History Series My Children Love

My children have learned more history from their own free reading time than anything we have done together.  The memory pegs my kids have from Classical Conversations helps them to get even more out of reading these books.

I want to share a number of our favorite series for history in the elementary years.  In no particular order:

 You Wouldn’t Want to Be books.

The You Wouldn’t Want to Be series has a quirky way to catching my kids’ attention with their silly subtitles (like You Wouldn’t Want to Be Mary Queen of Scots:  A Ruler Who Really Lost Her Head).  These are amazing, covering topics from Ancient times to U.S. history. I wrote about them a few years ago here where you can see Foundations Cycle match-ups.  My kids have re-read these many times over the years.  These are the shortest and easiest reading level of books on this list.  When we get these at the library, even the librarians comment on the fun titles of the books.

Interactive History Adventures.

The Interactive History Adventures also cover many time periods.  We love to get these at the library also.  They are choose-your-path type books except with historical themes.  The U.S. history ones are my favorites, but we really enjoy most of them.  I included Foundations match ups here.  (The one on The Underground Railroad has a path where you pretend to be slave catchers, and we just couldn’t even read that path in the book.)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

These graphic novels are always about dangerous and challenging bits of history.  The first in the series, One Dead Spy, is about Nathan Hale’s namesake.  The World War 1 book, Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, gives an amazing overview to World War I.  My kids are already anticipating the fall release of one about World War II (Raid of No Return).

Ken Jenning’s Junior Genius Guides

The Junior Genius Guides include other topics than history, but we love the U.S. Presidents and Maps and Geography for studying history.  These books are packed with information but told in a way that grabs kids’ attention.  These books are set up like a “school day” with class periods instead of chapters.  (The non-history ones we are love are: The Human Body, Outer Space, and Greek Mythology.)  If you decide to buy any of these books, this 3-book set is a far better deal than the 3 books individually.

The Complete Middle School Study Guide series

These “Big Fat Notebook” books have packed with wonderful overviews of American History and World History.  Any piece of CC memory work can be found in these as well as lots of other history tidbits.  I actually think the U.S. History one is going to be an excellent resource for me as a Challenge 1 Director next year.  After each section, there are “Check Your Knowledge” quizzes complete with “Check Your Answers” so you don’t have to wonder if they are right.  My kids don’t really get the “Everything you need to Ace” each class title for the books in this series since we homeschool and don’t teach to a test, but these are a wonderful resource.  (Other books in the series include non-history topics:  English Language Arts, Math, and Science.  The English one does include topics not covered in the CC Essentials program – like theme, plot, etc.)

Note:  These books are secular so they include evolutionary human origins.  They are also very current in their publication dates so the U.S. one include the Supreme Court ruling on marriage (in a very matter-of-fact way).

As I made this list, I’m sure I forgot some of my kids’ favorites.  What history series do your kids enjoy?

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Isaiah’s Top 5 Easy Reader Books

Isaiah wanted to share some of his favorite easy reader books.  Here are his top 5 easy reader books (or series of books).  All of these books we have gotten from our local library.

Isaiah's Top 5 Easy Reader Books

This top 5 is in no particular order.

1.  Wild Kratts (Step into Reading) – From Isaiah:  “These books have a little story (like the show) but also lots of animal facts. Each book talks about three main types of animals.”

Here are some of them Isaiah has enjoyed:

2.  National Geographic Readers – If Isaiah sees an animal book is from National Geographic, he’ll usually check it out and read it.  These two are his favorites and have been in our home many times.

“I like Prehistoric Mammals because I learned a lot about the mammals that lived back then.  Some of them were big like dinosaurs. This book does have creation mistakes, but these animals God created are amazing.”

“I like Weird Sea Creatures because it doesn’t only talk about the weird one.  It compares types of fish and says how they are similar.”


3.  Animal Superpowers    “I like this because it shows how amazing God created the animals.  There are multiple creatures that have the same power.  For instance, the flea and the panther both jump well. This book isn’t just about animals but it gives you the feel of a super hero while learning about animals. I learned how the octopus could look like many different sea creatures like a toboggan shark. The octopus can also look like a giant sea scorpion. I got this one out from the library more than once.  This book even includes a pangolin.”

4.  Nate the Great   “Nate the Great is a detective series.  One of the books was called Nate the Great and The Phony Clue. It taught me about invisible ink.”

5.  Elephant and Piggie.  “Elephant and Piggie is a funny series.  They are easier than the ones I already listed. They are about an elephant named Gerald and his friend Piggie.  They have funny adventures, and some of them they seem like they are really silly and they aren’t thinking.  These books are LOL funny.”

Here are three of his favorites in this series:

There you have it – Isaiah’s top 5 easy reader books.  What books do your children love in the easy reader section?  Do you have any new suggestions for Isaiah?


