FREE reader’s guide for this book is linked in the schedule.

“Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.”
“Deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.” —USA Today
There are many teacher’s guides online for this book.

Unscheduled Videos

Anna and the King
Late 1800s, Thailand, movie based on a true story
Anna and the King

“Based on the true story of Anna Leonowen’s an English school teacher, a window and mother who moves to Siam with her son, in the 1860s to teach the dozens of children of King Mongkut. An unexpected romance between Anna and the King, but cultural differences keep their love apart.”
Lawrence Of Arabia
WWI, Ottoman Empire and Syria
Lawrence Of Arabia

“The film depicts Lawrence’s experiences in the Ottoman Empire’s provinces of Hejaz and Greater Syria during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Its themes include Lawrence’s emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his own identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain with its army and his new-found comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.”
Quote from Wikipedia
Band of Brothers
World War 2, Mini-series based on a true story

Note: This video series contains: graphic violence, brief nudity, cursing, sexual content

See the Common Sense Review for specific warnings. 

Here’s an additional guide with more details: 
IMDb Parent’s Guide

Make sure to preview Episode 9: Why We Fight for a brief sex scene showing naked buttocks and breasts.
Band of Brothers 


This is one of the best (in my opinion) series on WW2. It is very realistic, though. We allowed our son to watch it as a teen, but were on hand to fast forward through objectionable content. This series may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.

This landmark ten-part HBO miniseries recounts the remarkable achievements of an elite team of U.S. paratroopers in World War II.

Note: My husband and I also watched HBO series The Pacific. It has much more sexual content, though, so I don’t recommend it for teens.
Saving Private Ryan
World War 2, Movie

Note: This video series contains: graphic violence, cursing

Click here for the IMDb Parent’s Guide for content warnings.

Click here for the Common Sense Media warnings.
Saving Private Ryan

This movie is scheduled for the week when students learn about D-Day.

This is another excellent movie about WW2 that all of our teens watched with us.

This movie may not be appropriate for younger teens, and some families may feel it’s not appropriate for teens at all. Use your discretion.
Choose one of the following two options:
The Sobibor escape is mentioned in Guts & Glory: World War II.
Rabbit-Proof Fence
Rabbit-Proof Fence

“At a time when it was Australian government policy to train aboriginal children as domestic workers and integrate them into white society, young Molly Craig decides to lead her little sister and cousin in a daring escape from their internment camp.”

Quote for Candide from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide

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