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Children’s Books On The Periodic Table

While we have been studying elements and the periodic table with our CC memory work, I wanted to find a few books at the library to go along with the topic.  We will also make element cookies.  Of all the books we checked out, only two really grabbed my children’s attention.  I wanted to shared our favorites in case you are heading to the library too.

Children's Books On The Periodic Table

The Periodic Table (by Scholastic in the “A True Book” series) has a really nice history of the periodic table.  In fact, Ruthie’s favorite part of the book was where it showed Mendeleev’s original version.  This book also includes lots of vocabulary terms we have recently memorized.  There are other True Books about elements, but our library did not have them.

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! is a fun book about many different elements.  The illustrations help you remember characteristics of the elements.  The writing style of the book is quirky with each element’s page in the first person.  There actually is a newer version called The Complete Periodic Table: All the Elements with Style!, but our library has it on order still.  You also can buy Periodic Table flashcards which appear to have the same text and illustrations as the book (from the preview I could read on Amazon) with just a few words cut out to make it fit on the cards.  I don’t know if all the elements from the book are included on the flashcards though.

What books have your children enjoyed about the Periodic Table?  


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Math Picture Books

There are lots of great math picture books out there.  I wanted to share some of our favorites from our library.  The books get increasingly more difficult in concepts and reading level as you go through the list – starting with a preschool series and ending with geometry concepts.

Math Picture BooksPreschool/Early Math learning Series:

Great Source Mathstart books have three different levels.  These books are great for learning math concepts at a young age.  I used them more when my older children were preschool age and early elementary, but I want to get them all again for my youngest.  Our library has a large collection of these.  Here are just three titles in the series:

Beep Beep Vroom Vroom! is one of the books in level 1.  This one teaches patterns.

Super Sand Castle Saturday is from level 2 and teaches how to measure.  

Game Time! is from level 3 and focuses on days, weeks, hours, minutes, and seconds.

Math is Categorical Series:

We love Brian P. Cleary’s English books and were really excited to see he had math books as well.  These do a great job of introducing concepts and reinforcing ideas.  All of these are part of the series Math is Categorical.

The titles really clue you in to their subject matter so I didn’t describe each one.  We enjoy the fun cat illustrations and the sing-song rhyming throughout these books as well as the math content.

How Long or How Wide?: A Measuring Guide
On the Scale, a Weighty Tale
A Dollar, a Penny, How Much and How Many?
A Second, a Minute, a Week with Days in It: A Book about Time
The Mission of Addition
The Action of Subtraction
A Fraction’s Goal – Parts of a Whole


Charlesbridge Math Adventures:

The Charlesbridge Math Adventures are geared for a little older children.  The concepts go from upper elementary math into high school math concepts.  I shared about one of the single titles and a series within the Math Adventure series, but there are a number of others as well.  We have loved all of the books we have read in this series.

 A Place for Zero  is a fun story about the number zero trying to find his place.  It teaches about the Identity Property of Addition, the Zero Property of Multiplication, a x 0 = 0, and place value all during an adventure.  The book mentions words like factors and products as well.

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table is the first Sir Cumference book in a series of fun math adventures in the Middle Ages.  The knights, castles, and dragons add a lot of fun to the series while teaching math concepts.  This book teaches radius, diameter, and circumference.

Other books in this series include:

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi which teaches an estimation of Pi and where the number comes from using the circumference formula through the book.

Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens teaches place value up through the thousands place through a story planning a party for the king and having tents to hold the guests.

Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland involves measuring angles with a protractor.

Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter works with perimeter and area of a circle.

Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone deals with 3-dimensional objects and is 6th in the series.  (Our library doesn’t have this one so I haven’t had a chance to read it.)

There seem to be new books still being added to this series.  Here’s the whole list.

It seems like every time I search for math picture books, I find new ones to try.  These three series are our favorites so far.  Do you have any math picture books you like?

Library Find: The American Story Series

A friend and fellow CC mom recently told me about these books, and I wanted to share them.  The books are all about the beginning of our country (from 1500-1815).  The series is called “The American Story Series”.  If you were looking to cover American history without tons of books, this series might be just the thing for you.

library find American Story Series

There are five books in this series that I found in my local library system:

Some features I like:

  • Great and varied illustrations filled with details to study
  • Maps explaining that is happening where or who controls what
  • Big overview of the story of our country
  • Explanations of advantages and disadvantages for different people groups
  • Lots of references to “memory pegs” my children already have

My friend mentioned that she has been able to get these books used at library sales, and I’ve been able to check them out at our library.

A book by the same authors that fits nicely right before this series is Discovery of the Americas.  This book covers lots of early people groups to the Americas (like the Olmecs, Hopewell, and Aztecs from Cycle 1) and explorers  (like Balboa, Cabot, and Columbus from Cycles 1, 2, 3).

I always love finding new books at the library, don’t you?

By the way, feel free to share library finds with me.  I always love finding more great books!